What Reactionary Does and Doesn’t Mean

It doesn’t mean “Traditionalist”.  “Traditionalist” means Traditionalist, as in “somebody who loves the the forms of piety associated with the Latin rite, particularly as they were lived before the Second Vatican Council”.  One can be a Traditionalist without being a Reactionary and lots of people are: very lovely and wonderful people with a real joie de vivre, a sense of humor, typically large and happy families, and a generosity of spirit that is fetching and attractive.  Those sorts of folk typically love the Church.  The prefer the Tridentine liturgy but love and appreciate those members of the Church who worship in other rites or the Ordinary Form.  The live by the maxim, “In essential things, unity; in doubtful thing, liberty; in all things charity.”

A Reactionary is somebody who often *uses* Traditionalism as a sort of excuse for, well, reaction.  Their principal approach to life is to see the vast majority of the human race, including most Catholics, as enemies of a Church that exists in their imagination and in the past, but not in real life (except in their living room and among a small circle of the faithful online).  Their language is dominated by fear, anger, and contempt for almost the entirety of the actual Church as it really exists.  They loathe the Council.  They loathe the conciliar and post-conciliar popes (except Benedict who gets a pass because of the Motu Proprio, but whose encyclicals are ignored and who is treated as a coward for resigning and handing the papacy over to the accursed Francis).  Jews figure largely as hobgoblins in the Reactionary mind. Protestants are beneath contempt. Most of their fellow Catholics are Kumbayah Catholic wusses who prattle about love and mercy when what is necessary always and at all times is the fury of Jesus against the moneychangers, exposure and denunciation of evil, and perpetual focus on the Trinity of Abortion, Contraception and Homosexuality. Mercy is weakness.  Law is salvation. The bulk of the human race is a mass damnata.  Only perfect Tridentine liturgy can save us.  Talk of “personal relationship with Jesus” is Protestant subjectivism.

If this description does not describe your thinking or behavior, then do not borrow trouble by assuming I am talking about you when I describe Reactionary reactions to things the Pope says or the Church does. “Reactionary” is not a synonym for “Traditionalist” but is rather a sort of parasitic phenomenon on Traditionalism. When I do mention such reactions, do be aware that such people really do exist and that healthy Traditionalists oppose them and aim to marginalize them, not deny that they exist, or  wallow in self-pity when their existence is noted and opposed by those who prefer the OF.  That’s because they recognize that the greatest enemies healthy Traditionalists and lovers of the EF face is not some shadowy liberal conspiracy against them, but the incredibly ugly face Reactionaries present the world in the name of Traditionalism.  Support healthy Traditionalism: Oppose Reactionary Thinking.

  • Stu

    I guess for every “reactionary” then there is a “neo-catholic.”

    Mr. Carter: “Reason? Of course I know the reason I’m shooting at him – ‘cause he’s a Wakefield.”
    Andy: “What does that mean to you?”
    Mr. Carter: “It means I gotta shoot at him.”
    Andy: “Why do you have to shoot at him?”
    Mr. Carter: “’Cause he’s a Wakefield.”
    Andy: “Why do you have to shoot at the Wakefields?”
    Mr. Carter: “’Cause we’re feuding.”
    Andy: “Why are you feuding?”
    Mr. Carter: “’Cause he’s a Wakefield.”
    Andy: “I don’t believe you’re understanding me. Let’s start all over again… I
    wanna know why you’re feuding with the Wakefields.”
    Mr. Carter: “Oooohhhh! “Cause we’re shooting at each other.”
    Andy: “Why are you shooting at each other?”
    Mr. Carter: “’Cause he’s a Wakefield.”

    • chezami

      Your ongoing attempt to pretend that Reactionaries do not exist are undercut by the fact that Reactionary weirdos show up with so such frequency to ask if I am a crypto-Jew, denounce me as a “Nancy Pelosi Catholic” and shriek that the Pope is a heretic. Instead of plugging your ears and pretending such people don’t exist, or doing stupid tu quoques like shouting “neo-Catholic” why not just oppose such stupid thinking?

      • Stu

        Where have I said that extreme viewpoints don’t exist?

        I do oppose such thinking and would love to weigh in on discussing those bad ideas. But I don’t get into tribalism whether people are shouting “reactionary” or “neo-Catholic.” It’s just silly talk.

        But do keep shooting.

        • Dave P.

          And it shouldn’t be tribalism. The Church has always had “different strokes for different folks” – how to participate at Mass, devotions, spiritualities, etc. The problem is when one approach is touted as the only valid way.
          I don’t think the Rad Trads have gone to the same degree as the Spiritual Franciscans, but sometimes…

      • Beefy Levinson

        Reactionaries definitely exist. I think Stu and many of your other readers, me included, are just baffled that you spend so much time and energy denouncing them. Heck, you’ve publicly apologized once already for exploding with rage over this issue. Trads of any stripe are a tiny minority in the Church. The Church always has its share of problems, but right-wing cranks who say offensive things on the internet is pretty low on the list of pressing issues.

        • chezami

          Not hard to grasp. The Pope gave a beautiful interview that every Catholic could profit from reading the *bulk* of the commentary has either been from NY Times media or from Reactionaries, both agreeing that the Pope has overturned the Tradition of the Church, while very little has been from Catholic appreciating, learning from, and absorbing what he’s saying. As long as Conservative Catholic discourse is dominated by Reactionaries having hysterics about the Pope whenever he says something they don’t understand or agree with, it will be necessary to point out that Reactionaries are not the Magisterium of St. Blog’s.

          • Michael

            Whoa, now. At what point did ‘St. Blog’s’ – an ill-defined collective to begin with – obtain a magisterium to which anyone ought to pay attention anyway? I’m on board that the folks wailing about the end of Catholicism as they define it are in the wrong, but I’m not so sure that ‘St. Blog’s’ has a monopoly on interpretation.

            • Stu

              I’ve never even heard of “St Blogs.” But apparently they are wise and all powerful like Oz…or something.

              • Stu

                Okay, i have checked them out. Look’s like a competitor to Patheos. SSDB.

                • Rosemarie

                  +J.M.J+

                  Actually, “St Blogs” was an early moniker for the Catholic blogosphere. It’s basically the sum total of Catholic blogs out there. The blog host “stblogs.org” took its name from that.

                  • Stu

                    Noted. Still haven’t heard of it. Just goes to show that relative un-importance of such things.

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      I haven’t heard the term used as much as when I first began reading Catholic blogs back in 2002. IIRC the full term was “St. Blog’s Parish,” or St. Blogs for short. The idea was that Catholic bloggers formed a kind of imaginary, virtual “parish” in the blogosphere.

                      I don’t know whether it’s important or unimportant. It’s just something that we “old-timers” in the Catholic blogosphere would remember, I guess.

                    • Stu

                      Good to know. Always happy to have some history.

                      That being said, I think their collective impact is overstated by some in the present day and age.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    Yes. This. A thousand times, this.

  • Dave P.

    I’ve posted on other blogs on what defines a RadTrad/Reactionary. With our gracious host’s permission, I’ll repost it here. I will also reiterate that not every Rad/Trad has all these tendencies at once (although I’ve known a few).

    1) A bunker/fortress/ghetto/Dwarves-in-the-stable mindset.

    2) A tendency to put small-t traditions (customs or disciplines) on the same level as Big-T Tradition (paradosis).

    3) A tendency to limit that scope of Tradition/traditions to the last 150 years, or even to what was done in a typical Catholic parish in 1955.

