Must We Call Them Rad Trads?

There is a conversation going on over at Catholic Lane on Why the title “Rad Trad” or “Radical Traditionalist” should be dropped. You can go here to read post.

This interests me because it is a term I use, and despite my best intentions to explain that I am on the traditionalists’ side, that I believe most of them are good, solid Catholics who simply prefer the Extraordinary Form, and that I do not think they are all wild eyed conspiracy theory extremists, still my comment box fills with vituperative remarks from traditionalists who accuse me of being some sort of enemy.

So let me explain why I think “rad trad” and “radical traditionalist” is a good term and why I’ll continue to use it. But before I do, here are a few real comments from my combox:

Wake up people! Francis is a unrepentant socialist, liberation theologist and homophile. And he is lurching the Church into heresy. Homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God. And catholic leaders need to identify it as such. Francis is building a case for openly homosexual priests and religious. Disgrace!

As far as my analysis of Francis, his actions speak louder than his words, although his words are bad enough. Take a look at his clerical history. If you have decided to become a Papal sycophant that is your business. And no, I am not a Sede Vacantist. We HAVE a Pope. His name is Benedict. And as far as my accusations, just watch closely in the coming months. Mark my words. Francis will systematically dismantle catholic teaching on abortion, sexuality, homosexuality, euthanasia, the True Presence, Mary’s role in salvation and the Divinity of Jesus.

This is the sort of position I criticize as “Radical Traditionalist” or “Rad Trad”. I could include other comments from my combox which are anti-Semitic, self righteous, hateful, angry, racist and well, insane. I am sure most traditionalists would shake their heads and be sorry for such negativity.

It is for this sort of traditionalist that I reserve the names like “mad rad trad”. Why is it wise to retain the “rad trad” label? Because we can identify this sort of sad individual by the label and not only criticize him, but more positively–support and praise the traditionalists who are NOT like him. If the label “rad trad” is dropped it is more likely that no distinctions will be made and this sort of extremist will be seen to be a spokesman for all traddies.

Some traditionalist critics of my blog has asked why I don’t write posts supporting traditionalist aims. I do. I have written much on necessity for beauty and solemnity in worship. My post on “what I say to my altar servers” has gone viral. My writings on traditional architecture, music and liturgy are widely read and appreciated. My alter ego Mantilla the Hon speaks up in a humorous and feisty way for traditionalist ideals. While I do not celebrate the Extraordinary Form, I’m pleased that permission is given for all to do so who wish to, and if there were a need in our town for me to serve traditionalists by saying the Latin Mass I would learn it happily.

Others critics have wondered why I don’t blast daffy dissenters and radical liberals. I do. My blog is a repository for regular posts lamenting lousy architecture, sappy music, sentimentalized Catholicism and shallow, empty headed progressivism. Read More

 

  • Barfly_Kokhba

    As someone who has hurled a lot of real, vituperative insults in my life, both on-line and in person, I would offer this friendly, casual opinion.

    First, I would point out that your line of reasoning is precisely what any garden-vaiety racist would use to defend using racial slurs: “See, THIS is what I mean when I talk about ________. They’re not all ________, but the ones who talk this way/dress this way/listen to this kind of music/march in these parades etc. are what I mean when I call them ________.”

    Second, and again I am saying this from extensive personal experience, all of which I have eventually come to regret, labeling is just never good. Never. Even seemingly innocuous labels wind up hindering discourse and civility. Once-harmless words like “liberal” and “conservative” have become practically venomous in a lot of mainstream discourse. It just never works. And certainly using even stronger labels can, in the long run, only bring division. Even when others self-identify with labels, it’s best to avoid them. That’s just my personal opinion, with the benefit of the hindsight of many burnt bridges.

    Finally, have you ever considered that some of these comments–if you see them only in your com-box and don’t know the people personally–are intentional ‘false-flag’ comments, written by people with the opposite opinions, and intended to make a particular ‘side’ of the discourse look especially bad? Such practices are more common than you might realize. You might be walking right into the trap of a deceitful person and smearing outside observers by assuming sincerity.

    • wineinthewater

      I think there is a fundamental difference between this and racial epithets. We’re not talking about a genetic trait with no inherent connection to beliefs, we’re talking about actual beliefs.

      As to false-flag comments, I might be willing to believe that’s what we’re dealing with if they weren’t so pitch-perfect to comments and attitudes that I have witnessed in person.

