Friday, January 17, 2014

Happy trads and the less than sane trads

I think Father Dwight Longenecker hits it out of the park today with his post about traditionalist Catholics:
The reason I love traditionalists is the same reason I love Franciscans or Charismatic Catholics or Jesuits or Missionaries of Charity or Friars of the Renewal or Priests for Life or Benedictines or Legionnaires….and on and on and on. Each of these groups or sub-categories in the church offer the whole church a particular vision and aspect of the whole truth, and members of each group serve the church best by being faithful to Christ within their path. The traditionalists offer us a reminder of the hermeneutic of continuity. They work hard to bring forward the best in our Catholic traditions of spirituality, liturgy, music, art and architecture. They remind us of the call to radical discipleship and the need to love the Lord with our whole heart.

When traditionalists live out their traditional Catholic faith with zeal, joy and love for others they will evangelize and grow the church in a truly authentic and wonderful way, but this can also be said of Catholics in any of the other sub groups. A radiantly authentic Franciscan or Benedictine–a joyful Missionary of Charity, Dominican or Jesuit will do the same. The key thing to remember is that we are following Christ the Lord. He comes first–not our particular sub-set–no matter how beautiful, good and true it happens to be.  [...]

I realize that traditionalists may not appreciate my take on the matter. They may say, “But we are not a sub group of the church. The Latin Mass is the mass of the ages. This is what all Catholics used to do. We’re keeping the true faith! The others are all wrong.” I understand that opinion, but that’s not actually the teaching of the Catholic Church. Like it or not, the second Vatican Council has taken place. Like it or not, by decree or by popular practice, changes have happened. The vernacular Mass is accepted as the Ordinary Form while the Latin Mass is appreciated and valued as the Extraordinary Form. This means that the rituals in Latin are an accepted alternative. I, for one, am glad the Latin rituals are treasured and promoted by traditionalists. They are a gift to the whole church.
In other words, Father likes sane, happy traditionalists who are bringing the gift of a traditional movement to the Church; he doesn't quite see eye-to-eye with the bitter, unhappy Reactionaries who believe that everybody in the Church is wrong except for them (including the popes who have promulgated one particular Mass as the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite).

That's exactly what I think of traditionalism, too.  I think that people who love the E.F. and share that love with the rest of us are great!  I think the people who insist that God loves the E.F. and hates the O.F. (along with everybody from the Pope on down who participates in its celebration) are not quite sane.  And I think most of the happy trads would agree.

Sadly, in Father's comment box a commenter had to rush to give an example of what a "less sane" trad might look like.  I say "sadly," but on further reflection I'm rather glad this young man gave such an illustration.  Otherwise people who have never met a less than sane trad might think they were fictional.  They might also miss the part where the happy trads show up and say (I'm paraphrasing): "Dude.  Less than helpful."  Because the sane and happy trads know that people who start combox-screaming that a priest who is a convert and not really old enough to have been a "Spirit of VII" wreckovator even if he'd been a Catholic his whole life is personally responsible for sledgehammering high altars and ripping out altar rails and STEALING OUR TRADITIONS is not the true face of traditionalism, and it's bad for everybody when these less than sane trads pretend that, why, yes, they are the only trads, or at least the only ones who matter.

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