Friday, November 04, 2005

We're on Roman time, Shawn...

...after all, we're traditionalists in full communion with Rome.


On the Use of Labels:
(Dialogue With Kevin Tierney)

While I will in my participation to this weblog concede to those who are members of this project the term Traditionalist, I do want my general opposition to such terminology noted for the record. To achieve that I have posted here a thread which Kevin and I interacted on back in late September at the Envoy message board{1} with some very minor tweaking made to it. My words will be in regular font except for my previous words in the thread which will be in blue. Kevin's previous words will be in darkgreen font and any previous words of his in additional italics if applicable. My sources will be in darkblue font.

The whole use of labels reminds me of the folllowing admonition by Pope Benedict XV of holy memory against those of his day and age who tried such things:

It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as "profane novelties of words," out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: "This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved" (Athanas. Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim "Christian is my name and Catholic my surname," only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself. [Pope Benedict XV: Encyclical Letter Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (c. 1914)]

Furthermore, the idea that Tradition is based on theological positions, disciplines, liturgical observances, and devotionals is seriously askew. But that is a subject for another time suffices to call all Catholics "Catholic" and avoid these kinds of novel innovations which the popes have proscribed. Those who prefer the Tridentine liturgy can refer to themselves as "Catholics with a Tridentine preference" if they like as that does not presume arrogantly that one group is or is not "more or less Traditional" than another.

There, I have said my piece.

Rerum Novarum

A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism'

The 'Tradition is Opposed to Novelty' Canard

Edited by - IShawnM on 09/21/2005 5:22:43 PM

My good friend Shawn protest too much. I can understand the worry about "this group being more catholic than the next" but provided such a spirit is avoided, such classifications are no different than people attaching themselves to particular charisms in the body of Christ.

I respectfully disagree...there are enough divisions without creating more. Besides, I have posited a papal proscription of that approach. If my friend Kevin wants to posit an example of the popes giving a different view on the matter subsequent to 1914, be my guest. However, I doubt he will find anything of the sort from the magisteriums of Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, or John Paul II. We already know that Benedict XVI twenty years ago referred to "so-called "traditionalism" in The Ratzinger Report; ergo he did not countenance such labeling:

It is impossible for a Catholic to take a position for or against Trent or Vatican I. Whoever accepts Vatican II, as it has clearly expressed and understood itself, at the same time accepts the whole binding tradition of the Catholic Church, particularly the two previous councils. It is likewise impossible to decide in favour of Trent and Vatican I but against Vatican II. Whoever denies Vatican II denies the authority that upheld the other councils and thereby detaches them from their foundation. And this applies to the so-called "traditionalism", also in its extreme forms…Every partisan choice destroys the whole (the very history of the Church) which can only exist as an indivisible unity.[Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: "The Ratzinger Report" pg. 28 (c. 1985)]

My offer to Kevin to provide a papal counter to what I posted from Benedict XV on this kind of approach remains open of course.

I would more say what constitutes a traditionalist is the worldview they operate from more than anything else.

I do not see a distinction to be made between Catholics Kevin. Either someone is or they are not and if they are, then they are aligned with the Great Tradition whatever their devotions/practices/liturgical preferences/disciplines happen to be. As I have noted elsewhere:

[A]uthentic Traditionalism does not depend on what rite of Mass you attend, what devotional prayers you use, what theological positions you espouse, or what disciplines you follow. Authentic 'Traditionalism' is much more integral then that and it applies to a frame of mind and a certain attitude. It is not and cannot be found in externals - even those which may have the hallowed sanction of time. [A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism' Part I (c. 2000, rev. 2003)]

That summarizes it adequately enough.

Though more often than not, those people with the devotions/practices/theological positions more often than not would coincide within a traditionalist worldview.

Perhaps, perhaps not. I know Ecclesia Dei sorts whom what you say applies to; however, there are others who are more questionable. Likewise, I know non-ED people who could be called authentically Traditional (in the proper sense of that term) and non-ED people who would not be. It is an integral thing but as I said, it involves a frame of mind and a certain attitude and external adornments are derivative at best to the equation. I am not aware of the popes disagreeing with me on this but you are welcome to dispute this.

(And no I do not think the SSPX/remnant addicted to wreckage crowd operates from within that worldview, but that is for another time.)

