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Sam Rocha: The Critic As Failed Oyster

But where is the pearl? (Jiang Hongyan/Shutterstock [1])

I have learned some useful things about the limitations of my book from some critical reviews (e.g., Matthew Loftus’s [2]). I learned nothing about The Benedict Option from Sam Rocha’s review [3], but I learned a lot about Sam Rocha. It’s not complimentary, I’m afraid. I wish I hadn’t promised Matthew Sitman I would write a response to Rocha’s review, but I did, so, here goes.

I had never heard of Rocha before this piece, but he seems to think he hath pronounced magisterially about the book, as if he were Edmund Wilson declaiming from the promontory of Partisan Review instead of an earnest and photogenic [4] young assistant professor with a blog, a passion for warbling daiquiri-bar folk songs, and a forthcoming volume [5] of essays he describes as “composed during the Obama presidency.” In lesser times, people wrote essays, but under the blessed reign of the globalist meritocracy’s own Marcus Aurelius, they composed them.

Perhaps Prof. Dr. Rocha sees The Benedict Option, appearing as it has two months after the ascension of Trump, that tweeting Commodus, as an analogue of Late Roman decline. Tant pis, as they say in Fishtown. Nevertheless, the sore, aggrieved tone of his review suggests that Attention Must Be Paid, in the same way a Band-Aid applied sloppily to a blister compels you to look at the thing, whether you want to or not. Okay, I’m game. Let us examine his review [3] to see where The Benedict Option rubbed raw one man’s tender conscience.

Here’s the first sign of trouble:

After reading the introduction, I was shocked to find Dreher refer to the Rule of St. Benedict in anecdotal terms, from monks at present-day Nursia, and to make no effort whatsoever to describe who St. Benedict of Nursia was and what the Benedictine Order was in relation to its own time.

This is how we know this review is going to be of an increasingly familiar type: the petty griping of an academic who is aggrieved that I didn’t write the book he would have written, had anybody cared what he had to say. Look, as a non-academic, I did not write a scholarly book, and could not have done; I wrote a book meant to be accessible to the ordinary reader. This requires some simplification for the sake of storytelling Is my Chapter Two (for example), which covers the intellectual history of the past seven centuries in 7,000 words, rather sketchy? Um, yeah — and I admit so up front. From the book:

This outline of Western cultural history since the High Middle Ages admittedly leaves out a great deal. And it is biased toward an intellectual understanding of historical causation. In truth, material consequences often give birth to ideas. The discovery of the New World and the invention of the printing press, both in the fifteenth century, and the invention of the birth control pill and the Internet in the twentieth, made it possible for people to imagine things they never had before and thus to think new thoughts. History gives us no clean, straight causal lines binding events and giving them clear order. History is a poem, not a syllogism.

That said, outlining the role ideas—especially ideas about God—played in historical change gives us an important conceptual understanding of the nature of our present crisis. It’s important to grasp this picture, however incomplete and oversimplified, to understand why the humble Benedictine way is such a potent counterforce to the dissolving currents of modernity.

change_me

If Prof. Dr. Rocha is wounded by the lack of scholarly depth in this book, he either missed this passage, or he’s the kind of Very Serious Person who caterwauls about the lack of dramaturgical depth in Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Moving onward:

More scandalous to me was that, after invoking MacIntyre as the contemporary philosophical insight for The Benedict Option, Dreher only mentions MacIntyre on four of the next 237 pages, three of them in a quick, self-affirming gloss of After Virtue on pages 16-18. If this is the standard for the lectio and disputatio of “Benedict Option Christians” then it is very hard for me to see it as conservative, traditional, or worthy of invoking St. Benedict, MacIntyre, or Pope Benedict XVI. It is an emotivist critique of emotivism.

Scandalous, even! Sinner that I am, it pleases me to think of Prof. Dr. Rocha spitting out his free-trade kombucha in outrage that I did not write a book explicating the collected works of Alasdair MacIntyre. O lectio! O disputatio! I explain to readers very generally what MacIntyre’s diagnosis of our contemporary crisis is in After Virtue, and use that as a jumping-off point for speculation of my own. If you want to know what MacIntyre thinks, read MacIntyre, or his interpreters. It would delight me if The Benedict Option served as a gateway for readers to the works of MacIntyre. But I did not write a book about Alasdair MacIntyre.

