FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: Fr. Longenecker: Why I Love Trad Catholics
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2

From the Standing On My Head blog comes this, from Fr. Longenecker:




Why I Love Trad Catholics
January 17, 2014
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker


Yet again in the blogosphere there have been some storms about traditionalist Catholics. “Was Michael Voris attacked by this person or that person? We must rally to his defense!” “Is Michael Voris a real traditionalist or not?” “Did Pope Francis attack traditionalists by calling them ‘self absorbed,  promethean, neo pelagians?”

While I have criticized certain trends within the traditionalist movement from time to time, I’ve always tried to also express my admiration and respect for the majority of traditionalist Catholics who are good and faithful sons and daughters of the church.

I’m not a traditionalist. To quote Fr.Z, I just want to “say the black and do the red”. In other words, I want to live my life as a Catholic priest where I am today in this situation in the twenty first century–realizing that things are not perfect–but knowing that they never have been. Within that I try to be faithful to my vocation as a Benedictine oblate and a Diocesan priest.

But while I am not a traditionalist, I appreciate them and here’s why:

One of the riches of the Catholic Church is her  unity and diversity. Within the Catholic big tent we have different religious orders, ecclesial movements and associations of the faithful. Some of these are formally organized and recognized–others are more amorphous but still identifiable. We have different tastes, different trends, different tendencies. The Lord has given us many ways to follow Christ. Each of these different traditions, spiritualities, emphases and disciplines offer particular strengths and weaknesses. Each of them have a particular charism and something to offer the whole church.

The reason I love traditionalists is the same reason I love Franciscans or Charismatic Catholics or Jesuits or Missionaries of Charity or Friars of the Renewal or Priests for Life or Benedictines or Legionnaires….and on and on and on. Each of these groups or sub-categories in the church offer the whole church a particular vision and aspect of the whole truth, and members of each group serve the church best by being faithful to Christ within their path. The traditionalists offer us a reminder of the hermeneutic of continuity. They work hard to bring forward the best in our Catholic traditions of spirituality, liturgy, music, art and architecture. They remind us of the call to radical discipleship and the need to love the Lord with our whole heart.

When traditionalists live out their traditional Catholic faith with zeal, joy and love for others they will evangelize and grow the church in a truly authentic and wonderful way, but this can also be said of Catholics in any of the other sub groups. A radiantly authentic Franciscan or Benedictine–a joyful Missionary of Charity, Dominican or Jesuit will do the same. The key thing to remember is that we are following Christ the Lord. He comes first–not our particular sub-set–no matter how beautiful, good and true it happens to be.

Are there negativities within the traditionalist movement? Are there crazies and dangerous extremists? Of course. So what? Every sub group in the Catholic Church (every parish and family for that matter) has crazies and dangerous extremists. It’s part of the wonderful width of the Catholic Church. What each sub group needs to realize is that the individuals in the sub group best serve the church by being as faithful as possible to their charism and calling, while not expecting everyone else to be like them. It is wrong for a person who is keen on Cursillo, for example, to demand that everyone in the parish go on a Cursillo retreat. We can’t all be monks in the desert nor should we be. It is right for Charismatic Catholics to be gung ho on the gifts of the Spirit, for example, but not right to expect every other baptized person to speak in tongues and love praise and worship songs.

This is not to endorse a kind of Catholic relativism in which everybody should just do as they please. Within the diversity we have unity in our obedient allegiance to the magisterium. There is an enormous amount of latitude in the Catholic Church, but there boundaries. History shows that any sub group can become corrupt, twisted, heretical or schismatic. It happens. This is why all of the sub groups in the Catholic Church are to be committed not only first and foremost to following Jesus Christ, but also being submissive to the authority of his Vicar on earth. Mother Church properly corrects, adjusts and directs both the individuals and the groups within the church. In this way our diversity is celebrated while our unity is affirmed.

I realize that traditionalists may not appreciate my take on the matter. They may say, “But we are not a sub group of the church. The Latin Mass is the mass of the ages. This is what all Catholics used to do. We’re keeping the true faith! The others are all wrong.” I understand that opinion, but that’s not actually the teaching of the Catholic Church. Like it or not, the second Vatican Council has taken place. Like it or not, by decree or by popular practice, changes have happened. The vernacular Mass is accepted as the Ordinary Form while the Latin Mass is appreciated and valued as the Extraordinary Form. This means that the rituals in Latin are an accepted alternative. I, for one, am glad the Latin rituals are treasured and promoted by traditionalists. They are a gift to the whole church.