But they tend to have the same liturgical preferences, the same devotions, the same theological speculations, and the same disciplines as the ED crowd Kevin. What makes them unacceptable by your criteria??? By mine they do not manifest the correct integral frame of mind and attitude and I could posit countless examples to substantiate that theory. But if you admit that it requires what I claim is required, then I fail to see how we disagree on this matter. Which brings us back to my original comments on this thread but I digress...

Edited by - IShawnM on 09/22/2005 6:41:32 PM

Briefly in response to Kev...

I simply submit that you are misinterpreting that papal prouncment, since Benedict had in mind the integrists who state that because they belong to this particular flavor of Catholicism they are "more catholic than thou."

With not a few who call themselves "traditionalists", that is the intended interpretation. And they prove it in spades when they resort to the "neo" labeling which implies that the party so labeled is somehow not authentically Traditional.

If one group emphasizes a particular charism over another, one can classify it that way without stating they are less Catholic. As you well know (at least from my writings) I in no sense employ that, and I'm sure other who use those labels do not either, though many do.

The question remains how many use that expression who do not make the distinction that you do. I would argue that it is more than who do not; ergo for the sake of confusion, the moniker "traditionalist" should be scrapped as being more devisive than unitary.

"I do not see a distinction to be made between Catholics Kevin. Either someone is or they are not and if they are, then they are aligned with the Great Tradition whatever their devotions/practices/liturgical preferences/disciplines happen to be."

It depends on how one defines the term. For one who always likes to talk about the context in which one uses their terms, on this one point you sure do raise a lot of guff in blanket statements.

Actually, the term you are defending the use of is the blanket statement. I prefer (if you need a term of identification) the expression "Catholics of a Tridentine preference" or "Tridentine-inclined Catholics" or some equivalent. That correctly identifies the term and does not make the mistake of claiming that Tridentine-preferences are somehow "traditional" when in fact such a presumption ends up placing the value in the external adornments rather than the internal dispositions which is where authentic Traditionalism subsides.

"Perhaps, perhaps not. I know Ecclesia Dei sorts whom what you say applies to; however, there are others who are more questionable. Likewise, I know non-ED people who could be called authentically Traditional (in the proper sense of that term) and non-ED people who would not be. It is an integral thing but as I said, it involves a frame of mind and a certain attitude and external adornments are derivative at best to the equation. I am not aware of the popes disagreeing with me on this but you are welcome to dispute this."

Frame of mind and attitude, in other words, a worldview. :) Again, you protest too much.

I disagree because I do not tie the worldview to certain externals as you seem to do. For example, when you say that the SSPX are their ideas [are] certainly not traditional with the exception of their liturgy. I see nothing truely Traditional in their approach to the liturgy. Indeed, they are actually the antithesis of a truely Traditional frame of reference. And as time is short, I will reference the definition of Tradition given by my favourite academic orientalist Fr. Robert Taft SJ:

Tradition is the church's self-consciousness now of that which has been handed on to it not as an inert treasure, but as a dynamic principle of life. It is the church's contemporary reality understood genetically, in continuity with what produced it.

This is why Tradition is not found in ancient texts or monuments in its essential form -though the latter can of course bear witness to Tradition. And that is why true Tradition embraces a proper integral frame of mind and attitude as I noted before. A proper understanding of Tradition achieves a few things at once:

---It frees us from the tyranny of any one particular part of the past.

---It frees us from the tyranny of present day cliches.

Authentic and living Tradition is beholden to but never a prisoner of the past in other words. But with so many who call themselves "traditionalists", they essentially are prisoners of the past in a manner that is inauthentic: they tie themselves to old liturgies or prayers with the mistaken notion that these are in and of themselves what constitutes Tradition when instead they are a means or mediating point if you will. Nor for that matter are they the only mediating points but this response is long enough already so I will cut it short at that point.


{1} This thread was also posted to The Lidless Eye Inquisition two minutes ago but (judged by the timestamp) it was posted eight hours and two minutes later. Are we on French time at this weblog or something???


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Holy Souls Mass Registration List:

See this link for details.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Case for Traditional Principles: The Meaning of Being Catholic

As I had stated before in previous discussions, it is my goal that my contribution here to Friends of La Nef is to help outline the foundations of what Catholicism really is. In doing so I will not favor this or that Rite, this or that charism, this or that approach, but attempt to consider the principles as objectively as possible. Hence this first principle will be the principle upon which all other principles of Catholicism rest.

