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A place for ''conservative'' and ''traditional'' Catholics to discuss and debate issues, and maybe even find some common ground.

 

Sunday, June 22, 2003

 

Boy, has it been a long time.....



...since I made an appearance here.

One note: I forgot the password to the email address listed. Please do not send mail there, but direct it here. Thanks!



Wednesday, June 11, 2003

 
Today @ man with black hat...

More Skinny Girls in Tights, Oh My!!!



Saturday, May 17, 2003

 
WHY THE YOUNG ARE DRAWN TO THE LATIN MASS

"Forty years after the reforms of Vatican II, the old-rite Latin Mass is enjoying a renaissance in the Catholic Church. Incense swirls through the sanctuary, enveloping the neat row of altar servers kneeling on the marble altar steps. A bishop towering above them raises a gold chalice, proclaiming in Latin that it holds the blood of Christ. He is reaching the climax of the Tridentine liturgy, the Mass once standard in the Catholic Church. It includes lengthy Latin prayers, lacunae of silence, an extra Gospel after communion. The priests pray with their backs to the congregation, occasionally breaking into complex bows to the left and right of the altar. To the modern Catholic, it’s a bit of a mystery..."

Link courtesy of The Inn at the End of the World.



Monday, May 12, 2003

 
I. Shawn McElhinney has replied to my post below at Rerum Novarum, and Michelle of And Then has contributed her own comments as well. Shawn suggests that I might be inconsistent in partially faulting Rome for the SSPX schism but not holding Rome accountable for earlier schisms. He writes:

While Jeff would not probably extend the same leeway to other schisms or heresies historically, the two reasons for this would seem to be (i) no personal attachment to them on his part and (ii) they did not promote an agenda that he personally would in any way endorse. Because of this, it is human nature to give such the benefit of the doubt because it allows us to justify ourselves and our own positions. For this I do not begrudge Jeff any more than I would a current (or former) Lutheran who gives the benefit of the doubt to Fr. Martin Luther. One question of course is if Jeff would apply this principle in the same manner also. For some reason, I am inclined to doubt it.

A brief personal history before I reply: I was raised a nominal Lutheran with a vague belief in God; flirted with atheism and agnosticism in my late teens/early twenties; "converted" to orthodox Lutheranism in my early twenties and attended Missouri and Wisconsin Synod parishes; over time I was drawn to Catholicism and persuded by Catholic arguments; I enrolled in RCIA at age 29 and was repulsed by the liberalism of my local Catholic diocese; I joined the breakaway Anglican Province of Christ the King where I remained for five years; I spent six months in seminary studying for the Anglican priesthood; I discovered the Latin Mass and finally entered the Catholic Church three years ago.

So, my past religious associations are Lutheran and Anglican, and I have never had any affiliation with the SSPX or schismatic traditionalist groups. Do I hold Rome equally responsible for the Anglican and Lutheran schisms? Not on your life. There were many abuses in the Church that were exploited by Luther, Calvin, and Cranmer in their day, but these were merely pretexts and were cleaned up at the Council of Trent. Lutherans and Anglicans began as heretics and ended as heretics. They did not even claim to preserve the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church: instead, they radically revised their creeds and expunged Catholic dogma from their liturgies. On the other hand, it seems clear that the SSPX initially changed nothing and merely tried to preserve what it had received. Yes, Msgr. Lefebvre resorted to disobedience. Yes, his disobedience resulted in schism. Yes, the protracted separation of the SSPX has caused some of their number to cease thinking with the mind of the Church. But the SSPX is much closer to full catholicity today than Luther was even before his excommunication. The crisis in the Church following the Second Vatican Council was a crisis of doctrine and worship -- things much more serious than the corruption and human failings of the Renaissance Church in Luther's day. Since it was a more serious provocation, the responsibility for schism is correspondingly greater.

"Which prompts another question worth contemplating: where does the benefit of the doubt properly belong???"

Where there is doubt, the benefit of the doubt belongs to Rome. But there is no doubt that the culture of Catholicism in the West became, almost overnight, a positive threat to the Faith. It isn't the novelties, in and of themselves, that caused seminaries and convents to empty and Catholics to leave the Church in droves. Rather, the novelties created a crisis of Faith, a sense that the Church did not take herself seriously. Most Catholics did not leave the Church because they were outraged by novelties: they left the Church because the novelties seemed to prove that the Church no longer believed in her own teachings, that all the certitude of the Catholic past had been a hoax. The radical alteration of the liturgy, which seemed to embrace so much of what Catholics had always been taught was wrong with Protestant worship, contributed immensely to the crisis of belief. An eternal and indefectible Church that seems to disown her past inspires neither faith nor confidence, and it may well be that the desperate disobedience of Msgr. Lefebvre preserved the Faith of untold thousands of Catholics who would otherwise have been lost.



