How to Be a Catholic Traditionalist

How to Be a Catholic Traditionalist January 27, 2024

hands clutching a Rosary
image via Pixabay

Hidey ho, everyone! It’s Mary Pezzulo, the Marchioness of Manners, with another informative how-to article!

Today’s topic is, how to be a Catholic Traditionalist for fun and profit. You, too, can be a Catholic Traditionalist, and in only seven easy steps!

Step One: think of the worst human rights abuse you can possibly imagine. No, worse than whatever you’re thinking right now. No, even worse. Race-based chattel slavery. Beating a toddler. Child marriage and spousal rape. Massacring indigenous people. Pogroms. Torturing Lutherans with sharp implements until they submit to the Pope.  Something that makes you sick just thinking about it.  Proclaim that that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing is not only NOT a bad thing, it’s actually required by the Catholic Church. Declare that it’s always been required by the Catholic Church. Find some obscure quote from a sixteenth century pope who was having a bad day to back up your claim. Insist that everyone who doesn’t love this atrocity and actively support it is a heretic. Claim that historic people who did it are not villains but saints. Call everyone who disagrees with you a modernist.

Step Two: Find an innocuous activity to get really, really, really upset about. This activity could be anything. Eating candy during Lent, for example, or genuflecting on the left knee, or using Natural Family Planning, or playing video games. Claim that this thing is a mortal sin. Make up a ridiculously over-the-top nickname for it, like “the stench of Satan” or “denying the will of God that you might live selfishly” or “sin pops.” Absolutely refuse to call the activity by its real name, ever, and pretend that calling it anything other than your pet terminology is a conspiracy. Blame it for all the world’s evils. Write long letters to your pastor demanding more sermons against the innocuous thing. If he doesn’t listen, call him a modernist.

Step Three: Choose a random object to be obsessed with.

This can either be something you despise with all of your heart or something you love beyond reason; the choice is yours. Rant to total strangers that seed oils cause autoimmune conditions. Copy and paste walls of text about soybeans interfering with male puberty. Alarm your daughter-in-law with recipes for homemade baby formula. Terrorize your neighbors with yard signs in support of a write-in political candidate. Refuse to let websites set cookies. Claim cigars are not only non-carcinogenic but actually good for your health. Talk about humors. Get really into crypto. Be creative; the sky’s the limit, as long as you’re aggressive and drive the people around you crazy. When someone inevitably blows up at you for this, call them a modernist.

Step Four: use the term “natural law” a lot. You don’t have to know what “natural law” means, because it actually doesn’t have a meaning, it’s just a shorthand for “whatever I think is the case.” Defend your chosen atrocity by saying it didn’t violate natural law. Condemn your pet innocuous activity because it’s against the natural law. Vote for Joe Kennedy because of the natural law. When people try to refute you by bringing up science or sociology, call them modernists.

Step Five: be a bully. Make fun of fat people on the internet. Sneak into social media forums so you can screenshot private conversations and use them to snitch on somebody to their pastor. Gossip about childless women by saying “pray for so-and-so, I’m afraid she’s using birth control.” Start rumors that unmarried men at your parish are gay. Arrange a fun field trip for all the catechism students and deliberately forget to invite the family with the autistic kid. When somebody confronts you about this, act like you’re the real victim here and accuse the other person of “rash judgement” and of being a modernist.

Step Six: Call the Pope “Bergoglio” and act like this is a fantastic dis instead of his name.

Step Seven: After all of this, when people accuse you of being a bad person because you’re a Traditionalist, claim they’re only persecuting you because you like the Tridentine Mass.

Congratulations! You are now a Catholic Traditionalist! Watch for the mail; your four hundred dollar handmade mantilla and ill-fitting thrift store modest dresses are on the way. You can look forward to a long and happy life scaring people away from Jesus and calling it evangelism.

Don’t say I never taught you anything.



Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

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