Friday, 18 February 2011

Throwing in the towel...

What is it with other bloggers and not publishing my comments? Are they offensive? Or do they fear that I threaten to destroy their Traddieland fantasy by offering clear proofs that it's a load of rubbish? Maybe only other Trad robots who spout the same nonsense are allowed to comment - ''Benedictine altar arrangement mitigates a liturgical abuse,'' ''Summorum Pontificum saved the Liturgy,'' ''most holy father, what a lovely backside you have,'' etc. I'm sorry but since when did we have to be satisfied and grateful with mediocrity provided by the ecclesiastical hierarchy?

On Liturgical Pustule's predictable ''call to arms'' post, a reader left this rather silly comment:

Okay. If we get kicked back to the Ecclesia Dei days, this is what we do.

SACRAMENTAL REVOLT! Organize massive outdoor Solemn Masses with the most in-your-face lace and orchestral choirs. EF loving priests should go on a "Novus Ordo strike" and only say the EF until the sanctions are lifted.

If the bang-your-tambourine, Peter, Paul, and Mary wannabes got us "Eucharistic ministers", communion in the hand, and altar girls through manifest liturgical disobedience, we traddies can use their tactics to protect our Mass!

Honestly, I don't think the doomsday scenario is going to happen. Still, we have to tear a page from the liberal playbook if we want to play tough.

Awwww, Patricius usque ad lacrimas risit! There's nothing more pathetic than an irate Trad!

Don't you people understand? Tradition is stone dead in the Roman Church, stifled by legal positivism and the '62 books themselves. If you want Tradition I'm afraid the only thing you can do in reason is look beyond the visible confines of Roman jurisdiction.

My unpublished comment read thus:

sortacatholic, aren't you traddies supposed to be the obedient sons of Holy Mother Church though? What happened to reasoning with Rome, putting one's case forward honourably etc, which our esteemed '62ist blog host writes of?

I personally would welcome a return to the days of Ecclesia Dei, when bishops had a semblance of authority over liturgical rites in their own dioceses - this seems more traditional to me than this rank Ultramontanism, a by-product of 19th century infallibism.

When these rumours are proved true, and pray God they are swiftly, then you will realise that any revival of Tradition in the Roman Church is doomed to failure - because of a sorry mix of Ultramontanism, legal positivism, episcopal ineptitude, and the '62 books themselves.

As for me, I'll be sitting on the edge of the confines of Romanism with my Anglican friends laughing at you all with a gin and tonic, and thinking that even the Church of England is a better environment for the Sacred Liturgy than the Roman Church ever was, or ever will be.

The above painting is by the Tolkien illustrator Alan Lee, and depicts the bleak view of the Ashen Mountains over the Dead Marshes. What was it that Tolkien said about the hideous wasteland that lay about Mordor? I don't have my copy of The Lord of the Rings to hand so I put the sense into my own words: that it would be the lasting monument to the dark labour of Sauron, when all his purposes would be made void. I often think of this apt description, and sometimes of Wren's tomb in St Paul's, whenever I write about Liturgy.

You want my counsel? Put zero trust in the Roman authorities. They know nothing about Liturgy and seek only the suppression of Tradition. If you want the real thing, look rather to your own good sense....I can just imagine the Traddies reading this now, ''oh dear, he's become Protestant...''


  1. The failure of Benedict XVI's pontificate (and it IS a failure) is going to have a profound effect on "Traddieland." He was the Great White Hope and he's failed to deliver. There is no reason apart from blind faith to believe that his successors will be any better. I notice that some of the more hardline trads like Christopher Ferrara in his most recent editorial for the Remnant are already becoming a little waspish in their references to BXVI. It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. Traddies are past masters at circumventing cognitive dissonance but how long can you go on pretending to practice a two thousand year old religion when in fact it is approximately the same age as the Beatles?

  2. "If you want Tradition I'm afraid the only thing you can do in reason is look beyond the visible confines of Roman jurisdiction."