It is here where one gets the idea that Prof. Dr. Rocha opened this book eager to be offended. That probably happens a lot. I’m only surprised that he doesn’t find me guilty of cultural appropriation, stealing from a contemporary Scottish Thomist to serve my lowbrow project.

The Benedict Option continues to disappoint Prof. Dr. Rocha:

But what is this “option”? This is not easy to understand. The language of the “turn” of theory seems to be at play here. The linguistic turn, the ontological turn, the material turn, and so on. But in this case, the word ‘option’ implies a choice. However, Dreher doesn’t explain what the other choices are, even when he should know that Benedictine spirituality is not the only option for Christians. Maybe he shouldn’t be entirely ecumenical, but the idea of this option over here and that option over there is an absurdity for a book that is trying to argue that the optional nature of religion (a key feature of secular society in Taylor’s analysis) is a problem. So who knows what this “option” idea is.

Let me see if I can explain this to him. Here is a passage from the book, in which I quote MacIntyre:

A crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium. What they set themselves to achieve instead—often not recognizing fully what they were doing—was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness.

The “option” is the choice facing orthodox Christians today: whether to continue living as if these were normal times, and identifying Christian life with the maintenance of the American way of life, or choosing something more radical and countercultural. The final chapter is titled “The Benedict Decision,” to indicate what I believe the choice is that all serious Christians must make. It’s right there in plain English. One wonders why Prof. Dr. Rocha didn’t grasp what was right under his nose.

And then, Rocha turns himself into Frank Costanza [6]:

Rocha writes:

Now for the subtitle: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. Perhaps Dreher didn’t choose this subtitle. Maybe Sentinel, his press, forced it upon him. I hope that is the case because the subtitle threatens to dismantle the entire book, especially in the final chapter where Dreher quotes a Presbyterian pastor who seems able to judge what is and is not truly Benedictine, saying, “[The Benedict Option] cannot be a strategy for self-improvement or for saving the church or the world.” If The Benedict Option cannot be those things then what does the subtitle mean?

Um, really? No, the subtitle is my own, and it threatens to dismantle nothing. The title is a “strategy” for Christians — but clearly not a strategy for political victory or self-improvement. The Presbyterian pastor only reiterates what I wrote earlier in the book: that Benedict did not set out to save Roman civilization, or to do anything other than to come up with a way of living within which he and his comrades could serve God with all their hearts, souls, and minds, in a very difficult time. Everything else followed from that. I quote Pastor Greg Thompson to this point to remind the reader at the end that the Christian life — and the Benedict Option — cannot be instrumentalized to achieve worldly goals.

More Rocha/Costanza:

The other glaring question is how one squares a universal church with “a Post-Christian Nation.” Does this refer to the nation-state of the USA? Or does it refer to some other sense of “nation”? Is this an option for Americans, drawn on a Roman saint, a British philosopher, and a German Pope? Of course, one need not only use local sources, but the book works seamlessly between a national sense, a sense of “the West,” and occasionally the world. There is a serious theological problem here, of course, since the church is universal in a sense that goes well beyond the demographic or geopolitical modern sense.

“And, and, and another thing: the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire — and there’s a serious theological problem with that!”

The less emotionally discombobulated among us will readily grasp that the author is writing a book published in the United States of America, aimed at the American reader. If the book finds publishers overseas, the subtitle will change.

More:

The last question, before I move on the claims I find to be confused, might be a bit more subtle. What is Dreher’s method in this book? The first answer is that he may not have one. It comes across in the way a blog post does: direct, first-person, and with no sense of internal structure or order. Dreher enjoys telling stories and some of them he tells well enough, but many of them he tells at a moment when one would expect him to fill the gaps of an argument. Story, for Dreher, is something of a deus ex machina. The stories he relies on most heavily are woven into his analysis and add to his credibility, most of all from the monks at Nursia, but they also replace more careful work.

This issue here is not only that this journalistic method is profoundly modern (in a book that rails against modernity) but most of all that it is weak. There is little to nothing to support his opening claims which result in the middle of the book: a set of assertions made with no argument, platitudes invoked with no evidence. Nothing follows. Most of all, the book shows no ability to consider objections or to test its ideas against a possible weakness. The journalistic method takes a “report the facts” approach and uses philosophical sources as arguments from authority, not as aids in thinking things through. Whatever the method might be, it is not a thoughtful one.

