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Mark Shea's Broad Brush

Mark Shea has an article on InsideCatholic.com in which he takes on "Those Angry Traditionalists." In this article Mark portrays "traditionalists"as unchristian wild-eyed conspiracy nuts who in their enthusiasm for the Latin Mass think that clown masses are the rule and that Novus Ordo is akin to a satanic black mass.

Here is the thing, I am a traditionalist (by my own definition) and a rather run of the mill one at that, I guess. However, I am a pretty happy guy I think. Most of the other "traditionalists" I have met hold positions and attitudes similar to mine. They are pretty happy too. In fact, very few of us resemble the caricature crafted by Mr. Shea. While he generously allows that some traditionalists may not fit this entire derisive description, he contends that many do.

But that is often the impression I have gotten from many (though certainly not all) Traditionalists. Like it or not, discourse among a great many Traditionalists is filled with anger and contempt for Catholics who do not share their burning interest in traditional forms of piety.

While there are certainly such extremists out there, about whom Mark gleefully relates some sad second-hand anecdotes, in my opinion they are the exception not the rule. In his piece he relates a second-hand report from one of his readers that apparently Mark surmises to be garden-variety traditionalist conversation.

[A] friend of mine took a breather from his Latin Mass group one year after a post-Mass brunch turned into a boisterous discussion over whether it was morally licit to pray for God to strike down Hillary Clinton. He said he was well into the discussion when he caught a glance at people sitting at other tables, their mouths agape, listening in shock and disgust to what the traditionalist Catholics were talking about. He realized that HEY, we're not really being a good witness to the faith.

Now, while the story relayed in this little chestnut may really have happened, I can honestly say that while attending any of my crazy traditionalist cabal club meetings, that this topic has never come up. Not even between discussing the Vatican conspiracy to hold back the third secret of Fatima or whether Bugnini was a 32nd or 33rd degree Freemason. (Yes, that is a joke. Traditionalists laugh too!) However, I will stipulate that I have missed an occasional meeting, maybe it came up then. At the meetings I have attended, most seemed ... well ... nice. Nice and happy.

Like I said, I view myself as a happy traditionalist. I am interested in (and enthusiastic) for the Traditional Latin Mass. I even run another blog entirely dedicated to the subject. But I still frequently attend Novus Ordo masses. And while I have never seen a clown mass either, I have seen puppet masses. Additionally, I have been at masses where the degree of liturgical abuse (right up to ad libbing the Eucharistic prayers) has called into question the validity of that one particular mass. Yet even though I recognize and decry (illicit) abuse when I see it, I have never thought that all Novus Ordo masses are invalid as a result. Even us cro-magnon traditionalists can make such distinctions.

I do think that priests and Bishops should do all they can to conduct the liturgy according to the proper rubrics and that lay people have a right, even a duty, to politely remind them of their obligations in these matters. Mr. Shea thinks this makes me and my cohorts "liturgical fussbudgets" and somehow less Catholic.

That note sums up why I have no interest in becoming a liturgical fussbudget. At the end of the day, my Bible -- and the teaching of the Church -- insists that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control, not bitterness about mediocre liturgy and still less blasphemy at valid liturgies approved by Holy Church. People who act and talk like this are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic or they are going to disappear. A true Catholic faith evangelizes; like it or not, this is not evangelizing, but shouting "Repel boarders" and then pouring boiling oil on your own archers. Such treatment of brother and sister Catholics is, well, evil and will serve to ensure that Traditionalism (or, at any rate, this kind of Traditionalism) dies out in a generation or so.

Again, as a happy "traditionalist" interested in things liturgical and as someone who knows many other like-minded traditionalists, I take issue with Mark's characterization. I am not bitter about mediocre liturgy, or anything else for that matter, nor have I succumbed to a "Repel boarders" mentality and as previously stated, I have no issue with valid liturgies including faithfully done Novus Ordo masses. Further, most of the traditionalists I know do not view the liturgy as their property or themselves as "saviors of the liturgy." They know that the liturgy belongs to God and He will save it if and when He is good and ready.

