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.