Well, that is not the experience that has been reported to me by others, but whatever. Again, Prof. Dr. Costanza is aggrieved that a journalist has written a work of journalistic polemic for a popular audience. I’m not trying to provide an airtight syllogistic argument; I’m trying to tell stories that illustrate the concepts I’m trying to illuminate. If that doesn’t work for Prof. Dr. Costanza, I can live with that.

More:

The first is the confusing matter of the Middle Ages. Dreher says two different things about the Middle Ages in his book. On the one hand, he sees the Middle Ages as the period that required a radical retreat in the face of the fall of Rome. On the other hand, he sees the Middle Ages as a period of enchantment and deep faith. These two stories are both vastly oversimplified, but they are quite off when they are both said to be true simultaneously. How can it be the case that when Rome fell the Benedictines endured the Middle Ages guided by their Rule and, also, that the fall of Christianity happened, like Rome, after the end of the Middle Ages? Anyone can see that this story makes no sense logically. Historically, it makes even less sense.

This is extremely petty and deliberately obtuse. The Benedictines emerged amid a particular crisis, in which their charism turned out to be a very effective response. The Franciscans and the Dominicans were a response to a crisis in a very different West. G.K. Chesterton writes well of this. Seven hundred years of civilization happened between the fall of the Roman West and the end of the High Middle Ages, which has been called the Age of Monasticism. Besides, I don’t say that Christianity “fell” in the Renaissance. I say that its unraveling began, an unraveling that is completing itself in our own time, 600 years later.

More:

A second confusion is Dreher’s abstraction of Christianity. The book uses Roman Catholic sources and characters, but also includes a smattering of Protestants and a few Orthodox. By the end of the book, Dreher begins to sound like he’s written a manifesto, calling his new order “Benedict Option Christians.” Earlier he calls these “Benedict Option Churches” and “Benedict Option believers.” Just what are these churches? And what are the tenets of this belief? The book itself, with no ecclesiastical authority whatsoever and no scholarly credibility to speak of? This is tremendously abstract because there is obviously a real Benedictine Order that follows the real Rule of St. Benedict, which includes a lay apostolate for people like Dreher. Now, of course, this also implies that one be a Roman Catholic, which Dreher no longer is. In yet another boldly modern move, Dreher writes as if he can write on behalf of all of the Christian denominations that he has hopped from and to. Surely, someone so concerned with obedience and submission and the problems of modern excess can see that acting subjectively abstract about what is quite objectively concrete is a silly routine and a bad argument.

Go home, lad, you’re drunk.

I have written a book that explicitly attempts to speak not for small-o orthodox Christians, but rather to them. I attempt to make a case that we are all a lot more assimilated into modernity than we think, and that our very survival depends on becoming aware of that fact, and adopting practices to reverse that condition. I dedicate the book to the great Ken Myers, an Anglican whose Mars Hill Audio Journal is a model for how to minister to orthodox Christians from all three branches of the Great Tradition, to help us think critically about Christian life in modernity. I believe that Catholics undertaking forms of the Benedict Option faithful to their own particular tradition will do things that Protestants and Orthodox Christians may not do. And so forth. The book is addressed to all orthodox Christians of good will. In that sense, maybe Rocha hated it because it’s not written for or about him.

The critique goes on for much longer, but degenerates even further from there into spiteful bitching that only an academic could pull off, e.g., “He never once mentions mystagogy (although he talks about liturgy); only pedagogy seems relevant to him.” Oh, the humanity.

But I gotta mention this passage:

I would like to end by noting some ironies that might even be called absurdities about The Benedict Option. First, the book is about being prepared to be less popular, make less money, die a martyr’s death, stop using social media, “buy Christian, even if it costs more,” and more, but the book is published by a division of Random House (not a Christian publisher), was promoted for years online, and reads less like a guide for spiritual life and more like an aspiring New York Times Bestseller. The prose and pace have a Dan Brown quality that screams popularity.

