4 comments

  1. I think the “disobedient traditionalist” is a useful label when talking about clerics: one who continues to celebrate the sacraments even though he is suspended a divinis.

    1. I suspect most, if not all, of these priests would defend themselves on the grounds that they are acting out of necessity and at the request of the lay faithful of the Catholic Church. I am not sure that is disobedience sensu stricto.

  2. I would not ascribe the word “false” to the dichotomy betwixt obedient and “disobedient” traditionalists; I have seen it with my own eyes and it was one of the reasons for my own rejection of RC traditionalism altogether. On the one hand are the “obedient to the magisterium, the Church can do no wrong, it was all the filthy modernists who undermined the Council’s fault” types. And on the other were people like me. I had no qualms about criticizing obvious abuses in the Church, often perpetrated deliberately BY the Church. Then I found myself in a “traditionalist” church community. I did not agree wholeheartedly with everybody there (I seldom, if ever, have…in any context) but such is life, I had discovered a church where I felt comfortable going to on Sundays, etc, etc. The crux of the matter was the liturgy itself. Do we remain obedient to the Church in matters liturgical or do we bend the rules for the sake of tradition? It was in this sense that objective tradition was thrown out in favour of obedience and I was thrust out like a pariah.

    1. In order to affirm a false dichotomy as true, you resort to straw men. I don’t know of any serious person who holds to the “Church can do no wrong” line in the way that you mean. It seems you take the claim that the “Church can do no wrong” to mean that no priest, bishop, or pope can make imprudent, even wrongheaded and scandalous, decisions. Of course the Church’s leadership can behave in such a manner, even in their official capacity, but that does not mean the Church’s indefectibility is impeached. And by indefectibility, I mean what the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia means: “By this term is signified, not merely that the Church will persist to the end of time, but further, that it will be preserved unimpaired in its essential characteristics. The Church can never undergo any constitutional change, which will make it, as a social organism, something different from what it was originally. It can never become corrupt in faith or in morals; nor can it ever lose the Apostolic hierarchy, or the Sacraments through which Christ communicates grace to men.”

      If liturgy is ever “the crux of the matter” in things ecclesiastical, then something has gotten lost in translation. The liturgy is important and the Mass is central to the life and vitality of the Church, but grousing about rubrics and aesthetics betrays a rather low view of both prayer and the sacraments. Yes, in all things we should strive to worship God duly and reverently while also ensuring that our liturgy is not marred by false spiritualities, theologies, and doctrines. An eye toward tradition must be maintained, as should continuity with the practices of our forebears to the extent those practices are defensible in the light of what we believe as Catholics. However, having one’s faith crushed under the feather of an omitted Collect at Mass or the dispensing of certain rubrics in the breviary which have been, and still remain, virtually unknown to most Catholics who have ever lived strikes me as both absurd and sad.

      Please keep in mind that I write this as someone who is strongly in favor of reinstituting the old Holy Week liturgy; restoring the full set of readings at Matins (or, if abbreviations are deemed necessary, at least doing so in an intelligent manner); allowing for more commemorations at Mass and on days when there is an overlap of feasts; etc. I prize my 1945 edition of the Breviarium Romanum and wish that it, not the 1962 edition, was still normative. However, having prayed the 1962 edition for some time, I cannot say with any hint of seriousness that those who do so are imperiling their souls; behaving as “lesser Catholics”; or are in any way, shape, or form wrong for doing so. Similarly, I find it ridiculous — and a waste of time — for traditional Catholics who are “obedient to 1962” to fret when they hear rumors of priests using a 1954 altar Missal. There are bigger fish to fry.

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