I Coined “Reactionary” [Catholic], Not Michael Voris

I Coined “Reactionary” [Catholic], Not Michael Voris February 1, 2018

Pb Man Dance Anger Grimace

I  coined the term, “Radical Catholic reactionary” on 3 August 2013.

“Daniel” wrote (underneath a Chris Ferrara post of 12-31-17 that trashed myself and Karl Keating): “I think Michael Voris got the credit in using the Communist term “reactionary” in describing all faithful Catholics who refuse to follow the teachings of Francis so now all Novus Ordo Catholics want to be like Voris.”
Not correct. I was the one who coined the term, “Radical Catholic reactionary.” It was on 3 August 2013. Although Pope Francis was pope by then, my coined term and category had nothing to do with him, nor with Voris, whom I have frequently criticized as one who is quite close to that position. When I wrote about why I coined the term, Pope Francis was never mentioned. I defined “radical Catholic reactionary” in that paper, in 23 words:
“self-righteous, pharisaical, more-Catholic-than-the-pope Catholics who incessantly bash the Novus Ordo, Vatican II, popes since Pius XII, and ecumenism.”
The whole point was to distinguish these radical reactionaries from traditionalist Catholics, with whom I share almost all beliefs. The category was necessary because of their own behavior. And Daniel above, spectacularly illustrates my point of view. I’m quite content to let him and anyone else worship as they please. I’ve advocated wider availability of the Tridentine Mass from the very beginning of my conversion in 1990, and attended for 25 years one of the few parishes in the archdiocese of Detroit that celebrated it.
But I don’t go around calling people “extraordinary form Catholics” or “Tridentine Catholics.” I’ve written for years about how even “traditionalist” is not a necessary term at all: that Catholics are either orthodox or not, and that every faithful Catholic (and indeed, anyone who uses the name) ought to be orthodox and accept all that the Church teaches. I was pleased to see that some [formerly self-described traditionalist] Catholics I know, like “Boniface” of the blog Unam Sanctam Catholicam, agree with me in that respect.

These reactionaries call us names, like Daniel’s “Novus Ordo Catholics” or “Vatican II Catholics” or (the dumbest one of all) “neo-Catholics”. Therefore, it was necessary to categorize the Catholics who did that, and I came up with “radical Catholic reactionaries” because many self-described “traditionalists” were complaining about “radtrad” and mistakenly concluding that it means “all traditionalists are radical” rather than its usual meaning of “extreme / fringe traditionalists”. I also did a survey of the history of the term, “radtrad.” In my categorization, traditionalists and reactionaries are two distinct groups: the first being mainstream and the second, fringe and extreme.

Daniel’s hypocrisy is evident. He objects to “reactionary” being used to describe his position, while at the same time he (blissfully unaware) feels free to use as an epithet and derisive description, “Novus Ordo Catholic.” Nor is “reactionary” confined to Communist usage. It has (like many words) a more general usage as well, and its origin in English (around 1815-1830) precedes Karl Marx.

Michael Voris did a video in early February 2015, in which he described the SSPX, The Remnant, and Catholic Family News as “reactionary Catholic media.” The late John Vennari of the latter group responded with two videos on 15 February 2015. Voris’ usage (I cant find, in searches, his use of the term any earlier) was a full year-and-a-half after my own coining of the term, so perhaps he was influenced by me, rather than vice versa. Michael Matt at The Remnant also responded to the same video and his “former friend” on 13 February 2015. He ends by stating, “please pray for Michael Voris—a good man whose talents and services have apparently been co-opted by the enemies of the authentic Catholic counterrevolution.”

Voris’ working definition was the same as mine in three of the four hallmarks that I utilize: opposition to the ordinary form Mass, Vatican II, and popes since Pius XII (not merely to Pope Francis). I don’t know if he includes ecumenism in the mix. But it is very similar to my usage 18 months before his own.

The pejorative, derogatory name-calling of non-reactionary Catholics (which in turn sadly necessitates identification of the category of folks who do this) is rampant in the Ferrara article. Reactionaries like Ferrara always refer to themselves as “traditionalists.” That’s the first thing to know. But it’s “false advertising.” It’s like Mormons calling themselves “Christians.”

Ferrara uses the term “neo-Catholic” — a term coined by sedevacantist Gerry Matatics in the late 90s — (in this instances, referring to myself, Karl Keating, and Phil Lawler) 15 times in his article. He defines terms at the end. Take special note of this: it’s absolutely classic “reactionary-think”:

neo-Catholic:  a Catholic who accepts and defends the officially-approved ecclesial novelties of the past half-century, despite their destructive results and even though no Catholic is obliged to embrace a single one of them in order to be a member of the Church in good standing. These novelties, none of them binding on the Catholic conscience, have arisen primarily under the headings of “liturgical reform,” “ecumenism,” “dialogue,” “interreligious dialogue,” and the “updating” of priestly and religious formation, which has emptied the “reformed” seminaries and convents. Neo-Catholicism, whose ensemble of characteristics would horrify a Pope such as Saint Pius X, the arch-foe of Modernism and what he called “the Modernist as Reformer,” is the ecclesial equivalent of “neo-conservatism” in the political realm: i.e., a liberalized, “moderate” form of conservatism that attempts to reconcile true doctrine with novel practices, attitudes and fashions of the day that tend to undermine true doctrine. The current prevalence of the neo-Catholic “style” of Catholicism constitutes the essence of the post-Vatican II crisis in the Church.

**traditionalist: a Catholic who, being perfectly free to do so, prescinds from the recently introduced ecclesial novelties and continues to practice the unreconstructed Faith of his ancestors, including the traditional liturgy and the traditional formation of priests and religious in seminaries and convents that are full. The descriptor “traditionalist” was unnecessary before the Second Vatican Council, because every practicing and believing Catholic was, by today’s prevailing neo-Catholic standard, a traditionalist.

Ferrara — citing one of my relevant papers — at least does me the courtesy of posting my lengthier definition of radical Catholic reactionary:

I define “radical Catholic reactionaries” as a rigorist, divisive group completely separate from mainstream “traditionalism” that continually, vociferously, and vitriolically [sic] (as a marked characteristic or defining trait) bashes and trashes popes, Vatican II, the New Mass, and ecumenism (the “big four”): going as far as they can go without technically crossing over the canonical line of schism. In effect, they become their own popes: exercising private judgment in an unsavory fashion, much as (quite ironically) Catholic liberals do, and as Luther and Calvin did when they rebelled against the Church. They can’t live and let live. They must assume a condescending “superior-subordinate” orientation.

“Vitriolically”, by the way, is the correct spelling and usage. By the insertion of “sic” Ferrara seems to think otherwise. Maybe next time he should check with the dictionaries. Then Ferrara issues his cynical take:
The reader will note that Armstrong’s “definition” is merely a string of insults and further undefined terms amounting to nothing more than a caricature of the traditionalist view of our unparalleled ecclesial situation. The resulting cloud of pejoratives allows Armstrong to smuggle back into his polemic precisely the condemnation of “mainstream traditionalism” he professes to eschew, . . .

This comes from the guy most responsible for widely promulgating the ridiculous description, “neo-Catholic.” At least my coined term makes sense. Same old same old here from the reactionaries . . . Avoid them and their websites like the plague, folks. You have been warned. Take it from someone who has studied them for over 20 years.


Photo credit: Photograph from Max Pixel [CC0 public domain license]

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