Must We Call Them Rad Trads?


To use “Mad Rad Trad” as a category for the extremist end of the traditionalist movement is not to throw stones at all traditionalists. In fact, it helps to defend, support and define the worthy traditionalist movement–the one which is made up of a majority of good, faithful, well intentioned Catholics who are helping the whole church in the “reform of the Reform” and are doing so with intelligence, wit, patience, obedience and faith.

If you are a traditionalist, then my advice is be a radical Catholic, but not a radical traditionalist. Love the traditional ways, support and promote them, but remember the bigger picture. The bigger picture is the whole mission of the Catholic Church. The whole mission of the Catholic Church is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to a needy world. The whole mission of the Catholic Church is to reach out to the needy with the love and healing ministry of Christ. The whole mission of the Catholic Church is to sanctify the people of God and lead us in the paths of holiness. The whole mission of the Catholic Church is to live lives filled with the Holy Spirit which testify to the power and grace and joy that comes from knowing Christ.

By all means be radical in these aims. Use the traditional teachings, devotions and liturgies of the church to do so. Reach out to the world and to other Catholics with joy and affirmation. The traditionalist movement is young and alive! Traditionalists have so much to share with the church, and they are doing so with great zeal, energy and faith. I say to traditionalists, don’t allow yourselves to be swept up into narrow minded little groups who point fingers of blame at everybody else. Don’t allow the angry or insane members of your group to speak for all.

Share the things you treasure with enthusiasm and do not be judgmental and condemnatory of other Catholics who for whatever reasons are not quite where you are. It’s okay to criticize abuse and wrong doing, but it’s also okay to leave them alone and accept them just as you wish to be left alone and accepted. Criticize abuse and wrong doing, but accept criticism when it comes your way. Your critic is often your best friend. Furthermore, if you expect other Catholics to listen to you and learn from you be prepared to listen to them and learn from them.  You may heartily dislike their ways of worship and truly believe they are wrong, wrong, wrong, but the Lord might have some things for you to learn from those Catholics who seem to be your enemy. Are you humble and open enough to listen and learn?

If you receive persecution from other Catholics or are treated unfairly from the hierarchy, respond with meekness and joy. Turn the other cheek. Show the true spirit of Christ that dwells in your hearts, for this is true and valid traditionalism: heart felt love for Jesus Christ and a true and joyful devotion to him as your King and Shepherd.

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. That’s why for me the term “traditionalist” is a positive term, but why I will continue to use “rad trad” or “radical traditionalist” to denote those who do not represent the traditionalist movement well, and whose attitudes and actions lead to schism and strife.

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