Bishop Fellay has criticized this understanding as "the zoo" viewpoint.  "You have these animals over here, those animals over there . . . ."

My own hope is that we learn the savor of a "meat and potatoes" Catholicism, sans Balkanization or self-conscious, ideological traditionalism.
Thanks for the laugh, Vox. Now another reason to pray.

The comments under the article were rather interesting.  While I disagree with Father's treating traditionalism as -- well, merely another nice group in the Church, doing their own thing, like the charismatics (sigh!), I am at least grateful that he does not see us with disdain -- a great leap forward (speaking generally, that is. I know nothing about Father himself and how he sees the world, etc.). I am sad, though, that one trad responded and, instead of talking seriously about the problems with Father's view of trads (which, again, is light years ahead of many other non-trad priests' views of us), lashed out and talked to him in a really nasty manner. That's just NOT the way to make ourselves understood. If we turn off the recipient of our message before we even GET to the message, we've lost. And that commenter gave traditionalism a black mark, even though his passion is understandable (at least to me).

Gosh, it just hit me while writing that:  a lot of trads have a very basic problem with self-mastery with regard to their passions. 

Anyway, I hope that someone with the sort of self-mastery it takes, and the time, would respond to that article in a way that serves Tradition, makes our goals and concerns understood, and sheds some light rather than pure heat. (looking at you, Clare!)

(01-18-2014, 09:20 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]Anyway, I hope that someone with the sort of self-mastery it takes, and the time, would respond to that article in a way that serves Tradition, makes our goals and concerns understood, and sheds some light rather than pure heat. (looking at you, Clare!)

Thanks, Vox, but -- whachoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?  I am far from self-mastery.  Really far.  I believe that I am in the state of grace; I now receive the sacrament of penance weekly.  However, as many of us know, I have a history of sins of lust.  I also struggle with anger, which is not a passion I usually show here on Fisheaters.  (I posted something very angry yesterday in one of the sede threads, but deleted it and replaced it with something more neutral in tone that simply included links to Church teaching.)  Anyway, I'm struggling -- which is good.  Repentance is a process.  God created us as creatures in time for a reason.  We have to remember that about ourselves and others.

But yes, at least I believe that true conversation ("flowing together") is what brings light and truth as opposed to controversy ("flowing against").

I do intend to reply in that thread sometime today.

(01-18-2014, 09:44 AM)Clare Brigid Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-18-2014, 09:20 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]Anyway, I hope that someone with the sort of self-mastery it takes, and the time, would respond to that article in a way that serves Tradition, makes our goals and concerns understood, and sheds some light rather than pure heat. (looking at you, Clare!)

Thanks, Vox, but I am far from self-mastery.  Really far.  I believe that I am in the state of grace; I now receive the sacrament of penance weekly.  However, as many of us know, I have a history of sins of lust.  I also struggle with anger, which is not a passion I usually show here on Fisheaters.  (I posted something very angry yesterday in one of the sede threads, but deleted it and replaced it with something more neutral in tone that simply included links to Church teaching.)  Anyway, I'm struggling -- which is good.  Repentance is a process.

But yes, at least I believe that true conversation ("flowing together") is what brings light and truth as opposed to controversy ("flowing against").

I do intend to reply in that thread sometime today.

Well, you're human like everyone else, of course, but my take on you is that you have the self-mastery enough in situations like this -- ones that involve getting ideas across, explaining things, etc. You're INFJ and not a "toxic trad" type, so that's why you came to my mind for this gig LOL

Anyway, I'm glad you're going to respond to that!  I hope others here do, too. Tim would be great! And Loggats! JoniCath! There are a LOT of really nice trads here who don't have too much or any of the "toxic thing" going on and who, I think, most folks see as "likeable" and who express themselves in ways that non-trads would listen to. My not mentioning other names doesn't mean I don't think others could do the trad world a favor there at all! I've been up a long time, though, so am in my Stupid Mode (I get really STOOPID when I'm tired LOL) 

Bottom line:  Responding to that article is an OPPORTUNITY to help folks understand us trads, why we see Tradition as being extremely important and not just "another style of worship," etc. Father's blog is a well-trafficked one! Carpe diem, y'all!



