Recently, I read a comment on Patheos’ Facebook page calling my blog “rad-trad” and my mindset “Protestant.” Honestly, I found the comment humorous. I try to back up my writing with official Church teaching supported by official Church documents. Furthermore, I support the magisterium of Pope Francis. Sure, I may question his appointments, and I do at times request further clarification; however, I DO NOT think the Holy Father teaches heresy.
In fact, I applaud the Holy Father’s recent move towards the German bishops. Therefore, in celebration of that move, I want to set the record straight about my theological views. I also look at the note sent to the Germans by Rome in a show my support for the Holy Father in this regard.
What Is a Rad-Trad, Anyway…
From what I gather, a “rad-trad” (radical traditionalist) constitutes someone who holds some or all of the views below:
- Only attends a Latin Mass
- Thinks Pope Francis teaches heresy in his magisterium
- Is highly suspicious of or rejects Vatican II
- Thinks women should wear head coverings in Mass
- Believes Francis to be an anti-Pope (in its more extreme forms)
Moreover, if anyone wishes to add to this list, please do so in the comment section below.
Why I Am NOT a Rad-Trad
I am NOT a rad-trad for the reasons below:
- I attend (and prefer) the Novus Ordo Mass.
- Pope Francis does NOT teach heresy in his magisterium.
- I accept Vatican II and all its teachings.
- Women do not need to wear veils, but if they want, I see no issue with it.
- I do not think Pope Francis an anti-Pope.
Clearly, anyone within the “rad-trad” movement would not call me a “rad-trad.”
Why I Am a Traditional Catholic
However, I do consider myself a traditional Catholic for the following reasons. Another term I use is conservative Catholic.
- I accept Church teaching as true.
This may come off as glib, but it’s the truth. I also do not desire to change Church teaching (this fact makes me a “rad-trad” in some people’s mind). Now, the Church teaches a lot of things. It teaches things about God’s nature and human nature. The most concise, yet inspirational, summation of the Catholic faith is found in the opening paragraph of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It states:
1 God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.
God, out of love, freely created humans to share in His divine life. This divine life we find in Christ and His Church. Where else shall I go? Christ alone has the words of eternal life. (John 6:68)
Rome’s Note to German Bishops
As someone highly critical of the German Synodal Way (GSW) (click here for an example), the recently released note from the Vatican Secretariat of State to the German bishop’s conferenced offered a pleasant surprise.
Sent on October 23, 2023, the note presents the German bishops with a clear line in the ecclesial sand. Especially, the line gets drawn at women’s ordination and homosexual activity (both of which the GSW seek to change). Also of note, a bishop’s representative must now meet with the heads of the dicasteries for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the Promotion of Christian Unity, for the bishops, for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and for Legislative Texts in January, April, and June of 2024.
Fortunately, after years of shenanigans, the Germans finally get sent to the principal’s office.
Key Points of the Note on Women’s Ordination
Moreover, the only available English translation online comes from the blog Rorate Caeli. Regarding the non-negotiable matter of women’s ordination, the note quotes St. Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We read:
St. Pope John Paul II
So that all doubt may be removed concerning this important matter, which concerns the divine constitution of the Church itself, I declare, by virtue of my office of strengthening the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), that the Church has no authority whatsoever to ordain women to the priesthood, and that all the faithful of the Church must definitively abide by this decision.
With regard to the ordination of women to the priesthood, the Church has spoken, and she says: No. –St. John Paul II said this, but in a definitive way. This door is closed.
With regard to the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, St. John Paul II has spoken the last clear word, and that remains. That is valid.
It is not a dogmatic definition, although it must be accepted by all. No one may publicly contradict it.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Article 5
1° If the person who attempts to confer sacred ordination or the woman who attempts to receive sacred ordination are believers in Christ subject to the CIC, they are liable to excommunication as a penal offense, the lifting of which is reserved to the Apostolic See according to can. 1379 § 3 CIC is reserved to the Apostolic See.
2° If, however, the person who seeks to confer Holy Orders or the woman who seeks to receive Holy Orders are members of the Christian faithful subject to the CCEO, they are to be punished with a major excommunication, the lifting of which is reserved to the Apostolic See.
In short, the Church lacks the authority to ordain women and anyone who does so incurs an automatic excommunication. And, considering this comes with the blessing of a perceived “progressive” ally in Pope Francis, carries even greater weight.
Key Points of the Note on Homosexual Activity
Furthermore, while not as in-depth, the note does reaffirm the Church’s teaching concerning the objective immorality of homosexual acts. Again, citing the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the note states:
Another issue on which a local Church has no possibility of taking a different view concerns homosexual acts. For even if one recognizes that from a subjective point of view there may be various factors that call us not to judge people, this in no way changes the evaluation of the objective morality of these acts.
The constant teaching of the Church emphasizes that “the objective moral evaluation of sexual relations between persons of the same sex is precisely and certainly established. Another question, which is not under discussion here, is the degree of subjective moral imputability of such relationships in each individual case.”
As with women’s ordination, the Catholic Church will not change its views on human sexuality.
I hope I’ve shown that I am no “rad-trad.” I am a regular, traditional Catholic doing his best to follow the Church’s teaching. These teachings I do not wish to change, and I fully support the Pope when he exercises his authority to reign in wayward bishops who stray from Church teaching.
Maybe those who label traditional Catholics like me “rad-trads” ought to take an extra-long look in the mirror and determine if the radical was themselves all along. Do they support the Pope in his efforts to correct the German bishops? If not, why not? These answers may indeed reveal the true radical.
Read The Latin Right’s other writing here.