Response to the “Mad Trad” post

So what do you think of this response from The Remnant Newspaper’s Christopher A. Ferrera on Catholic Answer’s “Mad Trad” program:

In the midst of the post-conciliar neo-Modernist invasion of the Church, why did an organization that calls itself Catholic Answers devote two hours of expensive radio time on May 31 to a live talk show attacking, not Modernism, but “radical traditionalists”?  Why did the hosts of this show, Tim Staples and Patrick Coffin, dwell on a few Catholic adherents of the Society of Saint Pius X who (allegedly) lost their faith, while ignoring the “silent apostasy” that plagues the entire Western world—and this a half-century after the Council that was supposed to have made the faith more accessible to the masses? Why have Staples and Coffin planned another two hours of traditionalist bashing on August 12?  And why has Catholic Answers devoted not one minute of its live radio show to the grave threat a resurgent Modernism poses to the souls of Catholics, who continue to apostatize by the millions under its influence? The answer to these questions, in a word, is this: neo-Catholicism, a kind of well-mannered second cousin to Modernism. Inveterate Remnant readers will know what I mean by the term, but for newcomers to this controversy a bit of background is in order.

What is a Neo-Catholic?

In The Great Façade (Remnant Press: 2002), my co-author and I introduced the term “neo-Catholic” to signify a constituency quite unknown in the Catholic Church before Vatican II. The term suggests a parallel to the “neo-conservative” of politics, whose “conservatism” involves the conservation of a liberalized status quo that is actually an ever-widening break with the “paleo-conservatism” (traditionalism) of the past. In a manner akin to neo-conservatives who look down their noses at paleo-conservatives, neo-Catholics disdain Roman Catholic traditionalists because they have continued to be what neo-Catholics themselves once were, and what all their ancestors were for centuries before—that is, Catholics who believe and practice the unreconstructed faith of their fathers from the liturgy, to the catechism, to the rites of the sacraments.

Since the Council we have witnessed, for the first time in the Church’s bimillenial history, the emergence of a strain of Catholic “neo-conservatism”—hence neo-Catholicism—characterized by a staunch defense of unprecedented ecclesial novelties the Popes before the Council would have viewed with utter horror. Among other novelties comprising the liberalized ecclesial status quo of the post-conciliar epoch, the neo-Catholic defends the new vernacular liturgy (including the appalling spectacle of altar girls, approved by “John Paul the Great”), the new “ecumenism,” which has all but de-missionized the Church, and the new “dialogue,” which has reduced the perennial preaching of the Gospel with the authority of Christ Himself to a vacuous  “discussion-ism” that avoids any open proclamation of the imperatives of divine revelation, especially the claims of Christ on nations as well as individuals.


If there is a spectrum, I am somewhere between a neo-Catholic and a traditionalist.  In some ways, the characterization of neo-Catholics is as stereotypical as that of the “mad trads,” frankly.   Many who might be comfortable with the Ordinary Form of the Mass are not Modernists.


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5 Responses to Response to the “Mad Trad” post

  1. Pingback: Response to the “Mad Trad” post | Catholic Canada

  2. SUZANNE says:

    I think a lot of these things are straw men. It boils down to: you`re either with the Magisterium or you’re not. The rest is details.

    • Rev22:17 says:


      You wrote: It boils down to: you`re either with the Magisterium or you’re not. The rest is details.

      Amen, sister! Way to tell ’em!

      In fact, this bears repeating.

      It boils down to: you`re either with the Magisterium or you’re not. The rest is details.


  3. It is definitely stereotypical Deborah. Mr. Ferrara makes an absolutely valid point that there are some aspects of traditional Catholicism that many modern Catholics are uncomfortable around and don’t want to squarely face. One can’t help but read the Syllabus of Errors and scratch one’s head a bit…”Ok, so tell me again how this bit jives with Vatican II?” There really are some thorny problems there.

    On the other hand, you can see the same sort of disconnect in traditionalist Catholics. In 1911 St. Pius X radically reformulated the Roman Breviary, changing the arrangement of psalms that had been used since time immemorial. At least when Paul VI changed the Mass, he left the Roman Canon as an option…but St. Pius X left no one any such option. He completely abolished over a thousand years of tradition with the stroke of a pen, and said flat out if those bound to say the Office didn’t switch to his new one, they failed to fulfill their religious duty (!). This is the Pope the SSPX is named after.

    Not just “neo-Catholics” but even traditionalists can be guilty of conserving a liberalized status quo.

    • Christopher William McAvoy says:

      In this regard, the western latin rite vicariates of the eastern orthodox who use Dr. William Renwicks 1534 Salisbury (Sarum) use office have a certain advantage in being able to go back in a time machine in order to fix this problem of the 1911 modifications. They may not be popular or understood, but they are doing something meaningful.

      However, another option for roman catholics to avoid the 1911 liturgical tampering is to pray with the Dominican or Benedictine use offices from before 1969. In them you are free from the tampering that occurred with the secular roman breviary in 1911, its decisions did not apply to all the religious orders. The Divine Office of the Dominicans and Carmelites are essentialy subtle variations of the Salisbury and pre-tridentine uses of the 13th century – and anyone can use them today – though apparently only in latin ?

      Approximately 70% of the propers of the temporale are the same in the Dominican, Salisbury, and Carmelite. The antiphons on magnificat and benedictus are usually the same in all of them. The saints days are what vary the most, but all three preserve propers for feasts for St. Nicholas and St. Katherine of Alexandria, which were removed from post-Trent breviaries but were popular for centuries before them.

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