Saturday, May 10, 2003

 
I. Shawn McElhinney of Rerum Novarum is making my retirement from blogging difficult. In his most recent entry, Shawn comments on the latest whispers of a universal indult and possible reconciliation with the SSPX. He writes:

"There are of course other problems that remain. If not for the obstinacy of the SSPX this schism would have been resolved some years back."

That's true. But it is also probable that if not for the obstinacy of Rome in suppressing the old rite, permitting widespread liturgical abuse, and failing to enforce sound doctrine, there never would have been a schism in the first place.

"Their brazen refusal to submit to the pope whom they pay lip service to obeying and their constant interpreting of everything in the worst possible light due to chronic suspicion syndrome does not endear them to many people as a result."

Quite right, but it seems that Shawn is once again forgetting the provocation.

"As long as SSPX like the prodigal child they are truly repents and has a change of heart, I for one would welcome they back with outstretched arms."

If reconciliation comes about, it will be because Rome has had a change of heart as well. The granting of a universal indult would be an implicit admission that suppressing the Latin Mass was a prudential error and a provocation for schism. I hope we can expect loyal Catholics like Shawn to follow Rome's lead in recognizing past mistakes.

"As far as the beauty of the liturgy goes, I am afraid that like many others the Mighty One is under the presumption that the manner whereby that liturgy is celebrated commonly today is the manner whereby it was celebrated before Missale Romanum. This perception is gravely erroneous I am afraid."

I think this argument is something of a Red Herring. In the first place, beauty does not consist merely in the way the liturgy is celebrated. There is an inherent beauty in the words and content of the older missal that is, in my opinion, lacking in the Novus Ordo. There is also an undeniable beauty in the Latin language that has been reviewed on this site in previous entries. It is true that the old rite was not celebrated uniformly in the past, but I find it hard to believe that even the most apathetic priest could deform or degrade the Latin Mass in the way that liturgy is routinely degraded today. Pre-conciliar variations existed, but they were extremely modest in comparison with the present situation. In any case, the point is not to return to the past, but to regenerate the liturgy without taking it apart. We argue that such regeneration could have been done 35 years ago in the context of the existing rite of the Church.



Monday, April 21, 2003

 
Traditionalist Group to Reconcile with Rome?

"Vatican, Apr. 21 (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II plans to end a major breach within Catholicism, welcoming breakaway traditionalists back into full communion with the Holy See after a 15-year split... Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, will celebrate Mass using the Tridentine rite on May 24 in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major. According to both the Italian daily Il Messaggero and the London Times, the cardinal-- who has been assigned by the Pope to seek a reconciliation between the Vatican and the schismatic Society of St. Pius X-- will lift the bans of excommunication on three of the four bishops ordained by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre...."


Okay, so now what?



Friday, January 10, 2003

 
REPLY TO DAVE PAWLAK

As a point of clarification, my FAQ was not meant to address the defining tenets of the traditionalist movement. Rather, for the sake of discussion, I meant to address the worst fears of conservatives.

"I remember talking to a sedevacantist priest years ago. He said he wouldn't like the Old Mass in English, but he'd acknowledge it as valid."

Yes. The point needs to be emphasized, again and again, that our main problem with the Novus Ordo is NOT the language. The average layman thinks that the Novus Ordo is nothing but an English translation of the pre-conciliar Mass. If that were indeed the case, there would be much less controversy.

"And isn't the Anglican Missal already approved?"

No. The Anglican-use liturgy is a hybrid of the Novus Ordo, the pre-conciliar liturgy, and the Book of Common Prayer. In my opinion it is a vast improvement upon the Novus Ordo, but it cannot be properly called "traditional". For instance, it uses the following prayer of consecration:

"TAKE THIS , ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT:
THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD, THE BLOOD OF
THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT. IT WILL
BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR ALL SO THAT SINS
MAY BE FORGIVEN. DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME."

The Anglican Missal, by contrast, is an English translation of the Tridentine Rite without any significant deviation. Note the traditional prayer of consecration:

"FOR THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD OF THE NEW
AND EVERLASTING TESTAMENT: THE MYSTERY OF
FAITH: WHICH FOR YOU AND FOR MANY SHALL BE
SHED TO THE REMISSION OF SINS."

"Modernists can twist any language, be it English, German, Latin, Slavonic, or Klingon."

