Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Pro Apologia for Dave Armstrong, Professional Catholic Apologist, Part 1

Dave Armstrong Headshot
BAAAAD To the Bone. Catholicism's Heavy Metal Gunslinger of Apologetics .... Dave Armstong!!! Source:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to starting the draft of this posting on an Iphone, and not doing what was necessary to fix things, the text displays itself all weird. I'll have to rewrite 
this post to fix the weird error later. 

Hello Everyone,

If you wonder why Catholic Traditonalism, never mind even in general the Catholic Faith is 
not spreading, it is because of sick, vile hypocrisy. Catholics, who are full of zest and vigor, and a sound knowledge of the Church's teachings, are misapplying their efforts into sinful 
stabs of Satanic action (e.g. gossip, misinformation) against other faithful Catholics, twisting truths into mis-truths, while trying to tell people about our faith and the awesomeness of our Catholic Liturgy. 

Who are the stabbers and the hypocrites? If you thought it's those dreaded "neo-cons" or 
"neo-traditionalists" ... You are being misled by the wrong kind of Catholic social media. The truth is, it is Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalists who are the ones doing this stabbing. 

Some of the most prolific examples, comes from blogs and "news sites" such as Rorate 
Caeli, PrayTell blog, Mundabor, etc. Every day is virtually another story that paints Pope 
Francis, many cardinals and bishops who are not Cardinals Burke or Athanasius Schneider, etc. as the Devil's servants from within. Other individual bloggers add to the fray in a 
likewise, similar manner, projecting their true inner hate for Jesus' Church, oddly 
abnormal, even OCD-like obession (no offense to truly diagnosed OCD sufferers reading 
this, you are not THESE RMTs, and any overlap is entirely coincidental if you are a true 
case,) with Church liturgy and Tradtionalism, and/or untreated spiritual and mental wounds, 
in the form of calumnious and slanderous posts. They are not fraternal correction, they are 
hate crimes. 

Recently, I had the displeasure of being informed of a hate piece targeting a well-known 
Catholic apologist who've I've frequently featured here on Servimus by the name of 
Dave Armstrong. Dave's analysis of the sad situation of the poisoning of Traditional 
Catholicism by these individuals (e.g. as in this "Penses" piece) and groups who supposedly"love" the Church enough to commit evil to achieve good (ignoring St Thomas Aquinas,) is 
excellent and highly recommended reading, aside from the plethora of work he has done 
with other areas of Church apologetics and TRUE Church ecumenism. Such reading can 
be found in his blog postings, as well as in his two major books on Radical Traditionalists, inboth hard copy and e-reader formats. 

I will not link to the blog post attacking Dave, under the axiom of "Don't feed the Trolls." in 
Internet lingo. Web hits feed the trolls. The blog also does not deserve any more hits or 
exposure to gain access to innocent, Catholic souls, young and old alike, but especially 
young, "wired" ones. However, a blog search with Dave Armstrong might yield you the hate piece. Sadly it is when works like this are made public, and lies are spread, the New 
Evangelization is halted further in the church and further division is maintained or enhanced.

So, allow me to dispel these calumnies of Mr Armstrong in a pro apologia defense, where 
"the pot has called the kettle black," with some assistance from Mr. Armstrong as he has 
already taken this assassin's claims apart with factual information.  

The first major calumny is to attack Mr Armstrong in his profession as a Full Time 
"professional" Catholic apologist, that is it a self-appointed, claim. Now, we need to break 
down the attacks in this claim to show you the calumnies and retractions within, as well as 

1a. Lay Apologist Status - Detraction combined with Selective Preference

First, the claim of being a ``self-appointed`` lay apologist must be examined. Here at the 
least the sin of detraction has been committed. What will be examined is how the claim is 
used in a detracting way, despite "truths," but also that based on his work, a "Catholic" 
curriculum vitae, the blog cannot make any claim about his status in this manner. 
Also, it can be argued that the blog post is implying in its attack, that one cannot bear a 
written or verbal status or title of work in the Church if it is non-official, or not pertaining to 
ordained clerics. 