What does it mean to be Catholic? Many state that Catholics are those people who pray their Rosaries daily, attend Mass frequently, and practice many other pious devotions. Yet they would be wrong. Others will say it depends on what doctrines you believe. They would also be wrong. This is not to dismiss devotions, or dismiss upholding the Catholic faith. Both are necessary, but it isn't what makes one a Catholic. For schismatics have believed the teachings of the Catholic Church and practiced many devotions, however they were not Catholic.

Catholicism is not just a set of doctrinal propositions or devotions. Rather it is a worldview, a way of looking upon this world and beyond it. Indeed, have all those doctrines and devotions, but have not a Catholic mindset, and those things are far from graces, but store up wrath for the day of judgment. Think about that. Every faithful Catholic receives those doctrines and other things as a grace from God. The majority of them we would not comprehend were it not for God's grace. If we use it fruitfully, those gifts increase. If we use it wrongly, then we build up condemnation.

First and foremost, to be Catholic is to be in communion with Christ our King. It is to profess allegiance to His rule over Heaven and Earth. We say that every week in the Sanctus, Heaven and Earth are full of your Glory, Hosanna in the Highest! Christ is not just a nice moral teacher, or a force inactive in our lives today. Christ never presented Himself this way, nor should we.

It was Christ who said "I am the way, the Truth, the Light." He also stated nobody comes to the Father except through Him. As far as His active presence in today's world, He reminded His Apostles, "Lo I am with you always, even until the end of the age."

It is one thing to acknowledge that He has redeemed us, but quite another to acknowledge His authority and Lordship over all creation. That is if we take the name Catholic, Catholicism is not based upon our opinions. Rather it is something we must conform to. It is something we spend our entire lives doing. Many mistakenly believe that if they convert or are born into Catholicism, they are fully conformed to the Catholic perspective. They would be wrong. For as faithful subjects of the King, we continually strive to obey his laws, and obey them happily.

Part of that obedience includes obeying those he has set above us. That will be covered in a future setting.

God Bless,
Kevin M. Tierney


Immaculate Conception Church - Ajo, Arizona.

Well first my thanks to Pete for being invited to contribute to this site. Though I noticed Kevin's shock at my inclusion, I'm likewise shocked to see that his name appears above mine in the sidebar. However, I'm sufficiently relieved to see that Shawn's name appears above his. :)

I took a trip this last weekend to Rocky Point, Mexico with my best friend, his wife, and two friends of ours. Aside from the relaxing beach front and the Mr. Fish Taco stand (best $1.oo beef tacos that can be had), a side reason for going visiting the Immaculate Conception Church in Ajo, Arizona for Sunday Mass on our way back. Unfortunately, the 1962 Latin Mass is said there only on the first Sunday of the month so we missed that opportunity. We also missed the pastor Fr. Richard Rego but it was still worth the trip. It's a beautiful little Church and it's immediately apparent that the Latin Mass has had an affect on the liturgical life of this parish. The visiting priest was wearing the older style vestments and the altar server (male) was in cassock and surplice. We sang Immaculate Mary and Holy God, we praise Thy name! There wasn't really a choir as I could only make out one voice coming from that direction. What was great is rather than the difficult and sappy songs that I hear so regularly in other parishes, we sang the same traditional vernacular hymns that the Indult community sings at low Mass. They are easy on the ears and being devoid of heterodox sentiments are easy on the conscience, too! The congregation actually indulged in congregational singing. There were no extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. In any case, I hope to get down to one of Fr. Rego's Masses as he has a reputation for reverance and holiness. His had been the only licit choice for the 1962 Latin Mass since the previous bishop of Phoenix wouldn't allow it in his diocese. Here's a plug for Fr. Rego: .


