This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Monday, 11 August 2014

What is a traditionalist?

The often-excellent Fr Dwight Longenecker has recently got himself into a bit of a pickle over a post Traditionalists Reject Divine Mercy, which in its original version appeared to give the impression that all Catholics calling themselves traditionalists believe exactly the same thing. In fact, pace* Fr Dwight, there are at least three sub-species of traditionalist, and here is a short guide.

* traddy Latin expression meaning "with peace", here meaning "with due deference to".

Pope Pius I

Pope Pius I (2nd century A.D.). Accepted by most trads.

Traditionalistus Sedevacantus. These are the extreme trads, who do not accept any pope since Pius XII (or Pius X, or possibly Pius V; one of the Pii, anyway) as being legitimate. They have severe reservations about the "modernistic" Tridentine Mass, preferring the Sarum Rite, although some prefer to celebrate the Whitby Rite dating from A.D. 664, in which "Yorkshire" Latin (lingua ebagumsis) was recommended. Some theories you may hear from T.S. include the notion that Pope St John XXIII was replaced by the demon Telbat, just before he summoned Vatican II, and that the next Pope - "who will come from a Minster to the West" - will be the last before the final Armageddon, the great battle between Conservatism and Liberalism.

Marcel Lefebvre

Archbishop Lefebvre looks on in horror as a giant puppet walks up the aisle.

Traditionalistus Nonvaticanduensis. Next on the scale we have a variety of traditionalists who reject parts of Vatican II. Bishop Fellay, the head of SSPX, has said that his team accepts 95% of the teachings of Vatican II, which is not a bad score: an A* grade, surely? Of course nobody has ever read all the Vatican II documents (739 pages of fine print, as contrasted with 42 for Vatican I and 179 for Trent), although we are all waiting for the movie, which will star Stephen Fry as Hans Küng and Kermit the Frog as Basil Loftus. The documents have titles such as Decree concerning the sacred pastoral dogmatic constitution on the apostolate of the renewal of priestly mission through the divine ministry of the ecumenical activity of social communication with the laity, which roughly means Kick-starting our priests.

T.N. will of course only attend a Latin Mass, regarding the Novus Ordo as - at best - inferior, and - at worst - invalid. Although they accept that Pope Francis is the legitimate pope, they tend to dislike him so much that he might easily be the Beast of the Apocalypse in a white suit.


Flamenco dancing in church? At my age?

Traditionalistus Orthodoxus. These are the most numerous, and in fact tend to be totally orthodox Catholics who see no point in changing things just for the sake of change. They may well prefer the traditional Latin Mass for its universality, purity and beauty (enabling them to focus on God rather than worrying about whether they will catch a loathsome disease from young Ernie Grotchet in the Kiss of Peace); still, they accept that the Novus Ordo is a totally valid way of worshipping.

They have no particular quarrel with Vatican II itself (after all, if you look closely, you find that it stressed the importance of Latin). However, they go for the "hermeneutic of continuity" approach, and therefore believe that the so-called Spirit of Vatican II - motto "Anything Goes" - is just a snare and a delusion leading to liturgical dancing, clown masses and banal hymns such as Shine, Jesus, Shine. Often, they prefer Pope Benedict XVI's approach rather than Pope Francis's, but they console themselves with the thought that the Holy Spirit never promised that all popes would be supermen.


Not Pope Francis... or is he?

One could go on, with an analysis of watered-down Catholicism: does a fondness for Walk in the Light mean that you automatically subscribe to the weird views of Tina Beattie? If necessary, we can advise you.


  1. It it worth pointing out that those of the SSPX who accept 95% of Vatican II accept more of it than the likes of ACTA.

  2. Sheesh. I'm so glad I'm NOT a traditionalist ...

  3. I was wondering somewhat if the related species Orthodoxus Traditiophilus, comprising those who fully accept all of the Councils and are happy enough with both the Vetus and Novus Ordo, as long as the fullness and the beauty of the Tradition are saved and loved and preserved, wasn't worth the mention, even though these are not Traditionalists as such

  4. Then there are the Traditional Listus Ecclesiasticorum Aedificatorum which is a group that has sought to conserve Gothic and Renaissance church buildings after 1965 but has largely failed to thwart the Wreckovators Ball, a fabricated, abusive and vernacular annual event to which all liberal modernists are invited to celebrate the destruction of hundreds of religious buildings and communities. This group still meets but its membership has declined severely over the years and has aged (avrge 81yrs with 95% over retirement age). They are still closing churches down and persecuting the remnant.