    4) Attempts to turn subjective tastes into objective “fact”, contending that some things are more “authentically Trad”
    than others. Examples: fiddleback vs. Gothic vestments, chapel veils vs. hats or scarves, lace vs. no lace, “traditional” kitschy art vs. any modern art (no matter how well crafted), Missa Rectitata vs. Silent Low Mass..

    5) Putting private apparitions and revelations on a par with the Deposit of Faith. Examples: The Mystical City of God by Maria de Agreda, the apparitions at Fatima and LaSalette.

    6) A dismissal of any good thing happening as a bagatelle at the least, and at worst, more proof that the Church is going downhill.

    7) Nothing is ever good enough. If something good happens, there must be some sinister ulterior motive as to why, And, if aimed at them, treated as insufficient.

    8) More disgust with the Ordinary Form done reverently and with Latin and chant than with a liturgy with clowns, dancers, and a thrash-metal praise band. To them, the Mass as celebrated at EWTN, St. Agnes in the Twin Cities, and St. John Cantius in Chicago is like putting lipstick on a pig.

    9) An unhealthy obsession with the whole “fewness of the saved” thing.

    10) Feeneyism (a small but vocal and influential faction).

    11) Anti-Semitism.

    There are more, but I’ll stop here for want of space and time.

    • Stu

      The problem with these definitions is that you can find differing viewpoints all over. So who has the final say? And further, why should we care? The debate has become who is and who is not in which tribe or what constitutes a tribe. It’s like the Catholic Blogosphere goes back to Middle School.

      How about we avoid the tribalism and trying to label everyone and just discuss bad ideas? Absent such, I find it hard to have sympathy for a guy who shrieks at being called neo-Catholic when he essentially does the same in reverse. And vice-versa.

      • chezami

        I have the final say because this is my blog and I know what I mean by “Reactionary”. Such people exist, your denials notwithstanding.

        • Stu

          I didn’t deny anything. That’s your mischaracterization and really side-steps the point.

          And I am confident that when people call others “neo-Catholics” they know what they mean too. Perhaps one day we can all see beyond our “blogs” and rise above it.

        • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

          It isn’t that we deny they exist Mark. You know Stu fights them. To insert myself into this convo, you said I was one of the sane trads putting up the good fight. (I also happen to do a lot of that side by side Stu.)
          The big problem with your langauge is it acts like these kind of traits exist only in certain circles. All of the things you describe exist within all circles of Catholicism. You really think it’s just “reactionaries”, “radtrads” or whatever the cute lingo of the day is who have for anti-evangelization fortress mentality? Of course not. The solution to ridding the anti-evangelization culture within trad circles is the same in “conservative” circles, the same in “charismatic circles” and whatever other freakin circle someone wants to invent.
          So lets fight the bad in all elements, not just in the camps we don’t like. That’s all we loyal faithful trads want. You keep asking “well how are those good trads going to be protected from being associated with the bad apples?”
          Here’s an idea: Just call people wrong, and let the good ones come forth who have things that stand on their own merits. This isn’t 1988 anymore. We can stand on our two feet within the Church alongside everyone else.

          • ivan_the_mad

            ” You know Stu fights them.” Does he? It would gladden my heart to see proof of this. Here in the comboxes we’ve had no shortage of people asserting the objective doctrinal inferiority of the OF, rupture since VII, and the dubious authority of the Magisterium post-VII, but I’ve not seen Stu reply to such. I have seen an excessive amount of effort spent berating Mark for his terminology, which has led in part to this post.

            • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

              Sure, in regards to the specific issue of Anti-Semitism

              http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/2013/04/anti-semitism-and-chance-for-unity.html

              That was written by “Stu” at my request. I frequently talk with “Stu” about how to properly oppose those things when I write my regular Catholic Lane column mostly focused on the best of traditionalism. I don’t really check comboxes here, so I can’t confirm or deny what he does in the comboxes.

              • ivan_the_mad

                Ah, certainly laudable, although I was thinking more pertinent to Mark’s post and the comboxes herein (since the discussion concerns Mark’s blog and I honestly check almost no other comboxes on the web). His effort here is far and away spent on Mark’s terminology and focus on repudiating such. Perhaps it is merely frustration on my part that he thinks that more worthy of his efforts than the issues I’ve noted above, and certainly he would be a worthy defender against such. We do, after all, have here something of a paucity of people running down the EF as doctrinally inferior, pre-VII as suspect, etc.

                • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

                  Its called Mark likes trolling them and they like trolling Mark.
                  If he said tomorrow “If you state the Council is heretical or x stupid idea, that’s it, you be banned” and followed through, you’d never see them here.

                  Why? Because the internet comboxers are typically a small group of people who really don’t have much of a voice in their actual parish. In regards to anti-semitism, they are even more marginalized. They whine online about how “even the SSPX” don’t allow them in their parishes.

                  Even when they are in your regular parish, the internet tough guys suddenly aren’t that tough. I have one at my parish. real tough guy online about the “ambiguities” , the new mass is evil, etc. Yet when surrounded by people in the flesh, he suddenly doesn’t say much.

                  Almost all internet tough guys are like that.

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    While I do not disagree regarding anti-Semitism specifically, I do regarding those who assert the OF inferior, VII suspect, etc. There is a very good reason why, given that my druthers is for the EF, I do not attend the parish oriented towards the EF but instead the OF parish nearly equidistant. It is because, as much as I have seen herein asserted that these people are a vocal minority online but almost absent from actual parishes, my sad personal experience has given the lie to that last.

                    • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

                      And that is regrettable that your personal experience has been otherwise. I can only speak for the way things work where I am in the Detroit area. I’d say the kind of people who are problematic are at most 5% of the attendants. Even fewer of that 5% are going to stand their ground in an actual discussion on it.

                      I know things are different elsewhere. Or maybe they aren’t, but when a small minority makes enough noise, that can cause serious problems. But here, we’ve got good priests, and for the most part a culture that has always encouraged work between those who love a reverently done OF and the EF.

                      Things were pretty dark in this diocese for a long time liturgically, so alliances were made wherever you could find them. And since the motu proprio we’ve had some really creative Catholics on good terms with the powers that be, and they’ve seen up front that we are relatively normal Catholics, we just tend to be younger and with bigger families on average. :)

                      So I can only express regret and let you know that, just as in every parish, Catholics need to be more welcoming to the “outsider” from their cliques. What good is the Latin mass if it is only the playtoy of the so-called enlightened?
                      And I can also testify fairly strongly (based on private conversations and a bit of recon) of people who are in Stu’s area, and that environment is a lot better than the regrettable one you’ve had. So we are doing work, we still got a long way to go, but whenever you wanna do that work together, we are always looking for a few more hands.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      Thank you, Kevin. I look forward to the day when the two forms of the one rite of the Mass are neither more nor less than that to all involved.

                • Stu

                  You are darn right it is spent on Mark’s terminology, because it is counter to his cause. It muddies the water, causes collateral damage and causes him to lose focus.

                  Counter the clarity and focus of his books, which are great, with his blog. The idea should be to bring the book writer to the blog where his strengths can be used effectively. Name-calling and tribalization sub-optimizes his contribution.

                  So my effort is maximize him and his message. All part of the same effort.

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    “You are darn right it is spent on Mark’s terminology, because it is counter to his cause. It muddies the water, causes collateral damage and causes him to lose focus. ”

                    I must disagree. I have a strong affection for and devotion to the EF, and I think Mark has been quite clear in his target: people who assert things contrary to the teaching of the Church or indulge in racism and try to cloak themselves in the mantle of Tradition or a more authentic Catholicism.

