Over at the indispensable Fr. Z's blog, there is an excellent post which provides a name for a defining event in my life: "moral injury."
...Warfighters sometimes will manifest moral injury after being in combat situations for only a short time. A lot of traditional Catholics have been enduring the injury resulting from moral conflict – being forced to betray what you know is right – for unrelenting decades without an end in sight.
I don’t want to press this point beyond proposing that there could be an element of moral injury among those who have held “legitimate” aspirations regarding Tradition. I want to avoid generalization as well...
Balm to my soul. But wait - it gets better.
One of the commenters, Amateur Scholastic, mentioned a post at Rorate Caeli blog, by John R. T. Lamont, the link to which Fr. Z supplied:
Lamont sets forth a stumble in philosophy which took place in the first part of the 1600s, when St. Ignatius' thinking about obedience, formulated while he was mapping a plan for religious formation using his experiences in the military as the pattern, was amplified into The Way Things Are Done for all priests, by way of the Jesuits. Lamont crisply sets forth the rules for obedience which are almost reminiscent of Buddhism and other disciplines that require emptying of self up to and including agency and any kind of critical thinking. The ultimate effect was a kind of imposed idolatry, following slavishly any command of any superior, even if blatantly immoral.
St. Thomas Aquinas, in contrast, set forth obedience in the context of the use of discernment, checking superiors' directions against moral law.
(You do need to read the whole thing. Go ahead. I'll wait.)
John R. T. Lamont's reasoning is potentially a big answer to a question which perplexes me: what exactly happened around 1789 to foment the French Revolution? Lamont's article points back to this philosophical bobble which seeded Counter-Reformation thinking and ended up, inevitably, turning Catholics into credulous children when it came to their faith, blindly trusting the fallible men in the hierarchy.
In 1971, as a new convert, the meek acceptance of the Catholics, whose faith, Church, and community were being ruined by self-important lying bullies, mystified me. I could get behind transubstantiation and the high-flown writing of St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, but the broken-hearted silence in the face of such insolence made no sense.
John R. T. Lamont's thesis in the post linked above, shed some light for me. I recommend reading it.