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Wonderful Illusions

        "The remembrance of death, like all other blessings, is a gift of God: otherwise how is it that often when we are by the very tombs, we are left tearless and hard?"
—St. John of the Ladder

More than 20 years ago, I was counseled by an orthodox Roman Catholic professor at UNC-Chapel Hill to cool my teenage zeal for ferreting out heresies among the higher and lower clergy. "You will find quite enough trouble within the elastic bounds of orthodoxy, Mr. Barbour," he wisely told me. He advised me not to worry about the sad legion of the heterodox: They would do themselves in—and everyone else a great favor—even before the magisterium of the Church got around to the happy task. The real trouble in the Church would begin with the bewildered orthodox reaction to an almost unbridled heterodoxy and heteropraxis. In those days, I could not have imagined how prophetic his words were. (Note to those affected by higher criticism: "Prophetic" means "He knew they would come true.")

Back in the mid-70's, there was no organized, robust movement of reaction to post-conciliar modernism. To be sure, there were the Wanderer and CUF, but the orthodox household had not yet burgeoned into the great mass of colleges, new religious institutes, publishers and publications, movements, etc., which exists today. "The...

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