Friday, August 2, 2013

Giving the Status Quo a Push (More on the whole Radtrad Debate)

Nobody died and made me leader of a cause, but the way I see it, traditionalists should keep the following things in mind moving forward:

1.)  Removing "radtrad" and "radical traditionalist" isn't just about us faithful traditionalists.  It's taking the Gospel command seriously to reach out to everyone, no matter how rejected, or how unworthy of it they are.  If our actions hinder this without a reason, we should change our actions.

2.)  When you launch a campaign of stigmatization against the "radical" the "non-radical" suffers as well.  Our friends say they are doing this to distinguish the good from the bad.  Can they cite any parallel example where this actually works?  When you call someone a "Radical conservative" or "radical liberal" in politics, does this help the non-radicals stand out?  Or do people who agree with you end up seeing all of the "other" as more or less tainted by that radicalism, and polarization continues?

3.)  We aren't asking for a handout.  We are simply asking for the chance of being treated as equals.

4.)  Spend some time among us.  Spend two weeks at a Latin Mass Chapel asking those faithful if "radtrad" helps.  You'll find a mixed response, but I'm almost certain that the reaction will be the term does a lot more harm than good, and that your "charity" is damaging them.

Now what is expected of us faithful trads?

1.)  Continue to condemn errors.  When someone says things that are wrong, point out they are wrong.  Our friends across the way fear that if they give up their right to label, error won't be condemned.  Prove them wrong, and take away yet another justification for them creating division.

2.)  Take your vocations seriously.  If you are already doing it, do it better.  Don't give into despair, and be happy warriors.

3.)  The Greatest weapon against our friends creating division is that they set unrealistic expectations.  Even most "radtrads" you meet in the flesh aren't the boogeymen internet bloggers proclaim them to be.  They tend to be relatively normal people who just have some messed up ideas that need correcting, and sacraments to grow in holiness once they are in full communion with the Church.  For us faithful trads, the effect is even more pronounced.  Once people realize we are just like them, with similar parish problems and events, their attitude changes.  They might not end up liking the Latin Mass, but they'll come away with our respect.  When you respect someone, they can't be a "radtrad" or "Neo-Catholic."

4.)  As time goes on, fewer and fewer people will be using these terms.  If they are looking for a way to drop them, listen to them, offer suggestions, etc.  Don't debate them.  There really isn't much to debate.  One shouldn't accept a limited moniker that is still insulting.  Listen and offer suggestions, and continue living by example.  Continue to challenge our friends to name something they lose by giving up the term for three months.

When all else fails, appeal to good old fashioned pragmatism.

1.)  The younger generations aren't gripped by this whole "radtrad/Neo-Catholic" debate like previous generations were.  As one of the people who brought the term into usage would frequently tell me, all this debate is foreign to your generation, and that's a good thing. Traditionalism is becoming increasingly a youth movement, and this youth movement is very aggressive in the Church today, not just in adding members, but in putting ourselves out there and working with our brethren who aren't traditionalists, but still agree with us on all doctrine and 95% of everything else.  Our kids play with their kids.  As time goes on, it is going to be tough to continue the stigma.

2.)  We are more motivated.  In the end, despite their protests, they really aren't invested in the words "radtrad" and "radical traditionalsit."  If they stopped using them, they won't notice a difference.  We certainly will.  So they will offer their nonchalant defenses, and we will offer our motivated defense.  Who wins in the end given such circumstances?

3.)  If nothing changes, simple generational inertia kicks in.  For once, traditionalists can proclaim that if we do nothing, we (inevitably) get what we want.

Yet why wait?  Let's give the status quo an occasional push.


  1. I've already answered much of this, many different ways. You don't want to have a dialogue about it. Your choice. Without a dialogue, it's just preaching. And most preaching is to the choir and so doesn't move the situation forward: doesn't affect those outside the choir. It's just a bunch of folks "in the club" rah-rah-in' each other.

    Preaching and cheerleading and pep talks are great and quite necessary in life. You have quite a talent for it. But don't confuse them with rational dialogue and discussion.

    The offer remains open to come and talk to me (the most verbose defender I know of, of "radtrad") about an alternate term for "radtrad." I think my favorite at the moment is "radically reactionary Catholics" or "RRCs" for short. "Trad" is taken out of it. I would then use that term and "traditionalist" for the ones who aren't extreme and quasi-schismatic.

    I understand that you don;'t like any labels or terms. We disagree on that. It's a compromise, to take out what chiefly irks you guys ("trad" being included in "radtrad").

    I'm perfectly willing, but I WON'T do so if the status quo response to my offer continues to be (from your mates) that I am 1) insincere; merely grandstanding, and/or 2) not serious; and/or 3) suggesting absurdities. There obviously has to be some positive two-way interaction in a workable compromise.

