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The Cafeteria Is Closed

Gerald Augustinus is closing down his Cafeteria blog.

We wrote about the difficulties Gerald was having in his faith and on his blog some weeks ago. In the post we referenced at that time, Augustinus strayed far from Catholic teaching on the issues surrounding homosexuality and gender change. Even though I don't read him anymore, it came to my attention that he recently had an even more shocking and disgusting post on the topic of masturbation. The once popular blogger is now shutting down the once very Catholic and very popular site for a new blog. Something not Catholic. Gerald explains:

I know that there will be more photos, for one - one a day as minimum.
It won't be a blog with a theme, ie not a Catholic or Republican etc. blog
It won't be all-Catholic-news-that's-fit-to-print, it's so much work to sift through th e web and I have to focus on business, ie photography. Amy got exhausted after a few years, too.
Whether it'll have any readers - I don't know. It's easier to be strictly one thing, like, say, DailyKos, or Michelle Malkin.
Topics - politics, culture, religion, art, books, music, and of course photography.
...
What I can tell you is that I'm not going to argue whether homosexuality is immoral or not :P It'll be a personal opinion blog with no claims to anything.
...
The current blog has run its course - I'm just teasing people now so that's not nice :) I'll keep posting political and other stuff for a few days until the new one is ready, but nothing church-related that's controversial.

I've become more, uh, nuanced, so some of my old posts sound horrid to me now, downright Manichean. Apologies to 'old hippies' - you're not all bad ;o) I've become mellow with marriage !
I think he has it backward of course. If anything, Gerald is more Manichean now then ever. Manicheans deny the infinite perfection of God and postulate the existence of two equal and opposite powers. Good and Evil. What Gerald seems to be choosing is a middle road between these two powers.

Holding this middle-of-the-road philosophy up as the ideal, he congratulates himself on his keen perception of "nuance". Of course, being middle-of-the-road sounds an awful lot like lukewarm and you know what Jesus said about them. As for the old hippies, at least they stick to their worldview. Upside down as it may be.

I have mixed feelings about this closure. For certain, I think it is good that his writing that veers of the road of orthodoxy will no longer have a perceived imprimatur by virtue of his Catholic blog status. My fear, however, is that by cutting his tether to other Catholics he may stray further from the truth. I pray that doesn't happen as I am sure that you do.

As Cardinal Newman once said, "We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe."

Please pray for Gerald Augustinus.


Thanks to David Alexander for the tip
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39 comments:

John Hetman said...

Our prayers, indeed, are needed for Gerald--whom I read until about six months ago--when his apostasy-lite became obvious. I am struck, however, just how much his conversion and re-conversion back to liberal mush reminds of Our Lord's parable in Matthew 13:

18 Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. * 22* As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

Therese Z said...

I don't hear an apostate, I hear a guy who has to do some learning and thinking. I go through that, too, fairly regularly. I'm grateful for the work he has done, and thank God for all sincere Catholic bloggers, even when they get a little muddled and show us their muddlement.

Christine said...

Who called him an apostate?

Just doing some learning and thinking? Therese, I think it is more like he is convincing himself of falsehood. That is why he knows he can no longer be called a Catholic blogger.

I pray for him and I hope that he is still praying too.

Renee said...

I used to read Gerald's blog daily but only visit occasionally due to his postings on the subject matters you mentioned. I will pray for Gerald.

In many of the questionable posts he often mentioned that his wife encouraged the views he was espousing, so I will pray for Mrs. Gerald also and hope that they do not continue to lead each other astray. Its hard to watch someone fall away from the Church.

Patrick Archbold said...

Renee,
I too suspect that Yoko may have something to do with it. I have seen it happen with other people I know who completely change due to the influence of a spouse.

While I certainly do not know either of them, the timing of his change of heart coupled with some of his comments lead one to suspect the obvious.

Doubling up on the prayers.

Trubador said...

