Defending Tradition

So I’m sure a lot of other Traditional Catholics have gone through this. I get a lot of opposition for being a traditional catholic among my family and friends. I never impose any of the traditions I do such as fasting or veiling on anyone else, or I never judge anyone for not doing what I’m doing. For some reason it just seems to irk them extremely badly that I go to latin mass or veil or follow traditional practices and I get a lot of backlash for it. Sometimes I even start to doubt myself. I know a lot of other people face similar issue as well , especially with today’s society and media. Please let me know your thoughts on this issue and any advice to keep on going. Dominus Vobiscum


What kind of opposition do you feel you face?

Losing friends, strained relationships, mockery, disrespect


How do they know you cover your head unless they are also at a Latin Mass? Or that you’re fasting? It seems odd they would even be aware enough of this to make comments.


You are blessed.

Those examples are reason for celebration not for lamentation; our Lord lost friends, had strained relationships, was mocked, and was disrespected.


Well Julian, if they are family members who happen to live in the same household they can certainly observe a person getting ready to go to Mass and putting her veil in her purse. Or if the veil is kept in the car in the glove compartment and they happen to be riding along and look in the glove compartment to get out a notebook (I always had one for writing down gas purchase, oil changes, etc) they could see it there.

If the OP comes out of the church wearing the veil (and if the Mass is crowded and the restroom occupied, the OP may decide easily to just take off her veil in her car), a friend or acquaintance could easily see her.

If she has ordered a veil (say to support a nice Catholic company) and it arrives in the mail, family could be around to see it, or even see the name of the company on the package.

If somebody is saying a nice rosary kneeling in her room and a family member comes in, they’ll be going, uh wha? Or what if she has a nice little home altar in her room, any family member or friend who might come in to visit could see. “Oh hai what is that painting of Jesus in your room with the candles, are you rad trad now?” Etc.

And for the fasting or abstinence, suppose she’s at work and everybody else wants to order in and she had already brought in her yogurt or something. “Oh you don’t need to diet, why don’t you join us”. Then (and you’d be surprised, especially in a small town, how many people you work with will know all kinds of ‘gossip’ about another, particularly with regard to religion, which is considered a subset of politics and sex, as in, ‘regular’ religion meaning the person is a democrat and tolerant/inclusive, or ‘rad’ as in the person is a republican and probably totally uptight and needs to be rescued from a cult’) somebody will start speculating, “Maybe you’re going all traddy’.

So no, it is not at all surprising given today’s very intrusive not to say nosy culture that family, friends, and acquaintances can get all over a person regarding practices. Which, BTW, are nothing to be ashamed of.

Back in the 1960s when I was young, we girls and our mothers and grandmothers wore scarves, hats, and even veils which we put on in the comfort of our homes and then wore them to church and back. Even if we stopped after Mass to pick up a Sunday paper and donuts. Nobody virtue shamed us, nobody sneered at us or acted as if we were holier than thou for daring to wear head coverings in public.

Sadly today you’d think it was breaking the 11th commandment for a woman to wear a veil except by furtively putting it on in a back corner of the church, sitting in the very back pew in a Latin Mass (Heaven forbid at an OF! How brazen of her!), and whipping it off at the end of Mass lest she scandalize people ‘in public’.


I mentioned my family. I have been going to Latin mass with my father since I was a child. My father and I always were traditional. The friends I’m talking about are the ones I’ve had since kindergarten so they would know considering we all went to catholic school. They knew I never ate meat on Fridays during lent or tried not to eat it on any Friday.


You seem pre-occupied with being “traditional” instead of being “Catholic”…there are not “traditional” Catholics and “non-traditional(?)” Catholics…there are only Catholics…so practice as you prefer, but put aside the labels.

When we profess our faith at Mass, we profess we believe in “One holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”, not “One holy traditional and another non-traditional” Catholic Church.


Although I am not sure I have ever stated it in these forums, part of what you are experiencing is a form of what is referred to as “tribalism”, which I mean by Merriam-Websters second definition: strong in-group loyalty.

And that loyalty is expressed in many externals.

When one is doing something which the “tribe” does not do, it tends to bring out some unpleasant reactions in some, and even stronger reactions in some, as one is expressing their “non-affiliation” with the tribe.

Pretty much the whole of those reactions are emotionally based, not intellectually based. And it makes it hard for those who do not “join the tribe” to get along with the majority; in some instances some of the smaller group are as emotionally rejecting of the larger “tribe” as those in the larger group do to the smaller group.

Some people are very formal in their lives; some are very casual, and some of each group scorns the other. It does not matter if it is about liturgy, or disciplinary laws, or any of a multitude of other aspects of how people live their lives. When the two collide, some will appreciate the “otherness” of the other group; some will either ignore the differences or pay no attention to them, some will react negatively.

