We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, He draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Living right on the left coast of North America!

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.—2 Thessalonians 2:15

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Distinguishing Tradition-mindedness from other minds. A meditation.

To help avoid confusion, here then are a few points of clarification regarding language or vocabulary:
  1. Tradition-minded refers to a mindset that honours Tradition but is not constrained by a narrow traditionalism which imprisons dialogue within the confines of, among other things, conspiracy theories levied against the Second Vatican Council, and so forth. Tradition-mindedness honours completely the the authority of the Magisterium of the Church, defends the Sacred Liturgy (Ordinary Form, Pauline Missal) from abuse and appreciates and honours the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. The Tradition-minded person thinks with the Church (sentire ecclesia).
  2. Traditionalist refers to a mindset that tends to lock its proponents within a framework which, by all appearances, lauds the Tradition of the Church but fails to obey the legitimate authority of the Church and fails to acknowledge the legitimacy, for example, of the Ordinary Form Mass. Obedience is as obedience does. Obedience to Truth requires trust that never abandons nor marginalizes nor misappropriates the authority of the Vicar of Christ and the Church Christ founded upon Saint Peter.
  3. Liberal or progressive refers to a massively broad political ideology which has infiltrated the Church and manifests commonly as heresy, dissent, liturgical impropriety and so on. The person espoused to modern liberalism and/or progressivism lauds the primacy of conscience without acknowledging the necessity of the proper formation of conscience according to reason and the teaching of the Church. Liberals of the (c)atholic variety, in practice, are very close to anarchists. Anarchists, typically, loathe the calm of reasoned argument, eschew debate and prefer confrontation. Revolution = evolution; it matters little that revolution relies on casualties to permit its ascension.  Liberals, too, avoid engaging in robust debate with the received knowledge and wisdom that the official Magisterium of the Church brings to a given topic. Modern liberalism, contrary to a classical understanding of liberalism, results in a dictatorship of relativism. All things being equal, nothing should hold primacy. The example of tolerance, then, of the modern liberal amounts to intolerance of any reasoned position which challenges the credibility of the liberal position. Liberalism, like fascism, cannot tolerate criticism.
The Tradition-minded in the blogosphere, especially those who by necessity write in a direct (not condescending) manner, given the many strange occurrences in liturgidom (or is that liturgidumb?), i.e., the liturgical realm, run the risk of becoming more like the things they criticize due to the all too frequent repetition of the abuses and other liturgical, theological and practical malfeasances they are forced to witness in the Church and raise their voices against, especially in light of the all too deafening silence when there should be a near 100% chorus of the faithful standing up for the Mass, the Faith and what-have-you. It is no easy task maintaining a witness of truth and retaining joy in the face of ubiquitous dissent and the many careless acts committed against our Lord Jesus Christ in the sacred Liturgy. But joyful and zealous they must remain for the sake of the brethren who, not realizing the pablum or hidden poisons they are being fed by disingenuous priests, prelates and laity who care nought for the truth as revealed by Christ and conserved by His Church, necessarily rely on the word of truth filtering into parishes to purify understanding of liturgical nonsense and bad theology.


The Rad Trad

The traditionalist, unlike the Tradition-minded Catholic, demonstrates a tendency to hunker down and demonize anything that apparently departs from historical precedent, often failing to appreciate distinctions between practices which preserve the teaching of Christ and those practices or customs which are spiritually beneficial but that may change from time to time in order to better serve the believer's spiritual life (e.g., the number of times one should fast). One would be wrong to say that all traditionalists are misguided people who cannot bear any change. No, the traditionalist fails when he admits into his thinking that his selective reading of Tradition has placed him above the Magisterium of the Church, which puts him dangerously close to the other side of the ecclesiastical bridge, i.e., outside the Church. The SSPX comes to mind.

In that group, the SSPX, we acknowledge many laudable attributes. Sadly, however, we also see in such groups the consequences of a tyranny of an alter-magisterium not unlike that demonstrated by liberals which concentrates opinion around an imagined history and which reserves to itself the title of fidei defensor. Their "authority" clouds judgement and hobbles believers' response to the Holy Spirit Who, being the Spirit of unity Who acts through the visible symbol of unity, that is, the Bishop of Rome, traditionalists, sometimes referred to as "rad traddies" (i.e., radical traditionalists), confirm the breach in their thinking by refusing to accept the legitimacy, for example, of the Second Vatican Council and the legitimate authority of popes who sustain the legitimacy of said Council.

The Lib

The liberal, very much like the traddy or rad-traddy, appropriates authority properly belonging to the Church, specifically the Holy Father. The liberal has very little respect for authority other than his own. The liberal dispenses with Tradition even while proclaiming that his own objectionable opinions are entirely consistent with Tradition. The inversion of reason which admits such contradictions as we have seen articulated at the Synod on Marriage and the Family—i.e., the understanding that practice can be changed but not the doctrine(s concerning, e.g., the reception of Holy Communion or its prohibition)—is, for example, a fairly clear manifestation of the consequences of slippery thinking. In those series of Synod episodes, sociology replaced theology as the starting point. Thanks be to God, most of the Synod Fathers saw and rejected the proposals of the liberals for the threat to reason and Tradition that the proposals represented.

Modern liberalism is a wholesale abandonment of reason and is, practically speaking, little different than fascism. The fascist cannot tolerate any challenge to his or her mental construct which may be best described by the following saying:
There are no absolutes.
The obvious contradiction, i.e., that the statement speaks of an absolute, is lost on far too many people.

If the abuse of human rights commissions and the courts by liberals is any indication, one can point to such abuses as a confirmation that the liberal mindset manifests zero tolerance for any argument which challenges the supremacy of the liberal position which is, to the denigration of responsible dialogue, an ever shifting sand of ideologies that defend themselves by imposing feelings, not facts. The orbit of the liberal sun takes it around the head of every liberal. In the present time, the danger to inalienable rights comes from the liberal project. In other words:
There are no absolutes except those included in the liberal-fascist list of acceptable thoughts and practices.
The Tradition-minded possess the very powerful and practical insight which, after societies have slid down the slippery slope of relativism into an abyss of spiritual death which manifests as psychological, philosophical/moral, physical health and economic ruin, can restore health to societies. What is that insight? It is none other than the hope, and joy, faith and love of the Gospel manifest in and through the Holy Eucharist.

The world and those allied to it—the world of despair, envy, strife and exploitation—will never understand how the Eucharist reclaims civilizations from the uncivilized because they do not understand the Cross. The Tradition-minded understand the Mass is the one Sacrifice of Calvary. They know the story which holds the salvation of all, the rescue of all from the tyranny of sin. They know the story and share the story and defend the Mass which is the story (the reality!) made present. Past, present and future converge upon the altar amidst the celebration of Holy Mass. The reality of the Cross becomes present. Jesus—Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity—becomes present.
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.—1 Corinthians 1:18

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.