“[A]s St. Thomas maintains: ‘Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.’ (Summa theologiae, IIa-IIae, qu. iii, art. 2, ad 2m.) To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. … Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: “Have confidence; I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33) … Power certainly is not wanting to [Christ], but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace. The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent.”
— Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae, 14-15 (1890)
I’m not a traditionalist Catholic, I’m not a traditional Catholic, and I’m not even a conservative Catholic–I’m just a Catholic.
As it happens, though, Sacred Tradition is the only possible criterion for establishing continuity from one ecclesial epoch to the next, viz., Vatican II can only be shown not to be a dogmatic rupture by interpreting it with a scrupulous awareness of and systematic commitment to the Church’s credal and liturgical rule prior to that Council.
Now, insofar as my commitment to Vatican II logically entails my commitment to pre-Conciliar Tradition as the only possible criterion for judging its continuity or novelty, I am considered a traditionalist Catholic. Further, insofar as it is the long-standing rule of Catholic life to adhere to Tradition per se as seriously as one adheres to the Scriptural witness, I am considered a traditional Catholic. Finally, insofar as I try to apply the above mentioned zealous deference to the Biblical Tradition to all manner of issues and options in the contemporary world, I am considered a conservative Catholic. But those are just logical ascriptions.
At the end of the day, I’m just a Catholic. I’ve got no greater wisdom than my assent, no greater offering than my obedience, and no greater joy than God’s mercy.