    All three insults are untrue. You say you don't like "radtrad". I disagree with the reasoning, because it is fallacious, but in charity and for the sake of unity I'm willing to talk and compromise and at least get "trad" out of whatever term I choose (and I WILL still use some term; sorry, that's just the reality of sociology, life, and apologetics).

    Fr. Dwight Longenecker disagreed with you and has no intention of stopping the use of "radtrad." You treated him with great respect.

    I'm coming along willing to (unlike him) compromise and negotiate for a scenario where there can be more unity and less division and misunderstanding and hurt feelings.

    What is the response to my positive proposal? We saw what it was yesterday. What will it be today and in the future?

    1. I'm curious Dave as to what you want one to say of your proposal if in fact they think it is absurd? How is that an insult to you? Should I patronize you and tell you that it is great that you took the time to make such an effort? Or should I just tell you the truth?

      Whether I like your proposal or not really doesn't matter. You don't answer to me. You threw them out there, ostensibly for comment. Don't get all worked up if the comments aren't positive. That's all part of the risk. Clearly you have a challenge when it comes to dealing with so-called "traditionalists." As I would say to one of my clients, "How is your current chosen approach working for you?" (You don't have to answer that here.)

    2. "Clearly you have a challenge when it comes to dealing with so-called 'traditionalists.'"

      Really? I have no problem at all talking to many dozens (if not scores or hundreds) who are on my FB list. We get along fine. Go check out all the likes and vigorous discussion on my thread today about receiving Communion from the priest only. I was just talking to one a few moments ago. I have several "trad" friends in real life (some with names everyone here would know).

      My main difficulty is with radtrads, not trads, and we all know why that is. They despise being corrected, just as every sort of belief-system does. No one likes to be told that they're wrong.

      As I said before on the other site, I'm through trying to dialogue with you. I answered here out of courtesy. Don't expect me to reply any more. It's not even personal. I have nothing against you personally. You just think everything I write about (on this topic, anyway) is "absurd" and "not serious."

      So further attempts at dialogue are perfectly futile. I can call a spade a spade, just as you can. Why waste my time? And why do you waste yours, given your views?

      Just preach like Kevin does and please keep me out of it, since we are at cross-purposes.

    3. Glad to hear all is well with you and your many "traditionalist" friends. It's clear that anyone who disagrees with you is just a "rad trad."

      Very clean. Very simple.

      Best of luck.

    4. Sorry to befuddle you with facts. I know they are wearisome to you, but we all have our blind spots.

  2. If I'm one who just refuses to discuss things with you, ..... why are you here? Do you think coming here and trying to lampoon me is going to somehow alter my opinion?

    I for one have already said I'm glad you are willing to compromise, and if you do something concrete, then we know you are serious in addition to being sincere.

    Like I said, show a good faith offering to everyone. Drop the subject for awhile, and ask for input privately, where you won't respond, but you will listen. Don't come here insulting me, thinking that will change my mind.

    You want to come back in peace, come back in peace. You don't, then you don't, and you know what to do.

  3. Because you keep saying these things, over and over as if no one has offered any reply or any different solution.

    I didn't insult at all. I used colorful language.

    You always get testy whenever you are disagreed with. All of a sudden now I'm the big meanie with cooties again. If it's your wish, I don't have to ever come here again. Just say the word.

    Either you are for free exchange of ideas or you aren't.

    If I'm not allowed to disagree here, I won't BE here at all.

    You're always welcome on my site. You can give your opinions, whatever they are (as long as you don't insult others), and will be treated respectfully by myself and everyone else (or else they will be outta there; I banned two people today for insulting language).

  4. Just admit you insulted me, I can take it. Me and Pete Vere insult each other all the time. Still good friends. :) Maybe I even deserved it.

    I personally didn't see myself a testy, but that's the nature of the internet for you.

    And Jeff and Dave, please play together nicely. Daddy has to work for a living, and can't continually come home from work to scold you both with a paddle.

    1. The "Daddy" metaphor is creepy.

    2. That's about all me and Jeff agree on: that you ain't our "daddy"! I'm more than old enough to be yours (though that never matters to you if you are in the mood to lecture me like a snot-nosed kid). ;-)

    3. Dave,

      We actually agree on almost everything. The only thing we differ on is the use of the term "rad trad" or any other attempts to label groups that ultimately marginalize those whom we hope to correct.

      Please note, the only thing I called "absurd" were your suggestions for new labels instead of "rad trad." I didn't say you weren't serious nor did I downplay your attempts at finding common ground. I just think you grossly missed the mark. Like a kicker going for a field goal, you were way, wide right.