A, the “Dreher’s A Cynic” gambit. It’s not original, and it’s stinks of envy no less than the first time someone said so [7]. Rocha wrote this after The Benedict Option had hit No. 7 on The New York Times Bestseller List. There’s something more than a little self-serving about this remark. Seems to me that Rocha has protected himself from the likely prospect that his forthcoming book will fail to find an audience outside his friends and family by accusing me of having compromised myself to write a book that people might actually want to read. Well, he’s got me there. I write books people pay money to read. Rocha’s review reads like the neuralgic natterings of what Truman Capote once called a “failed oyster”: one that has an irritation, with no resulting pearl.

OK, look, I’ve been having a lot of fun here poking the pouty professor, but let me be serious for a second. Christianity in Western civilization is in severe crisis. No serious person can possibly suggest otherwise. Even Pope Benedict XVI has said that the West faces a spiritual crisis worse than any since the fall of the Roman Empire. My own efforts to address the crisis are flawed, heaven knows, but I prefer the imperfect efforts I am making to figure out what the church should do to the efforts gripers like Sam Rocha are not making to address the crisis. The church is burning down around us, and Prof. Dr. Sam Rocha is caterwauling about the sad lack of professionalism of the volunteer firefighters.

I did find one redeeming spot of Rocha’s review: at least he didn’t accuse me of racism and defending white supremacy, as others have. So that was something. But then I saw this tweet of his yesterday:

So there you have it. Dreher may not seem like a white supremacist, but a white supremacist is one of his 23,400 Twitter followers, so hey, I’m just going to leave that there.

Like I said, Sam Rocha’s commentary on The Benedict Option [10] tells you far more about the character of Sam Rocha than it does about the content of The Benedict Option [10]. Happy Festivus, all the same.

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112 Comments To "Sam Rocha: The Critic As Failed Oyster"

#1 Comment By Oakinhou On April 6, 2017 @ 9:46 am

“NFR: The line is between Christians who believe that religious truth exists independent of us, and that we must seek to know it and to conform our beliefs and behavior around it; and those who believe that religious truth is something highly relative to situations, and can be changed to suit felt needs. — RD]”

Fair, but not enough. Capital T Truth is a laudable goal, like Good, and Beauty. No one is against Truth, just as no one is in favor of more crime.

But in the non-Platonic world, small o-orthodoxy pick and chose what is religious small t-truth, and what is not, and draw the lines accordingly. So we go back to a definition where is is small t-true that homosexual acts are never a valid expression of the unitive dimension of the love of a committed couple, where, on the other side, divorce, or the attitude towards the immigrants (or the divinity of Jesús) are matters of prudential judgement over which small o-orthodoxs might validly differ.

The Episcopal Church holds very firmly that Ezekiel 47:23 (“And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the Lord GOD.”) is a religious truth, and that we should conform our lives around it. But I don’t see in these pages any push for the small o-orthodox to draw lines that include that religious truth. On the contrary, we are told that it’s perfectly acceptable to close our borders and our hearts to the immigrant, and remain on the good side of the line. But definitely, no matter what religious truths they believe in and conform to, the Episcopalians are out.

The Episcopal Church does many things wrong. I’m not here to bat for them. But they do many things right from the point of view of living according to religious truth. Is just that a large portion of the commenters herein do not particularly care for some truths. If you do not tale Ezekiel 47:23, or 3 John 1:5, as seriously as you take Romans 1 :26-27, you are no less a cafeteria small o-orthodoxs that those that believe that 2 Samuel 1:26 and Luke 7:1-10 open the door to the idea that committed same sex relationships are acceptable to God.

#2 Comment By Jim On April 6, 2017 @ 10:22 am

Bravo! I’m torn between cheering you on and crying in laughter! Festivus for the rest of us.!!!

Martin Luther, that crank, would be proud of your dismantling debate. I believed he would have channeled Costanza.

Ps…Brilliant book.

#3 Comment By G Harvey On April 6, 2017 @ 10:43 am

What a tool this Rocha is. So he is the editor of Patheos Catholic: no wonder I dislike most things I’ve read from there. They all seem to fall under the heading of ‘we are oh so very hip and with the times and far too cool to care about what has been lost, because, you know, racism and sexism, man.’

The charge of racism is not merely the last refuge of the American Liberal (including when he calls himself a Moderate or even a Conservative). The charge of racism at least by association is also the first refuge of the Liberal scoundrel.