(01-18-2014, 09:55 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]Carpe diem, y'all!

Which does not mean, "carp daily."   :angrywom:

Thank you. 
(01-18-2014, 05:02 AM)Clare Brigid Wrote: [ -> ]Bishop Fellay has criticized this understanding as "the zoo" viewpoint.  "You have these animals over here, those animals over there . . . ."

My own hope is that we learn the savor of a "meat and potatoes" Catholicism, sans Balkanization or self-conscious, ideological traditionalism.
Agreed.

We are just one of many animals in the "zoo" of the Church.

Which of course is not true.

What was it that Pope St Pius X said?:

"Traditionalists are the true friends of the people".
It's interesting that it's only the sedevacantists and those outside the Church that see traditionalism as exactly that, "a side chapel in the big ecumenical Church". Catholic Traditionalism is just one of many options in the Church today. I think Father L. is dead on. The Church of today had room for many different ways of being Catholic. A faithful Catholic today can be someone who never sets foot in TLM, never touches a Rosary or kneels to receive Communion and who prefers Haugen/Haas to Palestrina. That is the way it is. The sedes have been saying this for years, indult traditionalism appears to be just an option, mere aesthetics and one choice among many. It's hard not to see that it is an interesting view even if you do not take the sede view on other things.
This is the comment I just posted in the comments section below Fr. Longnecker's article:

I'm afraid I disagree with you, Fr. Longnecker, about traditionalism being simply one legitimate preference among many, at least insofar as this movement embraces the traditional Latin Mass. While I accept the Novus Ordo (the "Ordinary Form") as Catholic, I do think the traditional Latin Mass (the "Extraordinary Form") is objectively superior in conveying a sense of the sacred. It might even communicate more grace, all things being equal, because it helps people to be more disposed to receive those graces. That does not mean that I consider the Ordinary Form to be "evil." Not at all. I still attend it when I must, but it just feels very horizontal, bland and flat to me, even at its most reverent.

On the other hand, I think traditionalism, as a movement, harbors elements that make it more pernicious than your irenic, tolerant approach would suggest.

I have had ample experience of traditionalism, including several years at an SSPX chapel. I noticed many of the pathologies identified by others in these comments, so much so that I refuse to call myself a traditionalist. It's not a black-and-white situation, though, as far as I'm concerned. In other words, I won't say, "it's all good." It's not. What's good is really, really good. I would say it's necessary for the Church. Even critically so. But what's bad is really bad. I mean pharisaism, neglect and even hostility toward the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, conspiracism, apocalypticism, and other unfortunate strains.

I don't take the "big tent" view that you do. I think we need, rather, to understand what a "meat-and-potatoes" Catholicism looks like. I think it looks like a Mass that really helps people to pray by leading them more deeply within, to their spiritual heart, where, in fact, they connect more surely and powerfully with their fellow Catholics than handholding or hugging can achieve. It looks like a Church that emphasizes the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, to the point of laying down one's life, just as Pope Francis has been emphasizing. It looks like an insistence on the centrality of Jesus Christ. For me, respected writers like Bl. Columba Marmion teach this kind of Catholicism. We don't need more Balkanization and tribalism, although the Church has always accepted and even fostered diverse spiritualities.

I think the way around the tribalism, whether it is on the "left "or the "right," is to focus on the Gospel. Read the Gospel every day, preferably praying it in lectio divina. When "trads" read the Gospels, they will hear Our Lord's warnings against elevating certain styles of religiosity above all else. They see His emphasis on humility, mercy toward others, and faith. When progressives read the Gospels, they will be confronted by Our Lord's emphasis on the Cross -- dying to oneself, which means that life is not a hootenanny and the Church is not a mere NGO.

As St. John Chrysostom preached, we can worship the Holy Trinity in the beauty of holiness, receiving Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and then serve Him in those in need, partaking of the Sacrament of the Brother.

Unity is found in depth.
Pages: 1 2