Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What is a Traditional Catholic? Another View

Someone on a thread in the Catholic Answers Forum asked a great question, what exactly is a traditional Catholic? I've tried to give a serious answer to that question here. But Wholly Roamin' Catholic came at it from a different angle. (When I privately pinged WRC to see if I could use his stuff, he immediately pinged me back to say that he had already used mine! I guess you call that cross-pollination.)

You've gotta love his take on this:

A traditional Catholic is not a person who "prefers" the old Latin Mass. Neither are they people who simply passed Catechism class.

They are people who adhere to a type of spirituality that is largely lost in the 21st Century Catholic Church.


Truthfully, it's easier to describe their outward signs than their character: the old Latin Mass is the biggest identifier... though there are certainly traditional Catholics who are marooned in Novus Ordoland; there are likewise non-traditional Catholics who go to the TLM.


Trads are people who listen to Catholic Radio... skeptically. They might have a blog. They can list their "top-five" favorite Ecumenical Councils... none of which will rhyme with "Attican Shoe". Their friends think they're fuddy-duddys. They've got Holy Water fonts in all the bedrooms and by the front door. They quote the Douay Rheims bible. They have an opinion on offering Mass in baroque vestments while in a gothic chapel. They're tired of tinfoil hat jokes. They may not like Bishop Williamson, but concede that sometimes he's right, and when he's right, he's really right. They can tell you about Assisi. When they're at a Novus Ordo Mass, they've got their hands folded like a Catholic during the Our Father. The women have an extra mantilla in the van-- just in case. The men have an opinion on the best type of pipe tobacco for any occasion. The boys have their own cassock and surplice hanging in the closet. The girls know how to play Dies Irae on the organ. They wear a t-shirt while they go swimming so their brown scapular doesen't float away. They're willing to drive an hour to go to Mass... every Sunday. They know the confession times of at least 4 churches. They invite priests over to play cards and smoke cigars. They pray to saints that you think may not really exist. They ask you to finish the sentence when you say "John Paul the Great"... the great what? They might own a live chicken. When they're at a Novus Ordo Mass, everyone watches them to figure out why they're hitting themselves during the "Lamb of God". They're kneel after Mass to pray... and miss out on the fun gladhanding with Father by the parish gift shop. They scoff when they pass the Masonic Lodge. They cross themselves when they pass a Catholic church. They mutter something about the "poor souls" when they pass a cemetary. They mutter something about St. Michael when an ambulance passes them. Their girls' first names are Mary. Their boys' middle names are Mary. Cappa Magna doesn't sound like a drink at Starbucks to them. They'll tell you at length why being "charitable" isn't always being nice and friendly.


It's complicated. Trads are not easily defined. You just kind of know them when you see them.

11 comments:

Father G said...

nice article and true...but I would change one thing...
"They invite their priests over to smoke cigars and drink Martinis"!

I always lose at cards anyway...

Thom said...

Amusing definition, but can I still be a trad if I don't smoke? Maybe I qualify because I did actually try to smoke a pipe for a little while. Awful stuff.

WhollyRoamin'Catholic said...

Father G-- next time you're in Kansas City, come by. I make a fine martini. :)

Thom-- I think your brief foray into pipe smoking is enough to qualify. I'll check with the tribunal, but I think I can get you an indult.

Father G said...

Wholly Roamin',

Thanks for the invite...I don't get to KS very often but if I ever do I'll be sure to let you know. Chilled glasses, Bombay gin, extra dry, three large olives and shaken not stirred...of course.
Oh...and I'll bring the cigars!

Father G said...

Sorry...that should have been KC not KS.

ThePalmHQ said...

[ three large olives ]

You forgot the blue cheese, Father, the blue cheese.......

Father G said...

Dave,
You're right...how could I have forgotten that! Of course, we all know who has the best blue cheese stuffed olives in town! :)

Thom said...

Thank God I at least tried to smoke a pipe!

Adamgv said...
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Adamgv said...
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Hans Lundahl said...

Is Cavendish tobacco? *big grin*

No, I quit smoking many years ago. But you are right, there is such a thing as trad cath culture.

Blue cheese may be due to French origin of Mgr Lefèbvre. I liked it even since my Lutheran days in Sweden anyway. I did not know you could stuff olives with them.