Am I a Catholic Traditionalist? (Well, YOU Decide!)

Am I a Catholic Traditionalist? (Well, YOU Decide!) October 14, 2015
[Kevin M. Tierney, often a critic of mine, who calls himself one, had written: “Dave Armstrong a Traditionalist? In what alternative universe? This isn’t a difference between ‘rad-trad’ and ‘sane traditionalist’, Dave isn’t a traditionalist period.”]
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I’ve said all these things 4,387,190 times, but here goes again:

1. I am an orthodox Catholic, who accepts (and defends) all the infallible teachings, doctrines, and dogmas of the Church, and Sacred Tradition.

2. I’ve attended Latin Mass (ordinary form) for 22 years.

3. I occasionally attend the Tridentine Mass: usually at my own parish.

4. I’m highly concerned about both aesthetics and liturgical propriety (rubrics) and reverence.

5. Per #3, this is why I attend what I consider to be the most beautiful church building in Detroit: a German Gothic revival building from the 1870s, with gorgeous wood carving and statuary and some of the best stained glass in the country.

6. In my own parish, I always receive Holy Communion on the tongue, kneeling at the altar rail.

7. I have been in favor of availability of the Tridentine Mass for anyone who wants it, since I became a Catholic in 1990. I first attended a Tridentine Mass, in 1990 or 1991, back when Kevin was learning his times tables. Thus, I held Pope Benedict’s position in his Summorum Pontificum for about 17 years before he asserted it.

8. I oppose extraordinary ministers of holy communion unless there are huge crowds. I also believe it is much more preferable to receive from the priest, who is the alter Christus.

9. Recently, I put together quotations books for both St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.

10. I have advocated the ad orientem position for priests during Mass (facing the altar or tabernacle).

11. I’m a strong advocate of traditional church music.

12. I love the study of historical Catholic theology, and have written or edited books about development of doctrine, the Church Fathers (3), Cardinal Newman quotes (3), Chesterton quotes, and the great Catholic mystics and contemplatives.

13. I have a very strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

14. I’m a passionate, committed defender of the papacy and the notions of the indefectibility and infallibility of the Church.

15. In economics and social policy I am a distributist and love Catholic “third way” social teaching.

People may decide what box to put me in. I think I’m in a pretty good place. I now use the word radical Catholic reactionary for folks who want to classify obedient, orthodox Catholics such as myself as somehow second-class Catholics. Hence, I’ve been called a modernist, neo-Catholic, neo-conservative, Vatican II lover, a Novus Ordo Catholic, an integrist, even a money-grubbing, unscrupulous apologist who makes a living by ill-gotten gains, by some.

But I’m just an . . . orthodox, obedient, devout Catholic, who loves Holy Mother Church, loves the Holy Father, and the Blessed Virgin Mary (to whom I have a great devotion: lots of writings defending her and Catholic Mariology).

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Mark Shea made a great comment:

I would say that anybody who believes the Catholic Tradition is a Traditionalist. Traditionalists tend to say that anybody who embraces a particular aesthetic is a Traditionalist, with the unfortunate corollary that those who do not embrace the aesthetic do not embrace the Tradition. That, unfortunately, is part of the message that tends to get telegraphed and those of us who embrace the Tradition, but can take or leave the aesthetic, feel as though we are regarded as second-class Catholics. It’s something Traditionalists urgently need to address.

        Uploaded on 25 March 2013. Terminology revised on 7 August 2013.  A few additions: 10-14-15 (#10-15 in the list).

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