Traditional Catholic

Does one have to go to Tridentine Mass to be a Traditional Catholic? How would you all define Traditional Catholic? Also what would be an an example of someone that is not a Traditional Catholic?

I don’t think the lines are fixed, but my understanding when someone says he’s a Traditional Catholic is that

*]he goes the the Latin Mass as his first choice of languages
*]she wears a mantilla
*]communion is never received in the hands

Where I think Traditionalist Catholics cross the line is where they view the above as the ONLY way for good Catholics to do things.

I wouldn’t confuse different rites of the Mass with traditionalism. In my view there is Catholic and everything else. If you are a Catholic you believe, and to the best of your ability, live ALL the teachings of the church. If you find you can’t, you leave the church. This would be the mature decision. You DO NOT make up your own religion by picking and choosing what you can live and pretend it is Catholicism.

If someone regularly (or as regularly as they can) attends the Tridentine, they are most likely a traditional Catholic. But equally someone who by choice attends the Ordinariate Use could probably be called a traditional Catholic. Or a Novus Ordo in Latin. Man of the Eastern Rites are also more traditional than the average Mass. Some NO Masses are also done with more ceremony than others, which is likely to be favored by traditionalists. For example, the use of Eucharistic Prayer I, some use of Latin Mass settings, incense, more traditional choice of hymns, use of traditional Gothic style or fiddleback vestment, ad orientum worship, would all be signs of a traditional Mass which might be more appealing to traditional Catholics.

As far as individual piety is concerned, kneeling to pray, regular confession, use of traditional prayers and attending Eucharistic Adoration are common examples of what a traditional Catholic may be drawn to.

So here’s an example of where the lines are blurred. I would never refer to myself as a traditional Catholic, but I am drawn to all of the above.

That’s a small list and a little incomplete (for one, the Latin Mass is not the ‘first choice of languages’ solely),she can wear a hat as well as a mantilla, communion is indeed usually received on the tongue and often kneeling.

In addition, and by no means conclusively, I would add:
They are faithful to the Catechism and to the Church, including their priests, bishops, and the Holy Father.
They believe in the beauty of small-T traditions which are focused on a usually more contemplative and focused devotion to God. For example, Adoration, often perpetual; participating in the Liturgy of the Hours (Breviary), observation of ember and rogation days as well as feasts and solemnities, often fasting and/or abstinence, devotion to the Sacred Heart, recitation of approved Litanies, daily reading of Scripture, often membership or association with Third Order Spiritualities (Franciscan, Dominican); attention to some ‘lesser-known’ teachings such as prayers for the Poor Souls in Purgatory; daily rosaries, novenas, study of Church history, attention to teaching the Faith in their families, and often a quieter and markedly less secular lifestyle.

Very few Traditional(ist) Catholics ‘cross the line’ as above. The few ‘in-your-face’ extremists tend to be the ones most often ‘trotted out as examples’ and rightly turn the average person away. Unfortunately simply because they often self-identify as 'Traditional" the word has been associated with their ‘style’ only, which is decidedly unfair.

Pretty much Traditional Catholics are the same as any other Catholic. They might seem a little more visible in that the practices, which used to be pretty much seen in all Catholics, but which have not been passed on in the last few decades to many, seem to set them ‘apart’ and make them look ‘strange’, but they aren’t. There is pretty much nothing in the list above that anyone here can find fault with, right? Prayer, fasting, modest dress, Scripture, going to Mass, learning about the Faith, those are all things which shouldn’t be surprising coming from any Catholic whatsoever.

I would have to disagree with the above.

None of the above are things which are the domain of Traditional Catholics.

Again, I am NOT a TC, but all of the above are part of my Catholicism.

The point of this discussion is: how do we distinguish TCs? What’s the difference?

And none of the above are different.


Interesting conversation, and I don’t really care about the outcome, though I very much enjoy the thought processes here.

I call myself a “devout” Catholic, meaning all the things that Tantum Ergo mentions above, when talking with non-Catholic friends about my beliefs and my life.

I call myself a “traditional” Catholic, meaning all the things that Tantum Ergo mentions above, when talking with other Catholics. I’ve been to the EF mass a few times, but that is not part of my regular practice of the faith. Just not my preferred mass form. :shrug:

I’m not sure why those who attend the EF of the mass should be given exclusive rights to the name “traditional” when there is SO MUCH MORE to our traditions than just what form of mass we prefer.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what constitutes a “traditional Catholic.” I know who I am and I will use the labels – when needed – that best convey the intended meaning at the moment.

Yes. The conversation here is not of great import, but rather an interesting diversion.

The label here is not meant to do anything but shed light on a particular type of Catholic.

With that said, again, I think that there are some things which have been relegated to TCs that belong in the realm of “General Catholicism”.

We may as well say, “Traditional Catholics call priests ‘Father’.”

Well, yeah. But so do I. And I would never label myself a TC. :slight_smile:

I find that very interesting.

Would you ever label yourself? And if so – if you don’t mind me asking – what label would you use?

I think there is a certain way people think about you if you call yourself traditional or liberal or devout or practicing.

