Am I a traditional catholic? Help me figure it out!

Hello all- I want to greet you as my ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’ but will hold off until you tell me it is OK to do so. :wink:

I’m a normal church-going parish guy, weekly adoration time, rosary, plenty of good books on the shelf (some read-some not yet) 46 years old. Soon to be 4 kids. Saints names for them of course. Crucifix in every room. No holy water font yet…waiting for a new home to do that. Love Fulton J. Sheen, and wish there were more like him.

My question started a few years ago when all of a sudden I noticed (…I know…) how we were calling Father a ‘presider’ instead of a ‘celebrant’. I questioned the parish, did some research, etc… Then all the other things started to bug me, like the hand holding, ‘affirming’ of visitors, birthdays, teen groups, etc… All the wasted energy on things like video presentations and endless announcements and 25 prayers of the faithful.12 lay ministers. All taking our minds away from why we are there. I’m sure y’all know what I’m talking about. I’m trying to decide if it is a false sense of ‘pride of intellect’ that makes me bothered by all this, or if it is something deeper, and I SHOULD be bothered by it.

Anyway, to my questions for you:

  1. I don’t know Latin and have never been to a Latin mass. Would I be lost or would I be at home? Would you forgive my ignorance? Would you understand that my little ones would most likely not sit still? I love the idea of traditional catholics uniting for the mass but am intimidated by you. We have Latin mass about an hour away.

  2. We do have a pope, right? I did spend a little time on ‘Fisheaters.com’ but I do not have the time (right now) to go all the way through it. I’m a little wary if ‘traditional’ means rejecting the current papacy and councils that took place in my lifetime. Please explain.

  3. I was under the impression that SSPX is not good. They are not in communion with the church. Their priests are not priests. They are split away from the church. Is this correct?

  4. I love the CCC and I hope you do, too. Do you find error in it?

I’m sure I have more as the replys pour in. Thanks.

Sounds to me like you’re just a good Catholic!

I think you should be bothered by it. Mass isn’t supposed to be worship of community, and I think that’s what many churches are turning it into - a gathering in which WE are the center of everything. It shouldn’t be that way and any Catholic should rightly be concerned about such things.

I’d say a good majority of people who attend the TLM don’t really know Latin. They may have had some courses in it (I had two years - not enough to remember, but plenty enough to forget), or just picked some up by attending the TLM regularly. When I first attended, I didn’t know a word of Latin and it was a little strange for me, but it grew on me pretty quickly. I noticed all the other things that were missing at the NO, and also noticed that many of the distractions you’ve mentioned were gone. One can just be there to worship God without being forced to focus on “community”. One thing I notice at just about every TLM I attend is the large amount of children and how good their behavior is (relatively). Children are not a bother. There’s no need to feel intimidated by anything. Go there and follow what the others do. Most churches that have the TLM will have little red booklets available to help you follow the Mass.

Yes, we have a pope. Quite often (my own pastor thought this until I corrected him) many people think that all traditionalists are sedevacantists or, at the very least, believe the NO to be invalid. There are actually many, many various ideas among traditionalists, but I think the majority of them do believe there is a pope, including the SSPX (otherwise why would they be engaged in talks with the Vatican?).

Not quite. I’m no expert on the SSPX, but we can attend their Masses and I’ve read that the Vatican will accept confessions done by their priests. You’ll hear many viewpoints on the SSPX from everyone and they’ll all likely contradict in some way. Personally I prefer not to go to the SSPX unless no other TLM is available. I am very sympathetic to their cause, however. Their priests are definitely priests.

This one I can’t answer for you as I’ve not read the CCC. I know other people have pointed out some discrepancies, but I can’t confirm them either way.

You’re welcome.

I am confused as to how this is problematic – could someone enlighten me? Perhaps there are historical issues at play of which I am unaware.

Just telling the story of how I began to notice things were so very different from the church I grew up with in the 70’s…That is all. I understand ‘presider’ is not so much a problem. ‘Presider’ was the thing that got me thinking.

You don’t have to know Latin. Go to a Latin Mass and read this forum and ask questions, many here will help you.

The SSPX has canonical issues, but I refuse to demonize them. Especially if after Vatican II we are especially understanding of Protestants and Orthodox, well SSPX are much closer. Though their issues are canonical, most are good people, all are sinners like us I know some personally. They don’t have horns, they don’t burn pictures of the pope. They put up his picture actually.

