The Mad-Trads —- Do you know any of these people?

From Patrick Coffin:

What is a Mad-Trad? Well, if you accept the norms of the Second Vatican Council, to a Mad-Trad you’re a “Neo-Catholic,” a misguided liberal; you know, like Mother Angelica and Blessed John Paul II.


The main Mad-Trad hobbyhorse is strident resistance to the Second Vatican Council and all its pomps and all its works. The Catholic charismatic renewal is frequently singled out for tarring and feathering, despite (or because of?) strong papal support of that movement since the late 60s.

Further, in addition to a strange attraction to conspiracy theories involving Jews and Masons, Mad-Trads tend invariably to reject the position of the Catholic Church regarding the 1984 consecration to Russia by Blessed Pope John Paul II as requested in 1917 by our Lady of Fatima. In the face of repeated affirmations by the Holy See to the contrary, Mad-Trads say that consecration didn’t “take” because her request was not fulfilled.

The com boxes of their websites function as echo chambers of depression and disenfranchisement, which in turn, reinforce the assumption that they’re a brave minority fighting waves of persecution. They alone hold to the Purity of the One True Church [TM] and they’re royally ticked that others can’t see it.


Thankfully, most of the Traditional  Latin Mass people I know are not Mad Trads, but I do encounter people with some of these prejudices, especially against the charismatic movement, even here in my combox.

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44 Responses to The Mad-Trads —- Do you know any of these people?

  1. Ioannes says:

    Yeah, I’m a Mad Trad.

    But as a reaction the the extreme opposite, who are far more numerous and influential than us in the fringes. How can I be sure? Just look at the leadership and the “catholic” institutions in the West! The Church is responsible for their souls, and look at what has happened!

    I remember something from Rorate Caeli’s combox stating that we should not be surprised with the ghetto mentality coming from some of the “MadTrads”- if the Traditional Latin Mass were the norm, it wouldn’t be an issue. But are you really surprised if you consider TLM people “Not mainstream” and treat them as minorities/strange, 2nd class Catholics, then be surprised at how extreme their positions are?

    Prideful. Pharisaical. Integrist. Sedevacantists. Schismatic. Pelagian. Nostalgic. Superficial. Snobby. The list goes, all describing people who want nothing but to worship God the way He’s been worshiped for centuries in the Latin Church. And suddenly, it seemed like the Catholic Church only began during 1960’s.

    Of course we’re defensive. Of course we’re angry. And of course, we’re constantly frustrated.

    It’s not a stretch to say that it seems like the rest of the Church would be happy if the Latin Mass would just lay down, die and let itself be buried by whoever wants it to be forgotten.

    Well, as a young man doing some reflecting, I may be right in saying that I’m wasting my youth in arguing with old people about something that is probably irrelevant and illusory. “Be a good Catholic” “Oh, no you’re doing it wrong, here’s why.” That will always be there, coming from all sorts of people.

  2. And thankfully too Roman Catholics are not obligated to believe in any apparitions supposedly from Mary! If Catholicism is to survive, it simply must return to the authority of Holy Scripture, and only the aspects of Vatican II that have that spirit and reality!

  3. John F. Ambs says:

    I’m grateful you noted that most of the Traditional Catholics you’ve met were not “Mad Trads”.
    With all of the problems in the Church, it never ceases to amaze me how people find time to go after TLM/EF/Traditional Mass Catholics–we don’t question the Church’s teachings (even the
    challenging stuff, like contraception), we faithfully attend Mass on all Sundays and holy days, and we foster plenty of vocations. After being involved in the Traditionalist movement since I was 14
    (I’m 49 now), nothing should shock me. I was not brought up in a Traditional Catholic household, though my parents did not like the trends in the Novus Ordo and lamented the loss of the “good old days.” I found a pre-Vat II Missal one day and read it–I didn’t realize the Church at one time had another liturgy. I was hooked, and I was MAD that I had been robbed of that incredible source of grace. I pretty much agree with everything that Ioannes wrote above: if you had been through what the average traditional Latin Rite Catholic has, you’d likely be a tad bitter too–but we must strive, as Christians, to be joyful and forgiving. In terms of the Charismatic movement, no one said it better than Scott Hahn “the Charismatic Movement is like a five-lane super highway; one lane into the Church and four lanes leaving the Church.” One last thing: the most ardent supporters (at least in the U.S.) of Anglican Use Catholics are EF Catholics–and I believe you’ll find you have much more in common with us than the average Catholic in the Ordinary Form pew.

    • grahame says:


      Wouldn’t you agree that the TLM types and the ultra liberal are both small minorities. The vast majority of faithful Catholics fall somewhere in between with varying degrees of knowledge and commitment. The challenge is to reach out to all of them in ways that will result in faith formation in a more complete way. I am inclined to think that this is best done from within the Ordinary Form of the Mass which can be celebrated with dignity and decorum. The Extraordinary Form will only appeal to a select number of people and l suspect the same will be true for the Ordinariate liturgy. I speak as one who currently attends an Anglican Use mass but to borrow from St Paul l think we need to be prepared to be ‘all things to all men’ in order to reach our fellow Catholics

    • Rev22:17 says:


      You wrote: I’m grateful you noted that most of the Traditional Catholics you’ve met were not “Mad Trads”.
      With all of the problems in the Church, it never ceases to amaze me how people find time to go after TLM/EF/Traditional Mass Catholics–we don’t question the Church’s teachings (even the
      challenging stuff, like contraception), we faithfully attend Mass on all Sundays and holy days, and we foster plenty of vocations.