Further, Mark Shea paints with a very broad brush implying that conspicuously absent in the character of those interested in or devoted to traditional liturgy is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control." This assertion is as unfounded as it is unkind. A few revolting stories do not make the case.

Mark, on his blog, has devoted much time and verbiage to the topic of torture. Do his repeated criticisms of the administration and its defenders on this topic make him a "social" or "moral" teaching "fussbudget?" While I agree with him on this topic, I think it is fair to say that some of his comments (in his many posts on this topic) have not exactly exuded love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. I suppose Mark would suggest that this is an important, but broadly misunderstood, teaching of the Church and thus such repeated focus on it is justified and perhaps so is some occasional snark. I don't disagree. By the same token, I think liturgical issues are very important and the Church's teaching and instruction on liturgy is widely unknown, misunderstood, or ignored. He has his focus, we have ours. Fussbudgets, neither. And certainly not unchristian.

This is by no means a defense of anyone who acts in any way similar to what Mark Shea describes. Every area of focus within the Christian life and opinion, be it social, moral, theological, or liturgical has its extremists. Those interested in traditional liturgy are certainly not immune. With that said, I think that Mark Shea, in characterizing "traditionalists" as mostly unchristian angry extremists with a perhaps a few exceptions, paints with too broad a brush. Perhaps Mark, in his position as a popular columnist and blogger, attracts more than his fair share of the angry minority. Perhaps. I suppose that this unfortunately it goes with the territory. But that is in no way evidential support for his traditionalist derision.

If Mark Shea happens to read this post, I want him to know that I am not angry. Not at him or anyone else for that matter. I am a happy traditionalist who just happens to disagree with him, my fellow Catholic, on this particular point. I will finish this post in a very "traditionalist" way by quoting St. Augustine, "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity." That goes for all of us. Happily.

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Patrick Archbold said...

A Request:
Please do not add any fuel to Mr. Shea's fire by posting a silly or derisive comment here.

Please be respectful and on point. I will have an itchy trigger finger on this post.

Kradcliffe said...

It may vary by location... I think some cities may have a few bad apples that stir up trouble. I have definitely heard some crazy stuff at the coffee hour after Mass. In fact, some of it has been so bad that quite a few of my acquaintances just steer clear of the coffee hour. They still attend the Mass, but they don't stick around to chat, afterwards.

Also, in Glasgow, maybe 25 people show up at the one licit EF Mass every Sunday. The number of people going to the SSPX Mass is closer to 100. I do think a lot of the crazy stuff, the things that get the bad reputation, come from that direction.

Alexandra said...

Right on. Many of the same people attending the EF liturgy on Sunday attend the daily NO mass during the week. They are also the same people in the Altar society and meals on wheels.

I don't think they would see themselves in Mark's description either.

freddy said...

I've never labeled myself as anything other than Catholic. Not big-T or small-t traditionalist, or anything else, although the only time I ever assist at a N.O. Mass is when someone in our family is ill. We are blessed to have the E.F. Mass and our priest is young and very holy.

See, here's the thing: (whispering) I like the EF better than the NO.

What does that make me? Am I evil? Misguided? Cranky? I don't think so, but maybe I'd be the last to know....

Pray for me, y'all. (And sing the "Dies Irae" at my Funeral!)

kimberly said...

Amen, and amen!!

I wish very much that Mr. Shea could spend one Sunday at my parish. Our dear priest offers both forms of the Mass every Sunday. Following the TLM, the fellowship hall is absolutely flooded with children, laughter, conversation and such good will that none of us want to leave. We're not angry. As a matter of fact, Una Voce is now struggling with discerning direction now that the TLM has been "freed", so to speak. It seems we all breathe a bit easier now. There isn't the fear that the ax will fall, that we'll lose this lovely Mass from antiquity. We certainly don't spend our time talking about the Novus Ordo. If there are any arguments, they tend more toward beer preferences and cigars vs. pipes.

I do wish that Mr. Shea would not generalize. I'm sure that there are whacked trads who give us all a bad name, just like adherents to clown masses don't exactly cast a good light on the NO.

