Monday, October 27, 2008

Food for thought

From an interview with Dr John Rao on the Cornell Society for a Good Time blog:

Quite frankly, I have become more depressed over Traditionalist (or Conservative) Catholics deciding to escape into their little enclaves than over practically every other development in our movement. Many have fallen prey to all manner of non-Catholic thinking and behavior in consequence, none of which is investigated because, once again, the power of the name - Traditionalist Catholic - seems to stand surety for their ideas and actions. I have met all too many well-meaning Traditionalist Catholics who have retired to their “little houses on the prairie” and who, in everything from their dress to their intellectual life, have become nothing other than atomist modernists in Amish clothing. I have met some Traditionalist Catholic home schoolers whose loathing for serious thought and culture is more naturalist and revolutionary than that of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. I have met stern Traditionalists who out-Jeremy Bentham Jeremy Bentham. And, as noted in one way or another throughout this interview, I have met all too many Traditionalist and Conservative Catholics whose Church Fathers are really the Founding Fathers; good-willed people who, in practice, show that they really think the main event in Sacred History came not with the birth, death and Resurrection of Christ, but with 1776. One can see this even on the purely natural level. Many of the home schooling history texts produced by “our side” begin with America rather than Mesopotamia. I have even read statements by orthodox home schoolers which proclaim openly the need to reject as heresy any work that mentions a criticism of an American political tradition firmly rooted in one of the most dangerous of Enlightenment thinkers, John Locke. We accept too much long-standing Anglo-American “custom” as though it were the real Tradition of the Church and the duty of Traditionalist Catholics to protect. This is exactly the same problem St. Gregory VII complained of in trying to strike at the Caesaro-Papism of the Eleventh Century. Christ, as he noted, came to teach Truth, not custom. Many Catholics did not know the difference between the two.

1 comment:

  1. I fear the old saw about American Catholics' being Protestants who go Mass is, alas, still very true. "Traditionalist" Catholics are just Protestants who go to the "traditional" (or "Extraordinary Rite") Mass. Same difference!