                    • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

                      And I don’t think Stu denies such people exist. really, why is it always whenever we say “we agree with you this is a problem, but you are going about it in the totally wrong way”, again, we are suddenly denying the problem exists at all?

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      I did not assert that. I asserted that I thought Mark clear in his target.

                    • Stu

                      My criticisms have nothing to do with the EF. They are about Mark’s attempt to communicate.

                      I was once in a room of several men discussing Father Corapi and some other issue that Mark has brought up in the past. Everyone present held the same viewpoint as Mark in both instances. At some point, one of my associated remarked, “Hey this reminds me of that guy whose blog you recommended.” (Meaning Mark). I nodded in affirmation and then he went on to talk about how Mark seemed to be kind of negative person. Another gent piped up and remarked how Mark is right about a lot of stuff but he has a “terrible Internet” personality. I shared this with Mark because that is unsolicited feedback from his potential customer base. His reply was that they probably said that because they probably disagreed with him on something or another. Really? After I talked how they agreed with him on the issues we were discussing.

                      Like it or not, tone matters just as much (if not more) than content and Mark is hitting more people with his blunderbuss than just those who snipe at him.

            • Stu

              I didn’t realize you hung in all my circles.

              But to rest your concerns. I actually operate a fairly large Catholic forum online. It’s not a “traditional” forum and while you might have seen it (or even be a member and you don’t know I operate it) it’s not “fish eaters” or “angel queen” or anything like that. It’s simply aimed at all Catholics.

              One of my standing rules for anyone who joins is that anti-semitism will not be tolerated. I just ban them immediately on the rare occasion it happens.

              As to “berating Mark”, I do that because he can do better. While I am a fan of his, I am not one of his fanboys who will agree with everything he says or does simply because he runs a blog. I give him sound advice on actually delivering his message better. So consider my attention to him similar to his crusade to challenge those he considers in his tribe (conservatives).

              As to discussion about the rupture of authority or doctrinal inferiority of the OF or other such things, I don’t usually comment on points that I don’t take seriously or if others are doing a good job of addressing them. But, indeed I would welcome a more in depth discussion of such things if we could get past the “they are effing, dickish, bed-wetting wussies” and “we are spot on with the Church” tribal chants and move onto discussion of ideas and which ones are sound.

              • ivan_the_mad

                I do not hang out in all your circles, which is why I indicated these comboxes specifically. And no, it is not at all likely I am a member of your forum, unless it’s the Patheos Catholic channel.

                I certainly disagree regarding your priorities, and I suspect we won’t find common ground therein anytime soon. As we established before I find it hard to take them seriously. I think the gravity of spurious assertions regarding the Mass and Magisterium far outweigh concerns of terminology and focus.

                • Stu

                  When the method undermines the goals, you won’t make headway.

                  • chezami

                    I made plenty of headway. I sent the clear message to all Reactionaries like that jerk that they were not welcome and would be made an example of if they indulged in Jew-hating nuttery on my blog. I also was understood by virtually ever comboxer that this was stuff worth mocking and deriding, not excusing or denying as non-existent.

                    • Stu

                      Yeah, I’m sure that guy or others like him who already don’t care for you are really sad now. And I bet all of your regular comboxers needed the clarification after countless posts on this already.

                      Or alternatively you just responded to their form of “rhetorical terrorism” in a manner that just reaffirms their beliefs of you and serves as the picture they paint of you.

                      The guy was a nut. Should have just deleted him and moved on.

                    • chezami

                      I don’t care if he’s sad. I care if he’s embarrassed and ashamed to come back here and that others like him stay away.

                    • Stu

                      I was being facetious. He doesn’t care what you think. In fact, you taking the time to showcase his post like you did probably made his day and only sends the signal to others to “push your buttons”.

                      If you really want them to stay away, simply delete such nonsense with no fanfare. I can assure you from practice it works wonders. In fact, Rorate Caeli stopped me from attempting to post there with such a practice. Why invest time if your posts are just going to get deleted?

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    I think you should heed that every bit as much as you think Mark should, because your method really does come across as a very dead and bruised horse.

                    • Stu

                      Understood. But honestly, just as you don’t take my opinion on this seriously, turnabout is fair play.

                      Good day.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      I expected no less. But as you have evidenced, this is no reason to cease the criticism.

                    • Stu

                      Keep it coming.

      • Dave P.

        It’s not a question of differing viewpoints, but distorted perceptions – turning what should be a viewpoint into Immutable Dogma. It’s taking a few small things and turning them into Big Things.

        I’ll give an example. Have you ever read the Trad discussions about head coverings for women? Most prefer chapel veils/mantillas, which is a more recent development (I believe it was popularized by Jackie Kennedy). Most reasonable people recognize that this is a preference. A hat or scarf is just as good to fulfill that particular discipline. But a few of come up with a “Theology of the Chapel Veil”, and why it is better/more Catholic than a mere hat or scarf. Ask Erin Manning about it sometime.

        That’s what I mean (in part) by a mindset.

        • Dave P.

          I should also note that the tendencies I listed come in degrees and shades, and not every Rad Trad is infected with all of these traits. But I’ve been around the Traditionalist movement in person as well as online. I’ve met and known individuals (my own cousin among them) who have those traits. I, too, would rather have a “mere Catholicism”, or the acknowledgement that the Church has many different ways of achieving the same goal (salvation) without labelling a particular path as being superior or inferior, but there are those who refuse to do that (and not just RadTrads, either).

          • Stu

            When I say differing “viewpoints”, I meant that there are multiple “definitive” lists out there on what does and what does not constitute a “radtrad/reactionary.” Who has the final say? On this blog, it’s Mark. On another blog, it’s that guy. Still some other blogger says it this.

            Who needs such nonsense and why is the tribalization so important?

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          That’s interesting about chapel veils. My Mom told me once that, before the 1960s, mantillas were worn only by Latinas. White women wore hats to church (of course they also wore hats in public in general) until Jackie Kennedy popularized the beehive hairdo which pretty much ended hat-wearing for women.

          So Mom was a little surprised when I started attending a local Indult Mass wearing a mantilla, since that wasn’t what she had done back in the day. It’s interesting to hear now that some people have given the mantilla an exalted, theological meaning that it apparently didn’t have in the pre-conciliar days. All in the name of bringing back the liturgy and disciplines of that time, too! Were Mom still alive she would probably think that was silly, and she was brought up before VII.

          (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing mantillas. I think they’re lovely and would still wear one the next time I attend an EF Mass. I just don’t see why a hat or scarf would be inferior to a chapel veil. It covers the head and was perfectly acceptable back then.)

          • Dan C

            Italian women even in the OF duringg the 1970′s wore mantillas out our way.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              My mother was second generation Italian American but very Americanized. She was talking mostly about the 1940s and 50s, I think, when women still wore hats in public. Jackie Kennedy did popularize the chapel veil in the early 60s, so maybe the women you saw were still imitating her.

              EDIT: The point is that the wide use of the chapel veil/mantilla was a late fashion, popularized by the First Lady only a few years before most American women ditched the head coverings in Church anyway. Yet some today act like the lacy chapel veil is an age-old Catholic tradition with deep theological meaning, connected to the tabernacle veil and the humeral veil. Actually, women’s head coverings have differed greatly over the centuries, sometimes veils, sometimes hats of various shapes, even the cornette was popular in the sixteenth century.

