Church Decline After Vatican II?
Theres a part of me that agrees that we ought to put aside infighting for the greater good of souls and all that, but it's hard to do that when various groups like the FSSP, SSPX, Sedes and conservative Pauline Rite Catholics all have differing ideas of what constitutes Tradition and what response to take to the crisis. Most of us agree that there is a crisis, but not all of us agree about the meaning of Tradition or how to respond to it. This is a challenging situation.

On a personal individual level there's no reason to hate fellow Catholics whether they attend SGG in Ohio, the local EWTN style Pauline Mass or the SSPX chapel, but how do we actually come together outside friendly conversation and debate online or in person? The SSPX, Sedes and new rite Catholics have such different understandings of everything from what constitutes Tradition, the meaning of obedience and what that entails to just how to respond to the crisis.

I've always been more comfortable on the periphery than part of a group and so I sometimes feel like it really shouldn't matter how people deal with the crisis as long as they try to keep the Faith, they pray and they love our Lord, but there's that nagging part of me that says yes, it really does matter whether you are in full communion with the hierarchy or not.  At the same time I've wondered whether or not it does matter at all considering it's hard to tell whether a given pope, bishop or priest is really Catholic or not.  If the hierarchy seemingly destroyed the externals of the Faith, and continue so spectacularly to say and do things that directly and obviously contradict what we know to be Catholic than why be in communion with them? I have no real answer to that one.

At heart I wonder if there really is more to this idea of spiritual ecumenism than meets the eye, or whether ultramontanism as it grew up from the middle ages to its zenith in the mid 20th century ought to just die and be forgotten after having done way more harm than good.  How much authority should the Pope have, and what does obedience really entail? Can we not just somehow mysteriously meet through prayer whether we are Sedes, SSPX folks,run of the mill Catholics or even Copts or Russian Orthodox? There is a deep tension in my own life when I think of all these things. I'm sure I'm not alone. I don't think there is a simple answer.

At this point in my own life I don't know where I really stand vis a vis the crisis or what I need to do to remain faithful as a Catholic. I pray daily, get to confession once a month and attend Mass when I can, but I'm not sure other than that where I stand. Maybe I ought to just keep my head down, keep doing what I'm doing and try to remain faithful to prayer. I certainly feel burned out on all the debates and everything, not just here but everywhere. Perhaps I ought to just pretend it's the great western schism and there's no way to know who the real pope is or what to do,and so the only sane thing is to simply pray, get the sacraments where I can and leave my life and the life of the Church up to God.
Yes, I agree with formerbuddhist. The fighting occurs precisely because, as we've seen even in the course of this thread, there is no precise notion of tradition, although we do have a precise® notion of Sacred Tradition. But still, we don't know what the concrete implications of even Sacred Tradition are aside from the obvious things like convert, pray, receive the Sacraments, accept Church doctrine.

On the other hand it is also clear that a lot of fighting happens due to unholy personality flaws as Vox has noted repeatedly (toxic trad types). When we're confused, we're vulnerable and susceptible to pain; this triggers the fight or flight response. The flight response, I think, manifests itself more towards former's attitude of living a quiet, peaceful Christian life as best as we can. I don't think that's a bad response at all, actually, nor do I think the fighting response is necessarily wrong either. Both are signs of vitality in the life of the Church, but when taken to extremes become exercises in pride or despair.

It's hard, for example, when someone who attends an SSPX chapel tries to talk to FSSP folk, and the moment it comes out that they go to an SSPX chapel, there is that awkward silence that communicates only, "You are no longer one of us." And usually the follow up questions are along the lines of, "So, do you think Pope Francis is pope? You know the priests are suspended." Etc. etc.

Well then! God bless you, brother or sister in Christ dear, but I think that's the end of any friendly relations, isn't it?

I think it's fair to say, and I have this myself to an eminent degree, that there is a certain neurotic tendency among many traditionalists, who fixate themselves on minutiae and are unable to have the wisdom to see the bigger picture, all in the name of "preserving proper formulations of doctrine" at the expense of actual pastoral consideration for the person I'm talking to here and now.
(08-08-2015, 01:03 AM)richgr Wrote: Recently, I've wondered what is the state of traditionalist Catholics as traditional who have grown up in traditional communities but don't seem to care or know much about what is important to the traditional movement. They are traditional perhaps only nominally. It's a saddening thing to see.

I'm also continuing to reflect on how tradition (lowercase) could ever be presented as a "better option" in a pluralistic society, especially one that emphasizes individual choice, independence, self-determination, and all the regular values of liberalism etc. Obviously there needs to be a mass takeover of all the major aspects of society and culture, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be enough people to do that.

Anyway, it's been interesting to discuss all this...

