Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Catholic liberals are hypocrites: trads and the Christian East

Верую во Единаго Бога Отца Вседержителя...

Tisk... tisk... look at all those traditional hats! Fancy vestments! Gold! Tradition! Why is it that when Byzantine Christians wears lots of gold vestments and crowns and use tons of incense and march in grand processions, etc., it's beautiful and mystical and wonderful—but when Roman Catholics do similar things (as we have done for 1,500 years and more), it gets called rigid, old-fashioned, garish, triumphalistic, pharisaical, and who knows what else!!! Strange double standard going on there.
Fr. Z calls it: Catholic liberals (who doctrinally aren't really Catholic anymore) are hypocrites.

That's why my first traditional Catholic Mass in person (not counting Anglo-Catholic services) was Ukrainian: in 1985 Eastern rites were the only American Catholics allowed to have them.

Given the doctrinal fervor with which Catholic liberals tore down the traditional Roman Rite and anybody who wanted it for any reason, it is surprising. The implied doctrine: the Protestants were right. Like them, the liberals had a fanciful idea of the early Christians (varying to fit whatever they wanted) that disappeared in the big, bad Middle Ages; the Protestants were "renegade prophets." (A putatively Catholic book, from the Redemptorists, I had to read in college said that!) Good Pope John and his council set things right.

Self-hating Catholics, rather like self-hating Jews. Traitors.

True to form, Pope Goofball Juan Perón and his fans are silent when Msgr. Kirill celebrates Christmas Midnight Mass (Divine Liturgy) in his Moscow cathedral. (Monsignor doesn't believe we're baptized. We are required, indeed glad, to believe that he is a bishop and this is a Mass. We're not baptized, but divorce-and-remarriage and contraception are OK? People will believe anything if they want to.)

So why have Eastern rites long had a free pass?

  • Anti-Westernism/exoticism/Orientalism. Same as the beatniks who dabbled in Buddhism (before the left decreed that cultural appropriation is rude, to which we squares say, "Told you so"), the hippies who played with Hinduism, New Agers, and the kind of Westerner who betrays his people as well as the truth by becoming Orthodox or Muslim.
  • Ecumenism. But logically, given libcaths' anti-traditional bent, doesn't it look like a bait-and-switch? And at least condescending? To the Orthodox' credit, they've noticed and called it. Not at the useless ecumenical confabs, but their vicious anti-Catholic apologetics sites. And here this papist doesn't blame them. No wonder that among them "ecumenist" is a fighting insult.

Surrounded by so many lies, even from our own Catholic people, it's easy to be pushed into one of them: the heresy and cultural idolatry of the libcaths, the rad trads, or the Orthodox.

For me, it took reading and knowing reasonable traditional Anglicans to see through that... and find my way to the mind and heart of Christ and the Catholic Church. These essentials come in many cultures.

I spent Russian Christmas snowed in, lighting a candle in front of an icon and reciting Slavonic prayers (trisagion, canon to the Mother of God, troparion and kontakion), serving the same Christ and Catholic Church, praying too for these estranged traditional Catholics to return.

The libcaths won't come back to real Catholicism. They're old and will literally die out.

I don't mind if you want a simpler Mass than ours. As long as we have Pope Benedict XVI's English Mass as a baseline, we're good. Just don't deny us what's rightly ours. In Summorum Pontificum and the "reform of the reform" (high-churching the Novus Ordo just like Anglo-Catholics did with the Prayer Book), the church has spoken.

My guess is high-church Novus will win in the Roman Rite. I'd prefer the old Mass with a vernacular option. (In English, the Anglo-Catholics have already done our work for us.) Offer that and most Catholics' objections to it would vanish like a puff of smoke.

By the way, interesting: Midnight Divine Liturgy isn't Russian Orthodox parish practice in America as far as I know. A late priest friend who'd been on both sides of the schism told me that Russians have native Easter customs but the Christmas customs, such as they are, are really imported Latin Catholic ones at a few removes: the tree, the carols, and the vigil supper ultimately came from Germany. The Russians got them from the Ukrainians who got them from the Poles who got them from the Germans.


  1. "Why is it that when...Roman Catholics do similar things (as we have done for 1,500 years and more), it gets called rigid, old-fashioned, garish, triumphalistic, pharisaical, and who knows what else!!!"

    Because is, if those things, good in themselves, crowd out more central Christian imperatives.

    I have always had a certain attraction to Catholic traditionalists. Though not often enough, I read the scriptures in Hebrew and Greek and pray the Liturgia Horarum in Latin. I appreciate the traditionalists' dedication to the importance of beauty in the liturgy and dignity in prayer.

