Saturday, December 3, 2011

Modernism And Who Knows What

In a lot of ways, I think Catholics of the traditional set need to look in the mirror a bit. As I wander through the Catholic corners of the Web, I find that a lot of our like-minded brethren are doing the cause way more harm than good.

For example, a random post goes up on a Catholic message board about how somebody doesn't understand this corrected translation business and that they don't particularly like it. They are then met with a barrage of mockery from the self-styled traditionalist who basically declares that they are going to hell anyway for attending a Pauline Mass in the first place. The original poster is now completely shut off from wanting anything else to do with the discussion, much less learning about why the translation is changing. Most likely, their position on the changes is confirmed, since only a jerk like the responder could like such a thing.

It seems there is an incredibly quick rush to pass judgment on Catholics who just might not know something. I'm not sure why. Just pride, I guess. It's a natural impulse to enjoy showing that somebody else is wrong and that we're right. That doesn't make it a good impulse.

You could throw in a range of topics here. Blessed John Paul II's papacy, anything from Vatican II, the Social Kingship of Christ, etc., all fall under this same scenario. Instead of trying to understand the background of the person presenting their opinion or asking the question, they are almost presumed to be a liberal modernist heretic and no prudence or mercy is shown in dealing with them. St. Paul said something about milk before meat. Is that out of style these days?

Take myself for example. When I was growing up, my priest was a no-nonsense Irishman who didn't mince words about the Faith and tolerated absolutely zero dissent from the Church. I had no idea there was a crisis going on. I figured everywhere was like my parish. Sure, we had some flakes that I knew pined for disco liturgy and such, but they were quickly silenced when they attempted to influence matters simply by the priest's comments that "We're Catholic. We do things the Catholic way." This was at a parish with a Pauline Mass, reverently offered. I didn't even see a TLM until I was well past 20. Even now, I get criticized in some circles because I don't drive my family 4 hours every Sunday to the nearest traditional liturgy.

Considering all this, I hadn't read Vatican II or its history, but I certainly wouldn't have thought the subsequent era had any problems. I hadn't heard about Assisi or the Koran incident or any of the other stuff that so scandalized Catholics who were paying attention to this sort of thing. Which is my point. The number of folks in the latter group is pretty small, I think, compared to the body of Catholic believers at large. Most Catholics don't know what Modernism is, other than it's clearly a slur and not something that's going to encourage them to find out more.

I guess I'm just urging charity here. Don't rip somebody as a heretic, indifferentist, modernist or any other such term just because they disagreed with you. Consider first that they are just trying to be good Catholics as best they can. And consider that maybe you're the one who is wrong. Going to a TLM doesn't make you infallible, so it can happen. Wailing away on people who are just trying their best isn't going to make them more sympathetic to traditional ideas. It will have the opposite effect.

Let me add one other thing here since the SSPX has been in the news recently. This is kind of their problem too. Not to sound harsh, but I don't think standing at the periphery shouting at people is all that effective. Too many people have no idea about their current situation to listen, even those in good faith. The SSPX's irregular condition is an automatic shut-off for the average Catholic. If they want to do the most good, they will regularize and get back in the fight for real. Getting this obstacle out of their way will be a huge benefit. Every time I go to an FSSP Mass, it's packed and attracting more and more people who have never been there before. The SSPX could bring more people in as well, but I don't know that they can be as effective given their current situation.

Anyways, to conclude. Charity first. Milk before meat. Do not presume.

That is all.


Jennifer said...

I agree with your comments.

If the heirarchy of the Church agrees with post V2 liturgy then who are "they" to argue against it.

To do so is to argue against the Church - the very establishment "they" are claiming to defend.

Alexander said...

If the heirarchy of the Church agrees with post V2 liturgy then who are "they" to argue against it.

To do so is to argue against the Church - the very establishment "they" are claiming to defend.

We are certainly free to criticize it and show that it is an inferior Mass via prayers and rituals. However it certainly not “traditionalist” to say to someone that they are a heretic or they are going to hell for attending the New Mass. In fact claiming so would mean that the Church has approved of something positively harmful which is impossible and therefore the so-called “traditionalist” is no Trad at all but a person just as confused as any.

An interesting note too: some of the very men who propagated the liturgical “reform” were the ones who argued for all the novelty and new theology for the Mass decades before it. In essence then arguing against established theology of the Mass and for a false sense of people's participation (instead of authentic participation). Now their novelty is norm.

Philip said...

Good post.