Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Why do conservatives find traddies such a challenge?

The Coo-ees have posted yet another defense of the indefensible over at their place, which I won't bother to reply to here (except to note that I really resent having my comparison to their treatment of Cardinal Pell portrayed as incitement to attack him. Talk about being verballed!!).

Why do traddies and neo-cons find it so hard to get on?

But it does all raise the question once again of why it is that those holding the middle ground in the Church - who I'll label neo-conservatives for the sake of convenience - so often struggle with traditionalists.

After all, in many ways we have a lot in common - we both dislike the liberals! We both tend to agree that something needs to be done to fix the liturgy.

The trouble is, our preferred solutions differ radically!

On this there is a rather nice article written a few years back by Fr Ripperger FSSP that I thought might be worthwhile drawing to your attention and encouraging you to read or reread.

The value of 'extrinsic' tradition

Fr Ripperger identifies reasons why key elements of the extrinsic tradition (the heritage of the Church passed down to us through the generations) of the Church tend to be ignored in favour of what he terms 'magisterialism', which the rest of us might less politely describe as varying degrees of ultra-montanism.

Basically, he argues, instead of tradition being the norm and key test for what should and shouldn't be done, the sole criteria becomes the teaching of the current Magisterium.

The difference between conservatives and traditionalists, he suggests is that:

"...the neo-conservative looks at the past through the eyes of the present while the traditionalist looks at the present through the eyes of the past."

Magisterialism and Pope Benedict XVI

In many ways the dynamic has changed since the article was written due to the election of Pope Benedict XVI - not because magisterialism has entirely disappeared, but because it is working in favour of the recovery of tradition due to the Pope's own position on the subject. The result is that there is a substantial group of conservatives who are trying (with varying degrees of enthusiasm!) to come to grips with the TLM and tradition more broadly.

The problem is that they are doing so essentially out of obedience rather than any intrinsic understanding of the inherent merit of the case for it. And that means they tend to focus only on the bits that they are told to, rather than embracing tradition as a whole. It is not, for example, that they are convinced that chant (or kneeling to receive, or six/seven candlesticks on the altar, etc, etc) is part of our patrimony, inherently superior because it is the product of tradition that they are prepared to see its (limited) revival, but because the Pope told them too/does that/likes that.

Now don't get me wrong, obedience is a good first step. It is certainly a better place to be than those who remain in the clutches of outdated ideas and simply will not change, so sit sniping from the sidelines instead.

But unless that obedience eventually gets translated into an intellectual understanding and acceptance of the case for the 'hermaneutic of continuity', it won't last past the reign of the current Pope (long may he reign!).

The challenge

The Pope's strategy seems to be to build up 'brick by brick' as Fr Z puts it, and, I suspect, hope that eventually a mental switch will be thrown in people's minds, and they will get it. I guess that's kind of a variant on the idea that that the mass evangelises itself!

But I do wonder if there isn't some more ground level work that we can be doing to help this process along.

But in the meantime, we can comfort ourselves in the knowledge that Captain Kirche is on our side....


Son of Trypho said...

Don't worry Terra - they took a swipe at me too for suggesting that comparing religious leaders to Nazi leaders (even indirectly) was distasteful and imprudent.

And don't get me wrong - almost everything they post is quite entertaining (and they should parody/satirise conservatives too) but this one was a definite miss.

I was struck by a line from Aeschylus' "Prometheus Bound" last night (which by coincedence I was reading) when I was thinking of this whole issue but particularly the responses received to objections:

"Wise are they who bow down before Adrasteia."

Moving on, I tend to agree with your analysis - there is definitely a tension that exists between groupings - it can be seen online for instance in discussions like this. It is unfortunate however that such discord exists because it ultimately weakens our collective interests.

I think it is often rooted in pride, that most destructive sin, whereby each individual respects only their own opinion and reasoning without fairly considering those they disagree with. I would call on my brothers and sisters to ponder this and I would appreciate thoughts.

Terra said...

Oh I'm not upset Son of Trypho, I'm sure the latest Coo-ees piece will boost my stats even above the enthusiasm generated by my last two posts!

I have to admit I used to enjoy Cooees immensely, but as I said, it really hasn't quite regained its old light touch. There are things traddies do and say from time to time that are eminently mock-worthy (just take a look at some of the comments on NLM, Fr Z and Rorate!). It si all a question of knowing how far to go and balance.