    But of course there is a danger in that: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."

    To call Catholic liberals "traitors" is, I think, to paint with far too broad a brush. Yes, their own emphases can be far out of kilter as well. But I think we should keep in mind Chesterton's admonition that Christian orthodoxy is a balancing act, and that heresy is typically not a matter of falsehood, but when one truth runs wild and eclipses others.

    For me, it's certainly not a matter of choosing between Benedict and Francis. Each was put at the helm for a reason. You are certainly right that Francis has reaffirmed what we should have known long ago, that we needn't go off the rails over the pope's off-the-cuff remarks. Benedict, after all, spend much of his papacy writing three books on Jesus (one of which I am reading now) which he insisted were non-magisterial.

    What has put me off the traditional blogs lately--Fr. Z is one of them--is their sudden promotion of what I can only call a contemptuous attitude toward Pope Francis. Instead of advocating for what they consider good, they keep up a barrage of ridicule that is more like our debased secular politics that discussion among Christians. We do indeed put the pope too much in the center of Catholicism. HIs office is of divine origin, and vital to the health of the Church. But he is not the faith, and it is certainly not healthy when we too much focus on whether the pope is or is not of "my faction."

    1. Because is, if those things, good in themselves, crowd out more central Christian imperatives.

      My difference with the rad trads. I don't worship my culture. As I wrote, if you want a simpler Mass, go ahead. Just don't force it on me.

      Chesterton's admonition that Christian orthodoxy is a balancing act.

      Yes and your criticism of well-meaning conservatives, one truth pushed out of proportion, is true. What's wrong with rad trads and the Orthodox. Un-Catholic.

      I don't give Pope Francis a second thought. I'm not a priest so thank God he's not my boss. I obey the Pope's office as part of the church (the only reason the Pope means anything), and since he's not my boss, the matter never comes up; I don't have to like the man. He certainly doesn't like me. His swipes at all traditionalists are a regression to the 1980s when you were drummed out of the church for criticizing Paul VI's English Novus Ordo. Benedict XVI fixed that. So I recognize Francis as Pope but to me he's just a name whispered in the Canon of the Mass.

  2. "The libcaths won't come back to real Catholicism. They're old and will literally die out": John, I know that you often repeat this refrain, but I really doubt this. The libs, especially as represented by Pope Frankie, are in control. He will appoint cardinals and bishops who approve of his agenda and my fear is that the next Pope will be even more liberal than the one you have now.

    Also, unlike yourself, I am not impressed with the new, and supposedly improved, translation of the English Mass, the whole committee produced novus ordo is defective and no pretty language or tat is going to save it. Simply compare the very important private, priestly prayers and the offertory of the traditional Roman rite with what is used in the novus ordo, it is not the same faith expressed. Period.

    1. Sure, Francis is trying to stack the deck, but those old liberals will be presiding over empty churches and will die soon.

      The church is indefectible and infallible. The sedevacantist scenario is possible but the church will go on.

      Benedict's English Novus Ordo has the same cadence as the old Book of Common Prayer but it's entirely Catholic, unlike Cranmer's Prayer Book. It's not my home but it delivers the goods. I don't fancy myself more Catholic than the Pope's office; the sorry history of vagantes proves that's a dead end.

      I would rather worship at Benedict's English Novus in spirit and in truth (as I do on most holy days of obligation) than ever again spend a fraction of a second in schism. I have received Communion there.

    2. It's not a TLM v. Novus Ordo dichotomy. Let's not forget Divine Worship: The Missal either. Both more traditional (in the Roman sense), more elevated, and more Prayer-Bookish than the current Roman Missal.

      Yes, currently it can only be celebrated within the context of the Ordinariate, but I don't see an insurmountable reason why that couldn't change over time.

      After all, Benedict created the Ordinariate as a refuge for former Anglicans, but Francis already changed its charter in late 2013 to extend canonical membership to uncatechized Catholics who didn't receive all their sacraments of initiation, as well as to converts from other forms of Christianity and non-Christians coming into the Church through the Ordinariate.

      In effect, Francis' change formally made the Ordinariates into tools for the so-called New Evangelization. Probably his best decision to date.

  3. Without meaning to be sanctimonious, it is very disrespectful to the Holy Father and the Petrine office to refer to Pope Francis as "Pope Goofball Juan Perón".

  4. Charles, then perhaps he should stop acting like "Pope Goofball Juan Peron."


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