Response to Randy Engel
by E. Michael Jones
Randy Engel recently posted a lengthy column on at least two websites, here and here, addressing publication of my e-book The Man Behind the Curtain: Michael Voris and the Homosexual Vortex. What follows is the response that I sent to her on April 20, 2017.
I am not a member of Opus Dei, nor do I have any ties “concrete” or otherwise to that organization. Once upon a time I attended evenings of reflection at the local center, but more recently I was banned from speaking at Opus Dei’s Catholic Information Center in Washington. I have friends in Opus Dei. Marc Brammer is one of them. Another Opus Dei friend was warned by the American prelate not to have anything to do with me. Fortunately, he didn’t follow that advice. I have no intention of distancing myself from my friends even if their organization has distanced itself from me.
At this point, I have a question. Why would an organization like Opus Dei want to be associated with someone with my views? Opus Dei is probably the world’s most prominent purveyor of neoconservative Catholicism, not just here but throughout the world. Why would a group like that want me as a member? Do you think that hobnobbing with the author of The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit is going to enhance Opus Dei’s image in the halls of power in Washington or New York? I don’t think so. Nor do they, which is why they do whatever they deem necessary to avoid any contact with me. Opus Dei is happy to invite George Weigel, but Father Stetson showed what he thought of me when he unilaterally canceled the book signing I had at the Catholic Information Center.
This brings me to the really pernicious aspect of your expose. It’s not simply that it’s full of factual errors, like the alleged location of a nonexistent Opus Dei center in Ferndale, Michigan. Your article is suffused with the sense that personal friendship, far from transcending political differences, is reason to denounce someone for what someone else does or believes. Since you could not make a connection between me and Opus Dei and the sordid story of Church Militant on factual or principled grounds, you had to stoop to guilt by association. Are we now supposed to be judged by our associations instead of what we believe and say and do? As someone I admire once said, “If what I said is false, point out the error. If what I said is true, why do you strike me?”
Why am I responsible for someone else’s activities? Who made you the judge of my friendships? This is the way the Pharisees treated Jesus when he ate with tax collectors and prostitutes. Was Jesus contaminated by his association with them? Am I somehow contaminated by my friendship with Marc Brammer? Or, more importantly, is he somehow contaminated by his association with me? I’m sure there are people in Opus Dei who think so, but I don’t and don’t think Jesus would either.
If this is not the case, why have I been subjected to the same pharisaical strictures which the Jews imposed on Jesus? Who put you in charge of my relationships? The answer to all of these questions is the schismatic lack of charity that pervades traditionalist circles. In his treatises on Donatism and Baptism, St. Augustine defined schism as refusal to associate with the body of Christ out of lack of charity and fear of contamination. Bishop Fellay expressed this fear when he said, “the church has cancer. We can’t associate with the church because then we would get cancer.”
Now I am subjected to the same intolerable lack of charity by you. This is not the way I run my life. To the point, Bishop Williamson stayed at my house twice. Does this establish “concrete ties” with the Society of St. Pius X? Does it make me a closet Lefebvrite? Or is it an indication that personal friendship can sometimes transcend ideological difference? Is that what you’re trying to preclude? If so, I reject your attempt to do so and the stunning lack of charity and narrow-mindedness that prompted you to make the attempt.
Please post this response on your website.
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