      Somehow, in your words, there seem to be a parallel with the young man in Matthew 19:16-22, who was too attached to his possessions to follow Jesus. He had kept the letter of all the commandments from his childhood, yet something was lacking.

      The fundamental question here is whether our faith is living, rotting, or petrified. Anything that is alive is undergoing constant change; it is not static. Anything that is rotting is disappearing. The only thing that is static is something that is petrified — and thus dead. The liturgy of the church cannot be static, but rather must be alive — and the same is true of our relationship with the Lord and with one another!

      I realize that there are many different categories of traditionalists within the Catholic Church, and that not all fit the same mold. Under the umbrella of traditionalism, however, there are many who reject (1) the ecclesiological doctrine that the Second Vatican Council articulated in the dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium, (2) the validity of the current ordinary form of the mass, and even (3) the legitimacy of several popes beginning with Pope Paul VI and (4) the ecumenical character of the Second Vatican Council, all of which the magisterium of the Catholic Church clearly and indisputably upholds without reservation. The rebellion against the Church’s teachings on the left is no worse than the rebellion on the right. Rather, it is rebellion either way.

      I’ll be the first to tell you that there are serious problems with what the liturgical and sacramental celebrations that transpire in many parishes. In this regard, the more fundamental defect actually rests with training of clergy — we have many well-intentioned clerics who simply have no clue as to the proper manner in which to prepare for the celebration of mass, and it’s going to take considerable time to change that situation. I have remarked before that the preponderance of the clergy who wish to celebrate the Tridentine form probably are motivated to celebrate it properly — and this fact may account for your more positive experience and that of many others.

      Several years ago, I arranged for an ardent traditionalist to spend the paschal triduum on retreat at a Benedictine abbey where the monks take great pains to celebrate the liturgy properly, albeit in a very contemporary manner. In just three days, her opinion of the current ordinary form of the liturgy was completely transformed.

      Yes, there’s a problem — but let’s get to the root of the real problem and fix it!


    • Ioannes says:

      Oh, but according to the experts, the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form ARE THE SAME MASS. No difference, not at all! If you smell incense in one mass but not the other, you’re probably imagining it. If you are hearing Latin, you probably mean English/Spanish/Filipino/Korean/Chinese/Vietnamese- just look at how God blessed us with many tongues so we can understand each other more!

      If you hear Gregorian Chant, you really need to get your ears checked, because it’s not that different from “Here I am, Lord” and “One Eagle’s Wings”! Surely, the greatest compositions of church music in our time! If you see the priest’s back, you probably mean -front- and you probably have an overactive imagination if you see Jesus Christ on the Cross: Didn’t you know, he’s in Heaven! You should be seeing Jesus, resurrected superimposed on the cross, or just the cross to show that we believe that Jesus has risen! Does one mass seem more like a sacrifice and the other like a meal? Of course, they’re both! But if in one mass, it seems like Jesus is really present, and in another the bread and wine only symbolizes Jesus’ body and blood, well that’s okay, I’m sure God understands! The RCIA lady says Vatican 2 says it’s totally okay to say bread and wine is just a symbol, that’s why we allow our protestant brothers and sisters to have communion with us! One Bread, One Body, after all! 😀

      But no difference at all between “EF” and “OF”- There’s only one Mass, and the “Latin” crowd are just a bunch of pharisaical, intolerant, ethnocentric, grumpy old people who wish they were back during the 50’s. It’s all about hip and cool liturgical ministries, you know, because people in charge, who are all above 30, really know what appeals to us disaffected youth who are totally wanting to go to church and feel like it’s the bee’s knees and totes radical.

    • Pol LLaunas says:

      “”””no one said it better than Scott Hahn “the Charismatic Movement is like a five-lane super highway; one lane into the Church and four lanes leaving the Church.””””

      When did he said this? Any link? And if he said this, which data had he to rely in? Pew Forum? Barna? I strongly suspect this sentence (or atribution to Hahn) is a hoax… Could you support it with any evidence?

      • Pol LLaunas says:

        8 days have passed since I asked for any serious data that prove that the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a “four lane superhighway leaving the church”. Nobody answered with any real data. It is a hoax.

        What is a Mad-Trad? Is somebody that speaks evil of other faithful Catholics and invents false things such inexistant “superhighways” because he feels only his tiny perfect group is “real Catholic”….

        But I do have some data: (page 18)

        In 1966 there were not Catholic Charismatics. In 1970 there were about 2 million. In 2010 there were 176 million. In 2020 215 million are expected. If a “highway” existed, how many of these should be becoming protestant? Ten, twenty, forty percent? But they do not. Real data suggest that the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a huge and successful force of the Spirit in the Catholic Church.

        A Mad-Trad is somebody so blind by his mad-tradness that he does not want to accept real data (and Pontifical support to the Charismatic Renewal, and 40 years of growing in reasonable order and obedience) and prefers mere prejudice…

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Pol LLaunas,

        You wrote: A Mad-Trad is somebody so blind by his mad-tradness that he does not want to accept real data (and Pontifical support to the Charismatic Renewal, and 40 years of growing in reasonable order and obedience) and prefers mere prejudice…

        In fairness, there is a movement that started in some charismatic groups in Toronto, originally called the “glory” movement, that does not appear to be so spirit-filled. A few posters on this site have characterized its extremes as people hurling themselves around and making animal noises — and that characterization, sadly, is not exactly wrong. Having seen such behavior on occasion, my sense is that it is purely demonic and that those who succumb to it are in serious need of exorcism. Further, authentic charismatic prayer groups should not tolerate this disorder in their worship.