      • chezami

        Of course I can find differing viewpoints all over. But there is, nonetheless, a universe of discourse in only one subculture of the Church where anybody would even be crazy enough to say that making a joke about people who believe in the International Jewish Conspiracy is “baiting”. Quit while you are behind.

        • Stu

          I think you are clearly the one who is behind given the repeated attempted to link me to anti-semitism.

          Address my points directly. No need to insult or malign me.

        • Michael

          I agree that casting the situation as “baiting” was a little off the mark (no pun intended!) But, at the same time, it’s a little disingenuous to twirl yourself into a fit over the horse excrement you knew the crazies would throw at you before you hit “post.”

          (Just a clarification – yes, anti-Semitism and frothing denunciations of a Jewish conspiracy are utter insanity. The problem is expressing any amount of surprise when people you _know_ are going to say crap like that actually do so).

          • Stu

            Michael,

            I have to admit, you characterized that better than I did. Thanks for the example.

            • Michael

              Stu,

              To me, “baiting” implies that whoever is being baiting might have some modicum of validity to what they’re saying. I would hope that most people around here would agree that there is _no_ validity to the suggestion that there is a Jewish conspiracy afoot! (I know you’d agree, too)

              • Stu

                I meant “baiting” in that I thought Mark wanted to stir up more controversy and used a mocking headline to attract crazies.

          • chezami

            I had no idea some Reactionary nutjob was going to take that little joke as an ocassion to ask me about my crypto-Judaism. I was genuinely surprised to get that ugly and stupid comment. The reason I posted it was very simple: to make a public example of him and issue a warning to others of his kind that such stuff will not be tolerated here. The *sensible* response to that would have been to laugh that nonsense to scorn and then forget it. The crazy response is to call it “baiting” since, as you note, that implies that he has something valid to say and I was trying to catch him out and twist his words. I had, I swear, no such intention. My purpose was to link to a story of heroism while making fun of bigotry in a way that I thought all normal people would enjoy. Nobody was more surprised than me that a Reactionary lunatic chose to take it as an occasion to indulge in Reactionary Jew-hatred.

            • Stu

              You were really surprised? The guy who claims that such nutjobs always come to his commbox? Really?

              And at this point, with all of your post about anti-semitism, you needed warn others. Really?

            • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

              Wait, when did E. Michael Jones start attending the Extraordinary Form?

              • chezami

                Note that you are assuming Trads and Reactionaries are identical. I’m not, though I am noting the obvious fact that Reactionaries are typically Trads.

            • Michael

              Mark,

              Duly noted. I wasn’t surprised when an anti-Semite wiggled out of the woodwork, but I projected that lack of surprise onto your intentions . I suppose I just prefer the ignore the crazies and avoid enhancing their martyr mentality (but then again it’s your blog, brother).

    • Beefy Levinson

      I keep hearing how the “bunker/ghetto mindset” of the pre-Vatican II Church was such a terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad thing. And yet – here in the United States anyway – the Church had enormously more cultural influence back when it supposedly kept to itself and only spoke to the world in order to hurl thunderous anathemas from on high. More people went to Mass every Sunday, there were more religious and priestly vocations, marriage annulments were so rare as to be almost unheard of… today not so much.

      Granted, correlation does not prove causation. But it does wave its arms and yell “Hey, look over here!”

      • chezami

        Your argument is Post hoc ergo propter hoc. The cultural shift in the US happened after the Council, therefore the Council caused it.

        It is also: Screw evangelization! It’s safer in the bunker! Which is my point about Reactionary hostility to evangelization.

        • Stu

          Mark,

          Who put the traditionalist in the “bunkers” to begin with? That was the common practice of many a dioceses prior to Pope Benedict affirming that the Old Mass was never abrogated. Now you want to criticize those who were culturally conditioned to stay out the way and not make a noise lest the Bishop take away your priest.

          You can’t have it both ways.

          • Dave P.

            Stu:

            A good number of Trads choose to stay in the bunker. That’s why I included the dwarves-in-the-stable allusion from The Last Battle. I understand why they feel that way. But some are so afraid to be taken in again that they will not allow themselves to be taken out.

            • Stu

              Indeed. But it has only been a short six years since the Motu Proprio. It will take time. I have evidence of it at my parish. But I also know there are still dioceses out there with Bishops who will take action against priests who show an interest in the EF. It’s not all back to normal yet for a so-called traditionalist.

              Now, do they need to get over it? Sure. But to those who want to finger wag at all traditionalists because of a few extremists who hurt their feeling online, you aren’t helping (if that is their goal).

            • Stu

              Indeed. But it has only been a short six years since the Motu Proprio. It will take time. I have evidence of it at my parish. But I also know there are still dioceses out there with Bishops who will take action against priests who show an interest in the EF. It’s not all back to normal yet for a so-called traditionalist.

              Now, do they need to get over it? Sure. But to those who want to finger wag at all traditionalists because of a few extremists who hurt their feeling online, you aren’t helping (if that is your goal).

        • Beefy Levinson

          I specifically said, “Correlation does not prove causation.” Nowhere did I say “Screw evangelization.” Check your emotions before replying.

      • Dave P.

        I didn’t say Catholics were in the bunker before V2. We weren’t. I said that modern RadTrads tend to have put themselves in the bunker. I understand why they have done so, but if left unchecked, it turns into an “us vs. them”/”the Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs” mindset.

      • Dan C

        If we use divorce as a marker, we find the “greatest generation” Catholics pioneering divorce in large numbers a decade before the council. Before the dreader vernacular Mass. The process of societal change, wrote by American and Catholic immersion and indulgence in total war over two world wars, and then the trauma of the Depression, raised, not a greates generation, but very very damaged adults who parented the baby boomers. American Catholics, led by Spellman, loved their wars and weapons and military-industrial complex and their racism. It is no shock that Catholcism as it was known then, died.

        • Beefy Levinson

          Give me a blustering bully like Spellman over a scheming pervert like Weakland any day.

          • Dan C

            Perhaps Francis Spellman isn’t exactly the counter-punch you would wish to choose against Rembart Weakland. You would want a pre-NYC John O’Conner. Or a Bevilacqua.

          • chezami

            Um, you aren’t really up on Spellman, are you?

    • Rachel

      This is a fairly good list. I put a few myself in my post above and yes, I’ve encountered these things. I am concerned about this issue. The Church had alot of problems during the 50′s as well and not everything after Vatican II is bad. Some of the publications are very problematic and espouse views that are abhorrent to many people today. I’m thinking in particular some publications from Catholic treasures: http://www.catholictreasures.com/cartdescrip/catalogue.php that are laden with conspiracy theories and other stuff about Vatican II. There is this site that clearly has a Novus Ordo Mass is invalid bent: http://www.maeta.com/. I came across another site some time ago but I can’t remember the name of it. That one had several books that were clearly antisemetic including Fr. Coughlin’s talks. So, as with anything else, one must be careful what they read and look for and just because something was published 70 years ago, doesn’t mean its any good.

      • Rachel

        There is also Tan books. I like Tan books generally but they are the ones who publish all those books on freemasonry. The masonry issue can tend to devolve into an antisemitic discussion. Some of these books may go in that direction: https://tanbooks.benedictpress.com/index.php/Modern-Errors. I know that in one book which was actually about how Christ said the first mass, again it was written in the late 19th/early 20th century, had in the middle of the book an entire section on race theory which given the context of the time period is sadly understandable but such theories have long since been debunked. The same is true for the books on evolution and current science in general. It breeds and anti-intellectual atmosphere. Then there is this site: http://miqcenter.com/shop/books/the-church-doctrine-modern-errors and worse yet, this one: http://www.carmel-books.org/books-church-crisis-world-crisis-c-1_16.html the first book listed is another conspiracy book. Granted, this site has the usual traditional devotional books, etc..ie. the sort you get from Tan but notice also the crazy stuff mixed in.