A true traditionalist is loyal to the Magisterium. Our Holy Father has declared that there is one Roman Rite with two forms. We are blessed that we may choose and I'm just way too happy about that to be angry!

Tito Edwards said...


Very well written.


...the fact that you had to put in a 'warning' to errant bloggers about the degree of charitableness concerning this very hot topic, Mark Shea's writing, reflects poorly on Mark Shea himself.

Though I enjoy reading most of his postings, many, such as the one you are referring to, seem to be boilerplate articles that seek to provoke anger rather than discussion.

Horatius said...

In my own personal experience as a traditional catholic, I have had contact with both the type Shea describes and the happy ones that are described in this post.

While I do not wish to be acrimonous, it seems as though the majority of the angry, conspiracy ridden catholics of Shea's assertion are mainly in SSPX- at least, that is my experience.

On the other hand FSSP and indult mass attendees have on the whole been happy and charitable.

I really dislike speaking in generalizations, and i don't want to be percieved as having an agenda, but I have had expensive experience with SSPXers (many of my extended family are part of that group), and I almost always come away horrified.

francis said...


I am a Catholic with definite traditionalist sympathies, and I can see your point, but I believe Mr. Shea has a valid point as well (even if he overemphasizes it).

My own dealings with traditionalists, both in person and online, is that they often appear as reactionaries. Much time is spent in complaining about this or that. Whereas I am sympathetic to their complaints, I find it very draining and depressing to be around too much. When talking about the faith, I'd rather spend time talking about the beauty of our Faith, rather dwelling on the ugliness of much of the contemporary practice of it.

Furthermore, one gets a definite overall impression from the various traditionalist Catholic internet sites out there. As always, the internet tends to display the extremes, but nevertheless, the overall impression I get of traditionalists on the internet is that they are primarily "against" things, not "for" things.

Is this fair? Does it fully encompass the nuances of the traditionalist movement? Of course not. But it is the impression, for better or worse, that traditional Catholicism often gives to those not completely in the fold, so to speak.

Embajador en el Infierno said...

I think the expresion "traditional(ist) catholic" is a tautology. Every catholic (i.e., a person who confesses the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church) is a "traditionalist" by definition, so long as he/she is supposed to believe in Tradition as one of the three pillars of the teaching of the Church.

I am deeply attracted to the extraordinary form of the Mass, and also tend to believe that although John Paul II was such a great Pope, the history of the Church and that of Magisterium started some time before his accession to the throne of Peter.

And still I refuse to portray myself as a "traditionalist" in religious matters. The only "modifiers" I accept for my catholicism are "Apostolic" and "Roman". Period.

Having said all that I do find amusing to see how so many good people like Mark Shea (in the US and elsewhere- this is becoming a very "catholic" sport in every sense of the word) appoint themselves as "masters of charity" against the "evil traditionalists" without realising that by that very same act they are failing miserably at what they are precisely preaching: christian love.

I just can't understand why respectfully denouncing liturgical abuse is just not cricket, while bashing the traddie is totally kosher.

Patrick Archbold said...

I understand what you are saying, but I would ask you to keep one thing in mind. There are many, many traditionalists who have never even read a blog or internet site never mind posted or commented at one. My experience with real people, not just the ones here on the interweb thingy, aare warm, caring, and thoroughly Catholic.

With that said, the internet and blogs tend to highlight the extremes and the extremists. These, however constitute only a small portion of "traditionalists."

As mentioned, the web sure does shake the nuts out of the tree. I have had people flame me for the most innocuous of posts, so I thought that I would prudently forewarn on this post. I don't think my warning supports his case, but I am a wild-eyed traditionalist, so what do I know?

nightfly said...

I have first-hand experience of one of the folks Mr. Shea complains about. He is ironically also the guy who has pictures (some of them his own work) of nearly every discredited or dubious Marian apparition in the Western Hemisphere. Bless his heart, but he's really goofy.

Daniel A. said...

About the forewarning: someone on the Inside Catholic post actually uses the fact that Fr. Zuhlsdorf exhorted people to be charitable and gracious when the motu proprio came out as proof that he "felt it necessary" as "one of the gurus" of the "trad" movement to do so.

