(With an evaluation of Matatics’ BOB/BOD stand)
+ St. Raymond Nonnatus +
In 2007, I noticed that the title of what I felt was a rather important article I had written and distributed on the internet from 2005 on was being used by Gerry Matatics to launch one of his popular CD series, (proof of this available on request). I was somewhat taken aback, since I do not expect fellow Catholics to trade on the works of others, especially when it involves a profit making venture. But following Catholic principles, I simply gave him the benefit of the doubt, thinking he might have read it somewhere, forgot it and later thought it was his own idea. More recently, an acquaintance casually mentioned that he thought Matatics was using my work as the background for his CDs, but this would be hard to prove. And even given the above, I was loathe to believe that someone presenting as a true Catholic would behave in this way.
Flash back to the present, and last week I opened my email to see the title of one of my site pages (Catacomb Catholics) heading up an article on Matatics site and in the subject line of his email, (see /catacomb-catholics/). I also found paraphrased in this email a point taken from one of my own articles, minus any attribution — a violation of journalistic ethics. Now I know one cannot copyright titles, phrases and slogans, but again, this is not a civil matter but a matter of Catholic ethics and professional courtesy. Use of my own titles also could imply, in the minds of some, permission to use them and concurrence in belief on what is written. But I want to make it perfectly clear here that this is not the case. There are several points on which I disagree with Matatics, and while I have not addressed these publicly, perhaps it is time that I did.
One of the most concerning matters is the totally false representation of the Church’s teaching on Baptism of Blood/Desire, presented by Matatics as follows. “Some of these websites take too unacceptably liberal a view of this dogma (“outside the Church no salvation”), holding, for example, that those who do not profess the Catholic Faith could still be saved — despite the clear teaching of the Athanasian Creed and infallible papal pronouncements to the contrary,” (http://www.gerrymatatics.org/GRIsGerrySede.html). As repeatedly stated on my website, this is NOT a liberal view and is in fact the teaching of the Church from antiquity. If Matatics is distributing apologetic literature on CD and conducting lectures and debates he should know this.
It seems that the “outside the Church no salvation” controversy has reached a crescendo recently in different venues. There has been increased traffic to the website on this issue lately, but I will not address these people publicly because they deny Church teaching. It has been reported that so virulent are the attacks on the true position — that Baptism of Blood and Desire do exist as infallible Church teaching — that some even have privately suggested burning the 1917 Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Council of Trent in protest on account of the “errors” on EENS in these works. This is where “rad Trad” teaching leads — straight to the destruction of the magisterium. Once again Christ is wounded in the very house of those who were supposed to love Him.
As I have said too many times to count, the cause of all this is the total rejection of papal authority in all areas and refusal even by those proclaiming to be homealone (many of whom, unfortunately, hold the Feeneyite position) to accept papal teaching as binding, even when it is not considered infallible. A secondary cause is the failure of those attempting to present the Catholic faith to others to employ the Scholastic method required by the Church, using proofs primarily from Holy Scripture, the popes, the ancient Fathers and councils, then canon law and approved theologians. The rejection of BOB/BOD is a perfect example of this. The Church defined the true sense of EENS in Mystici Corporis Christi and Suprema haec sacra, but the debate goes on, as though any layperson can gainsay the popes. Oh but wait; the next thing is that they are not popes, clear back to the convening of the Council of Trent, where these “errors” were first taught, right? I have a suggestion: Go back to the Protestant sects where you all belong. There are no popes to worry about there.
As for Catholic ethics and professionalism, it only behooves those presenting such noble truths to behave in a manner that speaks well of the Church and reflects the age-old courtesies and respect existing, or that should exist, among the servants of God. Even the Novus Ordo Catholic Press Association Code of Ethics proscribes “the intentional appropriation and use of another’s work, whether in print or on an Internet site, as this violates basic principles of journalism [and] is a failure of justice…Attribute material from other newspapers and other media.” By using the work of others to promote our own agenda, we cheapen the idea of Catholic truth. We also give others the impression that we are so intellectually destitute we cannot formulate catchy phrases and imposing titles or copy of our own, and so desperate to make a profit we care not who we step on to do it.
In defense of the Faith,
This is unfortunate. I have briefly looked at some of the Matatics materials in the past, and I did get the sense that something was a bit off.
By the way, that Immaculata-one website is truly appalling. If the Church were functioning normally and updating the Index of Forbidden Books, I would say that ought to make the list.
I agree with you about Immaculata-One. I am not sure what should be done there but you are right; an official statement should be made and I will work on this.
As for Matatics, the answer to the question posed in the title is a resounding “No” — no response, no apology, no explanation, nothing, and this blog post was sent to his private email two weeks ago. Typical of Traditionalists, NOT stay-at-homes, so it appears he is flying under false colors.
Your assertion is the phrase “Catacomb Catholic” is yours? That’s the charge against Matatics?
I know that such phrases are not protected under copyright law, but I am talking here of Catholic ethics, not civil law. It wasn’t Catacomb Catholics I was objecting to him using, however, but the title to the Catacomb Catholics site, “At Home, But Not Alone.” Certainly it is something I would never do myself and I am sure devout Catholics would be careful to not use the works of others without attribution as well.