Wednesday, 13 February 2019

No, there is no such thing as a "true traditionalist"

Of late, I have noticed a sort of obsession amongst those who consider themselves "traditionalists." I would even go so far as to term it unhealthy, for that is precisely what it is.

I am speaking of this obsession as to who is and who is not a "true traditionalist."

While I first encountered this obsession after I debuted on Vox Cantoris - better detailed in the follow-up post I wrote to that post - this is, sadly, not something I have seen solely in the Toronto community. I have seen it online in respect to America, Britain, France, and a host of other countries.

It is getting too much to bear, which is why, after a number of months sitting on the subject, I am breaking my silence and addressing it head on.

It does not matter if I am speaking of the young man who insists that I am his enemy time and again. Or the people I used to run around with, gossiping about various people, in the Toronto community. Or the Society, who tends to insist they are the only ones faithful to tradition. Or the Fraternity, who do the same. Of course, let's not forget the sedevacantists, who shun everyone but themselves and proclaim themselves as the only "true Catholics" around, though some are less abrasive about their argument than others.

It is a problem. It is not something we can solve overnight. Indeed, I doubt we ever can, but it is something we can address, for the betterment of our spiritual lives, if only that.

For now, though, let's talk about how problematic the term "true traditionalist" is.

First of all, this term is reactionary, arising only in response to the Council and the Novus Ordo Missae. In all of the texts and books I have managed to read so far dating from before that Council, there was no discussion about whether or not one was a "true traditionalist." The term simply did not exist. One was either Catholic or not. It was as simple as that.

This leads into another point. What does the term "tradition" even mean, and how does one define fidelity to it? The best I have been able to discern is that it means one harkens back to those customs, rules, and traditions from before the Council, and that one must reject ALL FORMS OF NOVELTY (itself a subjective term) which have arisen since then. As one can see it is a loose definition and can mean anything to anyone.

Over the coming weeks, I will be writing on a number of topics near and dear to "true traditionalists" and debunking them for the placebos they are. Watch this space.

For now, though, consider whether you consider yourself a "true traditionalist," and then consider how phony that term is.


Anonymous said...

After nearly three decades going to the TLM, my theory is that this is a condition caused by a combination of fear and pride. looking forward to your ideas on this.

geoff kiernan said...

I am confused by your apparent attack on Traditionalist Catholics. I suppose it depend on how the word is defined.Perhaps you should elaborate. I was about 25-26 years old when the Novus ordo Missae was introduced. On its introduction I accepted it with some gusto and fervor. After 44 odd years of the 'new' Catholic Church I became disillusioned to the extent I stopped practicing the Faith. After being reintroduced to the Tridentine Latin Rite Mass I regained my Love or that Mass and have an aversion to all things NOM. Am I one of those traditionalist your speak of??

M. Prodigal said...

I consider myself a Roman Catholic, trying to be as faithful to the age old teachings of Holy Mother Church as best as I can. I do assist at the Tridentine Mass when it is available on Sundays and attend a properly offered Novus Ordo during the week. So what am I among the labels being tossed around?

Irenaeus said...

Geoff - No one is being attacked, but your confusion is warranted.

The term "true traditionalist" as it is being used here refers to those "traditionalists" who are obsessed with defining who is and who is not a "traditionalist Catholic." In my experience, this involves creating labels along a scale, usually with one reserved for "true traditionalists" and the others for "psuedo-traditionalists."

Often, in my experience, specific criterion will be provided, with those who "fit the bill" being determined to be "true traditionalists" and those who do not, "pseudo-traditionalists." Often, these are constructed along political and social markers.

I will detail this in more depth throughout the series, but you get the picture, I hope. At the end of the day, the simplest division is being Catholic or not. Not whatever label we - and I include myself in this - invent to make ourselves think we are doing something when we are not. (This quality of *just needing to do something* is also behind this divisive labeling.)

For the record, no, I do not consider you one of those traditionalists I am speaking of.

Irenaeus said...

M. Prodigal - Well, to the more abrasive sedes, you'd be a "fake Catholic." To others, a neo-con or a neo-trad. To me, a Catholic.

Barona said...

This is part of the problem that has reduced true religion to identity politics and group think. There is grave confusion in the Church and the world, and the primary response is prayer. Daily Mass, the Rosary, some form of meditation and/or spiritual reading is essential.

Anonymous said...

"Novelty" is not subjective, and is not Catholic. The deposit of faith was fully complete when transmitted to the apostles. "Novelty" is not "subjective." It is objective and objectively heretical in all cases, at all times.

Irenaeus said...

When I spoke of novelty, Anonymous, I was not speaking about novelty in terms of faith, which I would agree is heretical. Many of these "true traditionalists" hold to some idea of orthodoxy which is quite subjective, varying from group to group, and even person to person.

Jovan-Marya Weismiller, T.O.Carm. said...

I look forward to the series.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalist.” Pope St. Pius X

The problem you identify is owing to the counter-revolution (what you call, reactionary) that, indeed, is a reaction (a very healthy one) to the revolution within the form of Catholicism in the years 1962-1965 that over-turned the then existing order.

One suppose it will do no harm to beleaguer the soi disant traditionalists but in doing so you will be obsessing about and blaming the powerless.

Safe targets are increasingly popular these days.

geoff kiernan said...

Irenaeus,Thanks for your courteous response. I am also looking forward to the series...
Your perspective will be colored somewhat by your timeline. For that reason It will be necessary for your age to be disclosed, dont you agree?

Irenaeus said...

You're welcome, Geoff. However, no, I do not think I need to disclose my age. I would like people to read my words without any preconceived notions about where I am coming from. I have run into that already with the young man who likes to insist I am his enemy time and again. It is annoying, to be frank, to counter those notions before I even have a chance to defend myself.

Irenaeus said...

ABS - The term "counter-revolution(ary)" will actually be spoken about in a post in this series. Thank you for the foreshadowing. :) However, I have come across the term in a much more broader context than just opposing the Council (or Pope Francis for that matter).

As for "obsessing about and blaming the powerless," no, such "true traditionalists" actually have more power than you make them out to be, what with the power of the Internet and people's desperation for an easy solution to the crisis at hand.

Nice to meet you by the way, fellow Voxxer!

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Irenaeus. Men are perplexed and experience pain owing to the results of the revolution within the form of Catholicism during the yers 1962-1965 BCE (Bestest Council Ever) and, of course, that was just the pubic triumph of the revolution that began much earlier.

The soi disant trads are trying to frame for themselves how they must respond as invisibilium within the Hierarchy is that man whose puissant possession of Tradition is such that it could be applied as a force against our Inertia Into Indifferentism.

The soi disant trad is lacking power to right The Barque and so it seems to ABS that striving to argue for a congruent and consistent classification is somewhat decadent because in doing so you are attacking victims of the revolution.

But, this is just the personal opinion of an Irish-Algonquin atavist from the hills of Vermont

Good to meet you also, Irenaeus.

geoff kiernan said...

Irenaeus at 1438.
No matter... I suspect age will become obvious anyway, once you start the series. Looking forward to it....