Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Why So Serious, Traddies?

Fr. Dwight Longenecker wants traddies to be happy. (h/t Pewsitter.) And not antisemitic, or geocentric. (A bit unfair to bring up, thinks the Bear, as these are fringe positions.) He doesn't like looney ephemera like "The Remnant," and "Angelqueen," and the Bear suspects he sure wouldn't like SCB. The Bear bets he gets his share of traddie traffic.

The Bear is not a traddie. The Bear has his foot nailed to the floor in front of his favorite pew and hopes to die there. To be sure, there are a lot of dangerous back alleys in Traddie Town. But, on the whole, the Bear feels we're on the same side.

No, seriously. It's raining.

From Fr. Longenecker's Patheos perspective, Pope Francis has ushered in perpetually sunny days. Leave your black umbrella at home, and smile as the warm Mercy-rays put a glow on your face.

However, some of us watch in amazement as seemingly sane people walk around drenched in the thunderstorm chatting about what a beautiful day it is. The Bear, on the other hand, opens his black umbrella and tries his best to stay dry. He may look a bit scary. He will also pass along weather alerts to his friends as long as dangerous conditions prevail.

What it boils down to is this. This either makes you happy, or it makes angry. If it makes you angry, you know good and well why it is wrong. If it makes you smile, the Bear will not be the one to judge you.

Catholic Thematic Aperception Test.

It's as simple as that. "A fool will laugh at sin, but among the just grace shall abide." (Proverbs 14:9 Douay Rheims) 


  1. One of the moral hazards of public punditry (and Father Longenecker is a fairly significant pundit-type in the Catholic ephemerisphere) is that one almost inevitably develops a personal brand. Over time, as you gather an audience attracted to your particular brand, it becomes very difficult to change tack, even after it becomes evident that you're sailing upwind.

    For instance, that guy's brand is The Shrieking Calumniator, while that lady is the Nice Motherly Hand-Wringer. Father Longenecker, for his part, is the Sensible Middle-Ground Guy. His favorite rhetorical gambit is the Golden Mean Fallacy: he confects silly caricatures of what he deems "extremists", invites his readers to marvel at their loony opinions, then presents himself as the reasonable fellow in the middle.

    Back when he allowed comments, I called him out on this on several occasions. Is the truth always to be found in the middle? Is this some sort of universal law? Shouldn't we consider arguments on their merits rather than endlessly throwing darts at cardboard cutouts and declaring victory? But evidently to no effect. The Brand has taken over.

    Are you wondering about your own brand? Well you, my friend, are the Mordant Ursine.

  2. Mordant Ursine is good. I may have to find a way to use that.

    True Catholicism tends to settle in the center. It is the heresies that move to the outskirts. Thus we get Mercy without repentance or Justice. We get Universalism and Indifferentism, and abandonment of Mission. The goal of the Bear (if he were granted the power) is to move the Church back to its natural center. That may or may not be where Traddies land. Not going to get into that now.

    But people like Fr. Longenecker might be surprised to learn that they aren't in the center at all, but have moved far from Catholicism as it has always been believed and practiced.

    1. The topography of Tradistan tends to be a bit on the dry and rocky side. It might be an extreme biome, but it's one that would have been familiar to the hermit-saints of old. I like to think that of Church as a continent large enough to include many different environments.

      Fr. Longenecker has spent too much time on his beachfront properties.

    2. Bears, despite their fearsome reputations, are live and let live animals. For example, when you see a Bear stand up tall, it merely indicates curiosity. When it is biting your face off, that indicates aggression. Punch the Bear in his stomach and he should go away. (Not really. Bears never go away.)

  3. I don't understand your reference to "Traddie". It seems to me that if one is Catholc, he is by definition Traditionalist, but not "Traddie", (one preference among many other preferences).. Isn't that our Faith's central defining feature; communion of saints within the Body of Christ through time? This should be uncontroversial. Live out our Faith simply, and faithfully, in communion with Jesus and all that have gone before; doing what He commanded and as all generations have done since.

    Verechio blogged (AKA Catholic) about the ice cream flavors Masses: The quiet Mass, the Trad Mass, the Rad Mass, the clown Mass, the youth Mass, the guitar Mass. I seriously think that is the crux of the problem, that we refer to slices of preference within the Catholc Faith.

    I, for one, don't want to grant the premise that there is such a thing as a "Traddie".

    The Rock does not change with the times.

  4. I was using the word because he did. But, while you may protest, I think most would recognize the fact that are different emphases and expressions of Catholicism today.