I don't know why you should be surprised by this (frankly, I don't know why I'm surprised, as I still fall into despair by seeing how much sin there still is among trads, and not simple infighting). Apostates will apostatize. This has always happened and always will happen until the coming of our Lord.
Now, back in the day appearances were stronger. So, while there certainly were laodiceans back then and even unbelievers, they didn't carry a smart phone with them to keep chatting while they kneel during the Canon (yep, this happens).
Social pressure to be/look faithful was greater, even if it wasn't taken seriously.
There was a sermon by the Vatican preacher, I think from the reign of BXVI, about that parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. He basically noted that today the Pharisees are the Publicans: the pressure is on being a rebel, on being unfaithful, on mocking religion. And today the Publicans are the “Pharisees”: the folks who care about religion are a bit of a pariah, are the butt of the joke, etc. So, given the new situation we're in its only natural that the typical laodicean will have an extra dose of acedia, the apostate keeping the appearances will be more audacious and even the run of the mill, common, frequent stumbler Catholic will fail more when in broader society.

About not knowing the precise definition of tradition (small t): frankly, I don't know. I think some of us (depending where we live) still have enough Catholic capital to make for a strong Church, teaching and preserving Sacred Tradition and full of traditions. The only thing missing is a courageous and/or faithful hierarchy.
On the other hand I tend to think we're closer to late antiquity than the Middle Ages, still some of us are still lamenting the fall of the Middle Ages, confused that the Medieval Church is not here any longer.

A passage of the Bible that I often remember when I think about the destruction and the reconstruction of t(T)radition is from Ezdra, when the Isaelites came back from the Babylonian exile. Some folks were cheerful, but the elderly and the priests and levites (so, probably those more attached to tradition) wept, because it was so lacking the glory of Solomon. Its sad, but these things happen, even to things that are to give glory to God.

Quote:But many of the priests and the Levites, and the chief of the fathers and the ancients that had seen the former temple; when they had the foundation of this temple before their eyes, wept with a loud voice: and many shouting for joy, lifted up their voice. So that one could not distinguish the voice of the shout of joy, from the noise of the weeping of the people: for one with another the people shouted with a loud shout, and the voice was heard afar off.

(Btw, God addresses this event in Haggai 2, 3-9).

I don't know what to do about infighting, except refusing participating in it. I've said to a friend of mine that I simply don't criticize (much) traditional folks, especially if they do wonderful works in the real, concrete world, like arranging Masses, choirs, organ music, etc. At least not in a fighting spirit.

I'm only surprised because I've been in a traditionalist community for the first time in my life for less than a year now. Things are pretty new to me in this world.

(08-08-2015, 05:22 PM)richgr Wrote: I think it's fair to say, and I have this myself to an eminent degree, that there is a certain neurotic tendency among many traditionalists, who fixate themselves on minutiae and are unable to have the wisdom to see the bigger picture, all in the name of "preserving proper formulations of doctrine" at the expense of actual pastoral consideration for the person I'm talking to here and now.

What you describe isn't much a trad problem as a very modern problem in that the world isn't much sense, so they need to cling to something, even extremely.  We want a world that makes some rational sense, that is stable, we want true guidance instead we are greeted with ambiguity, discord, and told to make a 'mess'.  I'm not as cynical to say it is a bad thing like some bishops say.  I have a feeling the drop in Mass attendance in pre-Vatican II years in Europe is caused by the mass destruction of European civilization.  After WWI, what was it nearly a quarter of all young french males were dead, entire generation was wiped out.  You get two kind of people after that, those who are going to be so traumatized that they will cling closely to the Faith to be the point of obsession and those who are going to hate God or lose total Faith because what just God would do such a thing.  In the US, we were obviously shielded from such thing which explains why everything was looking rosy, though they were many issues behind the scene namely alcoholism amongst the clergy.

I usually describe myself as fairly balanced, but when I was the Alphabet News Networks and the liberal talking points, I have no idea why on earth anyone could possibly support this and that.  On the flip side, I am sure they wouldn't understand (the difference is they will call me sexist, racist, etc).  However, when you boil it down to what we want, not how we want it.  We are not too dissimilar, we want better education, healthcare, more economic opportunities.  Indeed, there has been shown that really the political divide that has polarized the US is really over nickels and dimes not Benjamins.    Likewise, the difference between the various groups in our camp is probably not as great as we think.  The problem is that there is a lack of historical perspective in the modern world. 

I don't think it is a lack of definitions of tradition that separates us, it is a lack of integration.  We have been isolated, on the fringes, the longer we stay divided, the greater the differences between us will be.  If the bishops in the late 70s had been more empathetic and sympathetic toward us, we wouldn't be having this conversation.  It will take enormous personalities to resolve these issues that we haven't since en masse since Trent.   
Integration is important, but it's hard when it seems as if the Church herself is not integrated. For better or for worse the expression of the Faith exemplified in the average chapel that uses the 1962 Missal is out of touch with the greater Church, it's no longer an expression of the Faith understood or promoted even by popes and bishops. Even in the realm of music,art and architecture the greater Church has moved in a different direction than those of us who prefer the older rites and the signs and symbols that go with them.

