Friday, April 19, 2013

Being Fair in Evangelization/Dialogue

In my previous post, I tried to issue a challenge to my traditionalist brethren, and all Catholics really.  While it focused on the issue of our relationship to the Jews, it really was about a lot more.  I think we need to present a different front at times when dealing with those who aren't traditionalists, and do a far better job of creating a welcoming image.  Taking the combox mentality into the Church at large isn't going to do a good job of appealing to potential allies, or even better, converts outside the Church.

Part of that is learning to treat those outside our ranks as adults capable of their own thoughts and beliefs.  When discussing Judaism and our relationship with Jews, every good traditionalist knows that in the Talmud, the Blessed Virgin is referred to as a whore, amongst other charming things.  Even if the person isn't an Anti-Semite quoting this, I find this pretty pointless to bring up.

Do we know any Jews today who are teaching their children that Mary is a whore?  Are they leading in protests and chants making these claims?  Does anyone talk like this today?  If the answer is no, then what's the point?  It is akin to reminding every Lutheran that Martin Luther was a rabid Anti-Semite, hostile to science, etc.  All of this is true, but absolutely irrelevant to the individual Lutheran/Hebrew.  If anyone starts saying those kind of things about our Blessed Mother today, then yes, we will have issues.

Would we want such a standard applied to us?  There is positively no doubt that Church leaders in the past, even Saints, have said some things in their writings about Jews or others which would make us a bit uncomfortable, to say the least.  If St. Jerome was around today, many would likely view him an Internet troll for his pettiness and notorious temper.  These things aren't part of the Deposit of Faith, aren't Apostolic Tradition, aren't even part of the Magesterium.  Even if a saint did it, we aren't called to emulate it.  They were sinners dealing with concupiscence like all of us.

We traditionalists should know better.  For a long time, the traditionalist movement comprised a sizable majority of individuals who referred to the Ordinary Form as a "bastard Mass", it's priest's "bastard priests" (which would make all our priests invalid), and their sacraments "bastard sacraments" that likely do not confer grace.  This was in a popular work by Archbishop Marcel Lefebrve.  Even the SSPX avoids talking like this nowadays, to say nothing of traditionalists who have full communion with the Roman Pontiff!  Would we want the popular Catholic commentariat today to always treat us as if we are ideological allies with things that were wrong?  Oh wait, they already do, and we already object to it.  We point out that yes, these statements exist, and whatever our opinion on the Archbishop (some still love him), he really was wrong, and doesn't speak for traditionalists, or the SSPX.  We also tell them to deal with us as individuals, and our arguments on the merits, not on previous biases which cloud their judgement.  See what I did there?

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