Bl. John XXIII had a different opinion. As he writes in Veterum Sapientia:

"Furthermore, the Church's language must be not only universal but also immutable. Modern languages are liable to change, and no single one of them is superior to the others in authority. Thus if the truths of the Catholic Church were entrusted to an unspecified number of them, the meaning of these truths, varied as they are, would not be manifested to everyone with sufficient clarity and precision. There would, moreover, be no language which could serve as a common and constant norm by which to gauge the exact meaning of other renderings. But Latin is indeed such a language. It is set and unchanging. it has long since ceased to be affected by those alterations in the meaning of words which are the normal result of daily, popular use. Certain Latin words, it is true, acquired new meanings as Christian teaching developed and needed to be explained and defended, but these new meanings have long since become accepted and firmly established."

Similarly, Pope Pius XII wrote in Mediator Dei :

“The use of the Latin language prevailing in a great part of the Church affords at once an imposing sign of unity and an effective safeguard against the corruption of true doctrine.”

"I agree with beauty being an essential part of worship, that that Latin is a part of that beauty; but how is Ecclesiastical Latin objectively more beautiful? Please define how this might be so."

I was afraid you would ask me that. I don't know Latin (apart from the liturgy), and so my statement that Latin is "objectively more beautiful" seems very bold and is loaded with assumptions. Bl. John XXIII put it this way:

"Nor must we overlook the characteristic nobility of Latin's formal structure. Its concise, varied and harmonious style, full of majesty and dignity, makes for singular clarity and impressiveness of expression."

Dietrich von Hildebrand writes in "The Devastated Vineyard":

"Latin is in a unique position here. First, Latin grammar has an uncommon clarity, and to know it, is an incomparable training for our thinking. Secondly, Latin has a great beauty, a spiritual nobility of quite a special sort. This is also true of medieval Latin, which moreover produced works of highest poetical art and religious depth. One need only think of the Dies irae, which is ascribed to Thomas of Celano, of Jacapone da Todi's Stabat mater, of the magnificent hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas, of the sequences of Venantius Fortunatus, and many others. The role which Latin has played in history, especially in the liturgy, and the universality which it possesses, gives the learning of Latin quite a special place"

Catholic philosophy has always held that beauty is objective and real. It may be difficult to describe, and it may even be unrecognized by men, but it is still objective and admits of degrees. Many characteristics and relationships combine to make something beautiful. My contention is perhaps simplistic, but it is this: the consecrated language of the Catholic Church could not be anything but the most beautiful that man has to offer his Creator.

"Well, the whole 4004 BC thing was reckoned by a Protestant; the Orthodox estimate the yeat of Creation at around 6000 BC, if I'm not mistaken. I also recall that some early Church writers did comment that the "days" of Genesis did not necessarily mean 24-hour periods. This could leave a possibility of a billions-year-old Earth."

Sts. Augustine and Jerome held that the creation "days" were symbolic. However, they accepted the biblical genealogies and believed in what we would now call a "young earth". Those who want to believe in theistic evolution and an "old earth" will not find Catholic doctrine congenial: the whole scheme breaks down as soon as one gets into the specifics of evolutionist and old earth theory. For more detail than I have time for, please see Gerard Keane's recent paper "Is Evolution an Open Question For Catholics?"

I was in a discussion about this on the old Trad-X list (moderated by Mr. Alexander). Women's slacks are usually cut differently from men's trousers, making them distinct.

That's true, but in most cases they are still more masculine-looking than a long dress or skirt. Distinctly feminine pants can be manufactured: the long flowing traditional Vietnamese Au Dai is a good example. However, it seems a lot of trouble to create distinctly feminine pants in our own culture when we already have a beautiful tradition of modest feminine attire.

"They can also be made not to follow the female form too closely. As it is, several women who attend Milwaukee's Indult Mass wear slacks. Modesty is not an issue with them."

A good handful of women who attend Sacramento's Indult Mass do the same, and they are indeed very modest. But as Cardinal Siri makes clear, modesty is not the issue here: the issue is whether Catholic women will embrace their femininity or run away from it.


 
The Real Enemy?

Mark Shea poses the provocative thesis that: "the reason anti-Catholics (and their mirrors in the Lidless Eye contingent) spend so much energy niggling about niceties of some point of doctrine that was haggled about 400 years ago or some picayune endless quibbles about "pro multis" or some Fundamentist hyperventilation about calling priests "Father" is because they simply are too cowardly to face the real war of the 21st Century, which is typified by this. People are eating babies and Christians who should know better respond by launching crusades against Harry Potter, or writing ponderous tomes on whether Russia was *reeeeeally* consecrated (what do Sr. Lucia and the Pope know?)...

Ecumenical Jihad is what's needed, not the endless fissiparousness of the nitnoids."


This is a standard complaint of conservative Catholics against traditionalists, and likewise of moderate evangelical Protestants against fundamentalsists. But speaking on behalf of nitnoids everywhere, I must disagree.