        That said, those who condemn the charismatic renewal as a movement usually commit the fallacy of equating that behavior is normative within the charismatic renewal. In fact, they are not. The scriptures speak plainly of the charisms of the Holy Spirit and their proper exercise, all done in good order. To reject the authentic exercise of these charisms, as some ardent Traditionalists seem wont to do, is to suppress the Holy Spirit, and that is every bit as demonic as the abuses.


  4. It always amazes me what some people see as “grace”! Saving grace, verses so-called natural grace, or what we neo-Calvinists call “common grace” are simply different! The RCC is historically quite Judaistic, or formally a Judaization! Indeed the Church of God should be the place of the Gospel message and “kerygma” itself! For itself, the early Church, then, to preach the gospel was by no means the same thing as to deliver moral instruction or exhortation. While the Church was concerned to hand on the teaching of the Lord, it was not by this that it made converts. It was by “kerygma”, says Paul, not by “didache”, that it pleased God to save men!

    • P.K.T.P. says:

      What a perfect forum this is to waste our time debating Calvinists. What is this fellow doing here? Did he arrive at the wrong blog? Who else here is one of these?


      • P.K.T.P., I was born, baptized, and raised Irish Roman Catholic in the 1950’s and early 60’s in Dublin, Ireland. Later my first degree was a BA in Catholic Philosophy. And then after my first tour with the RMC’s, early 20’s (Royal Marine Commando’s. I retired from the RMC’s, reserves, as a Captain. I was what they call a Mustang, enlisted to officer. My last combat was Gulf War 1, but not my first.), I became an English Benedictine for a few years, even going to Rome for 6 months, (in my late 20’s). Note I am now 63, (64 this late Oct.) And I still have extended family who are Roman Catholics. Not to mention many friends who are Roman Catholic’s, (even a few Catholic theolog’s). So my differences are not really personally fired at anyone! But, I do seek to speak the truth of the Gospel as I have come to understand it, as a classic Anglican Reformed. Note for what its worth, I hold both the D.Phil. and Th.D., these are English btw.
        And wasting time? You sir seem to have a fair corner here! And btw, just WHO are you? Besides what appears to be a traditional stiff-necked English Catholic highbrow!

        And rock-on Norm, we may not agree on everything, but we agree on who Jesus is: The God-Man, Savior and Lord! 🙂

  5. Scott says:

    I’m trying very hard to be a Mad Trad. The trouble is, I’m not a good enough Catholic yet.

    • Stephen K says:

      So, what you’re saying then, Scott, is that Mad Trads=very good Catholics and very good Catholics=Mad Trads? How confident are you about dismissing so many people (say, in excess of a billion +)?

      • Ioannes says:

        Let’s all talk about our own personal holiness. People at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles deny, or at least downplay the fact of Original Sin, and so I am being obedient to why is being taught by the successor of the Apostles:

        We’re all holy people, really! And because we’re holy, we’re devoid of sin. If we’re devoid of sin, why bother go to church? We holy people can certainly worship God in our own holy ways, and certainly no better way to worship God than to push forward immigration reform and social justice! Do it for the least of God’s people!

  6. Tim says:

    Well, Mother Theresa was a heretic. Are you aware of that? And let’s not get started on John Paul II. The thing is, most Novus Ordo forums and sites, including the Neo-Trad sites like Fisheaters, are tolerant of anything and everything except for those who point out the illogical inconsistencies of their hateful positions. And to be that way, to hold a faith that is incapable of being defended or debated, never was the way of the Saints or of the Catholic Church.

    • Ioannes says:

      Oh, brother Tim, stop being so judgmental! Don’t you know the Church of Nice can’t be brought down by direct confrontation?

      You’d probably have to be some sort of Jewish shepherd boy with a sling or something.

      Just relax, smile, never wear black, and sing Amazing Grace with gusto!

      • Tim says:

        Hah, that’s about what it comes down to now, doesn’t it? For Catholics and Protestants alike, it’s all about what’s convenient to you. And meanwhile the world is sinking in evil.

        And Deborah, btw, thank you for allowing my comments here, even though I hold the beliefs that I do. That puts you so much higher than Fisheaters, the SSPX blogs, and John Lane’s sedevacantist Bellarmine Forums – all places that banned me simply because I tried shaking the ground they were standing on.

  7. Tim says:

    Also, I may be “mad,” but what Saint was never mad at the evil that attacked the Church, or at the lukewarm souls, or at sin? But please, not “Trad” because “Trad” is a joke, all smoke and mirrors, a 1962 (ie Vatican II) “mass” performed by a man in costume (ie SSPX). That’s “Trad” and it’s as Catholic as charismatics. In other words, Protestant.

  8. Again amazing that some Traditional Catholics are so ignorant (functionally) of the Gospel, there is only “one” Gospel or Good News for both Catholics and Protestants…”Christ Jesus” as St. Paul says: His Person and Work! And thankfully I know some “Catholics” that know and have experienced this great truth of and from the Church Catholic! And btw, the true Church, as the true People of God, are a Redemptive reality, in the church of sinners… which includes us all! This was something of the Good News that John Paul II spoke of…the church is both sinner & saint, as Christ was both Expiation & Victor!

    • Stephen K says:

      Just as, Father Robert, there is only one Baptism. No-one is ever baptised “catholic’ or ‘protestant’. We are simply brought up as such. If we are fortunate enough, we one day realise that, no matter what challenges and difficulties that may cause us..

    • P.K.T.P. says:

      Despite various degrees and qualifications, I’m still wondering why a Calvinist would want to use a forum like this to debate Catholics. It seems odd to me. Do you really expect people to engage you here on a blog to debate matters of fundamental theology?