      • Barfly_Kokhba

        I would agree that there is a difference but I don’t think it’s a meaningful one. Certainly if sexual behavior can be lumped in with race and ethnicity, in terms of equal respect and refraining from bigotry, then religious preference should as well. I suppose a person could just change their religious opinions to avoid being derogatorily labeled but then that’s we would call, if we’re being honest, “a clear-cut instance of religious persecution.” I would think any Christian, and certainly any Catholic, whether they prefer Latin Mass or not, would be sensitive to that.

        I think it would be neat to start a political forum where any discussion was allowed–profanity, personal insults, whatever–EXCEPT for partisan and ideological labels. Absolutely no use of the terms “liberal,” “conservative,” “left-wing,” “right-wing,” “Republican,” “Democrat,” “libertarian,” “socialist,” etc. etc. NO party labels and no ideological labels, even in neutral or friendly context.

        I still think that would have been a very interesting forum. I honestly think that 85% of even intelligent, educated American adults in this day and age would literally be unable to discuss politics at all under such conditions.

        • Stu

          I believe your original comparison is apt, especially form the perspective of practicality. Use of such labels does nothing but marginalize others while at times unfairly tarring the innocent. It’s just plain ineffective.

          At the end of the day, if I am going to take people to task for calling other Catholics, “neo-Catholic” (which can be justified in a similar manner that Father is doing here) then I am going to do the same when another group calls Catholics, “Rad Trads.” It’s a consistent approach.

          And FWIW, I do believe Father L has the best of intentions here, even thought I think they are a bit misplaced.

  • Henry

    Thank you Father. I’ve followed your blog for some time and I’ve enjoyed your posts.

    I am a traditional Catholic. I also understand that many traditionalists are their own worst enemy. Their speech is often far over the top. I also understand these folks to be a deeply prayerful group that actively has witnessed so many abuses within the liturgy and our Church, and they’re frankly, fed up. This, notwithstanding, I would much prefer a respectful tone even in light of such bitter disappointment and frustrations. And this frustration has divided them from much of the Church.

    I also understand that the people feel at least, in part, abandoned and isolated. For decades now, we’ve observed clown masses, cheesy folk music, liberal ideologically driven homilies, dancing bishops…(far too many to list here).

    So, are we (me and you, and all Catholics), acting with charity and attempting to heal the division? Or, are we furthering the distance of thousands (millions, maybe) of faithful Catholics, by, even before engaging them, labeling them with a pejorative in order to feel some gain? Are we thanking God that we are not like them and like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector????

    Thank you Father.

  • vox borealis

    In my experience of traditionalists I have seen much more of this than the extremist rants and the sour self righteousness that I have criticized.

    This is so much more positive than what fellow Patheos blogger Mark Shea seems to think about traditionalists. Thank you for this, Father!

  • David W

    Seems to me the term is shorthand for the radicals who happen to be tradtionalists. Not all trads are radicals of course(Fr. Z for example is traditionalist, but not radical), so we use the term to specify the subgroup we are talking about.

    So long as we don’t lump the innocent with the guilty, there’s no problem with the term.

  • Julie

    FWIW I think anyone who thinks you attack the right more than the left hasn’t been reading enough of your blog. I’ve been reading for years and I think you do a great job of being even-handed. For every post that makes me chuckle at “those crazy so-and-sos” or nod vigorously in approval, there’s been another that makes me re-evaluate my own assumptions and preferences.

    There is so much defensiveness and bunker mentality among trads that it can become very difficult to make any criticism. The common mentality seems to be “in or out”: either you’re a trad all the way and never ever attend the (inherently inferior new rite) or you are still in need of convincing. Which is why, while I love the old rite and wish every member of the Church got a fair introduction to it, I don’t call myself a trad.

  • Stu

    I’m not even sure why you associate the commbox comment with anything traditional. The thoughts expressed are just “off” and not remotely anything that I have encountered at my EF parishes. Even you said, “I am sure most traditionalists would shake their heads and be sorry for such negativity.” So why associated them them with so-called traditionalists? Why not just call them radical Catholics if you really want to label.

    It also might be good perspective to consider how few Catholics actually are part of the Catholic blogosphere, especially when trying to use material from online forums to define and create subgroups. But ultimately, what is the purpose of building such groups? Practically speaking, how does it correct error and bring people into the fullness of Truth? Seems to me that it only serves to create divisions and tribes.

    • Brother Juniper

      Bravo Stu! We all have our odd quirks; it is a mistake to include them in the definition of traditionalist. On a certain level, radical traditionalist is a contradiction in terms. How does humankind gain knowledge but by tradition? We know what marriage is because it is the result of reality rubbing against human nature for thousands of years. I recently found this wonderful quote from Pius XII: “Tradition and progress complement each other so harmoniously that, just as tradition without progress would be a contradiction in terms, so progress without tradition would be a foolhardy proposition, a leap into darkness.” (January 19, 1944).