And that is part of human nature.

In the 1950’s when my mother would go into Portland, the major city in Oregon to shop at the regional department store, she would dress up in her “Sunday best”, including a hat and gloves - as that was what proper society did then. The regional chain was bought out by Macy’s, and I have not seen a woman shopping in their Sunday best including hat and gloves in a bunch of decades. Anyone doing so would stand out like a sore thumb.

Would it be wrong? Of course not. Is wearing a mantilla wrong? Of course not - but the vast majority do not, so one is going to stand out like the sore thumb mentioned.

Is going to the EF wrong? Of course not, but the vast majority of parishes are not EF, and so one who chooses to attend is going to be noticed by those who attend the OF, and people being people, too many of them will react in a very tribal fashion.

Tribalism, along with racism is wrong, and it seems to be a part of the human fabric for many to engage in these reactions to others. And no one group is inherently right and the other wrong.

Which is another definition of sin - something which both sides are capable of committing.

Your choices are not wrong, but they run contrary to the choices of the majority. As long as you are not “using” those choices as in part a means of acting superior to the larger group, you are fine; but you likely will continue to find others reacting negatively as too many people react on emotion, rather than logic.

And if you use your choices in part to stand in judgement of the choices of the majority (and I am not suggesting you do in any way), then you are doing the same thing they are doing: reacting with emotion in a “tribal” way. It is hard to take criticism and not retaliate. Don’t go there.


Simply tell your friends and family who criticize you to please respect the way you choose to practice your faith in the same way you respect their choices.

I’m not sure how you not eating meat on Friday would be such a big deal. I’ve gone out on Friday with atheists and they didn’t have any problem with my choosing to order the vegetarian nachos or whatever.


Yes I agree fully with what you said about the concept of tribalism. I do not ever judge anyone for what they choose to practice because it is their affair not mine. Just by merely going to EF it has become an arguing issue. I just asked because I find it hard sometimes to keep going along with the faith because of these things. Thanks for taking the time to reply :slightly_smiling_face:


Sorry if I came of that way about my word choice. You are absolutely right on what you said. The reason I chose that word is because my whole family is catholic and I believed the word is practicing Catholic is what I was trying to say. My humble apologies, yes our precious church doesn’t need more divisions Dominus Vobiscum

You can blame the English language. And while “Catholic is Catholic” there are definite ways in which Catholics act, culturally and by choice.

My Maronite friend worships in a different way. Yet she is, and her Church has always been, in communion with Rome. Rome has no problem with the way she celebrates her liturgy (even if she herself doesn’t speak fluent Aramaic, a language used in her liturgy).

My friend who attends the TLM has no problem with her friends who attend the OF. She doesn’t go around and demand they use all Latin or that the priest face ad orientum (although actually an OF could do either or both according to its own rubrics). She doesn’t mind, and in fact has attended, Divine Mercy devotions, a charismatic Mass in tongues, etc.

So why is it that of all the many different “We are all Catholics even if our worship is different” does it appear that The word traditional is somehow incredibly divisive?

Seriously, why?

Don’t all Catholics have traditions?
Many Italian Catholics celebrate St Anthony’s Feast on June 13 with all sorts of parades and processions.
Many French Catholics (especially in our neighbor to the North) have a long tradition of the celebration of the Nativity of John the Baptist.
Many German Catholics celebrate gift giving more at the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6 and celebrate Christmas Day with Mass and prayer.
There are thousands of different tweaks, all over the world.

So why is ‘tradition’ such a trigger word?

Why is it that a person who likes tradition is always cautioned about how it opens them and only them to ‘pride’ or ‘tribalism’ or holier-than-thou-ism etc etc etc?

Saying that one likes traditional practices by saying one is a traditionalist Catholic is a kind of shorthand. Because nowadays people insist on labels, even if all people who happened to be ‘Catholic and liking traditional practices’ actually were so pedantic as to constantly type this, they would STILL be getting the virtual stinkeye for their daring to express a personal preference for some Catholic practice.


I would presume you are not implying that is my position.

Your question is akin to asking why people sin. Within the RC, there are more than enough bricks lobbed by both sides; certainly not by all or even likely by most; in fact it might not even be by many. But those who do, on both sides, have found the microphone and are very adept at using it.

And when taken to the point of criticizing and harassing the other side, those who do sin.

It seems though as if tradition itself was an automatic wrong.

And that seems to rest on negative assumptions, not from traditional-leaning people, but on people who claim anecdotally that ‘those people’ are all these sinful things.

It kind of reminds me of that little gem from a fellow initials of S.A. —label the target, personalize it, attack it— (no, you are not doing this, I do not accuse you).

But that’s what seems to be the overarching attitude.

