Thursday, April 20, 2006

From Jeff Culbreath
Real traditionalism vs caricatures
People are understandably turned off by the latter (echoing Fulton Sheen on people hating what they think the church is)
...the average traditionalist... doesn't shun Catholics who attend the Novus Ordo, they don't have endless debates about the nuances of extra ecclesiam nulla salus*, they don't obsess over ecclesiastical politics, they pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy, and they even pray for their own departed non-Catholic relatives. They are unfailingly polite to everyone they meet - even if you happen to be wearing a ring in your nose. When some homeless or mentally ill person approaches them on the steps of the church and asks for prayers, these people do not snicker, but will remember that person's name in the evening rosary**. They attend the Latin Mass*** to become holy, not "holier than thou" - although sometimes that happens too and they will be the first to admit it. They are traditionalists not because they oppose the Church, but because they find in the Latin Mass a continuity with the Magisterium, whereas the new liturgy seems incongruous with their Catholic faith and their catechisms.

Feeling abandoned by their shepherds, some traditionalists are sort of floating around on their own trying to be their own theologians, giving selected teachings an emphasis and a tone that is foreign to the mind of the Church, often saying things that the
Magisterium either does not say or has clarified since the advent of our modern industrial economy.
A punto, signore.

I’ve known one quasi-traditionalist family who welcomed more than one unwed mother to their home for the holidays.

The caricatures range from taking on board rubbish from charismafundygelicalism like ‘no kissing before marriage’ (reinforcing Irish Jansenism) and promoting Counter-Reformation religious-order spirituality to the exclusion of everything else... to supporting the neocons and Protestant religious right on foreign and domestic policy****, none of which reflects the breadth and depth of real pre-conciliar Catholicism, which is not monolithic nor a cult in the modern sense*****. A reason this blog exists is to try to correct that — social-justice and peace issues, integral parts of a holistic faith (Catholic literally means embracing the wholeness), are too important to be abandoned to the liberals.

*It’s helpful to remember that the late Fr Leonard Feeney, who was excommunicated for disobedience and not directly because of his outrageous views on this matter (which are allowable as opinion), wasn’t particularly interested in liturgy. (And in fact said so in one of his old poems.) An acquaintance who knew him at the end of his life after he’d been reconciled with Rome attests to that.

**And/or office, or hours, etc. A corrective to the problems Jeff describes includes a return to Mass-and-office Catholicism like the German, Belgian, Polish, Byzantine Rite and indeed Anglo-Catholic modes. (Sunday Vespers, anyone?)

***That is, the Roman Mass — traditionalism isn’t primarily about Latin. Harping on that is a scare tactic of the other side.

****More a problem of the conservative Novus Ordo world than actual traditionalists. Men from Pat Buchanan to Bishop Richard Williamson agree with this blog on the war on Iraq. As does the OCA Orthodox bishop of San Francisco, Tikhon (Fitzgerald).

*****From Carthusians to Franciscans, from Francisco Franco to Dorothy Day... and men of the East like Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky). On non-essentials there’s definitely no lock-step here! The Catholic Church: here comes everybody.

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