  • Michael

    I dunno. Seems simpler, and less sweeping, to avoid Capital Letter Categories altogether and call out instances of stupid buffoonery when that sort of sinful behavior rears its ugly head under the guise of more-faithful-than-you piety.

  • Whimsy

    From mclintock

    DRAGO
    Boss, what’s “reactionary” mean?
    MCLINTOCK
    I guess he says that anyone who sells at a profit is a reactionary

    In response to his daughter’s dorky friend.

  • Alma Peregrina

    I don’t pretend to inflame this post even more… But I too have had some serious issues with RadTrads (the same ones that you describe, Mark). They do exist and they must be denounced in a way that doesn’t hinge on decent Traditionalists. In fact, by making the differentiation you are helping people like Stu, that otherwise would be seen as one of these fanatics.

    But I don’t think that Reactionary is the best description for them… Rather, I tend to think of them as Neo-donatists. Think about it… They DO have all the characteristics the donatist had. They want a “pure” church, which incidentally is equal to them, they want to excomunicate everyone who is not pure, they think themselves better than the pope!

    Yup. Neo-donatists.

    • Stu

      “…Stu, that otherwise would be seen as one of these fanatics.”

      HA!

      • Alma Peregrina

        @Stu: I do like you a lot, but for better or worse those guys are the Internet face of Traditionalism. They do exist. And less informed people will see good traditionalists like yourself as one of “them”. They don’t have sufficient information and context to know the difference.

        A distinctive name should be applied if we want to show that there is Traditionalist and there is “Traditionalist”.

        • Stu

          I disagree because there is no means to have a definitive distinctive name. Thus we begin to debate on what constitutes the specific group and who is “in” and who is “out” all while the actual ideas are secondary.

          And sure they exist. I’ve met a few in my lifetime but I have met far more wacky people at my Novus Ordo parishes over the years by far. Yet, I don’t feel the need to fixate on these extremes because that is what they are.

          But let’s also look at this another more practical way. What are we trying to achieve? Does giving a platform to these extreme viewpoint do any good? Does responding in kind to them in the commboxes do any good? Let’s suppose that these few people are indeed a raging problem in the so-called traditionalist sub-culture. Does it help me in dealing with them when I have over my should people like Mark who use little or loose discrimination in firing back on these people? With all of the varying definition of “reactionary”, “traditionalist”, “radtrad”, “madtrad”, etc. out there you are absolutely certain that any shot directed at them will undeniably hit people you didn’t intend to hit. People see Mark make a statement about loathing traditionalism and they are left wondering, “is he talking about me?” That’s what I mean when I say that Mark goes after snipers in a crowd with blunderbuss. Not only is he doing collateral damage, but he makes it difficult for those, like me, who he believe should be going after this Internet menace.

          Well his “help” isn’t helping. In fact, it makes matters worse. It stirs ups the crowd and just causes more firefights. From someone who is really an ally in this, my advice to him is to ignore these people and don’t feed them. Avoid discussing groups and just address their bad ideas. No need to personalize the effort. Just make it about ideas.

          • Rachel

            I understand your reaction to Mark’s post and I agree that giving some of these reactionaries less publicity, the better. However, there is the danger that allowing them to go unchallenged does give the perception (true or not) that trads believe the same things they do. I’ve come across the antisemitism, the cloaked or out right racism/sexist views on women’s roles, constant complaints about the bishops/pope, etc. It is a problem. I love the EF mass/devotions. So does my husband but there is a definite problem with some, NOT ALL, but some people who also attend the EF exclusively. They do tend to be the loudest voices and what louder place can they promulgate their views than on the internet? Some of the traditional publications are problematic. Not everything that was published pre-Vatican II is good and not everything published post-Vatican II is bad. I want to see more bridges between groups. Afterall, we are Catholics and its sad to see so much infighting when there is a painful world that needs our help. We could use a lot more love :).

            • Stu

              Challenge their ideas, not them personally.

              • Rachel

                :), I should have been clearer. I definitely meant that their ideas need to be challenged, not their persons.

                • Stu

                  We completely agree.

            • Marthe Lépine

              I fully agree.

          • Alma Peregrina

            You’re right to some degree… but those guys aren’t restricted to Mark’s blog. They are spread through the Internet. They are unavoidable. They will sniff out any Catholicism post on the Internet and shoot at every direction. Sadly, they will not stop at progressives. One has called an anathema over my head (I guess he/she is no bishop, but oh well). I’ve been called a papolatrist for defending Francis. They will attack orthodox catholics that do not share their views on liturgy, ecumenism or social justice.

            Those same orthodox catholics read Mark’s blog. They must know that they are good catholics in good standing or the spiritual consequences for them may be unpredictable. Someone must point: “This is not the face of Catholicism. In fact, this is not even the face of Traditionalist Catholicism”.

            They are certainly quite visible… They may be a minority, but they do yell loudly like a crowd. You can’t hide them, because they don’t want to be hidden.

            But maybe a simple answer to this problem is not possible…

        • Stu

          BTW, I did want to add that my response above was really one of enjoyment. I know you did not mean anything ill in that remark (quite the contrary actually) but it just made me laugh. :)

          I should add that no matter what, people are going to confuse such things regardless of labels. Even in my own diocese, I have been called a schismatic for attending an FSSP parish that of course in communion with our Bishop. No worries on that but changing labels won’t make that sort of thing go away. That’s why I really believe focusing on ideas is so important.

    • Dave P.

      I believe you mean “neo-Donatists”. Docetists were the ones who believed that Jesus only seemed to have a human body, and pretended to die on the Cross.

      Other than that, I understand what you mean.

      • Alma Peregrina

        Yup. That’s what I meant. Sorry :P

        I’m gonna edit now.

    • Marthe Lépine

      From an outsider… how about schismatic? It seems to me that agressively holding on to some notions of what the Church was before Vatican II and refusing to accept changes even if they are perfectly justifiable and allowed by our “shepherds” e.g. the Pope and our bishops, and being disdainful of all other Catholics who do not see things their way (and that is not an exhaustive list, just a series of example) have some tendencies towards isolating themselves in their own little dungeons, therefore, in the end, to separating themselves from most of the rest of the Body of Christ, is getting on a slippery slope towards Protestantism… People are allowed to have their own preferences, but should not look down on all others who happen to have other preferences, or priorities, etc.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        “Schismatic” would perhaps work for sedevacantists, but not for those who intend to remain in union with the pope.

        • Marthe Lépine

          Maybe be how can you be often criticizing the bishops and the Pope and refuse to accept perfectly acceptable changes brought up or confirmed through Vatican II, a valid oecumenical council, without at least risking a few steps on the slippery slope leading to Schismatic? To remain in union with the Pope, it seems to me that one has to be willing to accept the authority of such Pope.

          • Rosemarie

            +J.M.J+

            Yes, the stance of many radical Reactionaries always struck me as a kind of cognitive dissonance, so I see where you are coming from. Nonetheless, I’m reluctant to declare a fellow Catholic to be no longer a Catholic unless I know for sure that he is in schism.