      • Actually yes, us real “theolog” types simply love the Word of God and theology, and this includes some Roman Catholics, EO (Orthodox), Lutherans, etc,, etc., i.e. the real and functional theological Mystical Body of Christ! And btw make that a “neo-Calvinist” (Anglican), of which I am certainly more so, and there is a difference between this and the old school Calvinism! Note, I even include Barth here, who with his rejection of Natural Theology, was surely closer to the Reformed theology, than any other! Note his singular doctrine of the Election as of “Christ” Himself, the Elect-One (Isa. 42: 1).But indeed my own position would be more “neo-Calvinist” here, than Barth’s, which would however surely be inclusive of Christ as the Elect-One of God. Depth mate, truth has great depth, even in its great simplicity! 🙂

  9. Desiderius says:

    Some people think that beauty only belongs in museums for tourists.
    But it belongs at all churches, every Sunday for us to encounter.
    The church was founded on edifying powerful events.

    How else can the Church evoke the power the life of Christ, the miracles, the manifestation of God on earth but through beautiful rich liturgy and stirring thought provoking homilies by well educated priests?

    John Ambs is a good holy man and the Gregorian Society of Baltimore at the beautiful historic St Alphonsus Church (once home to St. John Neuman) has given a profound service to the Church through perservering to have the Traditional Mass celebrated there for almost 20 years, the only location in all of Baltimore to do so (save for a small SSPV mission on its outskirts which is subject to infighting) To encounter the Solemn Sung High Mass once a month at that glorious gothic temple in Baltimore amidst the vast wave of modernism that crept over the majority of other parishes nearby is a life changing experience for some people.

    • Rev22:17 says:


      You wrote: Some people think that beauty only belongs in museums for tourists.
      But it belongs at all churches, every Sunday for us to encounter.

      I agree — but it is important to remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that you and I may have a rather different opinion of something that somebody else considers to be beautiful.

      In church, I think it is God’s opinion of beauty that should hold sway — and to God, the most beautiful thing is a heart fully yielded to him, for that is the Holy Spirit’s dwelling place. Artwork created by artists whose hearts are fully yielded to God and music for worship composed by composers whose hearts are fully yielded to God should therefore be acceptable, regardless of style, for such works are expressions of the praise coming from the hearts of their creators.


    • Ioannes says:

      Beauty is so shallow! Look at how humble and relevant we are with our modern cathedrals! Don’t you just feel like going to church with a building that has a simplified silhouette that tells you about how humble and holy we are? In fact, some of the best modern cathedrals are known world-wide such as the Ryugong cathedral.

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You wrote: Look at how humble and relevant we are with our modern cathedrals!

        Just remember that most new cathedrals, including the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in your own archdiocese, are still very much works in progress. When one builds a new church, there is seldom enough money to pay for elaborate artwork to adorn it. Rather, the initial décor is usually dictated by the budget, and it gets replaced over the course of time as resources allow (read: after the loan that financed the design and construct the building gets paid off). The tapestries that currently adorn the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels clearly are not a final décor. They will wear out in due course, and will give way to durable art when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles can afford it.


  10. To me, and I speak for many I think, this whole debate of “liturgics” smacks of legalism and “Judaization”! One thing is certain, the so-called “liturgy” for Jesus was Jewish!

  11. Thank the good Lord for Mad Trads. They were mad enough to thumb their noses at short-sighted bishops and hold onto a forbidden rite that–we come to find out 40 years later–oops! was actually never abrogated. They were mad enough to grab and save the altars and churches everyone else was dismantling and throwing in the garbage with reckless abandon. If they were limp little dishrags instead of tough old cranks, would there have been a Summorum Pontificum? Would I be able to go a Latin Mass today? They may be battle-scarred and rough around the edges but God bless ’em for that single-minded devotion to the Mass of the Ages.

  12. John F. Ambs says:

    Well…what a “lively” discussion. Thanks, Desiderius, for your kind words. Don’t have the time nor energy for a long response (long work hours, three kids), but here goes: a) I don’t care one bit about what the majority in the Church or elsewhere are doing or “think” they need; we must teach & preach the truth in charity at all times. Each week, more people raised after V-II are finding the Traditional Mass & Sacraments as the spiritual nourishment they’ve long desired; b) I heard Scott Hahn quote another Catholic convert (whose identify escapes me) about the “Charismatic Highway” on EWTN TV several years back–maybe on “The Journey Home.”; c) For 30+ years, I’ve heard the argument “if the Novus Ordo is celebrated THIS way, it’s quite…” — the problem is, the Novus Ordo can be celebrated in as many ways as there are numbers of priests…and in most parishes, it’s simply not as reverent nor God-centered as the TLM. To end…we had my favorite Gospel at Mass a couple of weeks back (Matthew 7; 16) “By their fruits, ye shall know them.” Cold, hard facts don’t lie–in all matters of metrics, the Church has taken an unprecedented NOSE-DIVE since the new Mass & sacraments were introduced. Rome-approved traditional communities of priests & nuns are thriving…EF parishes and “Mass communities” are full of young families with kids–these are observable facts. So…keep hurling nasty epithets our way…they build character, are excellent fuel for daily sacrifices, and certainly steel our resolve.

    • Ioannes says:

      Just tell that to the die-hard Mahoney-Weakland supporters.

      They will go out of their way to stomp on the faces of us Mad Trads.

      Maybe it would be better for US to infiltrate their parish councils and their institutions and destroy all their heterodox work for the restoration of orthodoxy.

