On traditionalist heresies and liturgicalism

A friend of mine, Colin Kerr of TheTheologyofDad created a blog aggregator for the Society of Canadian Catholic Bloggers that keeps a running blog roll updating posts by Catholic bloggers in Canada.  It is always a source of interesting posts on a variety of subjects.

Surprise, surprise to come across this one listing several “traditionalist heresies” and finding that the controversy over Msgr. Steenson’s remarks on the Traditional Latin Mass is mentioned.   My oh my did that controversy reverberate across the blogosphere.  Here is one of those heresies from  the blog Toronto Catholic Witness:

Only the mass matters and that must be celebrated in Latin according to the Tridentine Rite. One of the more peculiar expressions of this came in response to Msgr. Steenson’s statement:
“But as the Extrordinary Form is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used in our communities. The Ordinariate will remain focused on bringing Christians in the Anglican tradition into full communion with the Catholic Church.”
This resulted in a flurry of blog and combox activity. Essentially this places a particular liturgy and its proper celebration above all other considerations. Enthusiasm for the Anglican Ordinariate faded quickly in some circles once it became clear that they were not going to be of much use in promoting the Tridentine Rite. It is quite appropriate for a group to be attached to a particular rite but that should never become an end in itself.  Liturgy is a means of grace for the salvation of souls.
Interesting.  Whew!  I have not fallen prey to this heresy, even though I appreciate the Traditional Latin Mass.
BTW, SMM1 had the following to say about the controversy in an older email to me:
I’ve followed with bemusement some of the latest nonsense over at The Anglo-Catholic.  There is a certain stripe of Anglo-Catholic (indeed, of Christian) that isn’t happy unless he’s feeling persecuted.  Like the 39 Articles, Mgr. Steenson’s remarks about the Extraordinary Form are open to various interpretations!  If he just means that the Extraordinary Form isn’t a distinguishing charism of the Ordinariates, then surely that’s fair?  But if he has some idea that the EF is not available to the Ordinariates, or that he himself can deny it to priests under his jurisdiction, then he has simply misunderstood the Canon law on this point and can be ignored anyway. (Anglicanorum coetibus, 5, III:  “III. Liturgicis haud exclusis celebrationibus secundum Romanum Ritum…” — and we know from Summorum pontificum that there are two forms of the Ritus Romanus.)  In a way, I’m with Mgr. Steenson:  I don’t care particularly how “traddy” the Ordinariates are.  I want to know if they’re going to be ANGLICAN!
One of the other heresies mentioned is:
The crisis of authority in the Church leads some to believe that bishops are so corrupt that they are without authority and can be ignored. The most typical expression of this error holds that while a person is loyal to the pope, they have no obligation to obey those whom the pope has appointed. This form of bottom up anarchism is especially susceptible to those who have some dispute with their local ordinary. It has the advantage of allowing the person to proclaim their loyalty to the pope while denying the pope any effective means of governing or enforcing obedience in their local situation. This aberration holds to the pope’s teaching authority while denying him universal jurisdiction. The more extreme form of this holds that the pope himself is a heretic, imposter, freemason or otherwise disqualified from holding office, thus denying him both teaching authority and universal jurisdiction.
Most interesting. Your thoughts?
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5 Responses to On traditionalist heresies and liturgicalism

  1. Rev22:17 says:


    You quoted (boldface in original): Anarchism
    The crisis of authority in the Church leads some to believe that bishops are so corrupt that they are without authority and can be ignored. The most typical expression of this error holds that while a person is loyal to the pope, they have no obligation to obey those whom the pope has appointed.

    Curiously, this error persists among both the most radical liberals and the most radical traditionalists.


  2. Pingback: On traditionalist heresies and liturgicalism | Catholic Canada

  3. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    On the Traditional Latin Mass, I have had a look at the locations of U.S. and Canadian ordinariate parishes and then cross-referenced this with my memorised knowledge of T.L.M. sites. With the sole exception of the Archdiocese of Mobile, in Alabama, all the Anglican Use Masses and also all the ordinariate communities happen to lie within the territory of Latin sees already having at least one every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass. (In the case of Mobile, it would be wonderful if the A.U. priest were to help out the persecuted Latin Mass people. Such assistance would not be odious; it would not be a sin; it would not even be rude.) The issue here is really not how Anglican Use Latin priests might help improve access to Latin Masses. On the contrary, the T.L.M. is a sacred and ancient Mass which also benefits the piety of the Celebrant. Article III of A.C. makes it clear that Anglican Use priests have a right to offer the T.L.M. and N.O.M. in addition to their special Anglican Use Masses. That should not be discouraged by Msgr. Steenson or by anyone else. For that matter, A.U. priests also have a right at law to offer the N.O.M. versus solem orientem, whether in Latin or the vernacular. Latin is the lingua sacra of the Latin Church and of the Roman Rite, and that is the Church and the Rite of the Anglican Use clergy as well. I note that even the 1668 Prayerbook existed in a Latin translation.

    The coming of my friends in the Anglican Use should entail a broadening of liturgical experience. As long as the Anglican Use remains the main liturgy for the incomers, other liturgies of the Roman Rite should also be embraced. While I do not approve of the N.O. myself, I would never say that it or any licit Mass celebrated generally should be forbidden to Latin priests, including A.U. priests. The same goes for the Traditional Latin Mass, which cannot be separated historically from the prayerbook tradition.

    It may happen that, in some places, Latin Mass communities and Anglican Use communities can pool resources for common benefit, especially since they worship in similar ways and both are often quite small in a given city. There are some, of course, among our looney liberal prelates in the Latin Church, who do not want this to happen. I’m always happy to work against them.


  4. The “anarchism” is wrongly named. Traditionalist RCs call it sedevacantism (there are a few variants like “sedeprivationism”). I more I read about all this and consider the endless paradoxes and dilemmas, it really is best to leave religion to one side, get on with life, and hope one stumbles onto a nice welcoming little Christian community one day – never mind whether they are Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox or whatever. That seems to be it in a nutshell.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Fr. Anthony,

      I pray that you are well and that your new situation under Bishop Botterill is working out well!

      The “anarchism” is wrongly named. Traditionalist RCs call it sedevacantism (there are a few variants like “sedeprivationism”).

      This may seem like splitting hairs, but there really is a difference. Anarchism recognizes the legitimacy of the present pope, but holds that one can disobey the pope if his edicts are not convenient, whereas sedevacantism claims that the present claimant to the papal office was not properly elected thereto and thus is not really the pope. Of course, they have the same consequence — disregard of papal pronouncements.


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