Thus, a "trad" saying "be charitable" just proves how uncharitable "trads" really are. It doesn't make much sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who you are, but thank you Patrick it needed to be said.

Steve Skojec said...

Thanks, Patrick, for posting this. Mark does a disservice to himself when he writes on this topic. As a commenter noted at my blog today regarding the same article:

"For someone who professes not to care about liturgy, he seems to care an awful lot about the people who do care about liturgy. The way not to care about liturgy is not to write about it. To write about the people who care about a subject that you yourself don’t care about indicates that the issue really is ad hominem, i.e., about persons."

Anonymous said...

I'm a pretty happy Catholic who is rather hurt by Mark Shea's comments; he's always seemed quite grounded. But then, I was also surprised when an apparently solid priest blogged similarly weird about hateful stuff about public-school teachers as a class (no pun). So, I dunno. Full moon?

I am a convert in a mission parish made up mostly of converts and blessed with a genuinely holy La Salette missionary priest whose one failing is Daniel Schutte-ist music! But, hey, given Fr. Ron's holiness and pastoral care, a little sidebar music is okay, eh!

But I do wish I could participate in the liturgy and Latin and try to learn to sing the traditional hymns. The Faith generated a rich culture, and that culture should not have been so casually dumped for Peter, Paul, and Mary music and a clumsily rendered ("All glory and honor is yours" -- they IS?)translation.

But I'm happy and blessed!

-- Mack

John Hetman said...

In spite of Mr. Shea often writing very well on issues when he keeps his feet on the ground, he has a tendency to be his own worst enemy, and both rather boring and boorish. But being a happy traditionalist who attends the NO English Sunday mass at St. John Cantius and the NO daily masses at liberalized suburban parishes, I can deal with the latter as I know that it is Christ's presence that makes all things whole -- even Marty Haugen type ditties and Mark Shea's routine tirades.

Eo Nomine said...

Reading Scott Hahn's "A Father Who Keeps His Promises" really opened my eyes to the familial dimension of the Church.

When looking at things through this lens, stuff snaps into focus, and all these sibling showdowns start to make sense.

Truth be told, we are a divinely dysfunctional family, and I would not have it any other way. I love the Church, flaws and all.

Jim said...

Mr Shea himself states that "such treatment of brother and sister Catholics is evil." What he doesn't seem to realize is that he is also describing his own treatment of fellow Catholics who are attached to the extraordinary form. He himself has poured boiling oil on his own archers with his unfair and divisive comments. He is as guilty as the caricature he has created, and frankly it was irresponsible of him to make such comments. I find it ironic how at times people will throw mud at others and not realize that it sticks to them as well.

Jim said...

Francis, just as a side comment on those traditionalists who are reactionary and angry: Being stuck in a ghetto, laughed at, spit at, avoided, derided, and ridiculed for forty years might tend to make a person feel that way.

Gunnar said...

I couldn't agree more with the post. The liturgy is how the Church prays, whether it is NO or "Gregorian Rite." As Scripture reminds us, we do not know how to pray except by the Holy Spirit. How can we be sure that we are praying correctly? By being in communion with the Holy Spirit by being in communion with the Holy Roman Catholic Church, which gives us instructions on how to pray, we must follow those instructions. This is not being fussy.

I recognize all valid forms of the mass, which if you actually read Vatican II, includes use of latin and does not include old men gyrating and thrusting their hips as they play the electric guitar at the "life teen mass."

I enjoy much of what Mr. Shea writes but on the issues on which he feels passionately he is very dismissive and accusatory. I can't say that I've always been charitable with people who I disagree with on such issues either, let's continue to pray for one another so that we may grow in the unity of Christ.

Matthew said...

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned how inflammatory his uses the "Muslim card" against traditionalists. Oh, since you guys don't condemn your "extremists," you guys are like the moderate Muslims who whine about prejudice against them but fail to condemn their extremists. Funny, you don't even see sedevacantists, who can be pretty wacko at times, beheading people.

Daddio said...

Are you saying that his repeated use of "Worst. President. Ever." doesn't exude love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control?...

Daddio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nightfly said...