Sunday, October 30, 2005

New Friends

I am very happy to say that I have been asked to join in sharing God's message, with a wonderful group of people. "Thank You Pete", for the invite to Friends Of La Nef. I am looking forward to help spread a positive light, on the Tradition of our faith. Traditionalists, sometimes have the reputation of being bitter and resentful of the changes since Vatican II. Although this is true, in some cases, there are a group, whom would love to see Tradition promoted in a positive and loving way. That is what I intend to do, and that is what God is asking from me. God Bless


My First Year of Marriage

First of all, thanks Pete for that nice comment you wrote regarding me and my wife. In roughly two weeks, on November 12th, by the grace of God my wife and I will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary. It has definitely been a challenging year, but a year filled with blessings. As most of you know already, my wife and I were married by a sedevacantist priest. Let me quickly ask all of you to say a prayer for this priest, Fr. Dominic, for he is a kind, humble soul, a God-fearing priest who is in love with the Lord. But he is leading souls astray due to his sedevacantist views. Please keep him in your prayers, that the Lord moves him to leave his schsim behind and to embrace the authority that God has set above him, and to humbly recognize Pope Benedict XVI as the Vicar of Christ on earth. But we were married by him, and within months both of us realized our mistake, and we repented and began the process of regaining full trust in the Magisterium. Pete Vere was instrumental for me at this point in my life; he took time to talk to me on the phone one night and helped answer many questions that were still unresolved in my head and heart, especially regarding the Sacred Liturgy. He then recommended to me a life-changing book called My Way of Life, put out by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood in 1952.

But this was spiritually a hard process for both my new wife and I. We had convinced several friends and family members that sedevacantism was the sure way to go in order to be a true Catholic, and now we had the painful task of telling them we were wrong. As a result, many close people lost respect for us, and many people who previously looked up to me when it came to catechesis and apologetics ceased talking to me, out of fear that they could not trust me anymore. The biggest hardship we had to endure came through my wife's family. Her family largely consists of lukewarm cafetaria Catholics, and we became the laughing stock of her family when they found out that I had made a mistake in trying earnestly to convert them all the previous few years. They figured that since I was wrong in regards to this area, then they did not need to listen to anything else I had to say regarding the faith. So they all comfortably settled back into their lukewarm Catholicism. To this day, my wife and I have barely any contact with any of them, though the Lord knows all of them are always in our prayers.

I have realized that marriage is not an easy thing that one quickly adapts to. It takes much prayer and sacrifice. Our Lord Jesus Christ must be the center of every marriage; indeed, He must be the heart and soul of every marriage. Otherwise, worldly ways will take their effect and depression, unhappiness, boredom, and dissatisfaction will kick in. My wife and I have made it a point to keep Christ as the focal point of our marriage. Every aspect of our marriage is focused solely on His Word. Every morning, afternoon, and night consists of prayer. Daily Eucharistic Adoration is a must. I teach catechism and Confirmation classes one night a week, and she is involved with our parish's choir. We both attend Bible Study and Benediction together every single Wednesday. And around the workplace, we are known as "those crazy Catholic nuts," a title we both proudly hold onto.

Our love for the Mass has continued to grow. Our involvement with the parish we now attend has been very positive. The pastor, Fr. Steve Guitron, is as solid and orthodox as a priest can get, and I have never met a pastor so in love with the faith and with the Eucharist.

We have made it a point to base our marriage around the Bible. We allow the Scriptures to be our guide, since they have God as their author. Rather than waste our time with self-help books by secular doctors, we spend an hour a night devoting our hearts and minds to reading the Sacred Scriptures and allowing God to speak to us through them in our marriage. We are fiercely loyal and obedient to Holy Mother Church.

In regards to trust, "The Lord is our strength and shield, in whom our hearts trust and find help. So our hearts rejoice; with our songs we praise God" (Psalm 28:7). We have both realized that, "The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones" (Luke 16:10). Thus, we put full trust in one another, since we both know that we are devoted entirely to Jesus Christ.

Communication, of course, is an essential quality of every happy and God-centered marriage. We strive to never allow anger to be our mode of communication, and immediately resort to prayer. "He who answers before he hears-- his is the folly and the shame" (Proverbs 18:13). "No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear... all bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ" (Ephesians 4:29-32).

Another important topic in marriage is finances. My wife says that communication is what she needs to continually pray on; for me, it is the financial aspect. But both of us are in agreement that money can not become the most important thing. It can not become an idol, as it does for others we know. When we die, we do not take a U-Haul with us to heaven filled with all of our earthly possessions. We stand naked before the Lord on Judgement Day. "For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it... Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plung them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils" (1 Timothy 6:7-10). "Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have" (Hebrews 13:5).