Gerald had stated in the voluminous comments section of one of his earlier controversial posts on homosexuality that his "nuanced" stance had begun to change around the time he married his wife - mentioning something about a member of his new family being in that lifestyle.

It has been so sad to see this drift of his from several key Church teachings over the past year. And he had gotten more and more rude and sarcastic in the comments sections as well. I had removed his website link from my own blog roll, and had only checked in on his site maybe once a week or so just to see if he'd finally gotten back on course.

Sadly, no.

Fervent prayers are needed for him and his family.

Trubador said...

P.S. The influence of a spouse has occurred in my own family, too. Although my brother had already been drifting away from the Faith when he met his current wife, her non-Christian views have forced an ever bigger wedge between them (and their home-schooled daughters) and any serious discussion or involvement with any Christian (let alone Catholic) faith.

Tito Edwards said...

I enjoyed reading Gerald's blog. I was one of the first ones to find him before he "blew up" so to speak (got 'popular' for those over 40). He is sincere and gentle soul. Viewing EWTN fueled his conversion process, alas I can only assume his viewing habits may have changed.

Soon after they got married I came across (I could be wrong here) that he and the newlywed just moved to San Francisco. He also is a frequent commenter on Vox Nova, the heretical Catholic blog (the Daily Kos of Catholicism).

So you can probably add those to factors into the equation of his conversion, moving to San Francisco and all the influences that one can assume will happen to someone and reading Vox Nova.

Certainly we should pray for him, his wife, and his in-laws.

nightfly said...

It's useless being middle of the road, unless you want to join the roadkill.

David L Alexander said...

I don't know if I'd call Vox Nova "heretical." I know some of the authors, if only by reputation, and can be assured of that. It's more accurate to label them a "big tent." Now with that out of the way...

When this story first broke, I wrote in my own blog of the hidden danger of "the Catholic celebrity racket." In particular, I warned of the difficulty of putting high-profile converts on a pedestal. I've dealt with some others of this ilk -- I won't say who -- that could well afford to be brought down a notch or two. But we seem to have a need for heroes. Not just Our Lord Himself, or the Saints in Heaven, but real flesh-and-blood types who can lift our spirits. Unfortunately, celebrity in the spiritual life requires spiritual maturity. A neophyte cannot possibly possess that, which is what gets them into trouble.

There are those who avoid it, either by talking a good enough game, or by meeting the needs of the Catholic publishing industry, or whomever is backing them. History has shown us that they do get caught.

To Gerald's credit, at least he recognized that he couldn't keep the charade up for much longer. (Yes, even after two million hits in three years.) I hope he finds the niche he's looking for.

Warren Anderson said...

A sad, but not unexpected closing of the Cafeteria. I, myself, left when weird and wacky items starting appearing on the menu. GA, at the very least, has the good sense to realize that he cannot serve two masters. Like a good restaurant that changed its successful menu for something less (...Why do restaurants to that?!), let's hope this necessary closure of a once good kitchen is short lived, and that GA returns to the former with renewed zeal.

Tito Edwards said...

David,

You are a fine example of humility and charity.

I wouldn't agree with the 'big tent' connotation, but I don't mean to brush some of the better bloggers such as Feddie and Soutenus with a wide brush.

Like your blog though.

nightfly said...

David L - excellent point about "Christian celebrity." I believe that's one of the reasons why 1 Timothy specifically mentions that bishops ought not to be newcomers to the faith - not only due to inexperience, but also due to the temptation to bask in adulation, rather than deflect it upward.

David L Alexander said...

"...the temptation to bask in adulation, rather than deflect it upward."

Gerald isn't even the worst example. He got caught. That may be what aids him in the end. There but for the grace of God goes all of us, including me.

There are others who are far more clever. If only you knew...

Walter said...

"I have seen it happen with other people I know who completely change due to the influence of a spouse."

