Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Are traditionalists paranoid?

If so, our paranoia is justified.

First off are the letters pages in the Catholic press. Letter writers can act as the attack dogs of a newspaper since while editors have complete freedom to choose what to publish, they can still disclaim responsibility for it. When we find obsessives attacking trads what seems like every week, this tells you a lot about what is deemed acceptable. There is the busy Martin Elsworth, mainly in The Universe (traditionalists are 'cafeteria Catholics' for preferring the EF) and Tom MacIntyre in the Catholic Herald ('The Old Rite's individualist allure has intensified with postmodern vogues for the antique, the "retro" and the exotic in religion.'), who rejoiced in 47 letters published in just 44 months

But what of feature articles? These are the real meat of the press. 

Well, there is Dr John Casey, in the pages of The Tablet, called us 'dissidents', 'rubricists', 'ideologues' and 'misogynists'.

Nice. But Casey has got all liberal in his old age, hasn't he? Isn't that kind of vituperation to be expected?

Maybe, but we we also were edified by George Weigel characterising us in terms of 'Maniples, lace albs and Latin liturgies', and John Haldane as 'nostalgic and slavish', in the same paper

That was the The Tablet, right? That would never happen in a conservative paper, would it?

Perhaps not - until, in The Catholic HeraldStuart Reid told us to 'abandon the Church and join the SSPX', and that we are 'not on [Pope] Benedict's team'. Not a loopy letter-writer, you understand, a man with a prestigious regular column.

I need hardly add the things which Mgr Basil Loftus lobs at us in The Catholic Times.

Ok, so that's journalism, it's tomorrow's fish-wrap. You'd never get that kind of attitude in a more permanent publication, from a respectable publisher like the Catholic Truth Society?

No - not until Dr Raymond Edwards said in one that we were characterised by a 'defensive "ghetto" mentality', and a 'fondness for dressing up', and are connected with 'hard right' and anti-semitic politics'. This is a booklet still in print.

Right, but that's just a little booklet, isn't it? I mean you wouldn't hear a proper academic dishing out silly and insulting comments about trads, would you?

Ok, so perhaps you would.

Audience at the LMS One Day Conference last year: nutters, every one of them.

Some of the above writers have criticised liberals alongside trads, and others lump trads and conservatives together for abuse: we get it from both directions. But it goes beyond that. In terms of intensity, frequency, and the prestige of the writer and the forum, it is open season on traditionalists in a way it never is on other groups in the Church. The Tablet has never published such an extraordinary screed, like Dr Casey wrote about us, about conservatives; nor has the Catholic Herald printed anything remotely as embittered and personal attacking liberals, as the stuff provided by Stuart Reid about trads. The same is true of the letters pages, the CTS, and academics addressing conferences. It's just not done, old boy.

One might assume this is a hang-over from the time when trads were assumed to be schismatic, but the attacks have actually intensified since Summorum Pontificum. Before then we were more often ignored. Now, it seems, we are a threat.

While this state of affairs continues, please don't accuse us of paranoia.


  1. In this Deanery, when news broke that at the request of the Diocese a TLM would be offered in this Parish every Sunday, the bile that poured forth from very senior clergy was unbelievable. I still don't understand why - it is not in their Parish; they are not being asked to (re)learn or to do it. What is the problem? What is there to fear?

  2. Tacitus explained it long ago: 'Proprium est humani ingenii odisse quem laeseris' {it is a characteristic of human nature to hate those whom one has wronged.}

  3. It’s a simple a case of “pig-headed stubbornness” having to do with an “attachment” to a dying fad that certain older folks find hard to deal with. Like the Bishop of Rome opined a few weeks back, these folks are slowly becoming aware that “their mission in the Catholic Church has come to an end”. Not only have they lost the Faith, but now they lose the real estate to boot.

  4. If we are being attacked in the Tablet, we must be doing something right.

  5. “Are traditionalists paranoid?”

    I wouldn’t know, not being a traditionalist, just an ordinary Catholic in the pews anxious to see that the ancient Catholic Mass, as from the time of St Gregory the Great and probably before, expressing the Faith of the Magisterium of the Church, continues to be available and widely so, to us ordinary Catholics.

    p.s. I would also like the New Mass, which I normally have to attend, to be returned under the “Reform of the Reform” to what Vatican II intended.