Every night, we pray to God that He give us the grace and strength to be imitators of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who are our primary examples in the faith as husband and wife.

So far, the Lord has not blessed us with children, although He knows that we are both so willing to receive such a blessing. So please keep us in your prayers in regards to this. Both of us desperately would love to be parents, but of course, it's all in God's hands, and when He feels the time is right, He will bless us in this way.

"When you enter the Sacrament of Matrimony, you and your spouse are both called to walk with the Lord-- together... In the Catholic vision of living together as man and wife, you both agree that the essential purpose of your marriage is to help each other reach your goal of eternal life... Christian marriage is the vocation to walk together with the Lord, helping each other on the path of salvation." (Marriage is for Keeps, John F. Kippley, pgs. 8-9)

For a wedding picture of my beautiful wife and I, go to

God bless, and keep the faith...


CIEL 2006

Today I received the following press release:

LONDON, 28th October 2005 - His Eminence Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has accepted an invitation to attend the 11th CIEL Colloquium to be held in Merton College, Oxford, England, on 13th - 16th September 2006.

As well as attending the Colloquium, the Cardinal - who is head of the Holy See’s Congregation for the Clergy - has consented to be celebrant of the closing Mass to be held in the 13th century chapel of Merton College on Saturday 16th September 2006.

Lieutenant Commander Neville McNally, Chairman of CIEL UK, said: “We are greatly honoured that His Eminence has agreed to attend the Colloquium, which is being held for the first time in England.”

“His presence will enormously enhance the dignity of the proceedings and offer great encouragement to the speakers and participants,” he added.

The title of the 11th Colloquium is: “The Genius of the Roman Liturgy: Historical Diversity and Spiritual Reach”. The conference will explore the diversity of the forms of the Roman Rite from its appearance as a specifically Latin Rite in the fourth century up to the Second Vatican Council.

The papers will be presented within the framework of the liturgical day, with a solemn sung Mass at noon in the Rite of 1962 (Tridentine Mass) and the offices of Vespers and Compline.

The Colloquium is open to clerics, religious and lay men and women who have an interest in liturgy. No specialist knowledge or involvement is needed and delegates may participate at various levels.

CIEL UK has the support and blessing of His Eminence Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster and of His Grace the Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols.

Those interested in learning more about the Colloquium should visit:


If our voices were spent in prayers rather than complaints

St. Teresa of Avila, in her travels, ran across a fallen priest. He was involved with a wicked woman, alcohol and the occult. She continued to utilize him as her confessor, in part because he needed her prayers, penances, and her good works. She had been very ill during that time, having to remain in his village. She offered her sufferings up for the priest. He gave up the woman, the occult and the alcohol, returning to his vows before she left the village. This was on account of her heroic acts of charity. We have that same power because it was given us by God. We aren't taught anymore to give of ourselves for the sake of another anymore, which is very sad. Many gave it up. But just how do ordinary people become saints? By heroic acts of charity in all things coming from their faith. As St. Benedict told his sister, St. Scholastica, to become a saint, you have to want to. Nothing more is required.

The Church is the deposit of faith. Those who administrate part of that huge deposit of faith, are not perfect, nor were they meant to be, because they are human. I believe in the Church, for She is the Bride of Christ. We just don't take very good care of Her. You see, we laity have that great power because Christ gave us the means by which we could make it better, or by neglect, make it worse. He said, prayer, penance and good works; like those of St. Teresa of Avila. We know that if we together pray for our clergy, do penance for our clergy and good works for our clergy in their names, they will receive great graces, and in holiness, they will be protected. We seldom pray for them, do penances for them or good works in their names, as we once did.

I will bet you my life's savings that if we all started doing those three things again, instead of neglecting them, we could turn those priests who have been led astray, away from these scandals & sins by helping to obtain great graces for them that they may be the shepherds they should be and want to be. Remember, priests are the most attacked creatures on earth because they are the shepherds of the flocks. When we stopped doing these things collectively, they also began to struggle and strain without the great graces our prayers and sacrifices provided for them. I am not trying to assign blame. What I am saying is that God gave us the right way to correct the situation. If we fail to use our voices for prayers, but rather we use to rail against the Church, we will have much in common with Luther and we will end up just as he did... outside the Church.