True. Lucky for me my direction was the opposite of the one taken by GA. Without my wife i would still be "pro-choice but opposed to abortion". She (and EWTN helped me see the silliness of that stance. I will pray for them both.

A Simple Sinner said...

Fortunately few people read us over at The Black Cordelias... so I am not worried about the celebrity or fame! That being said... The Cafeteria should have been closed some time ago.

Anonymous said...

Wow, great opinions about the Closed Cafeteria blog. The ones that are most touching are the ones that are made in all sincerity. Regardless of whether I agree with them or not. I thank God for these people.

I, too had noticed a pretty mean change in the tone of Gerald's blog. So I stopped my regular visits. Still, I wondered: "What's up?" From what I read here and in other places in the Catholic blogosphere the change came around the time after he married.

The last time I posted anything was on his Sunday, June 22, 2008 Onan the Barbarian posting:
This could all have been a scam to get others to pay for photo equipment; it's pretty expensive, you know. I hope I'm wrong about that.

Maybe people, sincere, well-meaning folks at that, who would water-down Church teaching because of compassion uberalis will one day exclaim like Gottlieb Sohngen, who rejected the idea that the Blessed Mother was taken bodily into heaven, "If the dogma comes, then I will remember that the Church is wiser than I and that I must trust her more than my own erudition[my emphasis]."

God Bless you all. And may the Holy Spirit guide all your steps.
I would like to ad a Post Datum to my comment:
Please note not so much Gottlieb Sohngen's comment as much as the humbleness that inspired it.

What's the old saying?:

Pride cometh before the fall

In a posting after the Post Datum, which I assume was directed at my comments [I could be wrong], he wrote:
You seem to think that there's serious money to be made of a blog. There is not. Never was and certainly isn't now.
Gerald Augustinus | 06.24.08 - 7:40 pm | #

What happened to Gerald [From complacency, to belief, back to complacency, again] can happen to any one of us. It reminds me of what Jesus said in Matt 12:43-45, and has happened to me and it's scary. Even if we've cleaned our house, it could end up with the house in a sorrier state than before the clean-up if we don't keep guard. James told us how not to end up badly. As difficult as it is. We should be on guard, submit to God and resist the devil so that he can flee from us [James 4:7]. Otherwise we lose our commitment and end up "lukewarm [Rev 3:16]." That's a fate worse than death!

And let us pray for Gerald, his family, and each other.

Thank you,
MVH

nightfly said...

"There are others who are far more clever. If only you knew..."

David L - thankfully, I visit a lot of great blogs; their superior cleverness is an inescapable conclusion! =D

Sister Mary Martha said...

I am so confused. I thought his blog was about not being a Cafeteria Catholic. Now the cafeteria is actually closed. I guess I missed it all drifting south.

Tony said...

When the Closed Cafeteria first opened, I, like the good sister, thought it was in response to our new German Shepherd, Pope Benedict and a perceived return to orthodoxy.

But I guess with the advent of a human family member embroiled in sin, Gerald had a couple of options.

1. Speak the truth in charity as a Spiritual act of Mercy (admonish the sinner) and risk the wrath of his wife and family

-or-

2. Cave.

Looks like he chose #2. I can't judge Gerald too harshly, because I don't know how I'd react in his situation, but he did have the decency to first change the name of his blog and second, to take it down altogether.

I, like you, will pray for Gerald that he receive the Holy Spirit's gift of courage to speak the truth regardless of the cost. Souls are at stake. Gerald's and his family member's.

LCB said...

So, who replaced Gerald as the news-and-discussion center of St. Blogs?

A Simple Sinner said...

"So, who replaced Gerald as the news-and-discussion center of St. Blogs?"

Would that it were The Black Cordelias! That of course IS a shameless plug... but like any good blogger, you go a few days without comments in the combox - or as I like to call it "comboxery" and you start to jones for it a bit.

Gerald said...

Thanks for the nice words :)
I think this is actually a good Catholic news site, no ? It is a grind though, I warn you.