      How I would cherish the look on people’s faces when, in expecting some choreographed spectacle, they are instead faced with the cross of the priest’s Roman chasuble. How happy I would be when people are -forced- to kneel and show respect to Jesus Christ during communion. No more “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion” (There’s no such thing, by the way)

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You wrote: No more “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion” (There’s no such thing, by the way)

        How so?

        >> Are you saying that lay people acting as ministers of the sacrament of holy communion actually was normative practice in the early church, and thus that the ministry of the sacrament of holy communion by lay people should not be construed as extraordinary?

        >> Or are you saying that the sacrament of holy communion is nullified when it is a lay person who gives it to the communicant?

        >> Or are you asserting that distribution of the sacrament of holy communion by lay people is not extraordinary because it is the normal practice in most parishes today?

        If the first, I would like to hear your rationale. You might have a valid point.

        If the second, the magisterium of the Catholic Church has clearly determined otherwise by approving the present practice.

        And if the third, you are badly confusing the concept of normal practice with the concept of normative practice. In theological terms, a practice is “extraordinary” if it is a departure from that which is normative, no matter how normal it may be.

        That said, there is clear historical precedent of extraordinary practices becoming normal, and eventually becoming normative (at least in popular perception). Here, one need look no further than the mass. Historically, each local church (diocese) had only one mass on a Sunday, with its bishop presiding. The practice of presbyters celebrating masses in the “parishes” (outlying districts around the major cities) began as an extraordinary practice to accommodate parishioners who could not easily travel into the city, yet it is today the normal experience of nearly all members of the Catholic Church and thus has become normative in popular perception — but in reality, it is the bishop’s stational mass that is still the true normative mass in each diocese.

        That said, I’m not terribly concerned about the practice of extraordinary ministers of communion assisting with the distribution of communion at parish masses on Sundays and holy days, and even on weekdays in some parishes. There is no doubt of the place and the role of the clergy, or the difference between the role of the clergy and the role of the laity, in these situations. I am much more concerned about what has come to pass in many rural dioceses that no longer have enough clergy to get to every parish for mass every week. My real concern for the future is what happens, in such a parish, when a conscientious lay leader prepares and leads a very meaningful “Celebration of Sunday in the Absence of a Priest” that the parishioners find to be spiritually nourishing three weeks out of four and, on the fourth week, our dear friend Father Clueless shows up and celebrates the mass in such a shoddy manner that it becomes a distraction with a “homily” so full of drivel and doublespeak that it becomes a source of confusion rather than clarity. Clearly there’s a problem when people start going to a parish in the next town, ten miles away, for the lay-led “Celebration of Sunday in the Absence of a Priest” on the Sundays when Fr. Clueless celebrates mass in their own parish!

        But, unfortunately, it just might take that for some of our clergy to acknowledge just how shabby things really are in many of our parishes.

        And yes, God can use such reactions of the laity to bring about the renewal of our clergy that we truly need!


      • Desiderius says:


        Unless you have a great deal of money or time or prayer. The best practical method of encouraging orthodoxy is to do it within the hierarchy. Try to become a priest or religious and pray that someday you’ll be holy enough to be enthroned as bishop.

        I tried to do that at an “ordinary form” parish some years ago. For a short time it was successful, for a short time my influence allowed there to be more traditional elements at their mass. The Pastor assigned expressed willingness to try it. Other council members did not fully understood the point of orthodox worship but yet no one was directly against it and I could defend the ideas as being legitimate long-standing practices of our historic church.

        However after 6 months a new priest came and replaced the previous. Very quickly I was removed and things reverted back to how they had been before. The positive influences that had come from my suggestions did not last in this case. We hope that some inspiration was sparked in others to carry on another day, but we don’t truly know if this occurred.

        I am afraid that ultimately parish councils and lay people are usually unable to effect change as individuals, unless they are part of a large majority , they do not have the resolve to hold their clerics accountable. Ultimately I concluded that it is in the most likely within power of the hierarchy to fix the mess that they gradually created. The 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s was largely a rebellion of hierarchy first, lay people quite secondarily.

        However the more that the wheat is separated from the chaff – the more that the average lay person and therefore also avererage cleric regains the knowledge of what their historic faith is, the more things return to how they ought to be.

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You wrote: I tried to do that at an “ordinary form” parish some years ago. For a short time it was successful, for a short time my influence allowed there to be more traditional elements at their mass. The Pastor assigned expressed willingness to try it. Other council members did not fully understood the point of orthodox worship but yet no one was directly against it and I could defend the ideas as being legitimate long-standing practices of our historic church.

        I agree completely with your assessment that reform needs to begin in our seminaries and in the hierarchy — and I also lament what passes for Sunday mass in many parishes. There is indeed much room for improvement — and in my archdiocese, it seems as though whenever something good starts to happen in a parish, the archdiocesan clergy personnel board rotates in clergy whose mission is to kill it.

        That said, one must be careful in one’s perception of orthodoxy. What we received, c. 1960, was not necessary that which is truly orthodox (literally, original). In particular, I invite your attention to the following paragraphs of the General Instructions to the Roman Missal (boldface and emphasis in original; citations of references removed).

        A Witness to Unbroken Tradition

        6. In setting forth its instructions for the revision of the Order of Mass, the Second Vatican Council, using the same words as did St. Pius V in the Apostolic Constitution Quo primum, by which the Missal of Trent was promulgated in 1570, also ordered, among other things, that some rites be restored “to the original norm of the holy Fathers.” From the fact that the same words are used it can be seen how both Roman Missals, although separated by four centuries, embrace one and the same tradition. Furthermore, if the inner elements of this tradition are reflected upon, it also becomes clear how outstandingly and felicitously the older Roman Missal is brought to fulfillment in the new.