Yes, it's true that in terms of employment or ministry, Mr. Armstrong is not formally 
employed in a company or institution that specializes in apologetics, with an annual salary of x dollars/yr. He would be ``self-employed,`` as per other professions, such as trades. If you are not providing service to someone, or people are not buying your products, you don`t 
make money. It is also true that his diocese, does not have a formal position of a "Lay 
apologist for the archdiocese of X, USA" that Mr. Armstrong can apply to, and smack on a 
business card. 

To tear apart this attack on his ``job`` we need to look at various apostolates and other 
church ministries/apostolates that other lay people do, without full compensation or salary, 
or no compensation at all. Within the Catholic Church, many laypeople, and even clerics, 
perform apostolate/missionary work that are full time hours, such as a parish assistant (not 
formally paid associate), and even duties a Deacon does, would qualify for this "Full-time" 
status, or perhaps a lay head of an intensive ministry (e.g. Catechesis of confirmandi in a 
multi-week program). These parish volunteers and Deacons are "full time" in terms of their 
quantity of hours of work, but more so, they are devoted in time and energy to their 
missionary work/apostolate in the Church. 

Does the Church acknowledge such work as, work per se, or that it is valuable? Yes it does.It even encourages it. One can especially see Mr. Armstrong's work as a lay apologist as 
exactly part of the Church's missionary spirit, vital to the New Evangelization, and also
allowable as She recognizes that with time, or change within a community, the Church must be able to meet new challenges and demands. A lay apologist is doing exactly that in this 
post-Vatican II/1962 environment. From the Vatican II Apostolic Decree, Ad Gentes, "On the Missionary Activity of the Church:"

" ...."Missions" is the term usually given to those particular undertakings by which the 
heralds of the Gospel, sent out by the Church and going forth into the whole world, carry outthe task of preaching the Gospel and planting the Church among peoples or groups who do not yet believe in Christ. These undertakings are brought to completion by missionary 
activity and are mostly exercised in certain territories recognized by the Holy See. 
The proper purpose of this missionary activity is evangelization .... Moreover, the groups among which the Church dwells are often radically changed, for one reason or other, so that an entirely new set of circumstances may arise. " (AG, 6)

And what of course are these new conditions? Well, if you want to follow the narrative of the Radical Traditionalists that Vatican II nearly killed vocations of the priesthood as well as the orthodoxy and quality of seminary formation, we have a crisis of vocations, and not enough orthodox priests to effectively carry out the "Old Style/Old Concept" of evangelization as 
above in AG 6, and even the "New Evangelization." 

And ironically, here is Vatican II acknowledging a new approach and need for evangelization and more lay involvement, yet the RMTs say Vatican II caused the crisis in the first place: 

" ....Therefore, let the missionaries, God's coworkers, ( cf. 1 Cor. 3:9), raise up 
congregations of the faithful such that, walking worthy of the vocation to which they have been called (cf. Eph. 4:1), they may exercise the priestly, prophetic, and royal 
office which God has entrusted to them .... To obtain all these things, the most important and therefore worthy of special attention are the Christian laity: namely, 
those who have been incorporated into Christ and live in the world. For it is up to them, imbued with the spirit of Christ, to be a leaven working on the temporal order from within, to dispose it always in accordance with Christ.(16) .... Now, in order to plant the Church and to make the Christian community grow, various ministries are needed, which are raised up by divine calling from the midst of 
the faithful congregation, and are to be carefully fostered and tended to by all. Among these are the offices of priests, of deacons, and of catechists, and Catholic action. Religious men and women likewise, by their prayers and by their active 
work, play an indispensable role in rooting and strengthening the Kingdom of Christ in souls,and in causing it to be spread." (AG, 15)

So in attacking Mr. Armstrong's position as a "lay apologist," on a broad basis it can be said 
that any type of missionary/apostolate work without compensation is not an official position one can say they do, and invaluable to the service of the Church, contrary to the above in 
Ad Gentes. 