I’m a traditional Catholic who didn’t (and would never) vote for Trump. :eek: Some people would think those two things are incompatible. :shrug:

I’m a traditional Catholic woman who would never wear a veil at mass, and who rarely wears a skirt, and works outside the home, and is a single mom, etc… Some people would look at the exteriors of a person’s life and say, “That person is not a traditional Catholic.”

So is it externals that can be viewed by one and all? Or is it an attitude of the heart? What makes someone a traditional Catholic?

Hi Richard. Peace in Christ:

‘Traditional Catholic’ is not a recognized status in the Catholic Church. You will not find it in canon law, Papal documents, or Ecumenical Council documents.

If we apply ‘Traditional’ as it is used in the Catechism, then I suppose a ‘non-Traditional Catholic’ would be somebody who is not in conformity to Church doctrine. They would be heterodox. Although these are not terms that are formally used. ‘Traditional’ is a redundant adjective because that is inherent to being a Catholic, as opposed to protestant, whereas ‘Latin’ or ‘Byzantine’ would not be redundant since they are referring to specific rites.

The three sources of authority of the Catholic Church are Scripture, Tradition (i.e. the Nicene-Constantinople Creed, among many other things), and the Magisterium. All three are interlinked with one another since Scripture is born from Tradition and Tradition conforms to Scripture, and the Magisterium protects, explains, and disseminates them.

I would label myself as an orthodox Catholic. I also have toyed with changing my label here on the CAFs to “skeptical Catholic”.

Interesting thought about a TC not voting for Trump being incompatible–I’ve not really thought about it, but my gut response is that these are 2 realms which don’t overlap. That is, one could be a TC and not vote for Trump (but couldn’t vote for Hillary either)

If you look at Catholic sources on the internet who identify as traditional, they often differentiate between themselves and what they would call “conservative Catholics”. So going off most of these replies, would most of y’all say there is no real clear difference between the two? If not, what would you say the difference is between a conservative Catholic and a traditional Catholic?

Since these are not terms that are formally used by the Church, this would all boil down to personal opinions as to how they are used in vernacular language.

Most people that call themselves “Traditional Catholics” are people that like to participate in Masses that are celebrated in either the Tridentine form or the Novus Ordo in Latin. Why the word ‘Traditional’ is used is not entirely clear, since that is a misnomer with how it is applied in catechisis. If one is obstinately not in conformity with Tradition, then they should refrain from receiving Eucharist until making a Confession. At some point it must have just stuck.

Ah. This harks back to my fifth grade math class and those marvels called 'Venn diagrams". You had a circle which you filled with objects (not literal, picture drawing a circle on a blackboard and putting in this like “reads the bible”, “wears a hat”, 'prays the Liturgy of the Hours". ) OK, that is one Venn diagram. Now the fun starts because you can take ANOTHER Circle and you can take some, even all, of those objects, and then you can add others, and you have ANOTHER Venn diagram.

So yes, ‘all the above’ are the domain of all Catholics (which just reinforces my point that Traditional Catholics are really not ‘different’ from ‘other’ Catholics). But they are also things that belong to those who identify as Traditional just as much as they would belong to say a diagram labeled “PRmerger”.

And when it comes to distinguishing --well, in my opinion, we don’t really need to.

Because as far as I can see, the very few times that people who do not identify themselves as Traditional use the word in reference to others, they are usually (nearly always) using it and thinking of those ‘extremes’ I was talking about earlier. They are usually taking something ‘visible’ --the person coming out of a Church where it is known there was a Mass in Latin, the woman wearing a veil, the people whose homes have a family altar, prominent holy pictures, the people saying grace in public – and assuming, because of the long ‘perjorative’ use of the word, that these people, because they are ‘visible’, are ‘in your face’ and trying to ‘appear’ holier-than-thou’, and because as I said a few sour and rotten people who call themselves traditional and who hold to positions that most Traditionalists abhor–we love and accept Pope Francis as Pope, we don’t think the OF is terrible, we don’t expect all women to never wear pants, we don’t look down on ‘modern liturgy’ or hymns or fellowship --well, unfortunately people will see that ‘just like that nutcase on Traditio’ some woman is standing around after church with a mantilla, and she has a rosary hanging from her ‘skirt’ pocket, and she seems to be rather ‘introverted’, well, that MUST mean that she is just like the nutcases, she is a rigid robot and wants everybody else to go back to those mindless, women-hating, mumbo jumbo times, and she ‘looks’ as if she is ‘judging others’. Mostly, if they’re like me, and many are, they are busier examining their OWN conscience and any expression of real disgust (most of the time people’s expressions don’t reflect their real thoughts anyway) is directed at them just having thought of another example of how THEY fell short and a desire to repent and try to do better!

I think that I’m Traditional in that I am OPEN to traditional teachings. I think that most Catholics are. In fact I would be quite comfortable with saying that I am ‘simply’ Catholic. It’s only that if in conversation it came up that I preferred the EF, or that I had a home altar, or that I personally like to wear a head covering, or that I was a third order candidate, or that I had a special devotion to the Holy Face and found it helpful, that I might be ‘distinguished’ from some 'simply ‘Catholics’. IOW, ‘simply Catholics’ aren’t some breed that Traditionals want to stay away from. Traditionals are just ‘simply Catholics’ who prefer some more ‘traditional’ things. Other simply Catholics might enjoy those very same things and not consider themselves ‘traditional’ because they figure every Catholic has the right to enjoy the practices and traditions and devotions they choose.