        7. In a difficult period when the Catholic faith on the sacrificial nature of the Mass, the ministerial priesthood, and the real and permanent presence of Christ under the Eucharistic species were placed at risk, St. Pius V was especially concerned with preserving the more recent tradition, then unjustly being assailed, introducing only very slight changes into the sacred rite. In fact, the Missal of 1570 differs very little from the very first printed edition of 1474, which in turn faithfully follows the Missal used at the time of Pope Innocent III. Moreover, even though manuscripts in the Vatican Library provided material for the emendation of some expressions, they by no means made it possible to inquire into “ancient and approved authors” farther back than the liturgical commentaries of the Middle Ages.

        8. Today, on the other hand, countless learned studies have shed light on the “norm of the holy Fathers” which the revisers of the Missal of St. Pius V followed. For following the publication first of the Sacramentary known as the Gregorian in 1571, critical editions of other ancient Roman and Ambrosian Sacramentaries were published, often in book form, as were ancient Hispanic and Gallican liturgical books which brought to light numerous prayers of no slight spiritual excellence that had previously been unknown.

        In a similar fashion, traditions dating back to the first centuries, before the formation of the rites of East and West, are better known today because of the discovery of so many liturgical documents.

        Moreover, continuing progress in the study of the holy Fathers has also shed light upon the theology of the mystery of the Eucharist through the teachings of such illustrious Fathers of Christian antiquity as St. Irenaeus, St. Ambrose, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and St. John Chrysostom.

        9. For this reason, the “norm of the holy Fathers” requires not only the preservation of what our immediate forebears have passed on to us, but also an understanding and a more profound study of the Church’s entire past and of all the ways in which her one and only faith has been set forth in the quite diverse human and social forms prevailing in the Semitic, Greek, and Latin areas. Moreover, this broader view allows us to see how the Holy Spirit endows the People of God with a marvelous fidelity in preserving the unalterable deposit of faith, even amid a very great variety of prayers and rites.

        You wrote: However the more that the wheat is separated from the chaff – the more that the average lay person and therefore also avererage cleric regains the knowledge of what their historic faith is, the more things return to how they ought to be.

        Yes, exactly — with the caveat that “how they ought to be” might not be how any of us presently might envision them.


  13. Kathleen says:

    I was born in 1965, and thus grew up with a catechesis that Vatican II changed “everything”, that everything old was “bad” and everything new was “good”, and other things similar to what Rev22:17 describes:
    “The fundamental question here is whether our faith is living, rotting, or petrified. Anything that is alive is undergoing constant change; it is not static. Anything that is rotting is disappearing. The only thing that is static is something that is petrified — and thus dead. The liturgy of the church cannot be static, but rather must be alive — and the same is true of our relationship with the Lord and with one another!”

    That was a very common attitude. In the early 1980s I went to a Catholic High School where we had the priviledge of having Mass every day. But the aesthetics and underlying orientation of that Mass were painfully like what Rev22:17 describes. Change! Change! What was good yesterday is bad today; what is good today will be bad tomorrow. The only constant is continuous churning, ever changing, etc. etc. Don’t rest, don’t contemplate. Can’t have any silence. Guitars and cheesy music, felt banners and mock-burlap vestments on the priests. “God is other people” and “God loves you just the way you are.” “We don’t talk about sin anymore” or sacrifice. And the Mass is “our Holy Meal.”

    Can you say “hermaneutic of rupture?” I knew you could!

    Even as a young teenager, I knew there was something wrong with this; it grated on me aesthetically, if nothing else.

    My experience very similar to what John F. Ambs said:
    “I found a pre-Vat II Missal one day and read it–I didn’t realize the Church at one time had another liturgy. I was hooked, and I was MAD that I had been robbed of that incredible source of grace.”

    I was (and still am) upset that my generation (and the ones after me) were (and are) *consciously and deliberately* denied a path to SAINTHOOD trodden by millions and millions of people before the 1960s every rolled around. It’s not just the Mass (but that is important); it includes things like Benedication and the Rosary and the whole method of mental prayer. Few parishes have Benediction and Eucharistic Adoration nowadays. Most people don’t even know what that is. But that way of life made saints–for centuries.

    I get way more spiritual benefit out of St. Francis de Sales or « The Spiritual Combat» than out of the guitar-strumming tie-dyed wierdness of my childhood. Thank God (literally) that much of that active wierdness seems to have gone away.

    But that which was not transmitted is pretty much lost. If that switch to hippie aesthetics and lack of moral and spiritual teachings was supposed to draw people to Jesus and make them fervent, it has been a spectacular failure. If “God loves me just the way I am” the logical conclusion is “there is no point in changing then, is there?” So no metanoia, and no spiritual growth.

    How can I not be upset?

  14. P.K.T.P. says:

    There is no such thing as a ‘mad trad’. There are ‘archtraditionalists’ and moderate traditionalists but any attempt to construct a list of characteristics will reveal shades in between. Most traditionalists contemn and despise the abominations of the charismatic movement not because its adherents are ‘loyal to the Pope’. That is absurd. It is because the charismatics follow a form of supposed spirituality which comes from the very worst excesses of Protestant Pentecostalism, which, in turn, is that liturgical type of Protestantism that is least reverent and furthest from the traditions of Holy Church. In fact, the founders of the charismatic abomination openly admit that they initiated it after having attended a Pentecostal ‘service’. What they were doing there in the first place is an open question.

