Friday, 2 August 2013

On ritualism and the neocon vs traddie war

Today I want to draw your attention to two things to look at in order to understand the traddie vs neo-con war going on at the moment.

The first is Michael Voris' take, this week, on some of the issues at stake in the internal debate.  Personally I think there is a bit more than the debate over small T vs big T traditions, but his analysis is a nice starting point for those puzzled about the distinction between the two groups.

The second is what looks like a must-read blog (thanks to RC on twitter).  It is ostensibly about Anglicans, but will have a much wider appeal I think (in the interest of ecumenism of course)!  Entitled 'The Low Churchman's Guide to the Solemn Mass.  Keeping Loyal Anglican's Safe from Superstition since 2013', it contains a series of warnings on assorted ritualist assaults on the laity.

The latest is concerned about the move to reintroduce Compline.  Here are some extracts, as a taster to entice you to explore more over there:

"At the Reformation, the toiling English masses were freed from the crushing burden of the medieval “Daily Office," a round of eight services celebrated at regular intervals throughout the day. Medieval peasants lived at the mercy of lawless gangs of priests... From a young age, English children learned to fear the iron rule of the clergy, as each night they were plucked from their beds and forcibly marched to Matins to stand and listen to the grim, toneless droning of Gregorian chant... The traumatic memory of this experience is etched in the mind of every loyal churchman: he knows that the reduction of the Office to the twofold pattern of Morning and Evening Prayer is the fruit of a hard-fought struggle against theocratic oppression.

It is necessary to understand this historical background to appreciate the full horror of the ritualists’ reintroduction of the “Compline" service, a ceremony that loyal churchmen had fervently hoped was lost forever...Compline has become unaccountably popular with lay audiences, who are obviously unaware that every service of Compline strikes a symbolic blow against the foundations of democracy and English common law..."


Rick said...

Kate - could you possibly give a brief (and hopefully simple) definition or description of what a "neo-con" is exactly, in Catholic terms? I find this term a bit confusing. Is it just a "conservative" (i.e. non-liberal) Catholic who doesn't like Traditionalists and the Latin Mass, etc? Or is it something else? I hope that's not a silly question!

Kate Edwards said...

Not a silly question at all Rick.

But not an easy one to answer. In fact Mr Voris' piece has a go at it, so I'd recommend watching it.

He basically argues that both traditionalists and neo-conservatives are orthodox (ie accept Church teachings) but differ in their attitudes to the extent to which traditions can and should be changed (he points to things like altar girls, communion in the hand etc).

(Neo)Conservatives don't necessarily object outright to the Latin Mass any more, but I think the main difference between conservatives and traditionalists probably do still come down to attitudes to Vatican II.

Neo-conservatives will generally argue that the pastoral reforms of Vatican II are a good thing, or to the extent that there have been problems represent bad implementation (spirit of Vatican IIism). Traditionalists generally question the need for many of the changes (such as to the liturgy, or religious orders) at all.

The terminology is highly contestible and not that helpful given the use of the term in politics. In reality both traditionalists and neo-cons are 'conservatives'. The difference is that in my view at least, neo-conservatives are conserving the legacy of the last fifty years, while conservatives look back rather further!

Beyond the kind of practices that Voris talks about though, there are theological issues in dispute between the two camps, that largely boil down to debates on whether some of V2's ideas can really be reconciled with the previous tradition of the Church (areas like religious liberty, ecumenism, etc).

If you want to read more on this, On this subject, a very useful book by Doorly and Nichols has come out with a foreword by Cardinal Pell, called The Council in Question (there is a link in the right hand column of the blog).

Anonymous said...

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Lowchurchman's guide is satire... Call the fire department if you see candles burning? Organ shoes?

Your friendly neighbourhood Anglo-Catholic.

Kate Edwards said...

Friendly AC - Of course it is satire!

That is why I recommended it (and I absolutely loved the latest addition on the Sarum(an) Rite).

I also recommend the Eccles and Bosco is saved blog.

No reason why traddies shouldn't get to giggle, indeed in these desperate times we need humour more than ever.

But I've added a label just in case the extracts I posted weren't self-evident.

jeff said...

It's funny. It's as if it's only the liberals and the trads who believe in lex orandi/lex credendi. The liberals know how much the post Vat II changes trashed the faith and are glad, whereas the trads know how the changes trashed the faith and are horrified.