My hubris was to start a blog with that approach in the first place. It of course was poetic justice how it all ended :)

For the record, I never thought homosexuality was morally wrong, I thought of it as a 'disorder', like, say blindness. Now I view it as a minority variant that has problems unique to it, esp. for males. But then, men are the root of most evils.

I also never knew the peculiarities of Catholic sex rules, they don't tell you those in RCIA, and for good reason, it turns out. I smell obsessive compulsive a mile away. The book Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven was very instructive on the history of Catholicism's view of sex, in particular the Stoic-Gnostic deviations that soon took over.

I never was a 'rad trad' to begin with, I guess my musical etc. tastes might have created a wrong impression.

Apart from my family, the disgust and hatred expressed by many an 'orthodox' commenter certainly accelerated the process. As did books like "Sacrilege". The final blows were Ratzinger's documents from when he was head of the CDF.

Staunch, by the book, yes, no, right, wrong worked well when I had OCD, but with SSRIs, they call me mellow yellow, and thus the 'witch hunt' had an end. It's not that I am a huge fan of Bp. Gumbleton now, but I can see the value of liberal arguments, too - and they are in general a lot nicer than SSPX types. Shudder. But I've always attacked SSPX.

And, no, I don't view my family members (who just got married, btw) as 'embroiled in sin'. Therefore, it was obviously time to shut down.

On my new blog, http://www.geraldnaus.com no one can accuse me that I am not, well, myself :)

I don't bear ill will towards those who defend Church teaching without malice.

Good luck, CMR or whoever else wants to do the grind to themselves :) My new blog is all over the place topic-wise, with no claims to anything. Well, except bashing Obama. I don't sacrifice animals or pray to Baal quite yet ;)

David L Alexander said...

"So, who replaced Gerald as the news-and-discussion center of St. Blogs?"

It's no contest. Creative Minority Report is the new Amy.

Diane from Te Deum Laudamus! said...

Well, as of this morning, the Cafeteria is not only closed, but undergone demolition.

A Simple Sinner said...

"Well, as of this morning, the Cafeteria is not only closed, but undergone demolition. "

Small favors, eh?

Anonymous said...

For me at least, there seems to be a great imbalance in how "conservative" Catholics view the Church and how they view real life. My own formation in Eastern Christianity taught me to not only love the sinner but hate the sin, but also to look at my own sins first and foremost and not use the Gospel as a battering ram to bash others. St. Silouan of Mount Athos last century said that if you want to convince people of anything, you have to start with what they are doing right rather than what they are doing wrong. When I look at homosexuals and other sinners, I don't see them in the light of an innocent person looking at a criminal, but as a fellow criminal in this world where we all fall short of God's glory. For all I know, God is a lot angrier at me than He is at them.

Conservative and traditionalist Catholics love to beat the wardrum, but when it comes down to it, if you really want to save your soul, you would silence the wardrum and take care of yourself and those around you first. Catholicism is not about agendas and it is not about who's in and who's out, who's with the Pope most and who is the hippist ultramontanist. It is about repentance and the glory of God's love, and we can all use a whole lot of both.

Fr. J. said...

I have lost a good friend to the feminism of his new wife. It was so very hard to see him become enthusiastically pro-choice -- and while they were pregnant with their first child. But, there it is.

What can be said? Cooperation with God's grace and docility to the Gospel is a stance that we must continually actively choose throughout our lifetimes. We should all hope with St. Paul that we will have the faith and stamina to finish the race.






Arturovasquez, beautifully well said.

ben said...

It comes as no big surprise to me that Gerald is not the homo-hater that so many on you on the looney right thought he was. Over the couple of years that I read The Cafeteria is Closed, I think he dropped a number of hints.

What I would like to know now, is how do I access his new blog.

Gerald? Anyone?

David L Alexander said...

ben:

You're an idiot.