  • Chris Ferrara

    Mark, Mark, MARK,

    So now your argument is that Reactionary does not mean Traditionalist — except when it means Traditionalist. And now you introduce an entirely new term: the Healthy Traditionalist, which seems to mean any Traditionalist who agrees with Mark Shea but likes Latin. But then, Mark, that leaves us with the Unhealthy Traditionalist, doesn’t it? So you are right back to bashing traditionalists again.

    Why don’t you stop this Virginia reel and simply admit that, just like your neo-Catholic brethren (see definition below), you are still engaged in the business of attempting to marginalize tradition-minded Catholics who are critical of the disastrous innovation of the Church since Vatican II and simply refuse to partake in it, as is their right.

    Chris Ferrara

    Neo-Catholic: A Catholic who defends the post-conciliar innovations of the Church and, while orthodox, practices a new mode of Catholicism whose novel features (including, e.g., inter-religious prayer meetings, a new rite of Mass entirely in the vernacular, communion in the hand, and altar girls) would have been condemned and forbidden by the Popes before Vatican II. The emergence of this new constituency in the Church has given rise to the term “traditionalist,” which connotes Catholics who have prescinded from the post-conciliar novelties, none of which the Catholic faithful are required to adopt.

    • Michael

      I’m confident than when each of us approaches Christ in the final reckoning, He will have added an extensive list of Categories of Catholics Defined on Blogs to the goats and the sheep. I sure hope whichever label applied to me by the Internet gets me through the Pearly Gates.

    • chezami

      Yeah. I know. You’re the better and superior Catholic. Got it. And though it’s not super-complicated (Not all Trads are Reactionaries but pretty much all Reactionaries are use Traditionalism as their fig leaf for contempt for the Church), I am aware of the “neo-Catholic” swear word and it’s rather malleable meaning: http://www.mark-shea.com/isotsaenc.html‎

      I’m also aware that paradox of the Reactionary is that nobody is more “neo-Catholic” than he: http://www.mark-shea.com/tpotnct.html

    • Athelstane

      Hello Chris,

      …practices a new mode of Catholicism whose novel features (including, e.g., inter-religious prayer meetings, a new rite of Mass entirely in the vernacular, communion in the hand, and altar girls) would have been condemned and forbidden by the Popes before Vatican II

      This is perhaps a niggle, but I think it’s worth pointing out that Pope Pius XII showed an openness to at least a couple of the notable reforms we associate with the N.O., including (limited) use of the vernacular (i.e., approval of different languages in the administration of the sacraments and sacramentals, and approving a number of bi-lingual rituals prepared for this purpose, such as those for France (1947), Germany (1950), and the United States of America (1954)); approval of evening Masses; weakening of the fast rule; and, as Dr. Shaw has recently noted, a theoretical opening to celebration versus populum altars in his 1956 Assisi Allocution.

      I don’t want to press this too hard; I cannot imagine Pius XII approving the 1970 Missal as it stands, let alone most of the innovations which have since accompanied it. But I would suggest that Pius XII is more of a bridge figure than we traditionalists like to think; and he certainly gave us the key personnel who made it all possible in 1964-1970: his protege, Giovanni Montini, and the roles he gave to Annibale Bugnini in some of the Pian liturgical reforms.

      In saying all of this, I recognize what recognition of this would mean for many traditionalists: a lowering of Pius XII in their esteem, rather than a raising up of the New Mass in any significant respect. Nonetheless, there was more going on in the 40′s 50′s than many of us like to think.

      • Dave P.

        Actually, quite a few of the RadTrads have issues with Pius XII. Some, like the Tradition in Action folks, even go back to Leo XIII as the beginning of their perception of what’s gone wrong with the Church.

      • Chris Ferrara

        Fair enough. But as the future Pius XII predicted in 1931 when he was still Archbishop Pacelli, someday his own words would be turned against him.

  • Chris Ferrara

    Well, this is interesting, Mark. The Healthy Traditionalist to whom you link identifies himself as “a semi-trad.” So the Healthy Traditionalist is the semi-traditionalist?

    It seems you have twisted yourself into a pretzel in your attempt to deny that you are attacking traditionalists—i.e., those who have refused to partake in the post-Vatican II innovations of the Church, not one of which is mandatory.

    • chezami

      Traditionalists–semi or otherwise–can do whatever they like as long as they speak of the rest of the Church with respect and charity, or not at all. I only respond to Trads, as a general rule, when they are attacking people unjustly, loading up struggling souls with heavy burdens and not lifting a finger to help them, imputing heresy to orthodox people, or maligning folks I love. In other words, when they are Reactionaries. If you feel God has called you to sit in judgment of Andy Motyka good standing as a Catholic, you are part of the problem.

  • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

    I think this is a good first step. I think these kinds of labels are silly and merely meant to firing up the base.

    Let us just focus on two labels and use them: Right, and Wrong. Do you believe Vatican II teaches heresy? Then you are wrong, and I don’t care what language you worship in.

    I don’t like “Neo-Catholic” for the same reason. But if we are going to invent silly little terms, I suppose we should all be allowed a little silliness.

    Now some will object. “Well what are we to make of the person who doesn’t reject Vatican II, but doesn’t like their “ambiguities?” Where the Church is silent, let us also be silent when it comes to being definitive. You can agree or disagree that the ambiguities are a problem. But we shouldn’t be inventing names and terms to denigrate.

    The answerof Benedict XV really is the wise one. On non-essential things, allow Catholics to form whatever coalitions they wish and defend their own ideas with gusto. Yet remember that those who disagree aren’t disobedient or bad Catholics when the Apostolic See has not ruled defintively on that, and that in the end, while we can and should group up to like minded things, it should never overrun the fact we are all part of the same Church, where indeed “Catholic is my name.”

    So I mean it with sincerity Mark, this is good that you are doing it. Yet lets try to go one step further. :)

    • chezami

      I agree that neo-Catholic is a meaningless swear word that ultimately redounds onto the people who use it to don their paper mitres and declare to be heretics innocent Catholics who are disobedient to no precept of Holy Church. But Catholics who regard the Church herself as heretical and who routinely denounce the Pope and bishops as heretics on the flimsiest excuse while speaking of 99% of the Church’s members as enemies? Since they wear the Traditionalist fig leaf as they engage in the sin of factionalism and indulge this work of the flesh, how shall they be distinguished from Traditionalists who are not engaged in this work of rending the body of Christ. I think the term Reactionary is useful for making that distinction between those who love the Church and those who are bent on making aggressive war on most of her members, including the Holy Father.

      • Stu

        YGBSM!

        My label for you is good. Your label for me is just crazy talk.

        So is your chocolate in my peanut butter or is it your peanut butter is on my chocolate?

      • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

        How shall they be distinguished? Here’s an idea: Holy Traditionalists will stand out from unholy traditionalists, just as holy Catholics will stand out from unholy Catholics. I don’t need to invent labels to explain the difference between someone living the Gospel faithfully and unfaithfully, outside of right and wrong that is.

        The “reactionaries” are just as prevelant within other quarters of Catholicism. they just wear different hats.

        Besides, as St. Pius X rightly points out, people are never as impious as we think them to be. Shouldn’t that make us a bit more humble in our desire to label? When Williamson went off the deep end, who was one of those leading the charge to discredit him? Why that was the “reactionary” Christopher Ferrara. In your so simplistic rendition, “reactionaries” like Ferrara wouldn’t have done that, since they all conform to the tribe.