I have problems with the CCC. I like it overall, but parts are confusing or seem to contradict earlier teaching. Remember that the CCC serves the Faith, not the other way around. A catechism is as good as the items in it, and not everything in the CCC is crystal clear.

I have problems with the CCC. I like it overall, but parts are confusing or seem to contradict earlier teaching. Remember that the CCC serves the Faith, not the other way around. A catechism is as good as the items in it, and not everything in the CCC is crystal clear.

I have not read or memorized the whole thing of course…What are some of the problems?
I just have this worry that ‘traditional’ means ‘I don’t agree, so I’ll find people who do’. Like protestants. I’m not trying to argue or fight. No offense intended.

Hello, Brother!

  1. I don’t know Latin and have never been to a Latin mass. Would I be lost or would I be at home?

Don’t worry about it. Just watch and listen, and let the thing sink in over time. It’s all about prayer.

Would you forgive my ignorance?

There is nothing to forgive. We are all ignorant, and none really understand the full mystery of what we see and hear in the mass.

Would you understand that my little ones would most likely not sit still?

Let them have fun. If they want to walk around, play, or leave, give them their freedom. “suffer the little children” is not a literal statement! :smiley:

love the idea of traditional catholics uniting for the mass but am intimidated by you. We have Latin mass about an hour away.

Come on down!

  1. We do have a pope, right?

Right.

Please explain.

Don’t worry about that at this point. Focus on developing your own spirituality and prayer life first. We will always have issues to debate, world without end.

I was under the impression that SSPX is not good. They are not in communion with the church. Their priests are not priests. They are split away from the church. Is this correct?

Not really. But if you have an FSSP or ICK chapel or a diocesan priest saying mass under Summum Pont, why get into it?

I love the CCC and I hope you do, too. Do you find error in it?

  1. Yes; and 2) depends what you mean by “error.” Everything human suffers from error. But the traditions of the Church that have been handed down from the Fathers and the Apostles fully teach what is needed for salvation.

You are a traditional Catholic in the sense you love the traditions of the Church! You are a Catholic! Traditional Catholics are just Catholics, now the term can be used for someone who loves the TLM. But, you can call yourself a traditional Catholic!

There are parishes that are not orthodox and some that are. I had been attending a pretty loosey-goosey parish and getting more and more uncomfortable, but didn’t really know why…I left the Church in 1967 when my mother died and didn’t return until 1991 when my first son was born, so a lot happened in between. So I had no real basis to judge what was legitimate and what wasn’t.

Very long story short, I tried another parish and realized right away what the problem was…The new parish is much more orthodox in its structure. You don’t have to go all the way to Latin in order to get more orthodox. In fact, my favorite Masses are the weekdays (at the new parish) because the music is gone, the extras are gone, it is just the heart of the Mass, very clean, so to speak. I never even realized how much I dislike the hand-holding until I stopped doing it! :wink: There are other problems at my old parish which unfortunately are not going away or being addressed. But my husband prefers that parish so I am sort of a dual citizen at the moment. When the boys and I go, we go to the orthodox parish. When it’s hubby and the boys, we usually go to the less orthodox parish.

I have not been to a Latin Mass since I was wee little girl…

Of course we have a Pope, his name is Benedict! :slight_smile: He’s AWESOME!

I’m not really sure of the status of SSPX. I don’t think they are in schism, but they do reject Vatican II, so they may be. I saw a bumper sticker last year that said, “Vatican II - Weapon of Mass Destruction” and I figured it was from the SSPX.

I have a copy of the Catechism and I refer to it often, although being on this forum, people usually quote it before I can even look it up! :slight_smile:

Sounds to me like you are a faithful catholic (as opposed to a lax or rebellious one).

Sounds almost like you believe that catholicism is supposed to be a revelation from God that profundly changes US. That’s rather an improvement, IMO, from the hordes of people out there who believe that it is their divine mission to change the CHURCH.

How downright medieval of you! :wink:

With a Latin-English missal in your hand, you can come to understand what to pray at Mass and when, that’s what’s really important. I’m my experience, little children are much better behaved at the traditional Latin Mass, perhaps its parenting styles or perhaps the good, reverent example of virtually every adult tells them something important much be happening. I suggest going to one, but learn about the different between High and Low Masses first.