@ daddio - I didn't know Mark Shea wrote about Warren Harding!

Cheryl said...

As a general rule, I really appreciate Mark Shea's work, but, as with many evangelical turned Catholic folks, he's prone to a very tacky attachment to the ordinary form of the Mass complete with tambourines and silly lyrics. You find the same stubborn attachment to the dogma combined with a loose hold on sacramental reverence in many Texas parishes where there is close contact with evangelicals. I had the same attachment for quite some time and attempted to base it on a silly notion that I never would have converted through the Traditional Latin Mass (honest reflection reveals that is not the case).

My own reversal came about through my own sense of the reverence owed to God, experiencing Latin in the liturgy and learning more about the Church's views on the matter. It's frustrating, but most of these folks (though I doubt Shea is one of them) haven't read the Vatican II documents on the liturgy and haven't attended a Latin Novus Ordo let alone a Traditional Latin Mass. I think with time and God's grace, Mark Shea and others who are faithful to the Church's dogma will also see the importance and value of faithfulness to her liturgical traditions.

Dad29 said...

It's not real hard to infer that Mark Shea likes 'hits' to his blogsite and essays.

turzovka said...

Well said, Patrick, thank you. You can be on my talk show anytime, if I had one.
I think the vast majority of us Catholics of any lean who attend mass with some regularity (I always go) know what the greatest issues are. And they are not from without, they are from within. Our greatest concerns HAS TO be the state of our own soul, and not the state of the Church in general. Surely if we all made real progress on being more obedient, merciful, charitable and bold the Catholic Church would have greater power and holiness and these other problems would fade away. So I will start with me, and you start with you. I would much rather see a liberal Catholic thinker attend Confession more regularly than seek out a Tridentine liturgy. I would much rather see a Tradionalist (like myself) write out his own weaknesse and virtues and dwell on what changes he / she need make than cast out angry letters to liberal Catholic voices. That will come only as needed and surely only in a charitable way if we are in good standing with our Lord.

Anonymous said...

Patrick ... my husband wrote a post in response to a piece Mark Shea wrote for Catholic Exchange the day before the Iowa Caucus ... possibly you/your readers would like to read it ...



Gary Keith Chesterton said...

Well now. Since no one is really defending Mark here, I guess I will have to do it.

I don't know Mark personally but I've read a lot of his work. Without putting words in his mouth, I think it's safe to say that he does not have a silly attachment to the NO with its tambourines, etc. He has said many many times that he has no interest in the "liturgy wars". I take this to mean that he recognizes the universal prayer of the Universal Church when he sees it, be it OF or EF; as he has said, "give me my lines and my blocking, and I'm happy."

Many of us who have an attachment to the EF, for whatever reason, cannot grasp that it is just not that burning an issue for many of our brethren -- and this does not necessarily make them wrong. It is perfectly okay to be happy with the NO Mass. It is perfectly okay not to care about NO vs. TLM.

Of course, we all know this, or at least we should. If anyone here disagrees with me about this simple fact, perhaps I'm at the wrong site. That would be too bad, because I love it and read it every day.

What Mark is saying, I think, is that many of us get carried away. We take what is essentially a matter of taste -- preferring the TLM to the NO -- and turn it into a litmus test for orthodoxy, even salvation. Anyone who does this is being ridiculous. I feel certain that my fellow readers here will agree.

Mark is not painting with too broad a brush. He is not condemning all traditionalists. He is correctly criticizing some traditionalists.

Let us each look into his own heart and consider: are we excessively judgemental about our brethren who are not TLM devotees? And give Mark Shea a break.

Paenitet said...

The problem with Mark Shea's analysis, which is based upon his anecdotal interactions, is that it ignores the fundamental issue. Since the introduction of the new liturgy, and the associated changes simultaneously introduced, the Church has been in free-fall in first world countries. We can debate whether there really is a cause-and-effect here, but when the radical changes (and they really were radical) were introduced, many Catholics (clergy and laity) simply walked away. How was this a good thing? Why shouldn't Trads be angry with pastors who abdicated their pastoral responsibilities? As someone once observed, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they are not entitled to their own facts. The facts -- the Church is in objective demographic decline -- is undeniable. Doctrinally and morally, the faithful are also virtually at sea.

