In His Love, as I've told you privately, I am so grateful to you for fighting Catholic Culture on this (and I'm just as grateful to the many
others I know about who've also written to Mirus.)
He has hurt my work more than anyone on the internet, and that's saying a LOT. I, myself, have written to him numerous times. In my last letter to him, which I'll post here, I rebut each and every single point of that review, a review that assumes authority its writer doesn't have. Because of the emails I've sent, and because, after receiving them, Mirus KNOWS that that review is a lie, I consider his attack on my work malicious, an evil. He has very seriously affected the amount of traffic this site gets (when I first wrote to him, FishEaters was getting a LOT more traffic than Catholic Culture, BTW. A LOT more!). Go to CAF sometime and do a search for "FishEaters" and see what comes up. "Don't go to THAT site! Catholic Culture gives it a warning!!!!!" I've seen that and have been told about it over, and over, and over and over). Mirus's "Moses come down from the mountain" attitude as to his authority, and the willingness of people like those who populate CAF to buy into it, has affected my very ability to eat, to feed myself, to feed my cat, to keep the lights on and the house warm in the Winter. If I could have afforded an attorney, I would have sued him.
The last letter I sent to him --- and, mind you, this letter followed at least
two other letters sent over the years, letters that had a much more "nice" and "conciliatory" tone, and letters from lots
of others who've written to him the same sort of thing:
My last letter to Mirus:
I am informing you now that you are incorrect, engaging in libel worthy of a lawsuit, and, worst of all, are engaging in calumny, which is a sin. I state very clearly on my contact page (http://www.fisheaters.com/contact.html
) what I believe, and what I believe is what every FSSP priest I've ever met believes. Nowhere on the site do I say that the OF is not valid. Nowhere on the site do I tell people to not attend the OF if there is no EF available. Nowhere do I question the authority of the Church over the liturgy. I imagine that if someone were to talk to you and tell you he doesn't like the EF, thinks it's too long, or too "Latin," or too old, or too complicated, or too whatever, and he just doesn't like it, you likely wouldn't think of telling him that he's "calling into question the authority of the Church over the liturgy" or "denigrating the Catholicism of the vast majority of Catholics" who've existed since the beginning of the Church. Think about that for a minute, Mr. Mirus. I don't have to think the OF and EF are equally good in terms of beauty, poetry, sense of the sacred conveyed, etc., in order to know they are both equally valid. And no Catholic does have to think they are equally good aside from validity. Priests of the FSSP and ICK think the exact way I do. So who are you to tell others that my site is deserving of some "Red Light" because of such opinions?
In that letter, you are intimating that I believe that those who are attached to the OF are "Modernists." Really? (in fact, people throwing around the word "Modernist" is a major pet peeve of mine!) You intimate that I see attachment to the EF as a "sign of spiritual superiority." But I believe neither of those things. In no way WHATSOEVER do I believe either of those things. See http://www.fisheaters.com/abouttheforum.html#radtrad
and the "Conversion of the Heart" page: http://www.fisheaters.com/conversionoftheheart.html
and tell me if you actually believe that I think anything like what you are intimating to other people that I think.
I spent years and years writing the content for my site. Writing that website was a total labor of love, done for the love of Jesus and His Church. It is what I did as a full-time "job," as it were, for years. And I am still writing for it, though much more slowly these days. There is nothing -- not one thing -- that is heterodox on it. I repeat: I guarantee you that every priest of the FSSP or ICK believe exactly what I believe. And Catholics have every right to think and feel about the liturgy exactly what those priests do. But you are willing to take my years of work and trash it by telling untruths about it, by publicly attributing opinions to me that I do not, in fact, hold. Further, I am a Grandmother who is sickly, living under the poverty line, and trying to eke out a subsistence through advertising and subscription money. You are taking food out of my mouth, and taking presents for my grandson from under the Christmas tree, with your untruths.
What follows is a rebuttal of each point you make in your site review:
There is no "rejection of the 'New Mass' (The Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) and Vatican Council II" on my part. That is a lie, and I am calling it a lie as opposed to a "mere" untruth because you have been contacted before about this and you have done nothing to correct your review. Here, once again, in black and white, is what I think about the Novus Ordo Mass and Vatican II: I, Tracy Tucciarone, writer and owner of FishEaters.com, believe the Novus Ordo Missae is vastly inferior in ways not touching on the matter of validity (see below), but I do not "reject" it or think it "invalid," and I never advise people to not attend it if that is all they have available to them, even as I -- as is my right and, according to the dictates of my informed conscience, my duty to -- encourage people to find a "TLM" if at all possible and/or try to get TLMs set up in their parishes. Neither do I "reject" Vatican II (whatever that means exactly). I don't know how many more times and in how many different ways a person can say that she believes Vatican II was a true ecumenical council, convened by a true Pope, which produced documents that are ambiguously written, must be interpreted in light of Tradition and in such a way that does not contradict Tradition, and which have been abused, mistranslated, exploited, and lied about by liberal Catholics and by the media. Is there anything I just wrote that you find unclear?