It is the very few among the simply Catholics who cannot understand why ‘anybody would like those old things’ who are the real problem. You don’t sound like one of them at all and that’s probably why you want to know what’s the ‘big deal’ with ‘traditional’ because as you note, you like all those things too.

My definition for a traditional Catholic is someone who wants:

Wants or admires Traditional liturgy (1962, unreformed Holy Week, pre 1954 missals, etc.)
Gregorian Chant
Supports a traditional institute (FSSP,IBP, ICKSP, Anglican Ordinate[not related to Anglicans], etc.)
Doesn’t call Vatican 2 a robber council (Let me talk abou the IBP and Vatican 2. The IBP are in union with Rome/Pope. They were created in 2010 and use the unreformed pre 1954 missals. They were given permission to criticize Vatican 2 reforms)

I hope you get the idea.

But that’s the point of this question the OP posed.

I think it’s a valid question, and one that can be discussed.

Is it an important question? Nope.

Should it have any impact at all on how we live our lives as Catholics? No.

But can we discuss “What is a Traditional Catholic”? Of course.

Because as far as I can see, the very few times that people who do not identify themselves as Traditional use the word in reference to others, they are usually (nearly always) using it and thinking of those ‘extremes’ I was talking about earlier.

Yes, this is certainly true.

So, basically, we have a couple of choices.

We can continue to use the term Traditional Catholic knowing that for many if not most, that term conjures up something ‘extreme’ that does not reflect what the majority of Traditional Catholics are, and believe. . .

We can abandon the term "Traditional’ or "Traditionalist’ as we have abandoned ‘gay’, and spend our time trying to explain that until a short time ago one could encounter the word ‘gay’ in written works and it meant something completely different. . .

We can try to find a new term to use. Unfortunately there isn’t really much out there. "Old fashioned’ --but as you note, just about everything that today’s garden variety person who identifies as ‘traditional’ is accepted as ‘fine, normal, ordinary, acceptable’.

Even the most visible and distinct things like the love of the EF (a rite that is older than the OF but again, there are other valid rites in the Catholic Church that are even older, such as the Melkite and Maronite) are often perceived, unfairly, as rigid, elitist, show-offy, and flat out wrong and not just by lay people! Same with wearing a head covering. You have people who are convinced that a woman with a head covering is a Quisling, a traitor to her sex, a victim of male domination, a chattel, a mossbound and pathetic blot upon womankind. Far from the idea that those ‘veil wearing women’ are looking down their noses and patting themselves on the back for being ‘real Catholics’, I have heard many, many MANY more women blasting ‘veils, hats’ and who get far nastier and snarkier about a woman choosing to wear such. I often want to think “um, projection much” but that isn’t fair either. Many women are genuinely convinced of the position that veils etc are wrong . They are entitled to that opinion but unfortunately quite a few don’t want to accept that people who have a different opinion are as entitled to THEIR opinion as well. (I think the last is a very definition 20th and 21st century phenomenon).

That’s why, I think, I’d almost prefer there be no label at all, in that I really wish that most ‘simply Catholic’ people could understand that just as there are simply Catholic people out there who rejoice in having a ‘Mass I can understand’, rejoice at the opportunities for serving as EHMCs, lectors, rejoice at the availability of contemporary music and instruments, rejoice at having more lay involvement, rejoice in visible signs of fellowship such as hand holding and a more relaxed and ‘simpler’ yet reverent worship style, what most would call ‘modern’ or ‘contemporary’. . .that there are simply Catholic people who rejoice in a Mass that they also understand, rejoice at the opportunities for participating through contemplation, prayer, silence; rejoice at the exposure or re-exposure of Gregorian chant, ‘older’ hymns, devotions, prayers; rejoice at having signs of fellowship not just in this time but stretching back into the past and forward into the future, from all countries near and far; and a more formal and contemplative yet reverent worship style which most would call 'old-fashioned, traditional".

I’d be fine with that.

Finding a new term? I would too except that you would still have to explain every time, “I used to be a Traditional/Traditionalist but everybody thought that meant something weird, so now I’m X, who likes traditional things in the Catholic Church. But don’t call me a Traditionalist and don’t call other Catholics like me Traditionalists, only call the ‘r-d-trads’ and sedevacantists that”

You know what, maybe it would be better to ‘take back the term’. Use it proudly and come up with another term for the Traditio people. “We are the real Traditionalists and we just like devotions and practices that have been around for a long time. If you have people who are all nasty, say 'everybody should do X”, or act like anybody who doesn’t isn’t a ‘real Catholic’, call them TINOs. “Traditional in Name Only.”

:DYou know, not to pat myself on the back, but I actually think this could work.

TINO. The people who think they are true traditional Catholics but aren’t.

It grows on you!

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