Speaking anecdotally, almost all of the Trads I know take their faith seriously and firmly believe in the singularly unique mission of Holy Mother Church. She is not one way up the mountain -- she is the only way. That most Catholics do not believe that anymore does not otherwise distract from its essential truthfulness; they are merely deceived.

I am not angry either. I am thrilled that I have discovered the pearl of great price in the ancient liturgy. Our Papa knew exactly what he was doing by restoring it -- the tide is turning. Deo Gratias!

Warren said...

What we don't want is a Catholic version of "high and low church". Given the protection of the Holy Spirit, that will not happen. However, it is distracting to hear traditionalist folk talk just like high-church Anglicans, and others (charismatics and progressives) speak like low-church evangelicals. Look at what is happening in Anglican circles.

Let's do away with any (political) appellation that provides the devil an opportunity to divide us.

Indeed, the process of renewal is like the restoration of a fresco. A bad restoration adds harmful goo that clouds the beauty of the image or strips away the original. Successful restorations painstakingly remove the dirt and the damage done by previous attempts at restoration which encrust and/or obscure the image. The handy work of the artist is slowly revealed. Once again, the image becomes a window to heaven. Have you seen the Sistine ceiling - beyond words!

We are undergoing a transition much like that experienced by the early Church when the Liturgy moved from Greek to Latin. We cannot expect to be entirely at ease overnight (in 40 or even 100 years). Patience, perseverance, prayer! Praise God!

Kevin Symonds said...

I thought it was very informative on his blog that Mark Shea wrote that he "hates Traditionalists."

I exposed that one on my blog "Desiderium."
(August 14th, 2008 entry).


Alexandra said...

"Those Angry Anti-abortionists"

Ya know that some of these angry anti-abortion types act as if there is no other issue that matters and that we will certainly get hit by an asteroid if we don't stop having abortions. I have never seen an abortion, but these folks act like it happens all the time. Sheesh.

While not very anti-abortionist is like this, but many are.

A reader on my blog once told me that his mother's cousin's sister's neighbor once overheard a conversation between anti-abortionists whether it was morally licit to burn down an abortion clinic. And that neighbor decided she didn't want to anti-abortion any more.

This is why I am not a "abortion fussbudget."

Gosh, I hope that everyone would be as moderate me and that is why anti-abortionism will eventually die (at least, THAT kind of anti-abortionism)

This is what I am thinking about today, maybe I will think something else tomorrow. It is what I do.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Shea is dead on. I have experienced exactly what he is talking about. I have also been truned off by people who go to the extreme. Once when I entered a church that only says the Latin mass, a woman approached me and asked me three times if I was really Catholic... Another time while in church waiting for the latin mass to start another woman approached me telling me that the pope is false and gave me handouts that had so many mistruths. A third encounter with a Traditionalist is when I was told by this traditionalist that she would never attend a N.O. Mass because it is not real. She would attend SSPX mass first. Also, I had to defend myself once to a traditionalist that came on strong telling me my girls who are 6 and 7should be taught they are not allowed to wear pants. They should wear only dresses and skirts. If I had not experienced anger and strangeness from people that only attend Latin Mass myself, I probably would not understand Mr. Shea. Again I say, Mr. Shea's article was dead on for me.

Anthony said...

Well, if someone named anonymous says it, it must be true.
He's met two people who were mean. For me, that's it. Case closed.
Any other pearls of wisdom, anonymous?

Jordanes said...

I will finish this post in a very "traditionalist" way by quoting St. Augustine, "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity."

Just a niggling off-topic comment from a "fussbudget" of another sort: St. Augustine never said, "In essentials unity," etc. The first appearance of that quote is in the writings of Lutheran irenicist Peter Meiderlin ("Rupertus Meldenius"), who lived 1582-1651, and he didn't attribute it to St. Augustine -- he appears to have been the quote's original author.

Anonymous said...

This isn't the first time we have encountered such tripe from Mark Shea. I don't pay him much attention. Our faith will survive without the benefit of his sage advice.