    You keep repeating this ad nauseam. If you no longer believe in the Catholic Church, why don't you take your own advice and, as we say in America, hotfoot it out to greener pastures in the Church of England? It's an honest question. It definitely beats bleating on and on about how dead the Catholic Church is.

    And I'm not a "Traddie" (as you describe it).

  3. Tawser,

    "It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. Traddies are past masters at circumventing cognitive dissonance but how long can you go on pretending to practice a two thousand year old religion when in fact it is approximately the same age as the Beatles?"

    I'm assuming you are Eastern Orthodox, am I correct?

    If so, why are you so intensely interested in seeing "how all this plays out"? Is it some sort of bizarre schadenfreude or something else? You seem to be a reader of The Remnant and other like publications. "Traddies" have nothing to do with the EO churches; why do you evidently bother sneering at them and spending your time reading and writing about them? For sport? Honest question.

  4. James

    Can't speak for Tawser, of course. Goings-on within the RCC are not on the radar of most Orthodox; for those of us who are converts from RCism the perspective is obviously different. We have struggled with these questions ourselves and they continue intimately to afflict numbers of people we love.

    From the security of our destination we can continue taking an interest in the dominant religious culture around us, without the fear of being turned to pillars of salt; indeed, as Fr Georges Florovsky insisted, we have positive duty to do so:

    "Orthodoxy is summoned to witness. Now more than ever the Christian West stands before divergent prospects, a living question addressed also to the Orthodox world… The ‘old polemical theology’ has long ago lost its inner connection with any reality. Such theology was an academic discipline, and was always elaborated according to the same western ‘textbooks.’ A historiosophical exegesis of the western religious tragedy must become the new ‘polemical theology.’ But this tragedy must be reendured and relived, precisely as one’s own, and its potential catharsis must be demonstrated in the fullness of the experience of the Church and patristic tradition. In this newly sought Orthodox synthesis, the centuries-old experience of the Catholic West must be studied and diagnosed by Orthodox theology with greater care and sympathy than has been the case up to now… The Orthodox theologian must also offer his own testimony to this world — a testimony arising from the inner memory of the Church — and resolve the question with his historical findings.”
    - Georges Florovsky, Ways of Russian Theology II, pp. 302-304 (as gleaned from Fr Stephen Freeman).

  5. James C., I am a convert from Roman Catholicism. I care about what happens to the Roman Rite. If I had lived and died before 1960 I would have died a contented RC. But I cannot fathom how the men who were sworn to defend Tradition have marginalized and demonized it. For me, the modern RC church has all the fascination of an installment in the Saw franchise. And since most RCs are so defensive that any criticism of the church is seen as "sneering" or "throwing stones," there is really no point in beating around the bush.

  6. Tawser,

    You are a schismatic who broke ranks when the going got tough, abandoning the Church as She suffers. I don't mean offense but am just stating a fact.

    Considering the above, do you honestly think a regular barrage of smug polemics (practicing a religion "the same age as the Beatles", etc.) from you is likely to convince Catholics that you are right? It is easy to mock when you're already on the outside. Catholics will reasonably conclude that you've abandoned not only the Church but the exercise of charity as well. And what worth is anything without charity?

    So what are you getting out of this except schadenfreude? If the Church is akin to the "Saw" series, surely a bit of dust-shaking off your sandals might do you good? Those of us still in the fight would appreciate having fewer eggs tossed at us from sniggering spectators in the balcony.

  7. At least for my part, it is easy to throw proverbial eggs at Traditionalists because they simply compromise Liturgy and seem to be grateful with mediocrity and abuse provided by the great Mother least modern Traditionalists. Men like Evelyn Waugh would not compromise.

  8. Patricius, they probably didn't publish your comment because it is an example of your increasing twattishness when it comes to baiting trads. You can't expect them to let you do it on their own websites as well...