There is not one word of what I just said about my stance on things that is unorthodox, that makes me a heretic, a bad person, a poopy-butt, or a person any more unworthy than you are of teaching Catholics. I simply teach them how to be a Catholic "trad style" in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum, which Catholics have a perfect right to do, even if to the chagrin of some Catholics who seem to demand that everyone love the Novus Ordo Missae as much as they do, to the point of preference or of having no opinions about it whatsoever other than "it's great."
Below are specific points you make in your review. Your words are in bold:
This is an absolutely unjust and incorrect appraisal of my work. The "About This Site" page (contact.html) clearly lays out my stance, and it is 100% orthodox, faithful to the Holy Father, and in no way warranting such a description.
Fidelity: The site as a whole implicitly and explicitly rejects the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) Mass. Example(s)
This is a lie. I do not reject and have never rejected the Novus Ordo form of the Mass. I find it to be inferior in terms of its: beauty; poetry; choice of Scripture readings; catechetical qualities; ability to inspire holy thoughts and reverence; ability to psychologically connect modern Catholics with their spiritual (and often blood) ancestors; proneness to abuse because of all the options; divisive aspects due to priests typically not using the Latin language that allows Catholics from all over the world to worship together as one, and so forth. But I also believe the Mass of Paul VI to be valid and, as I said earlier, I would never, ever advise someone to not attend the NO if that's all he has available to him. I attend the OF myself sometimes. And my thinking all of the above in no way makes me unorthodox, heretical, or a bad Catholic. I'd wager that every single priest of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter thinks the exact same things.
Fidelity: All of the material and resources offered are pre-Vatican II. Example(s)
This is yet another lie or untruth, but even if it were true, how would that say anything at all about my "fidelity"? Are you implying that pre-Vatican II material and resources are no longer of value -- even to Catholics who worship according to Pope Benedict's Summorum Pontificum? We Catholics of that type -- we "traditionalists" -- use a different Ordo Missae, a different liturgical calendar, a different version of Sacred Scripture, etc., than do most Catholics, and we not only have a right to do these things, we are encouraged to do so by Pope Benedict XVI. But, as I said, the statement you made is simply not true.
Fidelity: A "Dictionary of Dissent" Example(s)
Absolutely nothing you mention in your criticism of my tongue-in-cheek "Dictionary of Dissent" shows a lack of orthodoxy. Nothing. You might not agree with me, but you don't have the moral authority to judge me as some sort of "heretic," and you have no moral right whatsoever to mischaracterize my work and engage in calumny.
Fidelity: Link to SSPX Open Letter to Confused Catholics by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
Fidelity: Link to a favorable review of the book, The Great Facade by Christopher A. Ferrara and Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Fidelity: Link to The True Notion of Tradition on the SSPX website Example(s)
With regard to these last three items: Going by this standard -- the standard of "orthodoxy" that says that linking to "an unorthodox website" shows the linking website itself to be unorthodox -- you'd have to "red light" your own website because you link to my site, a site you characterize as being unorthodox and lacking in "fidelity." I describe my linking policy very clearly on my "About This Site" page,
"I don't fall for the idea that a given work is verboten simply because its author may have written other works that are questionable. That is an ad hominem fallacy and lacks charity; even the Index of Forbidden Books only banned individual works, not people or everything a given person ever wrote. If a lesbian atheist (like Camille Paglia, whose writings I often enjoy in spite of frequent obvious and vehement disagreement) writes a relevant, inoffensive essay, if Famous Apologist X who might have an animus against "trads" writes an article that any Catholic would find beneficial, if a dunderhead pundit who writes 99% nonsense comes up with a good one for once, etc., I might well link to the articles in question.'
