Traditionalist Catholicism and me

I haven’t blogged much about Traditionalist Catholicism – partly because I still feel that it is a tad beyond my competence to discuss the finer theological/liturgical issues at stake, and because of my limited interaction with that particular subculture.

We definitely share some attributes in common: I prefer the Tridentine Mass to the Novus Ordo, I think altar rails are a good thing, and that celebrating the Mass ad orientem makes more theological sense. I don’t have too many issues with Bellarmine’s “perfect society”, and am rather scholastically inclined. It is frankly galling that you need to go out of your way to get some Gregorian Chant and incense in the liturgy (it is my middling hope that my generation will prove itself to have a somewhat less tacky taste in Church music than the baby boomers). In general, I am terribly sympathetic to the sense that there is now just this void where there was once a living Catholic culture, especially since I felt similar things in the past with regard to Judaism. The small things do matter.

On that note, I also sympathize with those people who run away to Eastern Orthodoxy for reasons similar to these – they’re bad reasons for becoming a schismatic, but it is also the case that guitars at Mass constitute a unique kind of spiritual trial.

I have a feeling that the rad trads would just label me as a neo-con Catholic, though. In particular, I don’t feel any desire to sweep Vatican II under the rug. Sure, people used it as an excuse to do dumb things, but people did the same with the Council of Nicaea. It was a fine council (and indeed an ecumenical one, which should theoretically hold some water for you if you happen to be Catholic) that had the misfortune of taking place in the 60s.

Not that I actually even claim to be a capital T Traditionalist or anything.


About Josh W

Scribbler and doodler
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1 Response to Traditionalist Catholicism and me

  1. Francis Philip says:

    The problem here with “Traditionalist” / “SSPX” subcultures is that they are distracted by accidentals and not focused on the essentials. The essentials have nothing to do with the building, the guard rails, whether father is facing East or West, whether there is Gregorian chant or incense or not — all accidentals. The essentials have to do with the faith, hope and love of the People, the Presence of God in the people gathered, in the Gospel, in the Priest in persona Christi, and the Blessed Sacrament and the worship given to God by the priest and those gathered, and the docile obedience of those gathered to Natural and Church Laws. Many are distracted by the desire for the often times “romantic” accidentals, but these accidentals are aids to worship, not essential to worship – not essential for being obedient and contrite in the Presence of God. The Traditionalist attitude (i.e., that of the SSPX) is one of distraction, arrogance, self-righteousness and disobedience. I have no problem with the traditional Latin Rite Mass, but it is not the Novus Ordo which is the primary liturgical form which the Pope and his Magisterium have brought to the Church. Let us all, like good sheep, follow the shepherds who follow the Pope and his Magisterium.

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