On being a Traditional Catholic

A most interesting post over at Rorate-Caeli about qualifiers in front of the description Catholic.

Here’s an excerpt concerning Tradition that I find most helpful:

In a broad sense, the entirety of revelation—including Scripture—is part of Tradition. Scripture, too, has been delivered to the Church and handed down by her to us.
This transmission is integral, complete, undistorted, and essentially unchanging, as Saint Vincent of Lerins sees it, and Blessed John Henry Newman shows with rigorous reasoning how the legitimate developments that have occurred historically affected not the body of the truth but, as it were, its clothing, or put differently, not the truth of the word but the fullness of its verbal expression. While the crisis of modernism can be understood in many ways, it seems to me that the crux of the matter is an adoption of an Hegelian (although one might just as easily say Darwinian or Marxist) understanding of development of doctrine: what we believenow and how we practice and pray are different from what they used to be, simply because our age is different—our experiences, feelings, mentality, science, are different. The traditional Catholic decisively rejects this Hegelian deception and affirms the Vincentian/Newmanian unity of revelation as handed down over time, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit leading the Church into the fullness of truth.
Once one grants that there is an integral truth handed down over the centuries and developed organically, then it must be possible for deviation and corruption to set in because of the sins of Christians, and particularly wayward shepherds. Heresy is always possible; misunderstanding, distortion, overemphasis, underemphasis, secularization, all of these things can happen, and when they happen, they begin to undermine “the faith once delivered to the saints” in the souls of individuals who are not strong in the knowledge and practice of the faith—including members of the Church hierarchy. This, of course, was seen most famously in England at the time of the Reformation, when all the bishops except St. John Fisher went along with King Henry VIII’s machinations. We see it today in the clear split between the bishops who accept and teach authentic Catholic doctrine on marriage and family and those who do not, or (to take a random example) between bishops who know and clearly state that the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Christ to which all Protestants are called by God to return, and those who counsel people to remain in their objectively heretical or schismatic positions either temporarily or permanently.
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