  1. We do have a pope, right? I did spend a little time on ‘Fisheaters.com’ but I do not have the time (right now) to go all the way through it. I’m a little wary if ‘traditional’ means rejecting the current papacy and councils that took place in my lifetime. Please explain.

Of course: Pope Benedict XVI, God bless him. There are different kinds of traditionalists. Fish Eaters represents the kind that accepts authority of the Church but sees few good fruits in the reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council and wants to revive the older uses and modes of thinking. Personally, I don’t reject anything the Church has done but I think the experiment has failed and we need to move forward on the solid ground of what we had before.

  1. I was under the impression that SSPX is not good. They are not in communion with the church. Their priests are not priests. They are split away from the church. Is this correct?

Their canonical position is troubled because their founder, then an archbishop, consecrated four of his priests after the Assissi gathering without papal approval, because he suddenly felt that the hierarchy had become unorthodox. Nowadays they are on much better terms with the Vatican but they don’t have faculties in any diocese because they have been operating independently. I think attending their Masses meets the Sunday obligation but without faculties some of their other sacraments are no good unless in extreme circumstances, so I’m told (I’m no canon lawyer).

  1. I love the CCC and I hope you do, too. Do you find error in it?

I’ve read the CCC cover to cover and it has a few troubling statements about ecumenism, but as a layman I assume it has no error. Still, after that the Baltimore Catechism has been a breath of fresh air.

Overall, I just feel safer, more serene and more Catholic living by the traditional Mass, the traditional Cathechism and the traditional Catholic worldview. I accept everything that the Church proposes for our belief but since the last dogmatic teaching was proclaimed in 1950 and the pastoral teachings since then are so confusing, I try not to get worked up about a lot of the ambiguity coming from our pastors these days. I just try to respect their authority and I’ll jump when they say jump.

I have nothing to add to this (yet) but I just wanted to say that this is a great thread! Armor of Light’s original post expressed much of what I wanted to ask but hadn’t ever realised it! :smiley:

My understanding is that Vatican II was misinterpreted by many people and certain changes were added to the mass- even before Vatican II, but they were spread, so to speak. For example, according to Cardinal Arinze (I think he is the Prefect of Divine Worship), the Vatican never said to take alter rails out of churches.

Hope this helps! :o

I would suggest attending a Latin Mass in your area to know best for yourself, here is a link to an approved list of locations and times for Latin Mass’:

ecclesiadei.org/masses.cfm

Attend High Mass if possible, and give it time - the Extraordinary Form is rich and deep.

Well any Catechism is as good as what’s in it. The CCC, whenever it references an ex cathedra infallible statement of the Pope, or when it references a dogmatic declaration of an ecumenical council, is teaching something that is clearly true.

When it quotes saints and Popes, doctors of the Church, it has great weight, but as saints can be wrong and Popes can be wrong, the CCC can be too … but I don’t think this is a problem at all.

The problems I have are:

  1. In discussing the Old Covenant, one paragraph leaves open (perhaps unintentionally) the idea that the Old Covenant is still valid or salvific. Jews just as anyone else need Christ and His Church, the Old Covenant is null/void/superceded, salvation is only through Christ, and this the Church has very clearly taught. So the paragraph really should be made clearer.

  2. The CCC basically says Muslims worship the same God as Catholics. Some trads say this is downright wrong. I don’t know enough to say that, but I know this: many, many people in the Church hold the completely legitimate view that this is false. Muslims by the very nature of their religion (which came about centuries after Christ) know and deny major truths of the faith – not incidental ones, but fundamental ones like the Trinity. So the CCC basically ignores this and declares ww worship the same God – as if Catholics must believe this – this should also be changed.

I also don’t understand why the CCC spends time talking about things the Church doesn’t teach. The Church allows capital punishment (clearly taught in the past) and the Church also teaches prudence and respect for life – how this might apply to modern nation states is not really for a catechism, that’s more a topic for a topical letter. And why is the CCC talking so much about Islam anyway? The CCC also, when mentioning that homosexual acts are sinful, refers to the question of the root of it – whether psychological or biological, whether the inclination is innate or not – I think it’s very confusing to even refer to scientific matters indirectly in a catechism. It would be much clearer if the CCC just condemned the acts along with all other sexual sins, promoted the virtue of charity, and left aside questions of scientific causes – even while clarifying that inclinations are not sins, acts and omissions can be sins.