    1. But what is your point, Bear? I think Brian's correct. Whether we call it "Traddie" or not, the idea is that we're seeking to believe and live as Catholics have in the past. We're trying to be faithful. What distinction do you have in mind between whatever you are and the "Traddies"?

    2. Again, it's Fr. Longenecker's story. Ask him. I don't ask people to explain what they mean by "Novus Ordo Church." It's just a discussion I don't care to have because I don't think it would be edifying. Sorry if that disappoints anyone.

    3. I prefer to agree where we agree. I do not have the time or desire to get into a debate on this matter, and don't see it happening. My views are no secret. I broadcast them every day. If it looks traditionalist to you fine. If it looks "Novus Ordo" to you, fine. Why try to pick at differences with people who broadly share your goals?

    4. I am not trying to debate semantics. My point is that I imagine for most "Traddies," the "natural center" is where they are/want to be. It isn't tribalism, or a brand or flavor, it's the truth they are seeking.

      I got the impression that you were picking at differences in drawing some distinction between the "natural center" and "Traddies."

      Murray's point above about the Golden Mean fallacy is right on the mark as well. Often I hear today that we need to be "balanced" as if some kind of compromise between supposed "extremes" is ultimately where the orthodox Catholics should be. It's a facile notion. True Catholicism doesn't "settle" anywhere. People "settle" on some spectrum in relation to it, which exists objectively.

      I think we do agree ultimately, but I sometimes find the rebuttals you make confusing.

    5. It's your blog. I enjoy it very much and try to respect your direction of it. It is edifying and interesting. I continue to read and post here because your slant on things is unique and honest. I hope you don't consider my participation a detraction.

      It may seem like a small thing, but I think words matter. A lot. Words convey ideas. Ideas, once accepted, are the engine that frame reality. "Catholic" defines who we are. "Traddie" and "Novus Ordite" do not. There is an important premise behind each choice of words, that generates the lived reality of every Parish in the world.

      Goals? My goal is to be in a unified Church in Christ Jesus, outside of time, disconnected from politics and ideology in its passion for our Savior and His Bride and the communion of Saints living with us in our Catholic family. The same today, yesterday and tomorrow. Jesus prayed three times for unity in His Church in Gethsemane, His final intention before he was taken away, (John 17: 21 - 26). I take His final act before his Way to the Cross as a significant choice; He defined Catholic.

      Traddie may be a word used by Shea and Fr Longenecker, but it need not be picked up, repeated, and applied by Catholics to describe things. Such as "There are a lot of back alleys in Traddie Town."

      Much better to let others use divisive words and concepts and tranches of the Faithful. When we also do that it accepts the premise that we are all just slices of diversity in a melting pot of opinion. No. We are all ONE, unified in Christ. Having put on Christ, we are Christ present in the world. We are Catholic.

    6. Well, when I decide to have this conversation on my blog, I'll write an article, and you'll know exactly what I mean. Until then you're just speculating. It isn't a big deal to me. It was an article by Fr. Longenecker. Or I could just agree and say, "You're right. There is no such thing as traditionalists. There is absolutely no difference between the Novus Ordo Church (although there are Catholics who seem throw that term around as if it meant something -- I'm sure they're not "traditionalists," though) and the expression of Catholic faith that people seek in TLMs.

      Forensically, I understand where you're coming from. When someone says "traditionalist," you hear "marginalization." Because you ARE the Church in complete faithfulness to belief and liturgy. But I can tell you I am not intending to marginalize traditionalists, and agree they are "being Church" as we Novus Ordites say. But so are we Novus Ordites. Or perhaps you've never heard people use the term "Novus Ordo Church?" Do those people share anything in common?

      For example, I don't care if I go to the newer or older liturgy. In fact, I go to the newer. If there was the older less than two hours away, I might go to it, and I might not. My motto is nail your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there.

      I recognize that there is a continuum where you find wackiness beyond the ordinary beliefs and practices of both Novus Ordites and Traditionalists. For every wacky Novus Ordo Church website you can produce, I can produce at least one wacky Traditionalist website.

      It is useless to pretend that a word fell from the sky three seconds ago and has no meaning. Catholic World Report: "Francis and Traditionalist Catholics." Some crackpot named "Pat Archibold" writes about traditionalists as if it has meaning. There's a "Catholic Traditionalist Movement" website that promotes the Latin Mass. Some website called "Fisheaters" is about "traditional Catholicism." They even explain what it is.