The Catholic charismatic movement has produced a host of folks who make their way by emotion, by feeling, which means most of them lean rather decidedly to the left. A majority of Catholics voted for Obama both times, and my Catholic estimation is that around 2/3rds of charismatic Catholics voted for Obama.

Like their Protestant counterparts, Catholic charismatics dismiss history most of the time, even when claiming to study it. What is important to them is the here and right now, when they might get a jolt a the Holy Spirit that will lead them to raise their hands high and moan in an unknown tongue, which will make the world a better place and draw many converts. St Benedict is at best a time wasting distraction.

#4 Comment By G Harvey On April 6, 2017 @ 11:02 am

I hope that I can paste below an entire quote that I think is marvelous.

“Erin Manning says:
April 4, 2017 at 7:17 pm
KD, I think it’s more true that an academic is someone who knows the price of nothing and has citations for everything. ? (I once discovered that one of my professors was under the charming mistaken belief that our tuition, room and board costs at our Catholic university, in the 1990s, were $1400 a year. He was off by a whole zero: they were $14,000 a year. I don’t think he would have known the price of a loaf of bread, either.)

I don’t know much about Sam Rocha, but I have heard (through the Catholic blogosphere) that he leans politically liberal. I have no idea if this is true, but if it is, it would explain the rather nitpicky quality to the review. To put it bluntly, there are some politically liberal-leaning Catholic writers these days who probably think of Rod as a like-minded person, and who are then surprised and disappointed when Rod actually says (in a whole book, no less) that it’s going to get increasingly difficult for Christians in a culture which not only celebrates rampant divorce and lauds abortion, but which is going to demand that Christians praise gay “marriage” and applaud penis-havers in the girls’ locker rooms and showers (because why shouldn’t a girl who just so happens to have a penis be welcome anywhere the other girls are welcome)? There is a type of Catholic liberal who sees these issues as mere distractions from the really important Christian imperatives: open borders, free government-provided health care for all, a guaranteed minimum income for all citizens or at least a $15 minimum wage, the gutting of the Department of Defense and certain other things of this nature.

Some left-leaning Catholics were always on that “side” politically, but others were (like Rod) conservative at one point before becoming disenchanted with political conservatism. Unlike Rod, though, they see a sort of “Christian Democrat” liberalism as the best option (in terms of public life) for Christians these days–and in itself that’s not necessarily a bad idea, but when you think that’s all it would take to fix things in America I start wondering if you’re in the market for a bridge or two. Rocha may not be among this number, but some who are do not think we need a Benedict Option for the simple reason that they find themselves in agreement with the culture on many social justice issues, and have convinced themselves that other issues (such as abortion or LGBT issues) are mere unimportant distractions from the work of the Kingdom at best, and at worst, political footballs being cynically used by conservatives to buy Christian votes.

So a book that reminds us that the battle is spiritual in nature and that we can do better than sign on with either political side is not going to be well-received by people who have come to believe that America would be just fine, spiritually, if we could create a more fair system of wealth redistribution or some such thing.”

This is the perfect description of especially younger Catholic Liberals. The best of them are kum-bah-ya types: if you people obsessed with opposing abortion and gay rights mandated as inalienable would just shut up, then peace would flower and ‘they’ would tolerate ‘us,’ and many people would convert.

#5 Comment By G Harvey On April 6, 2017 @ 11:08 am

@Coleman

I assumed from the initiasl 2 or 3 of his articles I’d read that Fr. Dwight Longenecker was an Anglican priest, the kind who was Liberal at his core, but in being anti-radcial was perceived as being essentially conservative in his world.

I know now he is Catholic, but my assessment of who he is in his core remains the same.

#6 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 6, 2017 @ 3:18 pm

NFR: The line is between Christians who believe that religious truth exists independent of us, and that we must seek to know it and to conform our beliefs and behavior around it; and those who believe that religious truth is something highly relative to situations, and can be changed to suit felt needs.

That’s your line. I don’t recognize as having any semblance of “religious truth” the notion that it is highly relative or can be changed to suit felt needs. If it is that malleable, it is simply not a matter of religion at all.

But, I draw a line between those who believe that human institutions and hierarchies can know with near certainty precisely what the religious truth that exists independent of us IS, and those who recognize it exists but are properly skeptical that any given human voice reliably sets that forth, independent of felt needs.