1> Try one Mass in the Extraordinary form. Children don’t sit still in the Ordinary form either.

2>Ultra- Traditionals have the problem with the Popes.

3> SSPX is not a Catholic orginization according to Rome. I would not go so far as to label
the group “not good” Time will tell as far as their returning to the fold!

4> I enjoy the CCC. Not my style of writings though.

I think of myself as orthodox, a follower of tradition. I distance myself fron the “ultra tag” and would not call myself a traditionist.

It is good that you are bothered by that. Sounds more like an evangelical group than a Catholic Church (IMHO)

Anyway, to my questions for you:

  1. I don’t know Latin and have never been to a Latin mass. Would I be lost or would I be at home? Would you forgive my ignorance? Would you understand that my little ones would most likely not sit still? I love the idea of traditional catholics uniting for the mass but am intimidated by you. We have Latin mass about an hour away.

You might be a little lost the first couple of times you go. The Extraordinary Form is not a performance, it is worship directed to God Almighty. (The Ordinary Form is, as well, but in how a lot of places carry it out, it seems to have degenerated to that point)

You should study up on the Order of Mass and the significance of the various parts of the Mass. If you get yourself a 1962 Roman Missal (such as the very popular Angelus Press or Baronius Press editions), the marginal notes help explain what is going on and why. There are videos out there that serve as tutorials, as well. Archbishop Sheen produced a well known one.You can watch it on YouTube (at least for now).

Fortescue’s The Mass: A Study of the Roman Rite is invaluable in that regard.

The point is that you can, with a Missal, get around the issues of language. However, understanding the theology is something that will take some study. But, whether you decide you like the TLM or the NO better, the time you devote will be very well spent.

  1. We do have a pope, right? I did spend a little time on ‘Fisheaters.com’ but I do not have the time (right now) to go all the way through it. I’m a little wary if ‘traditional’ means rejecting the current papacy and councils that took place in my lifetime. Please explain.

Yes, we have a pope. The editorial policy of Fisheaters confirms that fact. Some of the forum posts on their forum don’t.

  1. I was under the impression that SSPX is not good. They are not in communion with the church. Their priests are not priests. They are split away from the church. Is this correct?

SSPX supports tradition in the Church. They lost their canonical status when the bishops of SSPX were excommunicated (for ordaining bishops – validly – but illicitly). The current Holy Father lifted their excommunications, but did not restore any canonical status. The priests ordained by SSPX bishops are validly ordained, but illicit. Therefore, the Eucharist celebrated by those priests is valid, but illicit. However, since SSPX priests have not been given faculties to hear confessions by the legitimate Ordinary in the places where their chapels are, their absolutions are objectively invalid (Can 966). The people who receive absolution may subjectively be absolved if their belief is that it was valid (Can 144 and 1335), but that’s a touchy subject.

  1. I love the CCC and I hope you do, too. Do you find error in it?

I’m sure I have more as the replys pour in. Thanks.

The Holy Father, in Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum stated:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of Catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith.
The CCC doesn’t define doctrine, it is a statement of doctrine already defined. The greatest value that I, personally, get from the CCC is in the footnotes. In the footnotes, you can see where the doctrine is actually defined. There is another book, the Companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that has all of the documents referenced in the footnotes, in one location.

If you remember that it is a teaching tool (see the extract from the Apos. Const. that promulgated the document) and do not make it more than what it is, it’s a masterwork.

OK, dumb question from a revert - Is the CCC something we HAVE to believe? I mean, the statements in the CCC are not infallible, I guess…Does that mean we just refer to it, but don’t OBEY it? Like the statements about Islam - I think those are very misguided because it is true that Muslims do not believe Jesus was the Son of God nor was he divine - so how can that mean they worship the same God? They are mono-theistic but there the convergence ends.

Thank you.

They don’t believe in Jesus as God, but they believe in the God of Abraham. Thus, like the Jews, they have a partial (yet incomplete) view of the Trinity.

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