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

    As the author of the article generating such buzz, perhaps I could ask a few questions/make a few statements.

    1.) I find it incomprehensible that “If the label “rad trad” is dropped it is more likely that no distinctions will be made and this sort of extremist will be seen to be a spokesman for all traddies.” The only way no distinction will be made is if people consciously decide to not oppose error. Neither I or anyone else is proposing we do that.

    Saying an ecumenical council is heretical is wrong. Saying a lawful mass of the Church is invalid/unlawful/evil/objectively inferior is wrong, not to mention borderline heretical in the eyes of the Council of Trent. We can condemn these ideas, and we can condemn them with maximum force. Yet we don’t need to label a person to do so.

    As far as a fear that they will be seen as a spokesperson, this is highly doubtful. Let’s be blunt here: Very few Catholics are traditionalists. Very few Catholics, even the dedicated type of the blogosphere walk and talk every day with traditionalists. They learn about the traditionalist movement by what they read online or from their favorite media personality. So when they hear a rad trad boogeyman around every corner, they are going to think that is the case with all traditionalists. I have no doubt people don’t intend this. (Well most, some indeed are as malicious as those who spew such nasty bile in your comboxes.) Yet go sit down in the nearest Latin Mass chapel and talk to those good loyal traditionalists, and ask them if they were mistaken for a “radtrad”, and the negative consequences that had.

    As to the rest of your article, I think its briliant, and a lot of us are calling for and doing the same thing. I guess I just have this question: why the need to label a person as something, when you can just label the idea as wrong?

    Also, Holy Mother Church does not use the phrase “radtrad” when dealing with those you describe. LIke all of us, they are sinners in the need of the confessional. Think they are likely to come to the confessional of one they know thinks of them as a “radtrad?” Why are we doing what Holy Mother Church is not?

  • Paul Williams

    I am someone who would in the past self-identify as a “traditionalist” (given that I don’t consider Vatican II and the New Mass to be the most beneficial developments in the history of the Church), but I’ve taken to heart Pope Benedict’s exhortation to identify oneself as something other than “Catholic” as it tends to leads to a sort of tribalism (“in” vs “out”, and “us” vs. “them”) which isn’t hard to see in our camp (shoot, there I’m doing it again).

    On one hand, the whole “RadTrad” label thing doesn’t bother me too much, since most of what is decried as RadTradism doesn’t apply to me. On the other hand, the term has somewhat morphed in colloquial usage into describing roughly “anyone who displays a traditionalist attitude while saying something I don’t like”. There are some who refine the term “RadTrad” according to certain specific terms (e.g., “rejects the validity of the New Mass or Vatican II”), but others will change these to much less specific terms (e.g., “harbors negativity toward to Blessed Pope John Paul the Great”). And others still, just point to an example of bitterness and mental instability evidenced seen in comments.

    I used to read these “Why RadTrads are such and such” blog posts to see if I seemed to fall under the particular definition of “RadTrad” being employed at the time. Most of the time I did not, but sometimes I did. In the latter case, when attempting to jump into the conversation, I was admonished that, depending on the topic, either I wasn’t really a RadTrad so shouldn’t be so defensive/offended, or that I was far too tolerant of or infected by RadTradism and not worthy of engagement in a discussion.

    I’m starting to veer off the original topic I guess, but I do agree with Fr. that identifying or labeling “RadTrads” does serve a useful function as it identifies a sort of faction. The trouble is that one person’s RadTrad is another’s legitimate Catholic traditionalist. Maybe all the bloggers and apologists posing on this topic can get together and agree upon a precise definition of RadTrad that can be pointed to?

    As for how I fit into Fr’s definition in this post, I would never say and don’t agree with the comment cited above. If that’s a RadTrad, that’s not me.

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

      The way I look at it, we already have a consensus position. It’s called the authority of the Church. Church leaders don’t say “radtrad” because they realize that in doing so, they cheapen their office, cause pointless polarization, and make it tougher to welcome people back to reconcillation and full communion.
      I understand Father’s fears, but I think its time he allows traditionalists to stand on their own two feet, and prove that our spokesman aren’t “radtrads”, but regular Catholics, just like everyone else. How else do you think we’ve doubled the amount of Latin masses in the last 5 years? We did so by showing people, by our example, that we aren’t the crazy kooks father rightly condemns. And we did it without labeling those we disagree with something that they perceive as an insult.

      • jeff

        Great comment Kev. We invite people to “come and see.”