Many of the issues Catholic traditionalists or Protestant fundamentalists are concerned about are not mere quibbles. Just as C.S. Lewis was right that Christ was either liar, lunatic, or Lord, the fundies are right to think that the Catholic Church, if it is not what it claims to be, is a monstrous and perhaps Satanic imposture. (This was the standard Protestant position for several centuries).

And while I have my doubts about whether Russia was properly consecrated, this is really a matter involving private revelation,which is by no means a de fide issue. But the "pro multis" issue is an important one. I don't believe that the mistranslation "for many" (also found in most vernacular translations of the liturgy) invalidates the Mass, but I think that it is a scandalous and deliberate mistranslation of the ipsissima verba of Our Lord for very dubious reasons, and is at least materially heretica. While Christ indeed died for all, his sacrifice is only efficacious for the many who are part of the Church or the elect, and in the context of the Eucharist, it is the efficacious sacrifice offered to the Church which is represented. Msgr. Klaus Gamber, rightly praised by Cardinal Ratzinger as one of the greatest liturgists of the second half of the 20th century, wrote:

"Pope Paul VI saw fit to alter the words of Consecration and Institution, unchanged in the Roman Liturgy for 1,500 years- a change that was never intended by the Council nor is of any discernible pastoral benefit. Truly problematic, in fact truly scandalous, is the translation of the phrase pro multis as "for all", a translation inspired by modern theological thinking but not found in any historic liturgical text."

We can be concerned about these issues, and still be concerned about baby eating in China. (Indeed, consider these two lists of politically active Catholics: neo-conservatives George Weigel, Deal Hudson, and Michael Novak, or trad sympathizers Pat Buchanan, Alan Keyes, and "B-1" Bob Dornan. Which group do you think would likely take the harder line on dealing with China?)

As for Ecumenical Jihad - the idea of making common cause with orthodox Protestant, Jews, and Muslims to fight the culture wars - while I think there may be limited situations where this can be effective (e.g. stopping secularist ideas from being implanted into United Nations documents, or forming multi-faith groups to fight court cases on gay marriage, etc.), as a whole Ecumenical Jihad came to an end on September 11, 2001, when it became apparent that one of Mr. Kreeft's putative partners is still more interested in fighting the old, unecumenical Jihad, and doesn't make fine distinctions between Christians and secularists.

The Church in the Middle Ages had to deal with a Gnostic heresy in the heart of Europe (Alibigensianism) even as it fought Islamic expansion in the East and Spain. They didn't invite Saladin to make common cause with them against Manichean heretics in the South of France! Similarly, the Church resisted appeals to join with the Nazis and Fascists in a crusade against the bigger menace of Communism, despite many European politicians and some prelates who would have done so. Conservative Catholics need to face the prospect that the Church may have more than one real enemy, and that the culture wars are not the only ones that need fighting.



Thursday, January 09, 2003

 

Questions and Comments to Jeff's FAQ



Q1. Why do traditionalists insist on the Latin language, which is dead?

A1. Traditionalists do not insist on the Latin language in every circumstance. The Greek liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is considered traditional, as would be the old Anglican Missal (a beautiful translation of the Tridentine rite) if it were approved.

I remember talking to a sedevacantist priest years ago. He said he wouldn't like the Old Mass in English, but he'd acknowledge it as valid.

And isn't the Anglican Missal already approved?


A2. A dead language is the best liturgical language because it is a safeguard for orthodoxy. The Byzantines use "dead" languages (i.e., Church Slavonic) for the same reason. Theological definitions do not change or evolve; words and phrases are less likely to be given heterodox meanings.

Modernists can twist any language, be it English, German, Latin, Slavonic, or Klingon.


A3. Latin, of course, is the language of the Catholic Church and a sign of her unity.

True -- for the Roman Church. Greek is found in all the Rites of the Church, and is used extensively at a Traditional Papal Mass (one wonders if this man is clued in on that fact).


A4. Ecclesiastical Latin is objectively more beautiful than living languages, and beauty is something the Church should return to God in her corporate worship.

I agree with beauty being an essential part of worship, that that Latin is a part of that beauty; but how is Ecclesiastical Latin objectively more beautiful? Please define how this might be so.


Q2. Do traditionalists have to be geo-centrists?

A. Most certainly not, although it is permissible speculation.


And as long as it isn't presented as dogma.......

Q3. Do traditionalists have to believe in a literal six-day creation and a young earth?

