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Warnings for Traditional Catholics

Trads. I think you are correct.

Latin is sacred and so is the TLM, there is no good reason for the Eucharist to be touched by non-consecrated hands on a regular basis (whether from recipients or Eucharistic Ministers), The New American Bible is a terrible translation, Pope Francis has said some irresponsible things, 70s folk music has no place in the liturgy and the organ is the most proper instrument for Mass unless you wish to include chant, holding hands during “The Lord’s Prayer” is tacky, the sign of peace should last five seconds, there is no real purpose for altar girls, religious indifferentism is not Catholic, the Novus Ordo has often been terribly celebrated, it is a tragedy how our churches were defaced and unbeautified by members of our own congregations, and Vatican II seems to have been poorly implemented and people have been using it as an excuse to neuter our Church for far too long! Note here that “neuter” does not mean feminize, but rather effeminize.

Please keep everything I just stated in mind. I am not your enemy. I identify as a “Trad wannabe” and I have often argued on your behalf against accusations that more typical Catholics may level against you.

I am twenty-five-years-old, and I find the trend towards traditionalism among my generation to be much more good than it is bad.

BUT, there are aspects of this radicalization of which I believe we need to be wary. Satan does not just give up as soon as we start going to Latin Mass, and we must remember that he will attempt to turn anything holy to his will. He tried with Jesus and His ministry, he sure as hell (pun intended) will try with you, and no matter how good your intentions are, he has a much better shot at corrupting you than he did with Jesus.

Based on my own observations as a young adult Catholic, here are some tendencies that Catholics of Traditional Communities really need to guard themselves against.

Disregarding the Holy Father

Look. I get it. I work professionally in ministry, and I get asked all the time what the deal with our pope is. While the Catholics I grew up with may have had a difficult time explaining how the pope speaking in any capacity could ever be wrong, I find that Trads find this very easily explainable. In fact, I think we find it too easy.

Like it or not, Pope Francis is our pope and I am honestly not sure you are even Catholic if you say otherwise. His position as the successor of Peter must be respected, and that means a measure of respect is owed to the man himself.

Referring to him disparagingly as “Bergoglio” is improper and unbecoming as members of his flock.

Saying that you don’t listen to the pope because he’s a liberal is dangerous territory. I am not saying that we are bound by every quote the media reports of him, but his words have weight.

And we have to be extraordinarily careful of the accusations we level against him. Until you can give me very good proof of him being a heretic, freemason or pedophile, I don’t want to hear it. “Beware of ever repeating what you have heard of others, unless it be something very edifying” Saint Bonaventure warns. How much more should we heed his warning when talking about our shepherd?

Liturgical Gatekeeping

I granted earlier that the Novus Ordo Mass is often poorly celebrated.

But it is often celebrated well. We must be careful with projecting our own experiences of the Novus Ordo onto every single Novus Ordo parish.

We are allowed to be annoyed, and even enraged, by an irreverent Mass. Our God is owed the highest respect we can give Him. But before grabbing stones, we must first remember that the vast VAST majority of Novus Ordo Masses are licit. Even the ones that max out the cringe factor “count” as our obligation to celebrate Jesus’s death and Resurrection.

I have heard stories of Latin Mass goers discouraging others from attending any Mass besides Latin Mass. That is ridiculous. We are the universal Church and we have many forms of celebration and we must be open to them (TO A DEGREE).

Deemphasizing The Mission

This is something that I have never heard a Trad say but it’s something I have perceived among Traditional communities.

Communities are wonderful and necessary for the flourishing of God’s Kingdom here on earth, but we have to remember to “Make Disciples of All Nations” and to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, etc.

I think a lot of communities tend to stay where it is comfortable, but God calls us out of that.

I have met people in my mission line of work who seem to think the only thing that is important is improving the liturgy. That’s great to improve the Liturgy, but it cannot be everything.

And no, arguing with Catholics on r/Catholic about which Mass is best is not mission work.

Scandalizing and Confusing Non-Catholics

This point ties into the previous one.

I am currently sponsoring someone in RCIA at one of the two parishes in my city. My “sponsee” was initially attracted to Catholicism through one of those parishes but attends RCIA at the other. At one point, during the class, several of the other students and helpers began berating the parish where my sponsee first began his journey, and he came out of that class rather bewildered.

This is not the only time this has happened. There have been several times I have been in conversations with non-Catholics/casual Catholics where someone overhearing the conversation just has to jump in and tell them how much better and more reverent their parish/liturgy is than the other one.

A house divided against itself must fall and that is exactly what non-Catholics see when we begin attacking each other. I grant that this one is far from a uniquely Trad problem, but to paraphrase Matt Fradd: it seems like there are many people who would rather convert Novus Ordo Catholics into Latin Mass Catholics than non-Catholics into Catholic.

As a Church, we need to turn our ire from each other and towards ideologies that call for the destruction of life and the Church. We need to call out the wolves among our flock, but we must defend ourselves and save others from the wolves outside our Pasteur.

Traditional practices are a means of serving God, but they are not gods themselves. We have to remember what it means to be in the Church: we are ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, and APOSTOLIC. Not keyboard warriors with an affinity for Latin.


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