        Try to get people to take on the “One Month Trad Challenge” where you go to the Trad mass for one month and see how you’ve changed by the end of it. Some people are hooked after their first mass, some the third, and others finish the month and go “Pffft, that was one month wasted!” and it’s only when they return to the Novus Ordo the following week that they realise how rich the TLM really is. If every Catholic in the world took the challenge the TLM would possibly become a majority.

  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

    Why don’t we just admit many Catholics across the spectrum have a more Protestant ecclesiological mindset now? That is, it seems we are only happy if we shop for the Catholic ‘denomination’ which most “meets my need” – makes me feel good (i.e., the Palestrina or “Here I am, Lord” makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up). I tell people (aka rationalise) it’s because “I wasn’t being fed” by my parish priest who didn’t like bells and smells (or who did). I commute for miles to be with the wonderful like-minds at St Groupthink, until the ‘pastor’ upsets me or too many women won’t wear mantillas, so I look for a new coterie of egos, until they upset me…

    This is from an article by Dr Bryan Cross on (Protestant) Ecclesial Relativism/Consumerism, as he calls it:
    Church-shoppers treat Catholics as if Catholics are church-shoppers, as if the Catholic is a Catholic only because the Catholic finds the Catholic Church most satisfying to his personal needs and tastes, and not because the Catholic believes the Catholic Church to be the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church founded by Christ. The church-shopper is not trying to be rude or offensive; he simply has no concept of “the true Church”.

    Seems like the Protestant might no longer mistaken in this perception:
    http://www.oocities.org/metaphysics8/Consumerism.html

    • Dan F.

      this. A thousand times this. I was a protestant and I could never understand why a Catholic would go to another parish just because they had a disagreement with the priest. “Not being fed” should mean you didn’t partake in the Eucharist, not that you didn’t get anything out of Fr.’s homily. I have 3 children 3 and under. I don’t even hear Fr.’s homily. I feed on the body and blood of Christ. I go home sanctified and full of gratitude for the gift given me. Fr.’s homily has nothing to do with it.

    • jeff

      I’m aware of the Protestant problem with Church-hoppers. There are people who will spend their whole lives jumping from church to church until they’ve found the “right” congregation. (They won’t)

      That being said, there’s nothing wrong with finding your place in the churchy spectrum–so long as you make your decision and stick with it. No congregation or parish will be without it’s challenges and problems. It’s about weighing up the problems and the strengths of a parish and asking yourself whether you’re prepared to take it on–warts and all–and jump in with both feet.

      • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

        For me the Catholic Mass is an objective, supernatural reality and valid, ex opere operato. It has nothing to do with my subjectivity, apart from my paltry offering of myself to the Lord who deigns to give it significance and unite it with his!

        Can’t say any more than that, really, as I’m not qualified to judge appearance (if I was, it would be a piece of bread before and after the consecration), only the reality, and the Church, in her wisdom, has told me what that is.

    • TLM4Ever

      “Why don’t we just admit many Catholics across the spectrum have a more Protestant [ecclesiastical] mindset now?” Well said. That was the stated intent of Vatican II. Admit Martin Luther was right and Protestantize the Roman Catholic Church. And they did. I double dog dare anyone to, this Sunday, to go to a “modern” Catholic mass, then go to any Protestant service and see what differences there are. Other than communion being passed out at the Catholic services (many Protestants no longer have communion service except at Easter), there is no substantive difference.
      No difference in thinking, both amongst the congregation and amongst the clergy. “Martin Luther was right” and “The church must adapt to ME!”

      THAT’S why I’m a “RadTrad”!

      • JoAnna Wahlund

        The stated intent of VII was to encourage a Protestant mindset? Do tell. Can you quote from the council document that documents this “stated intention”?

        • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

          I see what you mean and what you’re implying, JoAnna, so I’m in no way criticising as I’m as guilty, but it seems to be our need for evidence and proof-texts is to reduce the ‘Catholic Thing’ to a form of empiricism or reason – which are all good and proper in the right context.
          That is, we might not ascribe to Modernism, but we can still tend to assume, ‘without thinking’ that the ‘tools of modernity’ are the correct ones by which to judge spiritual realities or ‘prove our point’.

          I’m constantly aware of how much I’m a busybody and get worked up by what everyone else is doing, or should be doing, rather than looking to the Saints, like the Little Flower, who just got on with proximate reality through being in constant communion with our Lord, having her ‘Mary and Martha’ in balance.
          Would she have got her knickers in a twist about Loisy if she’d lived long enough to see his ugly project start to unfold? Maybe, but I doubt it. :-)

        • Johnsum

          Experts on the Council documents agree that ambiguity on ecumenism, collegiality, freedom of religion are some items requiring further clarification. Cardinal Ranjith, Bishop A. Schnider and many respected theologians and Church historians say the same thing.