#7 Comment By Anne On April 6, 2017 @ 4:53 pm

Coleman’s right. I don’t happen to know any progressive Christians who don’t believe “truth exists independent of us,” or who aren’t convinced we have to conform our behavior to objective standards. They simply sometimes (not always) disagree with the small-o orthodox on precisely what those standards are, just as Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant orthodox sometimes disagree as well. Small-o orthodoxc like to mock the other side’s moralism as “PC” or SJW tyranny, but there’s also real commitment and sacrifice involved. In fact, American Catholic progressives were the first to form monastic-style lay communities both in the city (Catholic Worker) and “on the land” (see Rebecca Bratten Weiss’s review at Patheos and/or Commonweal’s of 3.16.17) several generations before today’s orthodox came up with their versions. The thing is, until recently, religious conservatives among Catholics and Orthodox tended to believe those who are truly serious about spiritual matters belong in the nearest convent or monastery, or (at least) in the priesthood. I have a suspicion the changes in sexual roles and expectations that constituted what’s called the Sexual Revolution had at least some part to play in encouraging the latter-day movement among these groups to launch monastic-style communities without the celibacy rule. But be that as it may, they’re neither the first nor the only Christians to feel so compelled for whatever reason. Nobody has the corner on true belief.

#8 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 6, 2017 @ 10:25 pm

Preferring only to date your own race IS perfectly logical, rational and healthy. So if preferring to date races other than your own, and so is preferring to date someone who has three moles on the left side of their neck just above the collar bone. There is no logical, rational and healthy standard that homogenously applies. Its a matter of personal taste feelings, and luck of the draw. You’re going to have to live with this person for the rest of your life — don’t let anyone else’s agenda tell you who you should marry.

#9 Comment By Joys-R-Us On April 7, 2017 @ 5:02 am

This kind of response to one’s critics will win you no favors or prizes. Best to turn the other cheek, be gracious, and point out the areas where your critics are right. That would be in the spirit of true Christianity, which is what you are trying to promote, right?

#10 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 7, 2017 @ 2:54 pm

Oh come on, Joys-R-Us, I don’t think Jesus begrudges Rod having a little fun with this jerk. He’s just begging to be lampooned. And I’m sure Rod loves Rocha and prays for his soul to be delivered — which doesn’t mean Rod has to like his petty tirades.

#11 Comment By Maris Taidgh On April 8, 2017 @ 8:56 am

“The Catholic charismatic movement has produced a host of folks who make their way by emotion, by feeling, which means most of them lean rather decidedly to the left. A majority of Catholics voted for Obama both times, and my Catholic estimation is that around 2/3rds of charismatic Catholics voted for Obama.”

Wrong. They are a decidedly conservative group. This emotion or feeling that you are dismissing is a desire for intimacy with God expressed through the whole person–and that includes emotions.

I am not a charismatic Catholic, but I have taught at a university where many of my students and colleagues come from a Catholic Charismatic background. While many of them had reservations about Trump, as a whole they had far more reservations, and more intense ones, about Obama, Hillary, and their ilk, especially since the aforementioned ilk would like to shut down institutions like ours for not toeing the line on contraceptive stuff and for not being transgender-positive.

Catholic charismatics are among the most politically conservative Americans you will meet, though they are conservative in a different way from Protestant Evangelicals, Pentecostals, and Fundamentalists.

#12 Comment By DeoGratias On April 30, 2017 @ 10:03 pm

Messrs. Rocha and Dreher:
In essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.
Your vitriolic exchange so repels me that I am prompted to write my first-ever entry to a comment box. When two professing Christians who trumpet that identity in the public square–and profit from it–choose to demean themselves with such snark, they undermine their own credibility, cast a shadow of hypocrisy, and surely wound Our Lord. Shame on you both. You deceive yourselves when you claim authority to tell the rest of us how to live a Christian life.
Mr. Rocha, despite your legitimate concerns about undocumented claims and failures of rhetorical conventions, you fail to adhere to them yourself.
Mr. Dreher, the boasting about your book sales beating your critic’s future books sales, was cringe-worthy. Embarrassing, even. I was about to read Chapter 3 of your book. However, I will now set it aside.
How have you each spent so much time contemplating faith and then missed the point that Caritas is the point of the whole exercise? Pride goeth before the Fall. My prayers for both of you.