To disagree with, or disapprove of someone's behavior, is not the same as hating them. But, since that is probably too multi-dimensional a concept (oooh, "multi-dimensional," that's a big word) for you to grasp, Gerald can be found here:

http://www.geraldnaus.com/

...and please take your sophomoric level of reasoning with you.

ben said...

Thanks, David, for your, um, thoughtful response!

David L Alexander said...

You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

I also never knew the peculiarities of Catholic sex rules, they don't tell you those in RCIA, and for good reason, it turns out.

Staunch, by the book, yes, no, right, wrong worked well when I had OCD, but with SSRIs, they call me mellow yellow, and thus the 'witch hunt' had an end.


Well, in looking back I see a lot of red flags.

Gerald seems to feel that his RCIA experience was less than stellar. I can't argue that because I wasn't there to evaluate it. Some, admittedly, are better than others. But it might surprise him to know that many converts (such as myself) are fully aware of the claims of John Winjgaard et al. and the rest of the historical deconstructionists. They really are the same old heresies recycled in our time.

As far as OCD goes, if medication is helping Gerald all to the good. But to equate OCD with belonging to an authoritative, repressive, black and white church (in Gerald's estimation, the Catholic Church) simply won't fly in the face of the many Catholics, both cradle and convert, who have been a part of Catholic history. Was John Wayne a victim of OCD? Or Gary Cooper? Or Edith Stein? or John Henry Newman?

Gerald really wasn't Catholic long enough to get below the surface.

In the ten years since I became Catholic, I hardly recognize the Church he describes.

Alycin said...

Ben,

Please know that not all of us (Catholics) find it necessary to name-call or be condescending towards those we do not agree with.

Mr. Alexander,

Please refrain from stooping to the level of those you accuse of being "sophomoric"... name-calling and condescension is hardly the taking the upper road, and lacks the maturity that you imply Ben needs.

David L Alexander said...

Alycin:

I'm afraid there's been a misunderstanding;

1) You are confusing "being nice" with a virtue.

2) You are not familiar with why we call her "Mother Church."

Were it not for this misunderstanding, you would know that a) ben is attacking the Church's teaching on sexuality, therefore is attacking the Church, b) ben is attacking the Church, therefor is attacking my mother, and c) nobody attacks my mother without expecting an ass-whoopin' before the day is done.

In spite of that which he (was begging for and) richly deserved, I directed him to a place where he might find others of similar ilk. It was the least I could do.

Remember, even St Nicholas punched Arius in the nose at a critical moment during the Council of Nicea. That's right; jolly old St Nick cold-cocked a heretic.

Things could be worse.

St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

Wow, you leave the blogospere for a few months, and it's like you've been on another planet. I come back and find one of my daily reads has imploded upon itself.

It took me 30 years of being "catholic" before I got it and became really Catholic. I can't expect a recent convert, especially with incomplete formation and the social climate now, to get it in 3 years.

Prayers, most definitely, are the best we can offer for him.

A Simple Sinner said...

"It took me 30 years of being "catholic" before I got it and became really Catholic. I can't expect a recent convert, especially with incomplete formation and the social climate now, to get it in 3 years."

It has taken me 31 years... and I still put the practicing in Practicing Catholic!

Might I suggest that folks join me in having Masses offered for Gerald?

Two great groups to deal with are the Catholic Near East Welfare Association:
http://www.cnewa.org/generalpg-verus.aspx?pageID=167

And the Seraphic Mass Association:
http://www.seraphicmass.org/

The priests of China are supported by the Cardinal Kung Foundation... one Mass stipend (requested donation of $10) will support a priest for three days... It may help Gerald for eternity...

http://www.cardinalkungfoundation.org/

Anonymous said...

I am the one that called him an Apostate.
And I think it fits.



Dominic.
+++

Benedicamus said...

I will pray for him. I hadn't been able to access his blog, and wondered what was up. Well, now I understand...

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