    Most traditionalists await the Consecration of Russia (not of the world) in union with all the bishops of the world (not on their behalf but together with them) because this was what our Lady asked for. I fail to see why this is so difficult. NewChurchers are usually good at holding hands and doing things in unison. They do have conceptual problems with parts and wholes, however, such as all and many and, again, Russia and the world.

    Among archtraditionalists are those who deny the validity of NewMass (which I do not deny) and the validity of the 1968 Ordinal. There are also some who take sedevacantist or sedeprivationist positions. Another group is the ‘Feeneyites’ but before condemning them, one should consider that the last group of them (that of New Hampshire) was reconciled to the Holy See by Benedict XVI. They have not been asked to compromise their position, which is an accepted belief in the Church. (No, I am not a Feeneyite or an archtraditionalist.) The question in their regard is whether or not their position on EENS is the *only* one that is accetable. I am not a Feeneyite but must, as a good Catholic, admit that their theological position is tolerated by the Holy See.

    Most traditionalists could better be called, simply, ‘orthodox Catholics’. Most of us have a mixed view of John Paul II. Whether he was a saint or not is beside the point. We have no trouble admitting that he may have died in the state of grace. But most of us oppose the idea of canonising him. The primary purpose of canonisation is not to search out and discover all the saints, which would be an enormous task. It is, rather, to identify some saints as models for emulation. Most traditionalists, myself included, think that, as a Pope, he was definitely not a model to be admired, so I shall never ask for his intercession, whether he be canonised or not. I take a balanced view: he did many good things in difficult circumstances but also some very bad things, starting with the profanation at Assisi in 1986. I would call John Paul II, on the whole, a very devout Marian pope who did much to reverse the terrible mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s but who also continued some of those errors. In my prayers, I ask for the intercession of several popes, including SS. Pius V, Pius X, Gregory VII, Leo IX, Celestine V, Gregory the Great and so forth. They were all, in my estimation, far more admirable than John Paul II qua pope. My favourite pope, however, is St. Linus, mainly because, as second pope, he symbolises the apostolic succession of St. Peter, being the first pope to receive the keys from another pope. So 23rd September is always an important day for me. This presents a small problem, given that, on this date on the N.O. calendar is a very good new saint, St. Pio of Pietrelcina. By the way, he is not ‘St. Padre Pio’; nor is St. Theresa of Calcultta ‘Saint Mother Theresa’ and not is St. Benedicta of the Cross ‘St. Edith Stein’. There is no such person as ‘St. Edith Stein’.

    On resistance to the Second Vatican Council, most traditionalists, like most conservatives, would argue that some documents have been badly misinterpreted and some have been seriously mistranslated. I can think of a certain passage in Latin from Nostra Aetate which falls in the latter category, and others from Lumen Gentium. However, what separates traditionalists from conservatives is that the former dare to suggest that there are not only expressive errors of ambiguity in Vatican II documents (which, by the way, is very serious in itself) but also doctrinal errors per se. No new teaching in Vatican II is declared to be infallible (meaning that any new teaching may or may not be infallible: they are non-infallible, not ‘fallible’). This means that faithful may, with due respect, request that Holy Church show how a new teaching is compatible with an established teaching from the previous Magisterium. To ask for this is not an act of rebellion but a spiritual act intended to assure a marvellous continuity in the Faith. As far as I know, the most worrisome *apparent* discontinuity (I submit to the judgement of Holy Church on it) is a difference between Quanta Cura and the Syllabus of Errors of 1862, on the one side, and Dignitatis Humanæ, on the other. In the mean time, faithful are free to follow the older teaching and to ask in due deference, that the Magisterium show how it is continuous with the later teaching. There is nothing ‘mad’ about any of this.

    On the Mass, traditionalists hold that the problem is not one of ‘smells and bells’: the New Mass can be offered in a devout and fitting way, even if it rarely is. The problem is that the New Mass is defective: not invalid but defective. This is particularly so in its Offertory and new Eucharistic Prayers but also in many other places, including even the allowances in its rubrics and, perhaps above all, in the appalling musical settings allowed for it. But it boils down to the scandalous Offertory of Bugnini and his profoundly unCatholic Eucharistic Prayer No. 2. Where is the Divine Victim? When E.P. No. 2 is used, the entire Mass becomes open to heretical interpretations: Mass as a sacrifice only of thanksgiving and praise or of ourselves; Mass as only a memorial Lutheran supper.

    On the Freemasons, the Church, not traditionalists, has been clear: you may not join secret societies. So if you find this to be troubling, get out of the Catholic Church, s.v.p. Under the 1971 Code, joining the Freemasons incurred automatic excommunication. That should never have changed. The Masons have, since after about their first thirty years of existence, been implacable foes of the Holy Catholic Faith. On the Jews, the problem is miscast. The main historical conflict was not Christian anti-semitism based on the deicide charge but Jewish anti-Christianism. (This is misunderstood because smaller groups in conflicts don’t usually beat up on larger groups–obviously.) People fail to consider what it is that outrages Jews about Christianity. It is the claim not of the Messiahship of Christ but of His divinity. For a man to claim to be one with the Father is, in Judaism, the ultimate sacrilege, the ultimate abomination, the ultimate sin. Even to utter God’s name brings stones. But to claim to be God would have been so evil as to be beyond their very conception before, that is, Jesus of Nazareth made that claim. That is the root cause of Jewish revolutionism in Christendom. Of course, to blame all anti-Christian or anti-Catholic bias on that one group is patently absurd, especially considering the impressive contributions the Jews have made in Western society. Who could live without Yehudi Menuhin’s playing? Not I.. But there is a real historical opposition there, one not easy to erase simply by ‘dialoguing’ with others and passing the scones. The problem is that one religion cannot appease the other except by changing its core beliefs, and then it ceases to be itself.

