Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Metting Halfway

Something happened during the debate surrounding "radtrad" and "radical traditionalist." No, everyone didn't suddenly convert to the position they disagreed with before.  Instead, I think everyone is regressing to the mean after some initial bumps in the road.

Fr. Longenecker has a pretty solid post here for a variety of reasons.  He may state he still uses the term "radtrad", but I think he's meeting his critics halfway.  He realizes there is a serious tribalism problem in the Church, and it's not just traditionalists.  He also realizes that, contrary to the assertions of some, there really can be a legitimate traditionalist charism within the Church.

But wait, doesn't he tell us all to simply be "Catholic?"  He does, and I would certainly agree.  There are a lot of ways of expressing the Catholic faith.  Provided one holds to all the doctrines of Holy Mother Church, respects their station in life, and gives due obedience to superiors in lawful commands, Catholics should be free to express their Catholic faith as they see fit.  This kind of legitimate diversity is praiseworthy, and is diametrically opposed to the tribalism Benedict XV condemned in Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, which tended to imply that the Catholicism practiced by this or that group was different, or being blunt, superior than the dreaded other.  Everyone always talks about how Benedict said "Let Catholic be my name, and Christian my surname", but I really think the more relevant quote is the one he says just before that:

As regards matters in which without harm to faith or discipline-in the absence of any authoritative intervention of the Apostolic See- there is room for divergent opinions, it is clearly the right of everyone to express and defend his own opinion. But in such discussions no expressions should be used which might constitute serious breaches of charity; let each one freely defend his own opinion, but let it be done with due moderation, so that no one should consider himself entitled to affix on those who merely do not agree with his ideas the stigma of disloyalty to faith or to discipline.
It is precisely for these reasons I think the term "radtrad" should be dropped.  Yet barring that, I think the good father offers some advice that if taken, will lead to that outcome.  He wants people to stop sitting in their tribes, and go out to others.  Get out of our comfort zones.  Think trads are just what you see on blogs?  Go meet them, talk amongst them, and see for yourself.  Think those attending the Ordinary Form "Neo-Catholics" are still one step away from a clown mass?  Go for yourself and find out, but barring that, actually speak to them, and see if you can really justify continuing to believe that.

I think in the end, this is a win win.  I'm convinced the more people spend time amongst the dreaded "other", the less these insulting terms are used.  That also means we traditionalists have to put our best foot forward.  That's for another time though.  This is just something to think about in the present.

There will be one more column at Catholic Lane about the issue (mainly focused as to how traditionlaists can do their part to eliminate the word, mainly start following Wheaton's Law!)  I wrote this stuff hoping to help others challenge the status quo, and I think we've seen some great success on that part.  These terms weren't invented yesterday, and there will be many tomorrows before they pass, if they ever do.  In th meantime, we can always just stand fast to what is good in all that we do, and slowly but surely purge out the bad with the help of God's grace.

I might come back to the issue a little bit next week after the Catholic Answers show (which started all this), but I honestly doubt it.  They won't bring anything new to the table.  I do think people should call in and challenge them when they have the show next week.  Challenge them why they use such terminology, and bring to light that even some of their allies, in the interests of making progress, have dropped the term.

All in all, this was a pretty productive week on the topic.


  1. I'm looking forward to the Catholic Lane post. This name-calling isn't just an issue in traditionalist vs. non-traditionalist circles.

  2. Look Monday probably. Still mulling it over in my head. The thing you saw last night is heading to Catholic Exchange tomorrow after about 50 rewrites over the past two weeks. Same with the previous CL column. Now that these two particular headaches are out of the way, maybe I can get to the point where I say what I want..... in only 25 rewrites.

  3. Productive week indeed. I remain optimistic that we can see a core of "Catholics" (at least in the Catholic blogosphere) eschew tribalism and labeling of groups that promote such distinctions in the "universal" Church. I again openly applaud Dave Armstrong for taking such a step. I think it speaks very well for him as this effort speaks well for you Kevin.

    (Hi Karee!)

  4. What a pretty busy week. I'm sure your efforts will not go to waste. Anyway, thank you for sharing this article! It was very interesting and I am looking forward to reading the Catholic Lane post.

  5. I wonder why traditionalist get the catchy nickname and a radio show named after them. Why no 'livid liberals' or defiant dissidents'?

  6. "I'm convinced the more people spend time amongst the dreaded "other", the less these insulting terms are used."

    Catholics who support abortion, homosexual marriage and women priests. Sorry but I have nothing to learn from that 'other'.

    1. Except how to speak their language, and know their strategy. Learn how they go after those who are wobbling in their faith, and the ways to stop them.

      I'm not saying becoming their best friends. Yet if I'm going to unleash the fury of combatting erroneous views, I wanna make darn sure the person I'm unleashing against actually holds those views in obstinance.

    2. The only language we need to know is the Truth. We are told to speak the Truth with charity but when dealing with obvious dissidents that causes confusion. Sometimes you have to drop the hammer. When we see no action being taken against obvious dissidents like the 'nuns on the bus' and high profile 'catholics' who publicly speak out against Church teaching, it's no surprise that some would want come up with a label to disassociate from them. Do you really want to group their ilk under the umbrella of Catholicism?

    3. If they've performed an act that seperates themselves from the Church, we call them excommunicated.

      If they obstinately believe something, we call them a heretic, or at least someone holding positions that, if held in knowledge of what the Church teaches, means they should not call themselves a Catholic. There is nothing wrong with pointing these facts out. It is just, and charitable, not only to the person holding such beliefs, but to everyone surrounding them.

      Outside of that, we have good Catholics, and we have rotten Catholics. We have tjhose who believe things in ignorance, and those who believe things in arrogance. Most of these individuals don't deserve the hammer. We can say they are Bad Catholics, Catholics who need to be better formed, etc.

      Yes, the only language we need to speak is the truth. Yet one needs to know how best to use that language. that's all part of speaking charitably. Speaking in charity isn't just speaking nice.


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