        It’s pretty awesome being a traditionalist married to a woman immersed in 32nd degree Westianism, and whose family has opinions on the Latin mass bearing from genuine curiosity to thinly veiled (and sometimes not so thinkly veiled!) contempt, the same amount of contempt I have for the Marty Haugen music they play. It causes me to get out the comfort zone, and see that those outside the tribe are still very capable of being holy, even if concupisence causes them to make some truly baffling decisions in liturgical music.

    • Chesire11

      I agree with you to an extent. I don;t care for labels because they divide the Mystical Body, and have a tendency to calcify, and produce intransigence on all sides.

      That said, when a collection of mutually reinforcing erroneous beliefs begin to emerge within a loose, but self-identifying group within the Church, It can be helpful in dealing with the incipient division to identify the common threads that make up the piece. I don;t think it is helpful to categorize individuals according to these benchmarks, but identifying them as divisive trends allows us to adress the sum of the parts.

  • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

    Here is a question.

    I count 9 descriptors of what makes someone a “reactionary” in Mr. Shea’s description. My question to the gentleman from Washington: how many of these traits must one have before they become a “reactionary?”

    Where is the cutoff? If they only have 4 of 9, are they simply a Catholic who needs to get their crap together? If the Magesterium of Shea has decided what makes one a “reactionary” and lists 9 criteria, which ones are more important? Or are all 9 of equal importance?

    • chezami

      How many rat turds do you need to find in your bucket of chicken before it’s a problem? How many times can you make out with your secretary before you cross over into adultery?

      The issue is not diagnosing hypothetical persons. The issue is the fact that there is a particular subculture in the Church where this stuff is part of the common and accepted universe of discourse. Such discourse should be discouraged wherever it is found, not excused or its existence denied.

      • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

        Except nobody is talking about denial or excuses except…… you.

        Basically what you are saying is that yes, Catholics behave badly, and we need to knock it off. That bad behavior is scandalizing the cross, and inhibiting the Gospel. So whoever you are, whatever Church you go to, knock it the heck off. See, I didn’t need a label for that.

        Why is it that whenever someone says “the problem you describe is real, but you are approaching it the wrong way and probably making it worse”, you always fire back with “stop denying X is a problem or excusing it!”

        So now that we’ve acknowledged there is a problem and that we only disagree on how to address it, back to my original question. You list all of these things. How many of them make you a reactionary? Is it just one?

        • chezami

          Stu has been doing nothing but. He’s been assuming from the start that a) the post was intended to “bait” somebody and b) that the real purpose of the post was to indict all Trads as Reactionaries. Actually the purpose of the initial post was to praise a good woman and make fun of the believers in Jewish Conspiracy Theories.

          To my great surprise, an actual Reactionary nutjob showed up to question my crypto-Judaism and imply, for the umpteenth time, that I’m not a Truly True Catholic. I chose to make a public example of him as a warning to other Reactionaries that such behavior is not welcome here. Stu, instead of saying, “Man, that was ugly and that jerk was way out of line” instead chose to assume that I was attacking all Traditionalists and has spent the day complaning that I was “baiting” somebody. The subtext is clear: I posted that jab at Jewish Conspiracy Theorists in order to take a swipe at Traditionalists. That says a lot about what Stu assumes a percentage of Traditionalist subculture will do in response to the words “Jewish conspiracy” but it says absolutely nothing about what my intention was. Stu should have just said, “Man, that jerk was out of line.” Instead, he chose to make it all about my supposed vendetta against all Traditionalists. I’m not having it.

          • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

            So I’m not getting an answer to my question. :p

            Which is fine, it was simply trying to point out just how arbitrary these names are. I think everyone can see that, you disagree. Such is life.

            And I also know that nobody is perfect, and can recognize a positive step when one is made. I really do appreciate you making the distinction between “reactionary” and traditionalist. I find it insufficient, but I’m a traditionalist and someone who tries to remain a faithful Catholic and a Republican: insufficiency is a life I live. There are a lot of things I do insufficiently as well. Yet all things being equal, I’ll take that over “radtrads” and the like.

            I really think you can take it a step further. We don’t need labels to condemn error amongst Catholics beyond “you are doing something you shouldn’t be doing.’ That goes for everyone.

          • Stu

            Yes, Mark I did assume such. Because almost daily on your blog there is some attempt to malign reactionaries/traditionalists/radtrads/madtrads or whatever you are calling them today. I assumed today was no different. My error in that.

            The jerk was out line.

            You are too in your continued tribalization.

            • chezami

              Almost daily on my blog I talk about what’s going on. This past week what’s been going on is the Pope’s remarks, the boneheaded media analysis and the bedwetting reactionary hysterics responding to it all with bedwetting reactionary hysterics. When the news moves on and the Reactionaries stop wetting the bed, I’ll be talking about something else.

  • ivan_the_mad

    Heh, apparently we’ve moved right past repetita iuvant and into necessum est repetere.

  • Fr. SMC

    Anyone who regularly attends the Traditional Latin Mass is, by definition, a reactionary. Vatican II clearly desired the reform of the ’62 Missal and according to Pope Paul VI, of holy memory, and Bl. John Paul II, the ’69 Missal is the reform desired by the council fathers. Old Mass Catholics, whether they realize it or not, are against the reform of Vatican II in regards to liturgy. The FSSP, the Institute of Christ the King, the Clear Creek Monks, etc., are all pre-conciliar in their liturgical outlook. All these groups, in fact, refuse to offer the New Mass not just because of the beauty of the Old Rite, but also because of the revolutionary nature of the New Rite, which Cardinal Ratzinger called a “banal”, “artifical,” and non-organic product filled with liturgical rupture. But once those Catholics in love with the Old Mass begin to read more and more, the more reactionary they become as they see the revolutionary nature of the entire council. As Cardinal Suenens stated, the council was the French Revolution in the Church. Fr. Yves Congar went even further suggesting that it was the October Revolution in the Church. I am a reactionary and I reject the liturgical reforms and the new orientations, and yet I am in full communion. I am sure that Mark would respect this position since for him the Church has such a big umbrella.

    • chezami

      You are perfectly entitled to your wrong opinion, particularly in calling the council a revolution. And I’m entitled to think you wrong, particularly in your identification of “anybody who attends the EF” with “Reactionary”.

      • Fr. SMC

        I just simply provided you with statements made by major players at the council. Even Cardinal Ratzinger claimed that part of the council’s purpose was an attempt at reconciling with the principles of 1789, the very year of the revolution. The Traditional Latin Mass according to the ’62 Missal is an open reaction against all the reforms called for by the council. It is, obviously, a PRE-VATICAN II liturgy that is directly against the very principles set out in Sacrosanctum Concilium. Reactionaries do not have to be combative, but attendance at the TLM is making a statement against the Novus Ordo revolution which, according to Msgr. Klaus Gamber, the favorite liturgist of Ratzinger, “destroyed the Roman Rite as we know it.” The very members of the concilium that put together the New Mass said, very plainly in interviews, that the Old Rite had been destroyed. Any revolution must first destroy the old before building anew.

    • Athelstane

      Old Mass Catholics, whether they realize it or not, are against the reform of Vatican II in regards to liturgy.

      But the problem is that Vatican II only promulgated a constitution prescribing, in broad strokes, some principles for liturgical reform, which it hoped would guide the Church in developing concrete missal forms. The Novus Ordo was issued five years after the Council ended. And many of the reforms we associate with it (and the translations) came even later.

      That said, some are ranged in opposition to it in some way. But it’s a spectrum.