    While the gin, lace (you will have to learn to like it if you go to many Anglo-Catholic things...) and backbiting may be fun (and it is, I know), you are in danger if you are equating the, ahem, environment in which you are now with real Tradition, Liturgy or Catholicism. You are enjoying your Anglican friends and they are no doubt enjoying you. It is all a great deal of fun. But is it real? I mean, is it the truth? In the CofE as much as anywhere else - Orthodox or Catholic - you have to go to the right places to get real liturgy. It is not the CofE per se which is a better environment, but the clique within the CofE which you have joined. I know it has another advantage over the Catholic clique of similar liturgical inclinations, but that aspect of life isn't everything... Am I trying to convince you or myself??...Anyway...

    I agree with you on many, many things. Indeed, I have rather loved seeing your thinking about not only liturgy but everything else evolve since you started singulare. But your constant carping about "traddies" is not as endearing as when you dress up as an Eastern sub-deacon. Get over the obsession - some RC trads are bonkers. But most are all right. Most enjoy gin and lace (or, in my case appareled amices) as much as the next man.


  9. Again, can't speak for Tawser; it does, however, make a refreshing change to be named (by association) a "schismatic", rather than an "apostate" which is what Romans usually seem to want to call me.

    For the record, I stuck like glue to the Roman Church, through the very worst of times (most of my adult life). It was in fact only when the toxic fog had begun to clear somewhat (in the present pontificate) that the fraudulent nature of her claims became apparent to me and I was able at last to make clear connections between cause and effect; whereupon I fled the counterfeit, where everything is shifting, provisional and contingent, for the rock-like stability of the Catholic Church.

  10. Apropos of nothing, I do love this sketch:

  11. "Again, can't speak for Tawser; it does, however, make a refreshing change to be named (by association) a "schismatic", rather than an "apostate" which is what Romans usually seem to want to call me."

    I wasn't intending to insult but rather to state a fact. You are a schismatic, not an apostate. And if you, a schismatic, are trying to convince Catholics about something that you think is wrong with *their* Church, exhibiting charity in criticism rather than taking pot shots is the most effective way to do so. When you go to someone's house and criticize the interior decorating, it's good to avoid a mocking tone if you wish to convince the homeowner of your opinion. :-)

    I think you've been fair in your criticism, which is why I did not address that post to you.

  12. James C., you might check your own tone before you have the nerve to call someone else uncharitable. All you've done is suggest that people who are critical of the Roman Church should just shut up because your feelings are being hurt. You've made no attempt to offer a counter-argument. If that is the level of discourse to which the church of Innocent III and Pius V has sunk, the future looks pretty grim.

  13. Of course, it doesn't mean very much having the Sacred Liturgy without the doctrine and praxis to go with it - "lex orandi" is one thing, but "lex credendi" and "lex vivendi" must go with it...

  14. Late to defend myself. Whatever, here goes.

    First, the post you mention was only half serious. C'mon, the "Peter, Paul and Mary" reference? Not even a chuckle? (Actually, I'm a huge 60's folk and folk-rock fan. Just don't play it in church.) I don't expect a phalanx of men dressed in glittertastic baroque replica vestments to storm a football pitch anytime soon. Is a little hyperbole okay, or should I return to the quiet room?

    "Progressive Catholics" normalized their innovations through guerrilla liturgical tactics. Their disobedience paid dividends in the eventual capitulation of episcopal conferences and even Popes. I do not necessarily advocate this style of ideological warfare. Its effectiveness must be conceded nevertheless.

    Spare me the laughter and tears. I'm not ultramontanist in the least. Many traddies would consider me to be quite liberal. I'm still very critical of Pope Benedict's unjust decision to not cut 'n' paste the 1970 Good Friday bidding prayers straight into the 1962 Missal. Vernacular readings and certain Novus Ordo propers in the EF? Sounds like a great idea to me. I even support an integration of the new three-year lectionary into the EF missal or at least the addition of an Old Testament "prophesy" to Masses that do not already have an OT "epistle". The Remnant and Rorate Caeli crowd would definitely not hang with me for these reasons alone. Good riddance -- the anti-Semitism and boorish conspiracy theories of the Catholic hyper-right need a good airing out anyway.