Confusion, Catholicism, and my reconversion
#4
What kept me away for a long time from exploring the Latin Mass and then identifying as a traditionalist (after I had started going) was precisely the "holier-than-thou" attitude of the traditionalists around me. One of the vivid memories I have from when I was a diocesan seminarian was a self-styled traditionalist, who was also in seminary with me, ranting about how the church music I liked at the time was trash. Yet as I later found out, this same seminarian was having sexual relations with a woman! Not infrequently, he would have too much alcohol at social gatherings that the seminarians were invited to. He also used a lot of profanity, which is certainly inappropriate for a seminarian.

Despite all that, he was still right about the music! Yet the impression of disgust that his ugly character left in me hardened my heart to considering the truth of his comments.

It's true that truth is truth, yet we aren't calculators. It's not as simple as input-output. Prudence is the virtue that considers and chooses the best means to the proper end. Zeal that isn't directed by prudence is a vice, specifically false zeal. Out of love for the truth, we may nevertheless scorn our neighbor, yet the Truth demands that we love our neighbor, and the truth is for the sake of our salvation as well as our neighbor's. A false zeal can be terribly damaging and dangerous, depending on its extent.

If this seminarian had first taken the time to understand why I could love bad music and then show me with patience why this music was not fitting for liturgy, he could have presented that aspect of the traditional faith in a winsome manner that is rare to find. In fact, the problem was that he didn't realize that I loved that music not for its liturgical qualities but its psychological qualities.

The anonymity built into the internet (at least for the average user) is apt to foster a mob mentality. Certainly much of what is said online would never be said to a person's face. The disconnect makes it even harder to properly assess a person's situation as well as the best means to help him. It's not infrequent that a person who is new to tradition upon asking a simple question is bombarded with technical details by well-meaning traditionalists. What is a simple question to the person was the unknowing opening of Pandora's box, and before you know it, people are scrutinizing the person's question to incredible extents and then making all sorts of assumptions about the person's character.

Another problem that comes with standardized literacy and the internet is that all information is placed on an equal playing field. It is impossible without additional guidance and foreknowledge to discern the wheat from the chaff. Most people think reading Wikipedia is fine, and most of the time it is, except when it isn't. How would you know when it isn't? Well, you would already be past the point of needing to read a Wikipedia article. Where do you find that information? Good luck...

The best way to develop a proper Catholic mindset is to read the writings of the pre-internet era, the time-tested classics of Catholic devotion and spirituality and the basic catechisms. This is the first requisite.
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RE: Confusion, Catholicism, and my reconversion - by piscis - 10-08-2019, 08:44 PM



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