To be Catholic is to be traditional…

Our Lord Jesus ChristI Thessalonians 5 – 16 Always rejoice. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all. 19 Extinguish not the spirit. 20 Despise not prophecies. 21 But prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves. 23 And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

II Thessalonians 2 – [13] But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. [14] To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. [15] So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

I John 2 – [15] Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. [17] And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.

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It is only because the floors of the chapel have been painted with such blind ambition by the apostles of modernist compromise that anyone, in his embattled little corner of the Church, must resort to the grotesque redundancy of calling oneself a “traditional Catholic.” To be Catholic is to be traditional. Those who truly desire to embrace the Church in the fullness of Her Magisterial Biblical Tradition must, as they say, flip the script, and simply refer to themselves as Catholic (dear Fr. Jaki, ora pro nobis!). Even the trend of calling ourselves “Roman” Catholic was a response to anti-Catholic polemics centuries ago, as if to say that all Christians are Catholic, but only some belong to the branch of “Roman” Catholicism (or of “Anglican” Catholicism, or of etc.). Whoever is not in communion with the Roman pontiff, is ipso facto not Catholic, and this holds just as strongly for self-styled “Roman Catholics” who treat the Tradition as a quaint relic to be rubbed for good luck as the mood strikes them. Obviously, before the Reformation there were ample references to the centrality of the Roman See for the Catholic Church, but that particularity was only emphasized by name when the Catholic communion was threatened by heretics (i.e. dogmatic sectarians) who deigned to universalize their favored slice (or speck) of The Catholic Thing.

I am also aware of the caveat that the Church contains a Roman rite among several other rites, but to reify these canonical distinctions is but to fragment the unity which they presuppose. There are Catholics “of the Roman rite,” “of the Ruthenian rite,” “of the Syro-Malabar rite,” etc., but at bottom those are accidental linguistic placeholders for the ways in which you can recognize worshippers unified by the Catholic religion. There is no more a “Roman Catholic” religion than there is a “Ruthenian Catholic” religion. There is just Catholicism–God and Man reconciled under every heading–over all the earth.

So, here are some specific guidelines for how Catholics must flip the logical script on the apostles of hyphenated compromise:

If being Catholic comes across as being “traditional,” it only does so, logically speaking, to non-traditional-and-thus-progressive Catholics. (Pray for courage!)

If being Catholic comes across as “moralistic,” it only does so to amoral-or-immoral Catholics. (Pray for conversion!)

If being Catholic comes across as “rigid,” it only does so to infirm-and-compromised Catholics. (Pray for strength!)

If being Catholic comes across as “aesthetic” or “lax,” it only does so to Manichean-and-puritanical Catholics. (Pray for mercy!)

If being Catholic comes across as “zealous” or “legalistic,” it only does so to lukewarm-and-latitudinarian Catholics. (Pray for conviction!)

If being Catholic comes across as being “dogmatic,” it only does so to emotive-and-indifferent Catholics. (Pray for wisdom!)

If being Catholic comes across as “anti-modernist” or “anti-secular,” that is only so to modernist and worldly Catholics. (Pray for purity!)

In a word, if being Catholic comes across as some kind of angular argument for not being Catholic, it only does so in the eyes of those who, at bottom, do not truly desire to be Catholic, full stop.

In every case, it is not the task of the Catholic to hyphenate himself back into the polite company of Herd Catholics in the Farmville Church. On the contrary, it is the task of the Catholic simply to note how those who chafe against, or set aside, some “aspect” or “era” or “outdated practices” of Catholicism per se are in fact hyphenating themselves out of the Res Catholica. Admittedly, this is a point I have made before, but it is a point that, God willing, I shall never tire of making.

Down with hyphenated identities! Down with “soup sandwich” theologies!

Catholic Ents of the World, unite! You have nothing to lose but your souls!

About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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6 Responses to To be Catholic is to be traditional…

  1. Catholic Ents 🙂 Love it

    I remember going to a bible study at a catholic church that was run by a man who was so very knowledgeable about scripture, and yet had very little use for tradition. He wasn’t quite sola scriptura(passed with a 65), but he was very much into the primacy of scripture. In an attempt to stress the importance of tradition to him, i said that one of things that impresses me most about Catholicism over Protestantism is that we could destroy every bible in the whole world…. erase them all from existence, and the Catholic Church could easily endure faithfully because of Tradition, but the reverse would not be true, as evidenced by protestantism erasing tradition. Unfortunately, it did not sink in.

  2. vermontcrank1 says:

    Dear Brother. I also was learnt that it was the Proddies who gave us the name Roman Catholics (such explanations can be found in Radio Replies, Catholic Answers, etc) but one can read such usage here

    and Fr. John A. Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary sedately says such usage began in the Middle Ages, so, it appears that maybe this is the stuff of legends redolent of the Gnostic Goat, Luther, putatively nailing his 95 theses (o, another thing; they weren’t HIS, he just copied them from others who were debating these questions in universities in European Capitals)

    The Creed of Pope Paul was just the first I could find after a rapid search. I’m sure I could scare-up others.

    In the past I had cited, Pope Benedict XV as a Pope disapproving of the habit of adding qualifying adjectives to the name, Catholic- I am drawing a blank at the moment but I will go grab the citation in a second – but I think it is a necessary thing to do now.

  3. vermontcrank1 says:

    24. It is, moreover, Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as “profane novelties of words,” out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: “This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved” (Athanas. Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim “Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,” only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.

    Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum

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