A. No, but all Catholics must believe the following: 1) Adam and Eve were real historical people; 2) Adam and Eve were the first created man and woman; 3) Adam and Eve are the progenitors of the entire human race; 4) Eve was created from the physical side of Adam; 4) the canonical Scriptures are inerrant in all their parts, including history; 5) the creation accounts of Genesis 1 and 2 are historical and factual, not merely mythological. Anyone who wants to reconcile these points with theistic evolution and an old earth has my sympathies.


Well, the whole 4004 BC thing was reckoned by a Protestant; the Orthodox estimate the yeat of Creation at around 6000 BC, if I'm not mistaken. I also recall that some early Church writers did comment that the "days" of Genesis did not necessarily mean 24-hour periods. This could leave a possibility of a billions-year-old Earth.

Skipping over questions on Judaism.....not an indication of approval or disapproval.....

Q7. ...why do traditionalist ladies wear long skirts and cover their heads in church?


A. Christian women of every generation and every sect have always done the same until the late 20th century. With respect to head coverings, Saint Paul commanded that women cover their heads in church and based his command upon the order of creation. Headcoverings are a sign of deference to the Divine order in general, and to male headship in particular. As for wearing long skirts and dresses, see Giuseppe Cardinal Siri's "Notification Concerning Men's Dress Worn By Women" for a good Catholic explanation. With that said, most indult communities have a very high tolerance for ladies who are not quite there yet so long as they dress modestly.


I was in a discussion about this on the old Trad-X list (moderated by Mr. Alexander). Women's slacks are usually cut differently from men's trousers, making them distinct. They can also be made not to follow the female form too closely.

As it is, several women who attend Milwaukee's Indult Mass wear slacks. Modesty is not an issue with them.

Q8. Do traditionalists have to be monarchists?


A. No, traditionalists may prefer a variety of political systems so long as these uphold the Catholic moral order. However, no Catholic can be an anti-monarchist.


That's right, because I ought to be Emperor of the United States! Call me Norton II !!!!

Seriously, while I'm not a Charles Coulombe-style monarchist, I have no problems with a proper constitutional monarchy. Absolute monarchs of the Louis XIV sort give me problems, of course.....

In complete agreement with Jeff's answer to question # 9......

Q10. Must all traditionalists have large families?


A. Traditionalist couples welcome large families, but like all married Catholics, they may use NFP to space or limit pregnancies for grave reasons
.

I've detected some difference of opinion on NFP among traditionalists. Some are fine with it; others think it is as bad as condoms or IUD's. While I've seen an article by a sedevacantist priest defending it, I'm unaware of any other publications or sites in which Traditionalists has discussed and debated the matter amongst themselves. If there are any such sites, please let me know.


















 

Blog Stuff



I've added the names of the blog team (linked to their own sites) on the left-hand side, but, for some reason, only my name is visible. However, if you pass the cursor over the field just beneath "The Bloggers", the other names will show up.

I mistakenly entered Mark Sullivan's name for Mark Cameron's (two great bloggers with the same first name -- easy to get them confused with each other!). I have fixed the template, but it hasn't "taken" as of this time.

Also invisible, and waiting to be corrected, is the blog email. The Team is currently mulling the pros and cons of having a comments box, so I created this address for comments, feedback, etc. All email falls under the Welborn Protocol -- unless you specifically want it kept confidential, it's fair game for publication on this blog.

Looking forward to your comments and feedback.....






Tuesday, January 07, 2003

 
A SHORT TRADITIONALIST F.A.Q.

Q1. Why do traditionalists insist on the Latin language, which is dead?

A1. Traditionalists do not insist on the Latin language in every circumstance. The Greek liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is considered traditional, as would be the old Anglican Missal (a beautiful translation of the Tridentine rite) if it were approved.

A2. A dead language is the best liturgical language because it is a safeguard for orthodoxy. The Byzantines use "dead" languages (i.e., Church Slavonic) for the same reason. Theological definitions do not change or evolve; words and phrases are less likely to be given heterodox meanings.

A3. Latin, of course, is the language of the Catholic Church and a sign of her unity.

A4. Ecclesiastical Latin is objectively more beautiful than living languages, and beauty is something the Church should return to God in her corporate worship.

Q2. Do traditionalists have to be geo-centrists?

A. Most certainly not, although it is permissible speculation.

Q3. Do traditionalists have to believe in a literal six-day creation and a young earth?

A. No, but all Catholics must believe the following: 1) Adam and Eve were real historical people; 2) Adam and Eve were the first created man and woman; 3) Adam and Eve are the progenitors of the entire human race; 4) Eve was created from the physical side of Adam; 4) the canonical Scriptures are inerrant in all their parts, including history; 5) the creation accounts of Genesis 1 and 2 are historical and factual, not merely mythological. Anyone who wants to reconcile these points with theistic evolution and an old earth has my sympathies.

Q4. Are traditionalists anti-Semites?

