Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Love: Why Traditionalism Makes Me Sick

I was just reading a blog post from a Traditionalist Catholic blog about the "horror" of the Archbishop of Canterbury (Rowan Williams) celebrating a eucharistic liturgy in a church in Rome that was the head church of the Dominican order.

Now let me say, I get that Catholicism has declared Anglican ordinations "null and void" in 1896. But I'm also aware what Vatican II said about Anglicanism, and that Pope John Paul II preached in Westminster Abbey and called the Anglican Communion "our beloved sister church". I know canonically it is an ecclesial communion and not truly a church (dominum iesus). But again, the spirit of ecumenism isn't something that should evoke "horror". Maybe my objection is baseless and I should agree with them, but I just despise such outright hatred for fellow Christians (which Anglicans have been concilliarly defined as being, again Vatican II).

The other things I hate about Traditionalists are their neo-Donatist conceptions of sacramental validity. They seem to think that if you are receiving communion at a Mass in English or if someone plays the guitar at your church that somehow Christ can't be present. As if the tongue of the pagan Romans or gregorian chant were what Angels spoke. I get the love for aesthetic beauty, I don't get their strange ideas about Baptisms only being baptisms if the person holds your views on anything from the papal tiara to denying the holocaust. (I'm overreacting here I know).

Furthermore, Traditionalists seem to worship Tradition to the point of idolatry. If someone did something in the past it was therefore valid. The Tridentine Mass is a great example. It was a complete "innovation" of the 16th century, but after it sits around for 400 years, then it's holy. Traditionalists mock Dave Armstrong for using the Bible to defend Catholic beliefs as if teaching the Scriptures is too "protestant" a thing for a respectible Catholic to do.

Finally, completely absent is the love of Christ. Yes it sounds trivial, yes it's argued alot, but at the end of the day, love is supreme (1 Cor 13), it is the greatest.

So may the liberals stop trying to rape Tradition of any holiness, and may the Traditionalists stop destroying charity and ecumenism.

"If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. " - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

I love this passage, and how St. Paul says that even if you understand all mysteries and knowledge and have all faith *cough sola fide cough* but have not love, you are nothing.

One of my few proud quotes is that 'to be a theologian without love is to be a theolo-gong'... and if you think that's stupid, well... my friend didn't when I told her, so there! (note my Nietzschean logic)


  1. great points made here man... We find this not just in Catholics, but in Protestant churches aswell.
    We all know Pelikan's quote: "Tradition is the living faith of the dead. Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living."

    To have a hatred for those outside of the Roman church is not Catholic and its not orthodox.
    Also, witty idea with the neo-donatist