Saturday, 16 March 2013

Between ultramontanism and sedevacantism: traddies, get a grip on yourselves

As readers of blogs will be aware, there have been some pretty extreme reactions to the election of Pope Francis.

So I thought today, spurred by a useful post over at the Curt Jester, I'd provide a list of links to some of the more moderate voices of the traditionalist community.

But first a little context.

Sadness and mourning?

A lot of the reaction, I suspect, is still residual sadness, or even anger, at the resignation of Pope Benedict and the unfinished agenda he left behind.

And I can't help thinking that some of the rad trad reaction is spurred by a certain fear and guilty realisation about the fear that a schismatic tendency is about to harden into (declared) schism indeed.  Pope Benedict, after all, reached out and did everything he could to try and effect a reconciliation with the SSPX, and they rejected his offer.

That rejection is made all the more poignant by the news that the (orthodox) Patriarch of Constantinople will attend the Inauguration, moving the prospect of healing that Schism just a little closer.

I have to admit that I wasn't following the conclave that closely, not least because I (correctly as it turns out) thought the chances of my preferred candidates being elected was extremely low, and the chances of anyone as good emerging seemed bleak.

Moreover, I didn't expect to see the announcement of a new Pope live given the time differentials involved, and I don't have a mobile phone so the papal smoke alarm wasn't going to get me out of bed in time either, the expected length of the Conclave (boy were we all wrong on that one!).


As it turns out though, my guardian angel prodded me awake just in time to get the message that the white smoke had gone up, and turn on the live feed (fortunately not relying on ABC TV where I gather ex-priest Paul Collins announced that the Cardinal of Genoa had been elected!  Oh well, I guess he is in good company since the Italian Bishops Conference even sent a congratulatory message to the wrong man...) to see it, the announcement and that first appearance.  So I'm pretty inclined to think positively of the new man!

It is true that he doesn't look like a great protagonist for the traditionalist or reform of the reform liturgical agenda (he is a Jesuit after all!).  That agenda does, however, perhaps now have its own momentum.

What is needed now seems to be a clean up of the Curia and a bit of refocusing across the world on the Church's actual mission, and that certainly seems to be what we are going to get.

As a number of commentators have now noted, the new Pope has delayed doing the traditional confirmation of previous curia officeholders in place for the moment, signalling watch this space perhaps!

Between ultramontanism and sedevacantism

But regardless of what you think of the signals so far, the challenge for every Catholic is to get the right balance in our reactions.

We don't, of course, have to applaud every move a Pope makes.  We don't even have to believe that the Cardinals elected the best possible person for the job.

We do, though, have to believe that the duly elected post will benefit from the charism that has prevented the Church from falling over the last two thousand years.

We do have to avoid rash judgment.

And do have to accord the new Pope an appropriate degree of respect, and that has been distinctly lacking in some quarters.

So here is a list of some of the more sensible posts on the whole thing for your consideration:


A Canberra Observer said...

there is a very good discussion on this theme over at Hermeneutic of Continuity -

hughosb said...

Hi Kate!

Thanks for some balanced reflection. Of interest to me especially was that the rural WA dioceses seem not to do much with their websites. Surely it is these overwhelmingly non-urban dioceses that need to have a vibrant online presence. A good diocesan website can make the furthest-flung members of the diocese feel that little bit closer and informed.

The true reason Benedict XVI started a Twitter account, I suspect, was not to make the papacy relevant but to signal to the Church that the new media, outside the control of the moguls and editors who gave us the virtual Council, are legitimate tools for evangelization. In fact, they are even desirable tools, their dangers notwithstanding.

But maybe some bishops have not acted on this because, well, of the very fact it came from Benedict, or maybe they just didn't get it at all.


Kate Edwards said...

Indeed. In fact over the last year a number of dioceses have improved their websites and new media presence considerably, and Armidale stepped into at least the twentieth century by actually having one at all (!).

But more than a few remain pretty unhelpful, and its odd that is the case in WA where a lot of the population are transients and newcomers to the country/region.

Anthony S. Layne said...

Hi, Kate!

Another link for you in the "cool yer jets" section: Father Z, who told his more rabid fans, "You are NOT welcome to come into my living room and have a spittle-flecked nutty like whining liberals do whenever Catholic teaching and discipline is reaffirmed."

It's really early days to declare Francis' papacy a disaster, no matter whether you're trad or liberal. My guess is, he won't undo Summorum Pontificum, but he'll have other concerns foremost — evangelization, clean-up of the Vatican — so the TLM won't get any further advancemeent from him. But he's not Jane Fonda in makeup.

A Canberra Observer said...

I was amused/annoyed by Fr Z's own little 'nutty' - this is the problem with blogs I guess - if you have a combox it is NOT your living room because it is there precisely to invite comment.

Not thrilled by Cardinal Mahony's tweets but that could also just be politics. Even if it is, don't these princes of the Church have more important things to tweet about.

Kate Edwards said...

I have to agree CO. I did read Fr Z's assorted pieces, but didn't include the link partly because I don't consider him a traditionalist perspective per se, but rather an American style conservative with an attachment to the EF which is something different, and partly because I didn't actually like the tone of some of his stuff. He is often well worth reading, which is why his blog is in my sidebar, but I'm afraid I'm not generally a big fan of the style.

Comboxes are difficult.

There is often a tradeoff between getting lot of comments and maintaining a degree of civilized discourse, and everyone draws the line differently.

Pretty much every blogger, I suspect, loves getting comments - hit stats are all very well, but actual concrete reactions are a reward that really encourages one.

And allowing some of the wild and woolly thoughts to be articulated and shot down can have its uses. On the whole though, I tend to think that maintaining a genuinely catholic sensibility in the conversation is more important.

R J said...

There is, I believe, much to be said for your contention that "A lot of the reaction, I suspect, is still residual sadness, or even anger, at the resignation of Pope Benedict and the unfinished agenda he left behind." If even I have felt a soupçon of sadness and anger at this resignation, I can just imagine what visceral emotions must be convulsing the less mentally balanced type of traditionalist blogger (the sort whose combox ravings have turned Angelqueen, for example, into a de facto mental asylum and might well turn Rorate Caeli into something comparable).

A Canberra Observer said...

Kate, I agree - the combox indeed has its dangers - like many of the other 'instantaneous' modern media it is a temptation to imprudence and passion (and I live in a glass house in that respect).

A Canberra Observer said...

If the reports of Cardinal Hummes interview to a Brazilian daily are to be believed, then the liturgy may be in for a flogging.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the balanced and intelligent commentary Kate. Judging by the reactions coming out of the traddie blogosphere, you'd think the Antichrist had just arrived on the scene. I have reservations about the newly elected Holy Father but regardless of what he does, Christ will never leave us. He is the one to cling to, not some idea of a perfect pope. I consider myself a traditionalist but it seems to me that some within the trad movement have turned their traditionalism into an idol. It's time to get over the siege mentality and to develop an apostolic outlook. Trads do too little to evangelise and assist the poor. Hopefully Pope Francis will serve to remind us of this.


Tancred said...

Rad Trads aren't the problem, but the things they are reacting to are certainly problematic. Rorate isn't exactly known to be anything but phlegmatic and some might say pusillanimous... The Holy Father was demonstrably hostile to the legitimate aspirations of his flock.

If you want Ro shoot the messenger, fine, but don't congratulate yourselves too much over the trophy. Rad Trads aren't the mighty adversaries the Cultural Marxists and their Modernist allies are.

Unknown said...


I agree. But frothing at the mouth over mozzettas and gold crosses is just a bit too much. Especially since it has come so early in the piece.