A. Racial hatred of any kind is a sin, and therefore no Catholic can be an anti-Semite. However, traditionalists hold with all Catholics that Judaism is a false religion (which nonetheless contains some Catholic truth) and religious Jews need to convert to be saved.

Q5. Do traditionalists believe that Jews are collectively responsible for the death of Christ?

A. No, this idea stands condemned by the Church. However, private speculation may be permitted in certain areas. For instance, because of their unique intimacy with salvation history, some individuals who hold fast to the Jewish religion may be more culpable for their rejection of Christ than other pagans. This may follow from the fact that Islam and Talmudic Judaism are the only two world religions based upon an explict rejection of Christ. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many other traditionalists, this kind of speculation should be extremely circumscribed because it so easily lends itself to injustice.

Q6. Are traditionalists misogynistic?

A. Not if they are Catholic.

Q7. Then why do traditionalist ladies wear long skirts and cover their heads in church?

A. Christian women of every generation and every sect have always done the same until the late 20th century. With respect to head coverings, Saint Paul commanded that women cover their heads in church and based his command upon the order of creation. Headcoverings are a sign of deference to the Divine order in general, and to male headship in particular. As for wearing long skirts and dresses, see Giuseppe Cardinal Siri's "Notification Concerning Men's Dress Worn By Women" for a good Catholic explanation. With that said, most indult communities have a very high tolerance for ladies who are not quite there yet so long as they dress modestly.

Q8. Do traditionalists have to be monarchists?

A. No, traditionalists may prefer a variety of political systems so long as these uphold the Catholic moral order. However, no Catholic can be an anti-monarchist.

Q9. Do traditionalists have to homeschool their children?

A. No, but all Catholics are obliged to provide an orthodox Catholic education and environment for their children.

Q10. Must all traditionalists have large families?

A. Traditionalist couples welcome large families, but like all married Catholics, they may use NFP to space or limit pregnancies for grave reasons.

(Note: This F.A.Q. is based solely on the opinions and experience of one traditionalist in union with Rome.)




Monday, January 06, 2003

 
Another oft-cited article on the same subject is "The Temptation to Tidiness" , from the Journal of the Ecclesia Dei Society of Australia. More later ...

 
Kramer's Version

The complete Kirk Kramer definition of traditional Catholicism, taken from a statement composed for the parents of an FSSP affiliated school in Maple Hill, Kansas, can be found here. It would be more than possible to have a Catholic Worker-type active in a traditional Indult Community: they already exist. Chris Zehnder of the LA Lay Catholic Mission, and also a Caelum et Terra type, is an example.

 

Question of the Day: What makes a Traditional Catholic Traditional?



At least twice a week, I will contribute a question or set of questions for our blog team to discuss.

We have Kirk Kramer's definition, as presented by Jeff Culbreath. Now then, within the framework of that particular definition (and within the Indult,of course), what makes a Traditional Catholic traditional, aside from a preference for the older usages of the Mass and sacraments? What varieties of belief (political and social as well as theological), practice, and preference may be found within the Traditional Movement -- for example, is it possible to have a Catholic Worker-type active in an Indult Community?

Looking forward to the discussion.......

 
"A young man from a small town, with a very large imagination..."

Mr Pawlak has decided to invite me to join the CUV Team. Leaving aside whatever would posess him, to enable the likes of me to join such an august body of intellect, it seems only fair to introduce myself.

My full name is David Lawrence Alexander. I am a 48-year-old graphic designer working for the Federal government. I live alone in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from what is politely referred to as "the Nation's capital." I have a teenaged son, Paul, from a previous marriage. He lives with his mother, farther out in the hopelessly middle-class Virginia suburb known as Fairfax County.

My roots in the southwest quadrant of Ohio date back five generations, to the mid-19th century. The majority of my ancestors came from the Alsace-Lorraine region of what was sometimes Germany, but what is now France.

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, just three days after Christmas, and the worst time of the year to have a birthday. My parents have always sent me a card, if no one else did, and if only out of guilt.

When I was still in the cradle, we moved to a village just east of Cincinnati (and closer to our "kin and ken") known as Milford, where I lived until I moved to DC in 1980. The oldest of four -- boy, girl, boy, girl, in that order -- I attended Catholic grade school and high school. From there, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Design from the University of Cincinnati. After two years of various studio assignments, I got the big break from my rich uncle. (Sam. Maybe you know him.) I have been on his payroll every since.

I am the only member of my immediate family to have left the Cincinnati area. I sign all my letters home, "Your long lost son..."

