I am not sure I would describe myself as a traditionalist. This is because in any sense in which the term would be approbatory it ought to apply to all Catholics. To describe oneself as a traditionalist is therefore either to claim one is an irrational conservative or to deny that anyone else is a Catholic. I have no desire to do either of these things. However, I do most certainly think the wholesale reinvention of the Roman Rite in the sixties and seventies was an objectively wicked and hideously imprudent thing to do. I had an interesting conversation with someone last night who pointed out that a very large number of people of this opinion are extremely unhealthily bitter. My own experience does not entirely refute this claim. In fact, the kind of alienation from ecclesial structures that this opinion can engender can resemble a sort of protestantism. I think the reason for this is lack of historical perspective. Things have been very bad in the past in many different ways. The move to Avignon was an objectively wicked and hideously imprudent thing to do. The endorsement of Consiliarism by Constance was an objectively wicked and hideously imprudent thing to do. The hereditary transmission of the Papacy within the Theophylacti was an objectively wicked and hideously imprudent thing to do. We survived all this. We did not however survive because people buried their heads in the sand and insisted that these disasters were really a new springtime. There were people who were very happy with these decisions/arrangements and they were a big part of the problem. Bitterness comes from a failure to understand or believe in the indefectibility of the Church. Newman said to be deep in history is cease to be a protestant. To be deep in history is also to cease to be a ‘traditionalist’.

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