…here is another thing that affects various members of my audience.
I dislike lots of online Traditionalists. Not all Traditionalists. Most of the ones I know in real life are quite lovely people. But the overwhelming number I meet on line, not so much (just yesterday I got the most recent iteration of the umpteenth “You are a neo-catholic servant of the Judas Council, you Jew-loving bastard”) from the friendly ranks of the Urine and Vinegar wing of Traddery in my comboxes. And since *most* of my encounters with Trads happen online and not in real life this has tended to harden me against Trads.
That hardness is, I think, wrong. Particularly when it turns (as it often has in my case) to antagonism and contempt expressed in such a way that the sane and happy Trads in my audience can’t tell if I’m talking about the Urine and Vinegar wing or all Trads. I don’t need to borrow trouble by speaking with unnecessary lovelessness of a group I find it hard to love, particularly since there are members of that group I love dearly. It just makes things worse. I also don’t need to carelessly hurt the feelings of my sane and happy Trad readers by making them confused about who I mean. I will, unfortunately, have to continue to discuss the responses of the Urine and Vinegar wing of Traddery to Pope Francis since that is going to continue to be news, I fear, throughout his pontificate. (A Dominican friend of mine, very sympathetic to Trad concerns and High Liturgy, who likes Pope Francis, was chuckling about the old saying, “As lost as a Jesuit during Holy Week” when it came to the Pope’s approach to liturgy. But as should be the case, he recognized that the Pope’s approach to liturgy signals, not contempt for the Benedictine reforms, but simply a different emphasis in what his pontificate will be about.) I don’t think the pope is hostile to the EF. But I think that, unfortunately, the Urine and Vinegar Wing of Traddery is primed and ready to read anything less than “placing what we care about in the unquestioned #1 position on the agenda” as hostility. Hence the shrieks of horror last week and the ongoing paroxysms of panic in many of those circles that even Fr. Z–a sympathetic as someone can by to Traddery–had to take a firehose to.
I, who for reasons given above could not care less about truckling to that narcissism, am a much less sympathetic ear, and my lack of sympathy has often been expressed with needless contempt that has not distinguished between sane and happy Traditionalists and crazy and angry ones. I think Francis will basically just let what Benedict has done stand without objection but place his emphasis on other issues. Fine by me. Fine by my friend. Fine by many of my Traditionalist readers in the comboxes. Not fine by sites like Rorate Coeli, Fisheaters, Angelqueen, the Remnant, fretters about my Protestant, Jew-loving ways and other conclaves of the Urine and Vinegar wing. So I will try to make the distinction clear between people like my friend and the U&V wing and to pay attention to sane responses to Francis as well.* So again, mea culpa for my failures in this area.
* Please be aware that, as I have pointed out many times, I have no burning interest in liturgy wars. I welcome any Mass Holy Church offers me as a gift from God and don’t believe in looking gift Masses in the mouth. So I have zero interest in fretting about what the Pope’s attitudes to liturgy are and regard almost all of that conflict as mostly harmful to the Church. So if you send me emails panicking about altar servers or some children’s Mass he once celebrated that included puppets or whatnot, you will find me cold and indifferent to your concerns. I am much more interested in the fruits of the Spirit (which I see in abundance in his life, and generally don’t see in the angry and embittered Urine and Vinegar Trads who write to call me a Jew-loving Protestant half-breed) than I am in the aesthetics of liturgy. When online Traddery begins to taste more like people such as Kevin Tierney, Taylor Marshall and such folk and less like what I routinely encounter in my email inbox, I will start to think its concerns are worth my time. But I will at least try to be fair when I do address Trad concerns, though I don’t much share those concerns.