How can one be integrated in the larger Church when there are said to be two forms of the same rite and they are radically different from each other in almost everything but the bare essentials? This fragmentation within our own lives mirrors that of the Church herself,especially in her Latin Rite.

We can integrate ourselves within an FSSP, SSPX or Sede community, but we will still feel estranged from the mainstream Church. We could simply assimilate into a conservative or left of center mainstream Pauline Rite community, but than there would be the cognitive dissonance that comes with having to settle for less than ones patrimony.

I'm not sure there are easy answers to this. 

At least in certain eras in the past there was a sense that,if you clung to the Faith the Church herself was behind you but today that doesn't appear to be the case. Strangely, trad chapels ought to visit Orthodox ecclesiology, this notion that the fullness of the Church exists right there in the local parish. Maybe we ought to be more concerned with building up our local communities rather than always looking Romeward. Of course we can't entirely sever communion with Rome, but the local Church is where we take our stand, and perhaps as long as we have a bishop and real priests we can have the fullness of ecclesial life right where we are on the margins.
Of course, you can say that as the 'mainstream' church continues to falter in the West, the beat of the traditional drum will win out.  Not to mention, I believe that there is a natural Catholicism that is current suppressed, but you can't suppress nature for long.

I agree with you, we should focus on building our communities not looking Romeward all the time.  We should take a step back from the ultramontanism with the belief that we are going to get a pope that will undo everything the last 50 years.  Even if that was to happen, that does not fix the problems we currently are in. 

All I want is simply the Faith in continuity with its great history, not cheesy music, not reinventing the wheel, not more laxity.  Above all, I want honesty and maturity.  I don't want to see prelates dance around difficult teachings.  I don't want to see priests invent new things and saying well it is based on something that may or may not happened in the 7th century or earlier.  I don't want to see Encyclicals that don't mention anything before John XIII let alone minimal on Bible verses.  We live in a world of such discontinuity, I just want that one island of sanity, the Rock.  I guess that is too much to ask for.  I am reminded of watching an episode of Mother Angelica from back in the day, she was raising for her convent or the network and they were selling shirts, which she had trouble describing except that they were cheap shirts.  She had a caller, a wife with a lapse husband, she was watching that episode with her husband nearby and when Mother Angelica mentioned that they were well cheap shirts, the honesty from Mother Angelica concerning something trivial like a shirt, actually got the husband to come back to the Church.     
Quote:I don't think it is a lack of definitions of tradition that separates us, it is a lack of integration.  We have been isolated, on the fringes, the longer we stay divided, the greater the differences between us will be. 

But why is there a lack of integration? Isn't the answer ultimately because the traditions of the Church have been shattered, and Sacred Tradition has been cast aside for the modern, liberal values of man?

As you point out yourself, we all know the problems and the suicide of Catholic culture (to take an apt phrase from Donna Steichen).

As I'm saying in another thread, the institutional church or we might call it the mainstream church has for all purposes collapsed. In the West at least, it continues functioning by sheer momentum. I'm not sure how things are fairing in third world countries where Catholicism is said to be booming, but as one priest said, who was invited to lecture a liturgy class at a local seminary, there is no reason why the Roman rite doesn't incorporate the full range of African, Latino, and Asian cultural expressions of the sacred into its liturgy, and to do so presents no compromise to its Roman character, which supposedly has always had a "universal" character to it anyway. There are good priests coming out, but it is in spite of their education.

And the thread on dinosaurs in the other board further illustrates the issue although in a somewhat humorous way. What *do* we say about dinosaurs? I have no idea!

I think your assessment (and Vox said something along the same lines earlier too) about post war Europe destroying the faith of people is onto something. It seems that the wars were only the logical consequence of the trends of modernity and its imperial spirit. Perhaps, as formerbuddhist talks about often, there is something in faith that, while it demands community, even a global community, it seems to react very negatively to strong pushes for uniformity and egalitarianism.

I'm not even sure if tradition will win out by a return to a more natural state. Technology, especially the crazy reproductive stuff, shows no sign of going away. The transhuman, cybernetic, postmodern talk is continuing to crescendo to a frenzied level.
(08-09-2015, 09:01 AM)richgr Wrote: But why is there a lack of integration? Isn't the answer ultimately because the traditions of the Church have been shattered, and Sacred Tradition has been cast aside for the modern, liberal values of man?

Sticking with Sacred Tradition for simplicity, how can there be a discord between the many traditional societies on what Tradition consists? All of them pray (more or less) the Rite formalized by Trent, all of them agree with the vast majority of what was believed always, everywhere and by everybody.
People make much of the differences between FSSP and SSPX seems to be precisely on minutiae. I know some people will strongly disagree with this, but that's what it seems to me (and looks like the Remnant folks take the same position). Some folks even make much of the difference between FSSP, IBP, ICK, etc., but these are definitely exaggerations.