Along the way, I learned to play both the guitar and the banjo (the latter in the old-time mountain style; I don't do bluegrass), and can fake my way through several other instruments laying around the house. I've also been known to sing. In addition, I have been an avid folkdancer for nearly a quarter century. My latest passion is zydeco, which is the music and dance of the Creole people of southwest Louisiana.

At 11, I became an altar boy; at 17, an Eagle Scout; at 35, a purple belt in karate. I still claim all three titles.

Finally, I read too much for my own good, which was enough to make me think I should never have an unpublished thought. So in the summer of 2002, I began my own weblog entitled man with black hat ("The daily musings of faith and culture, of fun and games, of life and love, of a song and dance man, who is keeping his day job.")

My writings on Catholicism tend to specialize in matters of sacred worship (including ceremonial and musical issues), social justice, faith and culture, and various "slices of life."

(Apologies to John Prine, from whose lyrics the title of this entry originates.)

 
Encore, encore

In the piece Jeff Culbreath cities, Pete Vere writes: "St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that reductio ad absurdum, that is, to reduce your opponent's arguments to their logical conclusion in order to demonstrate their absurdity, is a legitimate means of debate. Therefore, allow me to provide a some examples of where, in my estimation, integrism's hermaneutic [sic] of suspicion must ultimately lead." He then goes on to quote some inane ideas of Bishop Richard Williamson's: that The Sound of Music is semi-pornographic, that somebody other than Osama bin Laden was behind the 9-11 attacks, and that women should not be admitted to university. Clearly, Vere means to imply that this is where traditionalism must ultimately lead.

Now, I would point out that Williamson is a minority of one on many of these issues, even among schismatic traditionalists, let alone traditionalists in union with Rome. He even seems to contradict Fr. Peter Scott, the former SSPX superior for North America, on the issue of the infallibility of canonizations. Scott accepts St. Josemaria Escriva's valid canonization, Williamson, apparently, does not. On the issue of reunion with Rome, he seems way out of step with the fairly measured comments we have read from his superior, Bishop Fellay. Of course, Williamson's crazy conspiratorial views, Holocaust denial, etc. are well known. I don't think that Williamson's views can be taken as the "logical conclusion" of any reasoning process.

Furthermore, if reductio ad absurdum is a legitimate technique, then the same can be applied the other way around. The Holy Father and the Vatican endorses the International Criminal Court and an expansion in power of the United Nations. Therefore, anybody who accepts recent Papal teaching supports One World Government. The Pope appointed Fr. Raymond Brown to the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and Cardinal O'Connor's Archdiocese gave its imprimatur to all of his books. Therefore, conservative Catholics must reject the historicity of the Magi, the Shepherds, and the angels at the birth of Our Lord, which did not occur in Bethlehem, and believe that the Virgin Birth is simply a matter of faith, not history. Fr. Avery Dulles, SJ said that the Assumption and Immaculate Conception were optional doctrines that should not be imposed on Protestants in the event of ecumenical reunion, and the Pope made him a Cardinal, therefore, all conservative Catholics must likewise believe these things.

You see how ridiculous this game is? It would be more conducive to genuine debate if Mr. Vere and other conservatives, instead of beating the tar out of the various straw men they are so fond of, would deal with actual arguments from traditional Catholics. A comprehensive review of Tom Woods and Chris Ferrara's The Great Facade for instance.



Sunday, January 05, 2003

 
A few comments on Pete Vere's latest entry at Envoy Encore:

"Basically, authentic Catholic traditionalism welcomes the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the writings of the post-conciliar Roman Pontiffs."

The word "welcomes" is an extremely poor choice; "receives" or "accepts" would be much more accurate. I'm afraid Mr. Vere is using language that precludes any reservations about of the Council whatsoever, something even Rome does not demand of us. It is well within the scope of orthodoxy to hold that the Council may have made prudential mistakes, or that the Council may have been unclear on important points of doctrine.

"On the other hand, the integrist sees conspiracy in varying degrees, depending upon how deeply his intigrism has rooted itself into his soul. Thus every legitimate ecclesiastical superior is a potential Judas, and every political official a King Herod or Pontius Pilate. So not only is the chalice always half-empty, its contents have probably turned to vinegar as well -- if someone hasn't come along and poisoned it, that is."

Fair enough, I suppose. Although excessive speculation about conspiracies can be a sign of mental instability (and Bp. Williamson is a good example), conspiracies certainly may exist and those who believe in them are not necessarily off their rocker.

"Looking back on 2000 years of Catholic Tradition, and thousands of years more if we include the Tradition we've adopted from the Jews, who are our elder brothers in faith ..."

It also seems to me that describing the Jews as "elder brothers in the faith" is deliberately misleading. Religious Jews, for all their merits, do not share the same faith as Catholics. They are "elder brothers", perhaps, in the same sense as the older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son, but that is not a flattering depiction.