Back when the majority of women wore a head covering at Mass, I do not recall people claiming that “So and so” not wearing a covering is obviously doing something to be stared at, or coming up to the woman and telling her to be careful of standing out or looking different. And I sure don’t recall any woman who wasn’t wearing a head covering haranguing other women for being slaves to men or complaining, “men don’t wear covering, why should we” or things like that.

But in a few short decades, somehow the ‘majority’ of people seem to have lost both common sense and common courtesy in the way they treat those whose tastes differ from their own.


It is not about traditional or non-traditional worship - it is just our one Catholic faith and Church.

A word of encouragement. To an older (50’s) catholic like me, It is inspirational to hear a question like this from a young person like you. It gives me great hope that our faith is being nurtured and grown by people such as yourself.

Following our faith is not “comfortable” but please dont be put out by others criticism in this regard. It is a form of evangelical witness - pointing the way to Christ.

God bless and and many prayers that He keep you strong and go before you always.


I can understand your feelings, but your words are a bit strong. Less than 4% of parishes in the US have an EF - and many of those that do are OF parishes which also have an EF. So factually, the vast majority of Catholics attending an OF never come in contact with anyone who attends the EF so there is no conflict about anyone following specific traditions or the EF Mass - they never meet them.

It is a small minority of OF attendees who are out of line - and they clearly are out of line. It is all too easy when one has been attacked to conflate that attack to something vastly larger. None of that is to justify any attacks - on either side.

The OP has spoken of how hard it is to suffer the abuse of those close - family and friends. It is totally unjustified - but let’s not conflate this into something larger than it is.

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Hmm. The ladies who wear veils at my parish (which celebrates Mass in the Ordinary Form) aren’t considered “brazen.” They’re considered “my neighbor Sue,” “my friend Jane,” etc.
Same at another parish I attend sometimes, where most ladies don’t veil and some do.

I wasn’t saying that this happens in every single solitary OF parish, of course. However, any check of ‘veiling’ or modesty threads on CAF (of which we have thousands) you will sooner or later see a near-consensus even of the previously ‘I don’t do it myself but it’s Ok for others’ who are finally whipped into defeat by the loud anecdotal crowd who blare of division, pride, etc to the point that the threads end up locked and the overwhelming takeaway is not that the intolerant ‘anti-trads’ are the problem, but rather the problem is those ‘intolerant’ traddies who insist on publicly thrusting themselves and verbally chastising those they see as ‘wrong’.

It doesn’t even take a majority of people to ‘carry their point’ as we all know from the most cursory view of modern life. It takes only a small handful of those who just keep ramming the same vitriol and lies over and over and over until people just give up ‘fighting’ and either agree, just to get them to stop, or are ‘chased from the field’ in which case the vitriolic bunch can loudly claim, “See, they have no answer, we are right’.

So you indeed are quite right. The majority of people are, I believe, more or less indifferent to the whole idea of tradition in that they actually have plenty of traditions including Catholic ones in which they participate. While many modern women don’t wear a head covering, quite a few belong to Rosary societies, altar guilds, have home altars, run Bible studies, say the Liturgy of the Hours, etc.

But the loud minority of those whose personal view is not that Vatican II allowed for many good things such as an openness to our separated brethren and a call for more universal holiness in ways which were more personalized (as in, allowing vegetarians to choose a penance because they already ‘didn’t eat meat’), but rather, that Vatican II completely REJECTED many things, but mostly ‘old outdated unnecessary things’ including the TLM, rosaries and older Marian devotion, headcvering for women, and many ‘outmoded ideas’ such as rote memory, ‘sin’, and humility. . .and wished not to add, but rather, to completely replace those and others with the OF, Divine Mercy and Medjugorj, ‘equality and repudiation of any perceived ‘male superiority’, spontaneous fun activity and ‘child driven’ and ‘affirming’ bull session ‘catechesis’, ‘a universalism celebrating our ‘Easter people’ and an emphasis on ‘social justice now’, and ‘self esteem’.

Because so many current practices seem to be in opposition to older practices (in many cases they are not, but the motives and understanding of those who think they ARE are what is at fault), it makes them feel threatened, and so they attack the entire idea of ‘tradition’.

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I wouldn’t necessary call it abuse but more towards intolerance. But thank you for understanding. Yes we should never generalize both sides.

Well I’ve had people say that to me.

I wrote this also on behalf of many of my Latin mass friends who also go through this. I think it is a common human thing to not accept those who are different or who prefer to do different thing. Yes we should never judge others because Jesus said let the person who is sinless cast the first stone and none of us are sinless hence it isn’t our place. I agree with @otjm this wasn’t meant to attack people that go to OF or that form of the mass. It was just asking advice and thank you to all the people that did respond. Dominus Vobiscum

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