James Preece of Catholic and Loving It, and Jackie Parkes of Catholic Mom of 10, have recently been having a go at Traditionalists. I admire both blogs but I feel I should address the issue, although they have both toned down (or deleted) the most stident aspects of their posts.
The first thing which seems to annoy them is the terminology: traditionalist, conservative, liberal, etc.. Arguing about words however is a terrible waste of time; I'd rather address the realities which the words stand for. And the reality is that there are indeed three identifiable groups in the Church to whom these labels apply, with enough usefulness for people to find it useful to use them. (Otherwise they wouldn't use them. Simple, really.)
Is is wrong or un-Catholic to use labels for sub-groups of Catholics? No, of course not; people have always done it, and the magisterium has frequently helped itself to such terms, or invented new ones. We've had Gallicans, Modernists, Integrists, Ultramontanists, Cisaplinists, the pro-Imperial and pro-Papal parties and so forth. If you refuse to use the terms you won't get very far.
What usually happens is that, being Catholics, the people in a party claim that the committments of the party are compatible with the faith, and are even implied by it in the concrete circumstances in which they live. If they couldn't claim that, they'd have to leave either the party or the Church, so this is hardly surprising. The problem is that the other side of the coin is that they imply that Catholics not of their party are less faithful to the implications of the faith, are less fully Catholic.
So Catholic monarchists and Catholic socialists are often convinced that monarchism or socialism is, in the world we live in, implied by Catholic principles. Good luck to them, I say; this attitude needn't lead to bitterness or recrimination, and we can't stop them saying this if we want to have a debate about what Catholic principles imply for the world we live in. And obviously we have to have that debate.
So today liberals, conservatives and trads all have views on what Catholicism demands in the 21st Century, and they think members of the other parties are mistaken.
Is this a terrible thing? Not in itself. Now pay attention: If you believe something, you believe it is true. If you believe it is true, you believe people who disagree with you are wrong, and that they hold false opinions. This isn't wickedness, it is logic. It doesn't mean you think you are infalliible. It needn't imply an aggressive attitude towards people who sincerely disagree.
James and Jackie seem upset by the implication, when trads do or say something, that non-trads have got it wrong. Lighten up, guys: your opinions have the same implication - that other people are wrong in the implications they draw from the faith.
The attitude of liberals and conservatives could equally be described as suggesting trads have got it all wrong. And remember, trads have been the underdog in this three-cornered debate for 40 years; they are the ones who'se 'legitimate aspirations' (as John-Paul II called them) have been trodden underfoot. We don't have any power - we are just trying to survive.
And we've been loyal supporters of many causes promoted by conservatives, a point I made a while ago when Daphne MacLeod accused us of being too concerned about the liturgy. So it is upsetting when these conservative commentators turn their fire on us. Attack your enemies, James and Jackie - not your friends.