      You talk about "compromise". I really don't have anything to compromise on. I think the practice of labeling in cases like this is just plain counterproductive and if you go back to my first attempt to make that case with you on your blog, I laid all the reasoning out very extensively.

      Now you don't have to take my advice. And I can live with that. But there really is nothing to compromise on at this point. I don't mean this in a negative way, but I'm not your friend. That doesn't mean that I don't like your or anything like that but rather to highlight that I am under no obligation to bring these things up to you other than I think a change of approach would be better for you and everyone. What you choose to do with that advice is your own. But please don't further characterize this as no one has either engaged you or taken you seriously because that just isn't accurate.

    4. And if we are all in disclosure mood....

      Why did I think your first attempt wasn't serious? Because it ended after 20 hours. Now you say you are back again and looking to figure something out. If that is accompanied with a (at least temporary) ceasing of using the term until you figure out an alterantive, I would say that is one very serious attempt.

      I'm sure there are others. We are reasonable people. Afterall, we are not Communists.

    5. I'm not gonna cease using "radtrad" until I have another, and I hope to do so with active participation of the trads who are so concerned about this, so it is a true cooperative effort. You still seem to have but a dim understanding of the nature of compromise itself. One side doesn't just lay down and die and completely capitulate to the other's "demands." It's mutual; egalitarian.

      I haven't done anything wrong, as I see it. I now have my second thread up, begging and pleading trads to come participate in the discussion. You haven't yet, because if you don't get your way you take your ball and go home. So I'm lookin' for other "traditionalists" who will.

      My reaction was perfectly understandable. It's akin to reaching out to help someone up and getting punched in the face for doing so and having one's m,otives for trying to help questioned. So my very natural human reaction was "to hell with it! These people refuse to accept any positive, conciliatory gesture." my initial hopefulness and enthusiasm had a big bucket of cow manure dumped all over it (and on me too).

      That's being a human being. I'm not an automaton. Just because I became disgusted over yet more slander has no relation whatever to the sincerity of my proposal. I already explained this, but you obviously didn't get it and probably won't now. But I trust that others reading will.

      I am going to use some term: either "radtrad" or an alternative. I'm not gonna use no terms. I've explained why; that ain't gonna happen. If those of you who despise "radtrad" want to participate in a better solution, to get "trad" out of the word, then come talk to me and your input can help bring it about. It can be a net gain.

      You don't get all yo want; nor do I (I think "radtrad" is perfectly fine and defensible as well). But it's a better scenario than we have now. I'm the only one actually willing to do something different and more positive. Talk is cheap. I'm willing to change the usage and modify past papers. That's real. It's real charity. It's not just a game; it's not grandstanding, etc.

    6. Again, I don't think the whole "need to compromise" paradigm is apt.

      Instead, it is as if I point out to you that you are driving your car on the unpaved shoulder of a road. It's not good for your suspension, risks getting a flat tire and generally makes your car dirty. Now if you want to come back to me and say, "How about we compromise on that observation and I only drive halfway on the should and halfway on the road?" I'd say do what you want but my observations remain.

      Use whatever terms you feel are necessary. I'm just pointing out the shortcomings of your approach.

      BTW, I don't post on Facebook (don't have an account). So please don't assume that my lack of appearance there means anything .

  5. In my mind I didn't! I said you were "Preaching and cheerleading" and giving "pep talks" -- which is what I literally believe most of your posts are. You come right out and say you don't want to dialogue about it. Therefore, by definition and your own report, it is a one-way thing: a monologue, lecture, sermon,or, more colorfully but still accurately, "cheerleading" and "pep talks".

    I don't think those are bad things, which is why I said that they "are great and quite necessary in life." Thus, if I beluieve that, I obviopusly neither believe that they are, nor do I intend them to be "insults." It's a piece of rational argument.

    My point was only that you were not engaging in "rational dialogue and discussion": meaning a back-and-forth exchange with someone who differs. That;s different from saying you are wholly irrational, period. Not what I said. It's rational; just not a dialogue and discussion (back-and-forth) because you flat-out refuse to do it, as you've said many times.

    I'm done with Jeffrey, as stated. He'll probably keep nipping at me, but what can I do?

    You and Pete have those hotheaded Irish and Latin temperaments. I'm laid-back, cool Scottish / English (tomorrow I go to the Highland Games); have no need to insult anyone. LOL

    But I can sure make a pointed barb and engage in acerbic / sarcastic wit (like Jesus and Paul did). For some folks, those sting all the more, I suppose. But I don't see hard-edged wit as an insult (if at all) in anywhere remotely near how I was insulted last night at Catholic Lane, with this clown saying I was completely insincere in my proposal (and you and Jeff saying I was sincere but not serious and neck-deep in the absurd).