          On the other hand, left-wing radicals, say the Nuns-on-the-Bus, Hans Kung, lefty Jesuits, Latin liberation theologians (way too many to name all), those who have no place to go outside the Church, push the ambiguities in the Council documents as far as they will with very little opposition from those currently in charge of the Church.

          There is a culture war going on in which Traditionalists, especially Catholic ones, are the most hated by liberals inside and outside the Church. The inside the Church ones have done all they can to destroy Catholic identity giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the Gospel.

          Jesus will sort things out in the end. However, it is of no little significance which side in the culture wars a Catholic chooses. The sheep and the goats lines are the only two Jesus talked about. There is no 3rd line for Catholic liberals.

          • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

            “The inside the Church ones have done all they can to destroy Catholic identity giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the Gospel.”
            Do you mean the Traditionalists or ‘Liberals’? :) Both are doing a pretty good job, from the same perspective, as far as I see it.
            Yes. Jesus will sort things out in the end, so why the hissy fits by those who claim to know better?

            Jesus told us the wheat and the darnel will grow up together.

      • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

        I think it depends as to whether we are using a Modernist mindset or not.

        The Modernist mindset claims it can’t perceive any substantive difference between the Protestant and Catholic ‘service’ on a Sunday morning, because it relies on the evidence of its senses…

      • Quid

        You mean differences like how the Protestants have no Liturgies, no Sanctus, no Gloria, no Confiteor, not Misterium Fidei, no Agnus Dei, no Kyrie, etc… Have you ever even been to a Protestant service? Maybe the music in modern masses sucks, or there’s too much english, but compared to what the Protestants come up with on Sundays, the Liturgy has hardly changed at all since VII.

  • cccc

    You don’t understand. Traditionalists aren’t people who ‘prefer the Extraordinary Form’ (actually we don’t use that term and we don’t just ‘prefer’ it), so basically what you call ‘rad tradism’ is ‘traditionalism.’ It’s not people who just like smells and bells and go to the traditional Mass because it’s pretty. As far as people being vituperative, you should do about 573,203 posts on certain patheos bloggers, which would just about even things out, by my reckoning..

    • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

      “Traditionalists aren’t people who ‘prefer the Extraordinary Form’ (actually we don’t use that term and we don’t just ‘prefer’ it)”
      - It depends on who you’re reading, doesn’t it?
      I’d say for some, their preference and taste is conveniently rationalised away as ‘being faithful’.

      For example, ‘henry’, above in the combox uses the terms ‘clown masses’ and ‘cheesy folk music’. Why the emotive qualifiers? Because some think the NO is always a ‘clown’ Mass, whilst others don’t really consider the NO a valid Mass even, to the point that one wonders whether they’re SSPX posing as Catholics.

      Ironically, dissenters seem far more consistent with, and faithful to, their ecclesiology than those who claim to be defenders of the One True Church yet are showing themselves as so very publicly and visibly divided.

  • In Defense of the Church

    Thank you Father for this straightforward insight. I too, like you love the Tridentine Mass but it’s not the only acceptable rite we have in the Church. God also understands other languages, not only Latin. So I agree. We call them ‘rad trad’ very much equivalent to ‘Muslim extremists’ who do not want to abide and who thinks they are above the Church and its authority. I’m sure even Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI would deny them even they pledge allegiance to him for we have a new Pope– Pope Francis. Let’s keep on praying for them.

  • Jennifer Fitz

    I have no dog in this hunt, other than an interest in all things Catholic . . .

    How about if we call bitter, irrational anti-Semites some suitable label like, “bitter, irrational anti-Semite”? And then reserve terms that describe liturgical preferences, or customs, or opinions about ideal disciplines to describe those things. “Rad trad” could be claimed with pleasure by someone who just likes Latin and chant and long skirts and chapel veils and Gothic manuscript (I vote Carolingian every time, thank you, Gothic is illegible).

    After all, you might be radical in your love of Gothic, but you aren’t necessarily bitter or irrational, and certainly not anti-Semitic . . . just a wee bit strange. Which is something to enjoy.

  • UAWildcatx2

    Father, thanks for this post. I have personally never been to an EF Mass (planning to, though), but I’m sick and tired of being considered a “lesser” Catholic (if they even consider me a Catholic at all) by those of the “rad trad” mindset. I’m an active Knight of Columbus, attend daily Mass, and was married in a full Catholic Mass concelebrated with five priests, all good friends and brave, faithful men. When I see members of my Church acting as that person did, both in the original post as well as their response to mine, it’s all I can do to have yet another thing to confess to on Saturday.