What do you mean by there's no reason the Roman Rite cannot incorporate Latin American or Asian  culture?
The Traditional Roman Rite was the Rite that evangelized these regions (I don't know about Korea, but even in Japan there was a strong Christianization even when it was prohibited, during the great navigations).
Incorporation of a culture into the broader Church and its Rite is not made through simply putting what is perceived as a cultural element somewhere in the Liturgy, but rather comes from the culture really becoming Christian, and then developing a popular piety which in turns influence the Mass, etc. Not in a destructive way, but rather in a subtle way (cf. Ratzinger's Spirit of the Liturgy, pp. 200-203).

Formerbuddhist, I wonder if that is not a bit of an exaggeration. I mean, if you look on youtube for papal Masses its not like the Popes are singing the Sanctus or the Gloria to the tune of My Little Pony. I posted somewhere a video of BXVI praying the Preface, and its not that different (even in the music, the art, the beauty, etc.) from the EF. And of course, BXVI would give communion on the tongue, kneeling. Even Francis' Masses are usually not messed up. I mean, they are what you would consider a conservative, EWTN NOM in Latin.
But even that aside, I know its not the fullness of the Liturgy, etc. But even granting that they were praying the MLP Masses and we were a minority. Wouldn't that put us on the same place as Eastern Catholics are in right now? We have our Rites, our small-t traditions, even our own bishops, and we're minority. How would that be different from Eastern Riters?

Allow me to jump back into this discussion.

When I first started to explain to my husband that I need a 'traditional' Mass he was skeptical. He kept insisting that there is no 'traditional Mass' and that the mass has been developed by the Church over the centuries, and if it has been changed in the past, why can't it be changed now? Well, obviously every time the Mass was changed there was a reason. The Tridentine Mass most obviously being a a response to the Reformation. I could only explain that, as a Protestant, I need this Mass because this is what makes the faith clear to me. Because transubstantiation is expressed best in this Mass and it was transubstantiation that brought me to the Church. The other reasons were aesthetic. So if this element is not properly expressed in the Mass, I struggle to recognize it as Catholic. In fact, our Protestant worship services are much more sincere in what they are than these new NO 'Masses.' I don't even understand what's going on there, it literally fogs my brain and torments my soul. When I spoke to our priest (SSPX) about 'tradition' and changes in the Mass, even he said that he was not against certain 'new' developments, such as reading of the Gospel and Epistles in the vernacular before the homily. Pews also, are not 'traditional', since congregations in former times would stand for the Mass, like the Orthodox still do, but we all use them now without qualm. We could also argue whether vernacular hymns are 'traditional' or not, but this starts to feel like splitting hairs, doesn't it? Like the SSPX vs FSSP debate and other such things.

From a purely historical perspective, I have developed my own theory (for lack of a better word) about the NO Mass and Vatican II, and is has to do with the post WWII world. Since both WWI and WWII, there was an overall skepticism about God in general, which lead to secularist 'spirituality' and even atheism as more appealing alternatives to 'organized religion'. In light of this, the Church perhaps though that in a world where agnosticism is the new norm, all Christians, whether Protestant, Orthodox or Catholic, are better off in putting their differences aside and banding together under faith in Jesus, as a strategy against secularization and atheism. Better that, than be completely drowned out by the new wave, right? This seems at least a logical explanation, as to why what happened did. But was a completely new Mass really necessary? Out of such questions comes the 'traditionalist' movement. (To make a long story short!)

Let's no get too carried away about the 'Toxic Trads' either. This type of 'holier than thou' person exists in every group of people. There are always those who think they know more and do better than others. Growing up in the Bible Belt has taught me that there's always those 'lost' and 'crazy' types who attach themselves to religion because they simply have no grip on their life. I'm talking about people who become usually obsessed with Jesus and going to church, but don't really make any efforts to sort out their personal problems. I'm pretty sure that no matter what church you go to, there will be a few people like that there, some of whom are probably truly mental. Anyway, one thing is clear to me that I could call 'traditional,' in the sense that it has always been so: There are 'devout' Catholics and 'lasped' Catholics. The 'devout' tend to be the more 'traditional' ones, who wear scapulars, pray rosary frequently, go on pilgrimages, etc. It doesn't appear, from my historical research, that devout Catholics were ever 'the norm.' Perhaps there are certain points in history, where devout Catholics outnumber lapsed Catholics, but isn't it just common knowledge that on earth there are more prodigal sons than saints? I've noticed even on this forum, as well in the trad movement in general, a tendency towards Donatism. But then again I'm still an outsider maybe all that I'm saying is just  :blah:.

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