    I’m wondering why all of this is being raised on an Anglican-Catholic Ordinariate site. Looks a bit like an attempt to draw out or ‘bait’ the Latin traditionalists and attack and contemn them so as to curry favour with the Novus Ordo neo-con establishment, which is what the Ordinariates rely on for all their, um, financial needs. Let us put it politely. We are English here. Manners before morals, please.



  15. P.K.T.P. says:

    Norm’s ignorance is like a mountain. One normally thinks of ignorance as a lacking of knowledge and not as an accumulation of errors. On his musical observations, I can only say that he fails to note the distinctions made by St. Pius X (between sacred and religious music) and Bl. Pius XII (between liturgical and non-liturgical music). Where do I start? I would have to dedicate the rest of my life to correcting him. Not worth the effort. Dr. Johnson once said that it is easier to know a thing than to tell it. it is certainly easier to know the sound of profane music than to define it. But anyone having common sense can see that, from the 1960s on, popular and profane music, forever barred from the Mass and Office, suddenly reared its truly ugly head.


    • Ioannes says:

      What can you do, burn Norm at the stake? 😀

      But yeah, it’s best to humor him and think he’s winning arguments by agreeing with him on his every comment.

      Meanwhile, I have a Novus Ordo parish to dismantle and a Roman Catholic Church to rebuild. (Not by my own hands, of course.)

  16. P.K.T.P. says:

    Now that we’ve dealt with the ‘mad trads’, why not discuss the ingratiating neo-cons in the Ordinariates, those who work so hard to curry favour with the Novus Ordo establishment? Many of these people are suddenly discovering what disputes exist in Catholicism. They are similar to those of Anglicanism but definitely not identical. They don’t want to take sides with the liberals because they know what Anglican liberals did to Anglicanism: they destroyed it. But they don’t want to be identified with the Latin Mass people because those people are a tiny persecuted minority. You want to go where the money and the influence is. Meanwhile, the N.O. neo-conservative establishment is working hard to absorb the Ordinariates into the NewMass culture. One way to achieve this is to assure that all Ordinariate priests offer the New Mass very often: some even become supply priests for the New Mass, celebrating it more often than they offer their own Anglican Use Mass. And they are being ‘discouraged’ from celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass because that could lead to trouble with all those powerful cardinals in Washington and Toronto, Hobart (I mention Doyle because I’m celebrating his departure today) and so forth.

    Well, I don’t worry about this all that much. Even Norm can start reading and stop writing. If he ever does, he will begin to discover what the dispute is really all about. You see, it’s naive to think that Vatican II was merely misinterpreted. Both in its spirit and in its content, it clearly militates against what preceded it at certain places. Eventually, this will need to be addressed. There is indeed a difference between what the liberal periti intended in their formulations and in what the fathers thought they were voting for. But even the latter became caught up in some subterranean wind, and it was not from the Church’s eternal teaching.

    Norm: please stop quoting the GIRM and the documents of the Council. They are only one per cent of the Faith. The other 99% lies before the Council. You can’t even know the Council until you delve into the rest, starting with patristics.


    • Desiderius says:

      I agree with you P.K.T.P. though I would like to be a part of the ordinariate (officially I could be enrolled as a member), due to the politics you describe of certain people encouraging the novus ordo and its influence inside it, I can not bring myself to allow to be part. There are too many “powers that be” within these ordinariates willing to destroy an obvious alliance with their natural friends – the traditional catholics. Therefore, I attend the T. Latin Mass and Byzantine Masses instead. The ordinariate must not ally itself with modernism experiments or it will cease to be relevant to it’s original purpose of safeguarding our patrimony “that which was handed down to us by our ancestors” in continuity perpetually.

      • Clive Packer says:

        Try as I might, I cannot see this “obvious alliance” of “natural friends”. As a former Anglican, Latin has no place in my patrimony. When did Anglicans ever use Latin, except before there were Anglicans? I see elements of Anglican patrimony that would seem to be anathema to the “Trads” whether mad or otherwise – significantly greater lay participation than in most Catholic churches, for example, and the great English hymns. Neither would be part of a traditional Latin mass, surely?

        As to an obvious alliance, I think the Ordinariates recognize that their very existence is the result of great generosity and flexibility on the part of the hierarchy. To turn around and bite the hand that fed, by allying with groups that are often at odds with that same hierarchy would not be very sensible from a purely pragmatic point of view, especially as the Ordinariates are still fledglings.

        I have not met very many “Trads” who are still in the church, but I have had the misfortune to live next door to a SSPX family for quite some time and I can truthfully say that they are bigoted, rude, holier-than-thou to an extreme, their child-rearing borders on abuse and they are very unpleasant people as individuals in day to day life. I see nothing that would tempt me to worship with them and lots that would make me run a mile. Again, I see no obvious alliance there.

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You wrote: I agree with you P.K.T.P. though I would like to be a part of the ordinariate (officially I could be enrolled as a member), due to the politics you describe of certain people encouraging the novus ordo and its influence inside it, I can not bring myself to allow to be part.

        I don’t know where you are, but I rather anticipate that most of the ordinariate congregations, at least in the United States, Canada, and Australia, will use the revised Book of Divine Worship as soon as it becomes available. Some of the congregations in the United Kingdom may be more likely to use the present ordinary form of the Roman Rite, probably primarily because that’s what they were using as Anglicans and thus what’s familiar to them, but they probably will be a minority.


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