      Then there's Traditio website. A Fr. Peter Carota has a website called "The Traditional Catholic Priest." Other priests self-identify as "traditionalists," too, and have their own websites. There's "The Traditional Catholic" website, which even offers "free Traditional Catholic Books." There's "Traditional Catholic" website (.net). "Tradition in Action" claims to be traditional.

      So my question is: if hundreds of websites are quite content to call themselves traditionalist, why is the Bear disallowed to use the word?

      I have not set out to cause division. When have I ever? I wrote an article AGAINST Fr. Longenecker's CRITICISM of traditionalists! I guess it's a trigger word and I didn't know it. The only reason I used "traddie" is because that was the word in the original article. If I have ever discussed this before, I'm pretty sure I have used "traditionalist." And if we want to deny that there are plenty of websites that call themselves traditionalist that could fairly be described as "dark back allies," I don't know what to say. The topic doesn't interest me enough to do a piece on it, and I wouldn't send them traffic.

      Needless to say, readers are free to take away whatever they want from this ephemeris.

    7. Perhaps it's raining spiritually, only we're too sinful to see it.

  5. Bear,
    When I was but a wee troll, barely able to chase down a hapless human, I was taught that there is the Church Militant, the Church Penitent and the Church Triumphant. Now, I am being told to give obeisance to the Church Diffident, the Church Indifferent and the Church Equivalent. In my neck of the woods, there are still dragons to kill; still maidens in need of saving; and still weapons that are necessary for the task. Were the Holy Father to come across my bridge, he would find me armed and armored to give him safe passage. Then, I would continue to do as trolls have always done to trespassers at my bridge, in season and out of season.
    The Troll

    1. Chesterton said that any single generation could eliminate humanity by just refusing to have any children. (We are alarmingly close to that in reality, but that's a point for another day.)

      By the same token, what if the people who run the Church -- and I'm not at all convinced it is the Pope and cardinals -- decided to stop teaching the faith? How long would it take before only autodidactic cranks knew anything at all? How easy it would be to simply erase 2000 years of doctrine, simply by raising a generation of Catholics who knew only a few buzzwords like Mercy, and Joy. Isn't that what we're seeing? I wrote how the Four Last Things are totally forgotten. Instead we have a folk-religion that everybody, good, bad or indifferent, Christian or not, immediately goes to Heaven, from where they "look down" upon the living benignly.

      The Faith is being dumbed down.

      Are you saying you would eat the Holy Father?

    2. No, my four-pawed friend, I would not eat the Holy Father. I would grant him safe passage and return to guard my bridge in the same manner that I have always done so. This is the prescription I offer for all laity. Kiss the ring of the fisherman and then do what you have done--all seven works, both corporal and spiritual.

    3. Yes, that's what we're seeing. It's of a piece with the rest of modernity, in which history is being effaced because they were all just a bunch of racist bigots anyway, and Now We know Better.

      My sons (stepbrothers) are completing Grade 12 this year in the public school system, after we pulled them out of our useless Catholic school a few years back. The entire focus of our educational system is on the Wonderful Now. (The Catholic system was no better or worse, but at least I'm not paying for the indoctrination anymore.) To the extent that history is taught, it is merely a catalog of oppression and violence perpetrated by the white man on everyone else. And once you accept the logic of modernity, it makes sense: If your ancestors were all evil mouthbreathers who did terrible things for no reason at all, then there's nothing to learn from them. And for those who still want to learn history, we are indeed fortunate that Quentin Tarantino is available to show us our wicked forefathers and allow us to engage in a little vicarious revenge against them for their crimes.

      Something similar is happening in the Church. Prior to about 1962, Catholics believed all manner of weird things, like (say) the idea that they should make disciples of all nations. They even went totally insane one time and had an Inquisition in which millions of Jews and freethinkers were burned at the stake. Then we had Vatican II, and everything got better. Now, since we've finally figured out what Catholicism is really all about, we can safely ignore everything that went before it.

  6. Bear, have you watched the geocentrist documentary The Principle? If you're open to "crazy" ideas, it's pretty interesting.

    1. The Bear takes a lot of big pills every day to keep crazy away, so no thanks. (It is federal law that Bears among people must be heavily medicated.)

  7. Traddie and proud and don't mind the moniker. S--- too but I'm not allowed to say that word here.

    Love you Bear,
    Seattle Kim

    1. You are allowed to say sedevacantist. Just not schismatic. Heck there are passing moments when I'm sedevacantist.


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