Even if the implication was not intended by the blog post, detracting his lay apologetics 
position is an ad hominem attack, a foolish one when you consider the examples of other 
full-time apostolate work by lay people/clerics in the church without a formal requirement for secular/religious, post-secondary degrees and/or formal job postings. Furthermore, 
the attack is contradictory to the aims and goals of the Church in how the laity 
are to participate in Her missionary work and what Holy Mother Church encourages her 
adopted sons and daughters of Christ to do in being Hearlds of the Gospel. 

Having stated what I have above in the context of formal employment vs. voluntary work in 
the Church, it is also an ironic attack in a way, as the poster on the blog is involved in an 
apostolate/ministry centering around the Latin Mass that requires work, organization, 
training of involved members, (e.g. serving, schola cantorum, executive roles, priest 
training,) including the holding of an annual general meeting. The primary focus of the blog author is cantoring. The author is also a lay cantor at a parish for their Saturday vigil Mass 
weekly. All the activities, qualify quantitatively as a "Full-time" career of sorts, yet the 
author's positions are not formally titled or compensated, that of ``cantor`` nor head of their 
lay ministry. In addition, the blog author spends many hours blogging, in their ``journalism.`` 

However, the blog author, then, according to their logic, should not be publicly calling 
them self by any title that isn't formally part of ordained ministry or formal, employed work. 
That means the author should not be calling themselves a cantor, or a journalist, or 
whatever else they claims to be in their blog posts, as that is public, just the same as 
Mr. Armstrong. 

1b. Lay Apologist Status - Discrediting the Work, Training, and even the Mentorship of Mr. 

What I will state is factual, that the attack on Mr. Armstrong's position totally discredits 
the work, training, and formation of Mr. Armstrong. In fact, the training, experience, and 
body of work proves the opposite of the claim, that Mr. Armstrong in fact merits the title of 
lay apologist, and is perfectly justified to use it publicly. 

I will allow Mr. Armstrong`s factual information to speak for itself, that he has, quantitatively, and qualitatively, the combined practical experience, mentorship, and body of work 
equivalent to that or exceeding a post doctoral student (Ph.D) in the field of apologetics:

`` "self-appointed" huh? This is one of the favorite lines of "usual suspect" 
slanderers. Let's see, for starters, I have twenty officially published books 
with six different publishers, including most of the largest Catholic ones 
(including four bestsellers in the field). My first book has a Foreword by 
Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, who was Blessed Mother Teresa's catechistand a close adviser to Blessed Pope Paul VI. My second book has a Foreword by 
Dr. Scott Hahn. I've been endorsed by virtually all of the leading apologists, 
have been interviewed on Catholic radio over 20 times, including twice on 
"Catholic Answers Live". I have Imprimaturs, including from my own bishop, 
a column every other week for "The Michigan Catholic," worked for The Coming Home Network for three years, but I am merely self-appointed and not even entitled to use the title "apologist"to describe myself. What the heck am I, then? I've made my living by writing apologetics these past 14 years. Oh, I forgot: I'm just one "of these sorts." That's what I'll put on my tax form, for occupation]

[Note: this guy favorably cites Fr. Hardon in articles dated 9-20-14, 1-17-14 (inthe title), 1-4-13, Fr. Hardon loved my work and called it "very Catholic." 
I studied with him for many months in 1990-1992. He received me into the Church and baptized my first two sons ``]"

Not to mention, on top of that, his formator, sponsor, and clearly his "supervisor" as it would be for a Masters/Doctoral student, was Fr. John Hardon, SJ. Hardon is widely acclaimed by good and Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalism as a holy priest and orthodox, and one ofthe few good Jesuits left they would cite if asked. 

Mr. Armstrong clearly received proper theological, and practical formation by Fr. Hardon, 
who brought him into the Church. Then again, Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalists 
already have an axe to grind with Dave, being a convert. They are seen as "spies" for the 
enemy, despite their conversion, who never truly give up their old ways. Do not believe the RMTs at face value when they deny this. 

