Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Me, trashing Catholic traditionalists? Clearing the air about Harry and Beverly Stevens

Sometimes I've been accused of bashing Catholic traditionalists. Strange since I believe all Catholic doctrine and love the traditional Latin Mass (TLM) and the traditional office. I don't go to modern services.

While I'm here... clearing the air about Harry and Beverly Stevens of Regina Magazine and, pre-covid-19 anyway, European tours.

Nearly two years ago I made a mistake going too far criticizing a traditionalist. Let's call her Nia. Someone on Facebook asked if he could have the TLM minus the L - the traditional Mass in the vernacular. Nia kept saying "go to the ordinariate." The ordinariate is wonderful but not the TLM - it resembles the TLM but isn't. The text is based on the thou-and-thee traditional Episcopalian Communion service, a version the church approved. I thought her answer was offensive, dismissing the person asking.

It's like this. It's 1984. Pope John Paul the Overrated has just begrudgingly issued a strict indult allowing occasional TLMs. You had to beg your bishop for one until Benedict the Great's Summorum Pontificum in 2007. Anyway, this is what it was like:
"Please, Bishop, may we have the TLM?"
"No. The cathedral has Mass in Latin."
"But that's not the same - "
"The cathedral has Mass in Latin."
"It's a different service - "
"The cathedral has Mass in Latin."
"It's not really about Lat -"
"I SAID the cathedral has Mass in Latin. Good day."
Not being listened to. Dismissive.

So without naming Nia I carried my frustration over to the Stevenses' private conservative Catholic FB page. Unknown to me, Nia was there too and complained. After a short while I realized I made a mistake dragging this argument over to that page, and after failing to reconcile, blocked her just to keep the peace and not hurt/upset her further.

Some time passes. Another post is about Pope Francis supposedly not kneeling enough or not kneeling at the right times during services. I commented with something mild like "let's not be judgy trads; this is an 80-year-old so give him a break."

I get a Messenger text from Mr. Stevens: "Knock off trashing traditionalists."

I've been on this earth over five decades; you don't talk to me that way.

Trashing traditionalists? I sort of am one!

I'd forgotten about Nia, thinking the matter was long resolved. I thought Stevens was rude so - and this is understating it - I blew up at him.

20/20 hindsight. Now I get it.

I'm sorry and let's save the fighting for going after the real bad guys.


  1. I just wanted to go to the TLM, the mass of my youth. I never wanted to get involved with all the agendas, politics, etc. Sure, there were some real important issues embedded in the pre-V2 and post-V2 Catholic experience. I encountered some mild separatist attitudes from time to time in pre-mass or post-mass conversations. I finally stopped going to that mass when someone responded (I am masking the name and any details) to something I said about the 2nd Sunday of Easter also being Divine Mercy Sunday. The reply I received was, "Oh that's in the other Church, not here." To the best of my knowledge I belonged to the "other" Church. I only acknowledge one Catholic Church (regardless of liturgical rite), not separate Churches, so I stopped going there and now I ended up having to tolerate the missa pedestrem except during this COVID-19 pandemic, the only good thing I can see about this damned virus.

    1. The American Catholic community self-destructed in the 1960s and banning the TLM was a hateful part of that autodemolition. The Anglicans at that time weren't that small, in England or America - both kept a thou option, eastward-facing option, etc. The separatist attitude can be annoying and unhealthy, becoming what your enemy accuses you of, but it's understandable given how these people were treated - I got a big belt of it in the '80s, a reason I have no devotion to John Paul II, by the way. Stringing together things various priests called me then, for an unhealthy reactionary who's intolerant, not open to the Spirit, rigid, and using religion as a crutch, I'm actually pretty chill about things that aren't doctrine, as long as you leave my services alone. For many years after Vatican II, in America you weren't allowed to have traditional Catholic services at all, unless you ventured on your own to a Byzantine church. Even high-churching the Novus Ordo would get you harassed. Crazy. And mean. I don't hang out with the separatists but can cut them some slack.

  2. Would you like to have the TLM in the vernacular Serge? I certainly would.

    1. Sure; keep Latin but have a vernacular option.


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