But as you say we perhaps need to make more of an effort to understand where each other are coming from at this time - at the very least evangeliaation is easier when you understand what you are combatting!

Son of Trypho said...

Thought I'd post an interesting experience I had today;

I wandered into a Mass today and was struck by a couple of things, some of which struck me as particularly odd. Bear in mind that my personal experience of OF is extremely limited.

1. The first reading was done by a woman, despite a fellow there who has some form of religious credentials (special minister?) being present. Is this ok?
2. The chalices were good, but the Eucharist was distributed from a glass (I think?) bowl. Is this acceptable?
3. The communion was distributed in both forms with the priest handing out the Eucharist and two women distributing the wine. Strangely one of them kept saying "the body of Christ" - isn't it the blood of Christ? Should it be distributed in both forms and should women be distributing it?
4. I saw people dunking their Eucharist into the chalices and then consuming them (and licking fingers) - this strikes me as not correct?
5. I saw one or two people accept Communion on the tongue, while standing - is this ok?

I'd like to read what you think about this and work out if these things were ok/not.

Louise said...

Humour is like that, I think, Terra. Someone says something they think is pretty harmless (rightly or wrongly) and someone else thinks they are being mean (rightly or wrongly).

Why do traddies and neo-cons find it so hard to get on?

Feelings of rejection, perhaps, on both sides. Different ideas of what constitutes good liturgy (eg I'd be happy with a Reform of the Reform, but traddies would say, "not good enough.") Real injustice against the traddies by not making the EF available etc. Consequent bitterness etc.

Terra said...

Louise, its true that everyone's sense of humour is different.

All the same, there is generally a degree of consensus that enables people to react and say something is going too far. Consider (if you can recall it!) the outrage when one of the Princes (?Harry) dressed up in a nazi uniform for a party for example. And I think a catholic blog - no matter how regularly outrageous - has to take some thought to these things too!

Son of T - gahh, some liturgical horrors and abuses indeed! Do I think the things you list are all ok - no!

Are some of them permitted under the current code? Unfortunately yes!

Receiving on the tongue standing is a permissible option (and indeed sometimes prudent for health reasons, and could even be considered in certain limited circumstances as a less confrontational approach with certain priests, although personally I tend to dig my heels in on this one these days!).

Similarly, you frequently get women doing the readings at papal masses so while I think a good argument can be mounted that it violates the hierarchy of who should act as an extraordinary minister set up in Canon Law, I don't think that's a line that will go very far in talking to a priest about it!

Receiving under both kinds is similarly permissible (including with extraordinary ministers to effect this, male or female), though in my view generally undesirable - of course using the correct form of words would be nice!

Self-inctinction, I'm pretty sure, is absolutely forbidden, and the other things you raise all sound pretty bodgy to me, but I have to admit it is a while since I've looked at the details on what is and isn't an abuse.

A useful reference document on this is Redemptionis Sacramentum, available on the Congregation for Divine Worship site.

Personally, I'd just find another, more reverent, mass to attend...

IS said...

4. I saw people dunking their Eucharist into the chalices and then consuming them (and licking fingers) - this strikes me as not correct?
5. I saw one or two people accept Communion on the tongue, while standing - is this ok?

Intinction is expressly forbidden - and has been recently clarified. The others are 'tolerated abuses'.

Of course communion on the tongue while standing is fine! Certainly better than in the hand while standng! Crikey!

Son of Trypho said...


Thanks for the info. Due to the unusual circumstances I am in and those who know me personally know of these, I am extremely limited in my choices for Mass so I'll have to stick with this one for the time being.

David said...

Intinction the priest is permitted in the Latin rite (Novus Ordo). It is intinction by the communicant that is expressly forbidden.

The 207 GIRM provides:

287. If Communion from the chalice is carried out by intinction, each communicant, holding a
communion-plate under the chin, approaches the priest who holds a vessel with the sacred
particles, a minister standing at his side and holding the chalice. The priest takes a host, dips it
partly into the chalice and, showing it, says: Corpus et Sanguis Christi (The Body and Blood of
Christ). The communicant responds: Amen, receives the Sacrament in the mouth from the priest,
and then withdraws.

Intinction by the communicant is NEVER allowed, however, and ought to be stopped by the Extraordinary Monster concerned, by placing his hand over the chalice "Madam, that is not done!".