Further, just look at the quantity of work, produced, published, created, and endorsed. Whenyou look at all that, that at the very least is quantitatively equivalent in man hours and work 
produced, to that of a post doctoral degree. Qualitatively speaking, it is clear that his 
formation if anything, even rivals or superceeds that of our modern seminary system, of 
which also, Radical Traditionalists love to bash for churning out "modernist" priests. 

For the blog author to discredit all this experience, betrays the time, energy, and the 
dedication that Mr. Armstrong has done in devoting his life to. He even has stated outright, 
this IS how he has made a living, and might I add in the process he has done so while 
having his larger family of more than two children home schooled AND participating in the 
life of the Church via his Ordinary parish under the archdiocese, one blessed with both the 
Extraordinary Form, and the rarer Latin Novus Ordo liturgy. 

The blog author, certainly does not have equivalent, nor superior experience, quantitatively, and qualitatively in a field as apologetics, to make such a claim. Further, the same can be 
applied to the blogger's past experience in the field of choir-mastering or his blogging, that 
because it is: a)  not based on formalized education, but rather years of practical experienceobtained from a combination of secular/religious experience, b) nor attached to a holy order, c) nor that the author possesses any formal post secondary education, period, and d) not 
part of formal paid work as implied in 1a (of which, as Dave has admitted, HE HAS DONE 
TO MAKE ENDS MEET) the blogger should not claim then, to be a choir master nor any 
position within the Catholic Church, regardless of "practical" experience. Clearly, to the 
author, practical experience does not merit the status of an individual. 

An secular side note, in the working world, is that one can obtain all the degrees, even 
doctorates or multiple degrees, in their post-secondary education, but employers refuse to 
look at them over those with practical experience. Formalized education is clearly not 
everything for work, and thus students, after degrees are going back to colleges for that 
practical experience and entry level job, to enter the workforce. 

Summary of 1a and 1b: My main points are such. The blogger's claim of the foolishness of Dave calling himself as a lay apologist, is asinine. In making the claim, it is an ad hominem attack on Dave. The blogger makes at least a broad claim that ministry in the Church, 
unless formalized or attached to religious orders, cannot be formally recognized through 
usage of a title to describe one's apostolate or ministry. Even if not part of the claim, it still 
singles out Dave's work as an apologist as fake and that he cannot use the title, 
"lay apologist", compared to others with "full-time" ministry in the Church and volunteers 
such as the bloggers and other lay ministers who can. Furthermore, it is an insult to the late Fr. John Hardon, SJ, and to the training, experience, and quantitative volume of work to be simply dismissed by the author. If anything, even at the least quantitatively, Mr. Armstrong 
has the equivalent and even more, of one or multiple Ph.D's in the field of both theoretical 
and practical apologetics, to rightfully deserve the title "lay apologist," even if no formal 
position with compensation exists in his diocese or in his parish. Dave also has used his 
field as a full, and at times a partial means, to provide for his family. Finally, the author's 
statement of claim contains an additional hypocrisy when attacking Mr. Armstrong, in that 
they discredit themselves as a cantor and journalist, or whatever ministry position/title they 
are, because they lack a formal education in their fields of practice, and their training 
was not under an official institution of the Church or a university/college/formal work 

Logic is clearly lacking here in the attacks on Mr. Armstrong. 

I will follow up with a second post, attacking the claim that Mr. Armstrong`s respect for 
Traditional Catholicism is false in his apologetics work.  

Due to past history that the author and his adherents/loyal fans commit verbal/written 
harassment against  those who dare to say anything even remotely intelligent and insightful,
properly debated or analyzed, when it comes to their arguments, or the 
``establishment`` of what Radicals Misrepresenting Traditionalism THINK is Traditional 
Catholicism, (Not to mention anyone who is an anathema or gentile in their eyes, clerical or 
laity, young or old, even the Holy Father,) the combox is closed.