  • jeff

    I’m no saint, and I find following Jesus hard.

    It’s with the TLM and the straight-talking, no-nonsense formulations of faith and devotion commonly found in the pre-conciliar era that best help me to struggle onwards to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

    Wounded and troubled individuals who find perverted comfort in whacky conspiracy theories also seem to find solace and comfort in Traditional Catholicism.

    We need a term to differentiate these people from ourselves. They are radicals AND they are traditionalists rather than being radical-traditionalists. So for me too, RadTrad works just fine

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

      We have a term. It’s called wrong and right. Just like all Catholics, they are either wrong, or they are right. If they are wrong, they need access to God’s grace to transform their horrid errors. If they are right, they need God’s grace to sustain them from falling into errors.

      #notcomplicated

      • sJeff

        modernists and arians are also “wrong” but we can agree that they are very different to rad-trad

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

          Indeed. Arians and modernists were actual heretics. One denied the divinity of Christ, and one essentially denied in one way or another just about every important doctrine of Christ. That really is a case of apples and oranges.

  • Headstand

    The highlighted masonic comment in Fr. Dwight’s article makes me grateful that in His infinite mercy, God doesn’t abandon me at the foot of the Cross as the lot casting garment coveter I’m wanton to be but calls me instead to be the lockstep sheep and papal throwback I strive to become.

  • Gary Adrian

    Good point Fr Longenecker, I would say I am a Traditionalist in that I appreciate the Catholic Church’s teachings for the last 2000 years but don’t appreciate the actions of most parishes and Catholics today. I do attend the Traditional Latin Mass on Sunday, and I serve at a Novus Ordo mass three times per week in my local parish. I was just old enough to witness the devastating changes that occured in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s to the Church and the devastating results. All of the nuns that taught me in school have left the religious life. There are no more nuns in the parochial school I went to as a child. Instead of the two priests at my childhood church, one priest serves it and three other parishes. My faithful aunts and uncles who followed and obeyed the changes required of them by the ‘spirit of Vatican II’. They did things like remove their statues and crucifixes when the local church did (worshiping idols), they stopped doing the rosary like their priest advised (repeating prayers mindlessly), stopped fasting, etc. Now all my cousins are agnostic, Easter Christmas Only Catholics, or Protestant. Now 80% of Catholics don’t attend Church weekly and of those who do, 80% do not believe one or more teachings of the Catholic Church. (I had even left for 30 years.)

    This while I see the three or four generations of ‘Traditionalist’ Catholic families sharing in their worship at the Latin Mass, active everyday in the service of God, helping the poor, helping fight abortion, evangelizing people to the Catholic Faith, while saying the rosary, keeping their statues and crucifixes, etc. Rarely do I see a lapsed sibling of one of these large traditionalist families.

    Yes, there are a few ‘Rad Trads’ at my parish, but oddly, they are not well received. Sadly, during this last week after hearing that the Pope forbid a thriving ‘Traditional’ order from saying the Latin mass, I actually was swayed more toward the ‘Rad Trad’ group. They were the ones who told me that Pope Francis would start dismantling Summorum Pontificam and restrict or remove the Traditional Latin Mass. Instead of disciplining those in the LCWR who don’t even believe in the Trinity anymore, he disciplines those trying to purefy our worship. It was very depressing for me.

    I seem to be getting my balance back now, but this was difficult, having returned to the Church for just over a year. I love my Mother Church, but have to remember that Popes are people too. They have their own preferences and no matter what, they can’t change the truth of the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    • Quid

      I know someone who spent seven years in the FFI and Francis’ decision to restrict the Latin Mass was timely and appropriate. At the request of some priests who asked the Vatican to examine the order more closely, Francis discovered that the founder was trying to force the order to only celebrate the Tridentine Mass. This is why the order now needs permission to celebrate the extraordinary form. Apparently the founder, who has now been deposed, proposed a few years ago that the entire order switch exclusively the the Latin mass at a council meeting and the motion was unanimously voted down. He spent the next few years trying to subtly impose the latin mass anyway, until the Vatican stepped in. That’s why a Caupician is in charge now, temporarily. It wasn’t a contradiction of Summorum Pontificam (which the FFI publicly acknowledges) but a response to a specific part of the order which was falling into corruption, the Latin Mass. My friend who left the order a year ago says they were using the Latin Mass at the exclusion of the Novus Ordre, implying that it wasn’t valid. The FFI was not trying to purify our worship.

