In his classic text, “The Spiritual Exercises,” St. Ignatius of Loyola says what he calls the “Evil Spirit” does not want to be revealed and will try to conceal its work. But it has been revealed here, and I am glad it has been revealed. There is such widespread homophobia in some dark corners of the Church that it causes people to become enraged by a book that they have never read. These individuals and sites trafficking in such obvious homophobia operate through means of vicious social media campaigns, relentless personal attacks, gross misrepresentations, as well as simple lies and deceit. They end up trying to be so Catholic that they are barely Christian.

Ironically, these groups, like the website Church Militant, which tout their desire for “traditional” Catholic practices consistently set themselves against bishops and religious superiors. Thus, groups that have zero legitimacy in the Church (and which have often been criticized by Church leadership) are setting themselves up against legitimate authorities. Pope Francis himself, for example, is a frequent target. In this way, such supposedly “traditional” Catholic websites are subverting tradition. As a result of their hateful content, they cause confusion, frustration and contempt. Such campaigns can never lead to the kind of results that St. Ignatius calls indicative of the “Good Spirit”: consolation, calm and peace. You can judge these unofficial inquisitions by their fruits.