      Some are the reactionaries that Mark has described, rejecting all of it (and even some of the Pius XII liturgical reforms). I guess that includes you.

      Some are more measured traditionalists that have reservations about the wisdom of some of the reforms urged by the Council in Sacrosanctum Concilium (and, indeed, some other documents), while not rejecting the Council per se.

      Some accept the Constitution in full, but question whether the Novus Ordo was a fair reflection of it.

      Some accept the Novus Ordo in principle as a fair reflection of it, but reject how it has actually been implemented.

      I think it depends on who you’re talking to.

      All these groups, in fact, refuse to offer the New Mass not just because of the beauty of the Old Rite, but also because of the revolutionary nature of the New Rite.

      Well, that’s not what their apostolic constitutions actually say.

      • Fr. SMC

        The very first topic which the council fathers dealt with was liturgical matters. Sacrosanctum Concilium was the most important document of the council practically speaking. You should read the addresses made by Pope Paul VI introducing the New Mass where he clearly states that the ’69 Missal is the fruit of the council and what the liturgical reforms of Vatican II had in mind. All those reforms that came after the council, including new translations, all had the approval of Rome. In fact, “dynamic” and “innovative” translations were encouraged by the revolutionaries in Rome.

        You state that some EF Catholics are more measured in their reactions and have some slight reservations regarding the liturgical revolution. All I know is that they are not attending the Mass and Sacraments composed according to the norms of the council. No true traditional Catholic rejects the council. It was one of the 21 Ecumenical Councils. Traditional Catholics simply reject some of its reforms and orientations which are in no way binding. I don’t actively participate in non-Catholic worship because it has always been taught that such participation is against the Divine Law which no human law can change. I reject the notion that a man has the right to worship a false god or the true God in a false way. No one has a right to an abortion and no one has the right to worship falsely. Assisi prayer days are just not my cup of tea which causes me to reject them. But overall, the council is 90% fine. In fact, traditional Catholics accept more of the council than the great majority of Catholics

    • contrarian

      Hi Father,
      Good points here. Traditionalism is, by definition, a position of protest. It is difficult to endorse ‘healthy traditionalism’, since it seems to be the idea that one can prefer the TLM only for completely superficial and subjective reasons. Yet I don’t know any traditionalist who thinks that. It seems to me as if to be a traditionalist is to be a reactionary, necessarily.

  • http://canfrancisbringmeback.wordpress.com/ ganganelli

    If you are fighting tooth and nail to stop poor people getting health care but make common cause with libertarians who think internet pornography is Freedom!/1st Amendment!!….you might be a catholic reactionary.

    • Athelstane

      Whatever that posture is, it isn’t reactionary. Reactionaries tend to be even more skeptical of the marketplace (and, indeed, of just about everything).

      What it is, really, is libertarian, pure and simple.

  • Whittaker

    I still do not think you have made clear who you are writing against. These are all subjective definitions, definitions that every Catholic would reject – mercy is weakness, hatred of the Pope, hatred of an ecumenical council, etc. They may be true, but because they’re subjective, and I can’t read souls, I can’t figure out who these reactionaries are.

    It is unclear if you are defining reactionary Catholics by their beliefs or their attitudes (primarily, because obviously the two are linked).

    If beliefs, at least give us the objective positions of these reactionaries – characterizations of what they believe that they themselves would agree to. For example, is someone who say not only that he prefers the traditional liturgy, but thinks it is inherently superior to the novus ordo, is that person a reactionary? What about someone who thinks the post-conciliar crisis in the Church was in part caused by the texts of Vatican II? What about someone who would criticize Bl. JP II’s work with ecumenism (Assisi, Qur’an, etc) during his pontificate?

    If attitudes, are you hoping that your posts are helping these people repent? Are you seeing evidence of this? Are you seeing evidence that more confusion and anger is being produced than conversion? These are honest questions.

    • Marthe Lépine

      I may be wrong, but it seems to me that if you read the comments in Mark’s comboxes regularly, you would have a pretty good idea of the answers to what you are asking. IMHO, asking more and more precise definitions is a defense mechanism…

  • Benjamin2.0

    Alternatively, one could use the term as an ersatz political identifier like Nicholas Gomez Davila, but that doesn’t really suit the present circumstances.

    “To be a reactionary is to understand that man is a problem without a human solution.” (Aphorisms of Don Colacho #2,357)

    “Reactionary thought breaks into history as concrete liberty’s shout of warning, as the spasm of anguish in the face of the unlimited despotism arrived at by the man intoxicated with abstract liberty.” (ibid. #1,881)

  • Melissa

    Bishop Richard Williamson is still Catholic and inside the Church! The SSPX are Catholics also! Catholic Answers and EWTN are also Catholics! None of you can toss any Catholic I mean any Catholic out of the boat and shame on anyone of you who try! Do you hear me! Not Mark Shea not Chris Ferrara not Catholic Answers. None of you have the power to decide who is in the Church and who should be demonized. Not one of you! Any Catholic who tries to do this may be guilty of a mortal sin. What mortal sin? Usurpation. If some Catholics have problems with the tone,comments or actions of other Catholics the way to deal with it with is with Charity,prayer and penance not titles and factions. The terms “neo” “trad” “radtrad” and alike serve Satan and his ends. Knock it off! If Bishop Williamson or other Catholics upset your comfort zone perhaps you should look inside see why this is so perhaps you know they are right but then you would have to change wouldn’t you? Here is some raw meat: http://defeatmodernism.com/ Oh wait here is some more raw meat: http://www.ewtn.com/ Wake up men! We are all Catholics and we are being divided and conquered. The devils masterstroke…….”neo” ……..”trad” We Catholics of this age are among the stupidest people who have ever lived.

    • chezami

      Benedict did not conduct long negotiations with Catholic Answers in a vain struggle to bring them into communion with the Catholic Church. He did do that with the SSPX. When the pope strives for years to bring you into communion with the Church, the means you are not in communion with the Church. The SSPX is not in communion with the Church.

      • Melissa

        You are in error. You are attacking the unity of the Church which our Holy Father spoke on just today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soD67riMydE The SSPX hold all the doctrines and dogmas of the Catholic Faith. They are Catholics. What they lack is juridical status in the Church. They lack faculties not the Faith. The SSPX matter is an odd one. Unless and until the Holy Father excommunicates them they are Catholics. The matter of SSPX is one of a problem of obedience from Rome’s view of the things. The SSPX is asking for doctrinal definitions on certain points of Vatican II before than can obey. They are asking a basic question. What is of the Faith in Vatican II. This is where I see a huge disservice being done to the Church by the Catholic establishment media: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbTrOKbl98M Here you are on line erroneously thinking the SSPX are outside the Church that is false and this is due to the disinformation found in the Catholic establishment media and blogs like this. The SSPX hold the Faith I challenge you or anyone else to point to the doctrine or dogma they reject. I am not suggesting the SSPX matter is not problematic and needs to be corrected by both sides. Many mistakes have been made. But to view the SSPX as not Catholics is a grave scandal against the unity of the Church and a lie. Only the Pope and Bishops can say who is in the boat and who is not. Rome has not done that to date.

        • chezami

          So all those negotiation were held for no reason? Right.

  • wineinthewater

    I think your definition of Traditionalist is too narrow. I generally consider myself a Traditionalist, but I have no attachment to the EF. I do, however, prefer liturgy to be deeply rooted in tradition, something that is woefully rare. I think that makes me a Traditionalist.


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