  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

    A latent question which has come to a head for me over this past week or so is whether we are (still) using the ‘New Media’ as Bl. John Paul II envisioned. What good – if any – is all the analysis, infighting, and general airing of dirty laundry so publicly in the blogosphere having on people’s perceptions of Church (especially orthodoxy) from outside. Aren’t blogs simply becoming the vanity press of theological narcissists out there and like gossip columns of the worst kind?

    Is the blogsphere now working against the Church and doing more harm than good? Are we not giving the impression (and strong evidence) that the nature of the Church is no longer one, but a hydra, like Protestantism, except we’ve been so full of self-deception, we’ve just been in denial of the fact that we have become ‘crypto-denominational’, that we have become, paradoxically, terribly Modernist/Relativist in our Traditionalism?

    How much is subjective opinion and taste conveniently masquerading as fact because Traditionalists proof-text from Magisterial documents like Biblicists? How much is the TLM to do with the enjoyment of High Culture and hatred of the kitsch, rather than genuine conviction, for example?

    Aren’t we playing right into the hands of dissenters, giving them so much opportunity to gloat as we look as if we are about to self-destruct, or at least showing our manifest hypocrisy by acting in exactly the way we’ve spent years accusing them of behaving?

    Why do so many Traditionalists (or whatever we – or they – like to call themselves to distinguish themselves from ‘those others’) behave as if their paltry thoughts have some sort of magisterial authority as if they’re some sort of official outpost of the CDF?

    I’m sorely tempted to just delete all my blog bookmarks…

  • David L Alexander

    Well, personally, I prefer “über-trads.” But hey, that’s just me.

  • windyrdg

    Why do I always hear traditionalists labeled as Anti-Semites? I have never encountered this and fail to see the supposed connection. I am a cradle Catholic who left the Church in the wake of Vatican II. I attended the Episcopal church for many years. I have never had any doctrinal qualms with the Roman Church and considered myself an Anglo-Catholic. The left-leaning Episcopalians forced by back across the Tiber about 5 years ago.

    However, what I returned to bears no resemblance to the Church I left. Despite their support for abortion, women’s ordination, gay bishops and gay marriage, I saw more reverence in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper and at the communion rail (the Episcopalians never ripped theirs out) than I ever see on Sunday in the Catholic Church.

    What am I to do? I’m forced to settle for the lesser of two evils. Say what you want, as far as I’m concerned this Protestant-Catholicism is the work of the devil. Comparing the statistics on Mass attendance, vocations, Catholic schools, etc. from the 1950′s to the present time says it all. The tiny nucleus of groups promoting the Latin Mass is our only hope for the furture.

    Saint John Eudes said that when God is angry with His people, He sends them bad priests as a chastisement. And those bad priests become bad bishops and bad popes. I trust that things will turn around. Unfortunately, I don’t expect to live long enough to see it. If that makes me a radical, so be it.

    • Quid

      Have you ever read anything Lefebfre or Feeny wrote about the Jews? A lot of SSPXers and Feenyites still hold these views that the Jews are an abomination to God and they’re trying to tear apart the Church. It’s ridiculous. I’ve met Feenyites who tell me all Jews are in hell since their the ones who crucified Jesus.

    • Headstand

      Oh, Ironry!
      “I am a cradle Catholic who left the Church in the wake of Vatican II.”
      “However, what I returned to bears no resemblance to the Church I left.”
      “If that makes me a radical, so be it.”

      [51] He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. [52] He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. [53] He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

  • EdwardHu

    Father, yet another article from you forcing people into your buckets.

    Categories reveal and conceal.

  • branislav

    In the communist paradise where I was born Yugoslavia, the bloody henchmen who beat and murdered real catholics were superlative at labeling: enemies of the people, capaitalist bloodsucker et. You sure would be a valueble usefull idiot to that mob (they still operate in N.Korea, Vietnam and Cuba)at labeling anyone who doesn’t agree with your protestantism – posing as catholic. You haven’t a clue as to what the one true faith was for 2000 years was – until the likes of ratzinger seuens courtney murray kung roncalli montini woytilla made the religion you espouse while bashing faithful catholics. The gates of hell will never prevail as much as modernist occupiers try to remove Jesus Christ from his one true church

  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

    “… increasingly, what exists are parallel Catholic universes which do not intersect.”
    David Cloutier, associate professor of theology at Mount St. Mary’s University

    This could just as easily be descriptive of this current liturgical mess, posted today on Aleteia:
    http://www.aleteia.org/en/religion/news/theologian-warns-of-parallel-catholic-universes-3113001

  • bender

    **why I don’t write posts supporting traditionalist aims**
    ________________________
    Father — I fully support, and use myself, the term “rad trad.” But even with respect to the non-rads, there is an inherent and troublesome error.
    Just as there should be no “gay priests,” but only “Catholic priests,” so too should there be no “traditionalist priests,” no “traditionalist parishes” vs. “novus ordo parishes” etc., but only “Catholic priests,” and “Catholic parishes.”
    Traditionalism is per se divisive and separatist and contrary to the unity that is part of the ONE Church.
    So, just by asking that you write posts supporting “traditionalist aims,” rather than being content and happ with posts about “Catholic aims,” they show themselves to be part of the problem.