"Essays, like art, stand on their own, apart from the writers and artists involved, and they should be judged on their own merits (to think otherwise is to romanticize art and make it only about personal expression rather than about the True, Good, or Beautiful). The arrogant, Manichaean idea that there's an "us" -- the good, holy people who err not -- and a "them" -- the baddies who can do no good and speak no Truth -- has got to stop. I loathe it when I see it among trad-bashers, and I loathe it when I see it among trads. Most people are good and bad, and do good and bad. This Truth informs my linking policy and I'm sticking to it, even if to the chagrin of those Catholics who can't fathom why I'd link to an article in the SSPX's Angelus, or of some trads who hate that I'd link to an article written by "Mr. Apologist Who Hates Trads," and so on. At this site's Offsite Links for Catholics and For Catholics pages, I try to provide information from which I believe all Catholics would benefit if they'd get over their holier-than-thou, "he's one of them!" gang-banging mentalities. I write -- and link -- for the typically educated, reasonable person of average intelligence whom I trust has read a few Catechisms and has some sort of clue as to how to separate the wheat from the chaff."
And at the bottom of the page from which I link to sites "For Catholics," I have these words: "Posting offsite links above does not imply complete agreement with the sites or their authors."
I trust the intelligence of the typical Catholic and don't feel the need, as you apparently do, to treat them like children who are unable to think and discern. Even if I thought the average, high school-educated Catholic needed such hand-holding, I wouldn't dream of setting myself up as some "official Catholic authority" as you seem to do, haphazardly judging others' orthodoxy or lack thereof, warning people away from perfectly faithful and helpful websites and, thereby, destroying for too many the effect, the reception, of years and years worth of their writers' work through a sloppily thrown up "red light" that, for some reason, some people take seriously, as if you are Moses just come down from the mountain, inspired by Holy God Himself to lead the people through the "internet desert." And even after having been contacted by me and by others before (I've gotten a number of emails about this and you admit yourself that you've been contacted by others as well. In other words, apparently a lot of people know better and have told you so, but you disregard them!), you persist in defaming me and my work. You are engaging in calumny, which is a mortal sin, and are committing libel. By committing this libel, you drive people away from my website, and, so, are depriving me of the website traffic and potential subscribers on which my staying alive - my very ability to EAT -- depends. You are taking food out of my mouth, taking away from my grandson, and so I am no longer asking you nicely, but telling you to cease and desist right now. Either amend or remove your review. Further, I expect a public retraction and a public apology in your "Catholic World News" section to publicly set the record straight about my website and, by such a public link, to attempt to make up for a small part of the loss of traffic I've suffered over the years due to your having written such a review in the first place, and not having attended to these concerns after you were contacted by me and by other concerned Catholics who've read your review, gone to my website anyway, and discovered that what you say is untrue.
I find it very ironic that you accuse my site of promoting some sort of sense of "spiritual superiority" when it is you who ignores Summorum Pontificum, disses Catholics who worship according to what that document allows, engages in calumny against me, commits libel against me, and mess with my ability to support myself -- to eat. And you've been doing this for years now, even after having been corrected numerous times by numerous people.
I really, really hate to throw words like "lawsuit" around, but I've had it. I know full well -- better than anybody -- that there are fringey, nutty trads out there, and ridiculous websites that are written by hateful, bitter people who intellectually know all about dogma and the liturgy but don't know a thing about Charity, who haven't truly MET Jesus, who mistake salvation for an IQ test, but FishEaters is not such a site, and the Catholics who come to my place are sick of being lumped together with the [Vox: name of website removed] types, and are tired of being bashed by people who accuse them of "spiritual superiority" and what have you. FishEaters is a website that most any FSSP or ICK priest would love. And many of them do love it, and use it in RCIA classes, in parish bulletins, etc. I've even gotten a few fan mails from FSSP priests. And, Mr Mirus, you don't have more authority than the priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter. So please stop what you're doing (either emend or remove the review), retract in a public manner what you've said about my site's "fidelity" and orthodoxy (and by "public," I don't mean buried somewhere, but easily visible), and allow me to live in peace and maybe eat and have enough money for the medicines I need.
P.S. Mind you, there is a discussion forum associated with my website, for people who are 18+. There are lots of people -- Catholics, atheists, Jews, etc. -- saying lots of things, some of it heterodox, some of it not-so-nice, etc. -- but most of it fine. That's the nature of discussion forums and com-boxes. What people other than me might say at the discussion forum isn't what I say any more than what some atheist at Catholic Answers forum represents what "Catholic Answers" thinks. FishEaters -- the website itself -- is what it is, and I am the only person who speaks for it; what people at the discussion forum say is on them. I am the sole moderator of the place and don't like heavily moderated fora. In my opinion, the best way to deal with lies is to speak the Truth, so people can learn. That's how the place rolls.
He's kept that review up, in spite of that email, to which he didn't even bother to reply. Nasty. Very, very nasty.
I'm glad he's taking his site's reviews down, but he should've removed or amended his site's review of FE long, long ago. I can only wonder at how this site would be situated if he hadn't been defaming me all these years.