Shea reminds me of the pastor of the local Catholic church in this town, a Protestant turned Catholic, who regularly ridicules the pre-Vatican II Church. He refers to the years prior to 1970 as "the bad old days." He regularly tells jokes about the pre-Vat II Church and scares people with horror stories about mean, angry pre-Vat II priests. He wasn't even a Catholic at the time.

Mark Shea and this pastor are out of their depth speaking about such things. They are unable to see the present day Church through the eyes of a cradle Catholic who grew-up in a very different Church. They don't understand the anger, sadness and sense of loss experienced by such people. Shea and the pastor are the ones in need of an attitude adjustment.

Furthermore, Shea's words seem to betray a Protestant mindset. He seems to imply that the liturgy really isn't a big deal. The written word is really where it is at, "That note sums up why I have no interest in becoming a liturgical fussbudget. At the end of the day, my Bible -- and the teaching of the Church..." I guess I am a "fussbudget," but I consider the liturgy to be of great importance. And, the Code of Canon law states that I have the right and responsibility to make my concerns known.

I think the following words of Shea could well apply to himself, "People who act and talk like this are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic or they are going to disappear."

Anonymous said...

I think the words of Joseph Ratzinger can serve as a backdrop to this whole discussion on the liturgy:

"I was dismayed by the banning of the old Missal," he wrote, "seeing that a similar thing had never happened in the entire history of the liturgy...."

"But the fact that [the liturgy] was presented as a new structure, set up against what had been formed in the course of history and was now prohibited, and that the liturgy was made to appear in some ways no longer as a living process but as a product of specialized knowledge and juridical competence, has brought with it some extremely serious damages for us.

"In this way, in fact, the impression has arisen that the liturgy is 'made,' that it is not something that exists before us, something 'given,' but that it depends on our decisions. It follows as a consequence that this decision-making capacity is not recognized only in specialists or in a central authority, but that, in the final analysis, each 'community' wants to give itself its own liturgy. But when the liturgy is something each one makes by himself, then it no longer gives us what is its true quality: encounter with the mystery which is not our product but our origin and the wellspring of our life....

"I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy, which at times is actually being conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: as though in the liturgy it did not matter any more whether God exists and whether He speaks to us and listens to us."

This, in a nutshell, is the problem with the NO.


francis said...

I understand what you are saying, but I would ask you to keep one thing in mind. There are many, many traditionalists who have never even read a blog or internet site never mind posted or commented at one. My experience with real people, not just the ones here on the interweb thingy, aare warm, caring, and thoroughly Catholic.

I realize this - I have met bitter reactionaries both online and in person. I have no idea of the percentage of traditionalists that fall into this category, but it's enough that it gives an overall impression, which is what I think Mr. Shea is trying to say.

Francis, just as a side comment on those traditionalists who are reactionary and angry: Being stuck in a ghetto, laughed at, spit at, avoided, derided, and ridiculed for forty years might tend to make a person feel that way.

That doesn't justify it, however; and in fact is a sinful attitude regardless of the circumstances. Our Lord asks us to forgive "seventy times seven" times. He never was reactionary or bitter, even when he was unjustly condemned. Being treated like crap for 40 years (and I agree that tradionalists have been treated in such a way) is nothing compared to what the saints and martyrs have endured joyfully over the centuries.

Anonymous said...

Bitterness, anger etc. are emotions. We cannot always control our emotions. We can only control how we react to them. Sometimes, our anger is justified - sometimes it isn't.

If the anger is misplaced (we are wrong), we can change our view of things and eliminate the source of the anger. But, when the anger is justified, it isn't necessarily a "sin" or "evil" to express it (within reason). Our Lord, did just that when he found the moneychangers desecrating the temple. Traditionalists are angry about what they see as a desecration of the temple in our own day.

The important thing is to not let the anger and bitterness take control and be out of proportion to the reality of the situation. We must temper anger with patience and a stoic attitude.

I disagree with the pollyannish notion that we must always have the warm fuzzies and a wimpy nature to be close to God. That notion stems from the feminization of the post-Vat II church. It's all about "feelings."

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