    • Elijah

      With due respect, you have a very naive perspective if you don’t regard a spectrum (within orthodox boundaries) to be a legitimate given in the Catholic Church.

      • Quid

        Not at all! Bender understands what the word “Catholic” means. It seems most people here don’t. I think we have enough division between Catholics and the rest of the world to start arguing among ourselves about how much Latin to put in the Mass

  • Elijah

    Fr. Longenecker: that you feel the need to single out “rad trads” for attention with a disproportionate number of blog posts about them while they make up the tiniest sliver of Catholics in the Church, speaks quite clearly about what you think of traditional Catholicism generally. Your claims of sympathy for traditional Catholicism ring quite hollow.
    But speaking of labeling, would you be willing to start using the term “heretic” for the not-so-tiny slice of the Catholic population that is wrapped up in heresy, for reasons like denial of the reality of the Devil and the existence of Hell, denial of the Real Presence, denial of the necessity of confessing one’s sins to a priest for absolution under ordinary circumstances, denial of a Divinely-willed male-only priesthood, denial of the intrinsic evil of direct abortion, denial that, according to the catechetical tradition, the sin of sodomy cries to heaven for God’s vengeance? (Shall I go on?)
    Code of Canon Law, Canon 751: “Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith…”
    Canon 1364 §1. “…[A] heretic…incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; in addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties mentioned in ⇒ can. 1336, §1, nn. 1, 2, and 3. §2. If contumacy of long duration or the gravity of scandal demands it, other penalties can be added, including dismissal from the clerical state.”
    Do you support dismissal from the clerical state of the many heretic-priests in the Catholic Church, Fr. Longenecker? Perhaps you should spend more time using the term “heretic-priests,” “heretic-nuns,” and “heretic-Catholics,” all of whom are legion, than using pointless slurs like “rad trad.”
    And, no, I’m not a radical traditionalist myself. I happen to have one foot in the novus ordo world and one in the traditionalist world.

  • Victor Rozance

    “if there were a need in our
    town for me to serve traditionalists by saying the Latin Mass I would learn it
    happily.”

    Father, as a professional I would say you are only half the priest you can be.
    As a priest of the Roman Rite you are deficient. The Roman rite is made of 2
    valid forms of the non-bloody sacrifice of Calvary; you only have half of it.
    Can you imagine a Greek Orthodox priest not able to say the Divine Liturgy in
    Greek but somehow it has become acceptable for the Roman clergy to be
    completely deficient in the normative tongue of the Roman Rite. It was the will
    of Benedict that the two would enhance each other. Do not cut yourself off from
    the heritage that is your priestly patrimony.

    I’m saying learn it now and say
    it privately if you must, you are priest of the Roman Rite. It really is not an
    option for you after Summorum Pontificum. It would be impossible for it to not
    enrich your priesthood. Taste and see what Ignatius, and Borromeo, DeSales, Jogues, Campion risked all for.

    Be generous with the Lord, He can
    not be out done!

    I pray for you!

  • KTPC

    If people don’t believe there are radical traditionalists, pop on over to the forum on Fish Eaters, or do a google search of the forum using “Jews” as a keyword. Or try deicide. You should even be able to find a thread wherein the moderator of that forums affirms that yes, the Jews are collectively guilty of deicide, and yes, they are cursed in a temporal sense because of it.

    I don’t know what most people who attend the EF are like and whether they are antisemites or not, but I can tell you that my encounters with traditionalists on the net have left me so disgusted that I have more than once wondered how I could actually be sharing the same belief system with them at all.

  • Isabel Kilian

    “Mark my words. Francis will systematically dismantle catholic teaching on abortion, sexuality, homosexuality, euthanasia, the True Presence, Mary’s role in salvation and the Divinity of Jesus.” Your words have been marked. The world is listening. The faithful are watching. The confusion grows. I know many of you have been mocked, abused, marginalized and spat at. I am very sorry for that. God bless you.


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