"For the focus of the authentic traditionalist is Catholic Tradition, and in turning to the writings of the Saints, Church Doctors, Patristic Fathers, Roman Pontiffs and Ecumenical Councils, the authentic Traditionalist knows that the Church has suffered much worse within her history."

The Church has not suffered much worse within her history. The ancient heretics retained far more Christianity than do the heretics of today, the Modernists. Modernism attacks not one doctrine, but every doctrine, and it succeeds by way of ambiguity and confusion.

"Yet the Church has always survived her crises and emerged much more strong as a result of having suffered through them. And thus the authentic Traditionalist places his or her faith in Jesus Christ, who promised the Church: 'I am with you always.'"

On this we can all agree. What needs to be opposed here is the false logic that looks like this:

a. Bishop Williamson is a crazy integrist;

b. Bishop Williamson prefers the Latin Mass and has some problems with the Council;

c. Therefore anyone who prefers the Latin Mass and has some problems with the Council is a crazy integrist.


 
Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

Actually, I hope these discussions will be in a somewhat more irenic spirit than my headline indicates. I have my own blog, Mystique et Politique, which sometimes deals with "conservative" / "traditionalist" issues. If I may make two suggestions. Perhaps the name of this blog could be slightly modified to "Unitas, Libertas, et Caritas", which would be more consistent with the famous phrase "In necessariis, unitas, in dubiis, libertas, in omnibus, caritas" (on the origin of which see here). What can I say: I'm a trad, so I like it better the old way.

My second suggestion, since the co-moderators invited seem to be trad leaning conservatives or conservative leaning trads, is that, as things get a little more established, that we invite a few people who stand a little bit further apart on the spectrum. (Peter Nixon as a conservative, or Mario Derksen as a trad, for instance). That would heat things up. Anyway, this second suggestion can wait to see how well this initial experiment works.

 

And Then There Were Three.....



Time constraints have prevented Michelle from contributing. However, she will be visiting frequently.

Also, contrary to his fears, I'm not going to rescind Jeff's invite. I was worried I'd mix up my blogs myself!



Saturday, January 04, 2003

 
Looks like I have started off with a bang. I'm Jeff Culbreath, and Mr. Pawlak is about to rescind his invitation due to my technological incompetence. If the posts below seem a very ungracious way to commence, that is because they were intended for El Camino Real, not Caritas Unitas et Veritas, and I cannot figure out how to delete them. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I'm a traditionalist Catholic, according to the definition proposed by Kirk Kramer:

"We acknowledge the validity of the Novus Ordo Missae, when it is celebrated using the matter and form prescribed by the Pope, by a priest who has the intention of doing what the Church does. We also acknowledge the validity of the new rites of the other sacraments. At the same time, we are convinced that the Tridentine rite of the Mass is theologically, pastorally, and liturgically superior to the new rite of the Mass. Because the Pope is infallible in matters of faith and morals, but not impeccable in his prudential judgments concerning the governance of the Church (that is to say, it is possible for a Pope to make a mistake or to commit a sin), we believe that this position is entirely compatible with the religious assent of mind and will which the Second Vatican Council declares the faithful owe to the teaching authority of the Pope (Lumen Gentium 25)."

CUV promises to be lively and engaging. I'll have more to say later, but now it is off to chores. If anyone knows how to delete the unwelcome posts below, please let me know.


 

About Me....



Now that I've either just gained a plenary indulgence or added jillions of aeons to purgatorial time by enduring the Packers' game.....

I'm the fellow who pompously ponders things from Milwaukee. You could say I'm "conservative with trad leanings", most at home at an Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy or a Latin Mass in either the Tridentine or current usage, with a Gregorian Ordinary. I'm also of an inquisitive and (on some things) a slightly skeptical bent, and will likely be asking lots of questions, or acting as devil's advocate.

OK, enough about me.......


 

Procedamus....



Welcome to this collaborative blog! The purpose: to discuss issues in a spirit of Caritas (keeping the discussion civil, and remembering that our fellow bloggers and commentors are brethren in Christ), Unitas (remembering that we're all Catholic, and finding some common ground), and Veritas (pursuing the truth -- indeed, Truth Himself --, and maintaining a spirit of honest inquiry). On board the CUV Blog: Jeff Culbreath, Michelle of And Then?, Pete Vere of several blogs, and yours truly. More may join in the near future. Other things, like a comments box,

I'd like from each contributor a brief account of himself (you're included in this pronoun, Michelle! :-) ), his "position", and what he hopes to see in this blog.

Shall we get on with it, then? Procedamus!



Tuesday, December 31, 2002

 

Stay Tuned....



.....for some good discussions.





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