Tuesday 20 July 2021

I'm a blogger not a leader

My arms hurt too much for casual writing, so I'm asking BA to write this. One mistake people are making in the motu proprio firestorm is to confuse traditionalist Catholic bloggers with traditionalist Catholic communities and, worse, traditionalist Catholic leaders. If you really want to know what a given traditionalist community is like, you have to go to a TLM and then speak to members of the congregation afterwards. Your success in doing that will change from country to country. It's probably a good bet in gregarious Glasgow or the friendly USA, but in some British communities, you'll have to hang around a bit. The utility of a trad blogger like me is that you can come to the Edinburgh FSSP TLM and have someone to say hi to. (Don't be shy--I'm Canadian.) 

The problem, or a problem, with the internet is that people treat it like a diary at worst or a soap-box at best, shouting to the crowds in Hyde Park, hoping to get a following. But the witty chap on the soap-box yelling for veganism isn't exactly Linda McCartney.

My heart aches for the young Catholic parents who just want to bring their children up in the faith their parents or grandparents handed on to them. In many places, public Catholic education is a joke or, worse, a scandal. Children brought up by bad Catholics are a danger to believing Catholic children and even to their believing Catholic teachers. Many semi-pagan Catholics imagine that Our Lord is a cross between the Dude in The Big Lebowski and their soft-touch grandmother. Obviously to the orthodox Catholic this is ludicrous. However, so many soi-disant Catholics believe this,  the worldwide TLM community is the only Latin Catholic refuge, like a monastery when the Vandals were pillaging and sacking.

When my brother Nulli and I were children in the 1970s, we were asked to draw God by our Catholic kindergarten teacher. My picture of God included glasses. After questioning me on this, my parents realised I thought the priest was God. On the one hand, I had possibly discerned the priest in persona Christi. On the other, it shows the centrality of the priest's face and personality in Catholic worship according to the 1970s rites. (Tellingly, Nulli thought the cantor was God.) It would be interesting to test traditionalist children in this fashion. Lex orandi, lex credendi, indeed.

That's all I have to say today. Please, just don't judge either the beautiful TLM or the worldwide TLM community by me, or Steve Skojek, or any of us keyboard warriors. We are a dozen, maybe a few dozen, English-speaking windbags, really. The real trad is the brewmaster monk, or the tired mother of eight, or the head of the FSSP. I'll stretch a point and suggest that Dr Joseph Shaw is a credible spokesman for the traditional movement in the United Kingdom. Dr Peter Kwaniewski is a fine scholar of the liturgy, too. He's not a leader, but he's a darn good resource.

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