    THOSE are true insults. Saying you are cheerleading (and then saying that this is a good thing) is not that at all.

  6. If, e.g., you hounded me off of here because I disagree too much, on my site I would then say you were an intellectual coward (I don't say that exclusive preaching rather than dialogue amounts to that; it doesn't).

    You would then say (based on your argument above) that this is an "insult." I would say it is a statement of demonstrable fact, based on the behavior exhibited.

    Monologue in and of itself is not tantamount to intellectual cowardice. Lots of great preachers throughout history. I just read cardinal Newman saying he was no good at debate. It wasn't his forte. Scott Hahn says this about himself (thanked me for defending him one time against a severe critic), and no one denies that he is theologically brilliant. But disallowing of other viewpoints in the same venue, simply because they are different, would be that, in my book.

    You haven't done that if I am allowed to give a "dissenting" view here. But if you say I can no longer do so, then watch out for what I'll say! You already know cuz I just told ya.

    Always two sides to every coin . . .

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  8. Okay, just for the record, as someone who considers himself a traditionalist, I think Dave Armstrong was sincere about changing the label "RadTrad" from the get go if someone suggested a better alternative.

    I also don't really have a problem with labels; the question is, "Are they accurate?" For instance I distinguish between macro and micro evolution because I don't want to type out the characteristics of each just to avoid a perfectly understandable label.

    Further, perhaps a label should just be given to all "traditionalists" rather than trying to distinguish between Rad Trad and regular "traditionalists." I say this because when it comes right down to it, when conservative Catholics (or I think Glendon Cheshire's term "Conciliar Conservative" is pretty good) start talking about Rad Trads I think they (whether wittingly or not) are talking about most traditionalists.

    Setting aside the minority (who I almost have never run across) of Rad Trads who deny the holocaust, if someone argues that the Traditional Latin Mass is objectively superior vis a vis the New Mass, that there are problems with the New Mass (and not just its abuses), that allowing altar girls was a bad decision, etc. then I would say you are talking about a regular traditionalist and not a "Rad Trad" (or, conversely, pretty much all traditionalists are therefore "Rad Trads").

    So find a good label by all means but when Glendon Cheshire was describing traditionalism in previous comments and was called a "Rad Trad" I would then say that just about all traditionalists are therefore "Rad Trads" as he was describing mainstream traditionalist thought pretty accurately.

  9. Brennan,

    I think we can agree there is some utility in grouping people according to a preconceived notion. I just think there are some real limitations (some of which you outline) that become so pronounced due to how they play out in reality (and the blogosphere is not reality!), I just tend to think we need to call error error and truth truth.

    Besides, I think, right now, it is entirely counterproductive from an evangelical standpoint. John Paul II proposed ways to think about the faith that tried to deny none of their foundations but didn't alienate people from the get go. Benedict XVI liberalized the Latin Mass to enrich the liturgical reform, but also as a way to heal a rift that was pretty pointless not just between the SSPX and the church, but those who loved the Latin Mass within the Church and those who weren't huge fans. As John Allen rightly notes, the one theme of Francis' pontificate is "mercy."

    In this climate we're going to plant our flag upon a term invented as an insult for a polemical age? Or if we choose something else, still use it as an insult which you know will stigmatize people? It seems entirely alien to the times. how often do you think people are going to come back to full communion when they have some insulting name attached to them?

    Maybe there is an alternative, and maybe someone can present it properly. A lot of us are skeptical though. If Dave or someone else can do it, more power to them. I still think that before they do any of this, they should go sit down with traditionalists in the flesh and ask how the names impact them, even the "good" ones.

    This isn't really a matter of "right" and "wrong", and hence it isn't a "debate" as several people (and I think in the end Glendon fell into that trap) ended up framing it. It's a matter of approach and degree, and several of us are simply proposing a different one, because the current approach ain't workin.

    My modest approach is still if we must use labels, let's not use ones the other side finds completely insulting.

  10. Hi Kevin, I agree with what you say here. I also don't use terms in writing like "Neo-Catholic" (although I think I understand it) because I know others find it insulting.

    Thus I gravitate towards terms like "conservative" or "Conciliar Conservative" because I don't think they are inherently derogatory.

    What others call us traditionalists is a different matter. I had suggested the term "Post-Conciliar Reactionaries" (or PCRs) because I do think traditionalists have reacted against the New Mass, altar girls, communion in the hand, etc. (and rightly so, I would add).

    But I still think when it comes right down to it most "conservative" Catholics disagree strongly with mainstream traditionalist positions and consider them quasi-schismatic so maybe they should just find a word that encompasses all of us. Because it's not just the fringe elements they disagree with as far as I can see, it's the whole approach.


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