Traditionalists more progressive than the rest of the Church?

It occurs to me from my dealings with many traditionalist Catholics that they are in many ways more progressive than the majority of the Church.

For example, one of the objections to the use of the vernacular/Novus Ordo mass is the over-simplified language, e.g. the fact that “of one being with the Father” does not adequately express the theological subtlety of the terms “homoousis”/ “consubstantialis”. It strikes me that in today’s climate of mass media and mass education, the Church can assume that most people can (and therefore should) read the whole Catechism and some theology for themselves. In my experience, traditionalist lay people are much better educated about their faith than the majority of Catholics.

Where does this desire for a fuller Catholic education come from? Is it a reaction against the traditional Catholic approach, which has been to provide easy language, easy prayers, pictures, beads, candles, etc. as intermediaries for the uneducated masses, and a more liberal/progressive desire to educate the masses up to a level where they can get more out of their faith?

The Traditionalist movement is only partly about the liturgy. It is also about the desire for a higher level of commitment. So in a very real sense it is in harmony with the Second Vatican Council.

Liberals talk a lot about a “priesthood of the people”, but the sad fact is that it is a reality for only the few. There’s a type who is Eucharistic Minister and on every committee going, and who never misses Mass, and I respect that. They are good members. However for every one of these people there are ten who maybe still go to Sunday Mass, but not all the time, don’t go to confession, don’t support the Church financially in any significant way, don’t do anything culturally Catholic, don’t bring up their teenaged children to respect the laws of the Church, often don’t marry Catholics, in short are marginal members. That’s why our parishes are shrinking.

Traditionalists tend to reject that as a dead end.I am sure they are right on this.

I think that you are on to something, but you left out the fact that it’s Contemporary Christian Worship.

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia on the Web claims that Contemporary Christian Worship finds its expression in may forms such as house churches, renewed traditional churches and new church movements like Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Evangelical.

That probably explains why a Charismatic like myself feels at home at the Traditional Latin Mass. In contemporary terms, both Traditional and Charismatic are “expressive worship”. Wikipedia goes on to say that music is the central component to this movement, so the Gregorian Chants are probably central.


The term ‘progressive’ is also subject to definition. As in not all progress lead to a better future. Take the Reformation for example. They tried to convince many that written Scriptures came before Holy Tradition and in the process also abandoned the oral teachings of the Early Fathers. History has repeated itself: Under the guise of Vatican 2, many errors are committed against the Order of Mass/Latin Mass.

Actually, you will find this same trend at most churches regardless of stance. Just because it is more “traditional” does not mean you will have a higher ratio of people willing to help. It goes across most parts of life that 20% of the people to 80% or more of the work in groups. Differences in liturgy/parish styles does nothing to change these numbers.

It is always the case that 20% of the people do 80% of the work, That’s true of almost every organisation. You’ve got your activists, and then you’ve got your main membership, and then a periphery. However I think that you’ll find that in more traditional parishes the main membership tends to be more committed, in objectively measureable ways, such as the amount of money they give, attendance, aherence to rules on marriage, frequency of confession. What we can’t measure is the “quality” of someone’s Catholicism, in the sense of how much spiritual grace they have.

I would tend to agree that this would be likely in the current traditionalist parish as those attending are there specifically because they want to be, and are more likely to be involved by virtue of having consciously made that choice. I doubt that you have many of the “meet my Sunday obligation” people choosing to do the TLM at this time.

I don’t think has anything to do particularly with the “tradition” though, as before Vatican II the membership did not look any different than your typical OF parish does now. In fact, in many ways they were probably *less *involved since it was believed then that it was the job of the priests and religious to do all that other stuff and we were just supposed to “pay, pray, and obey”.

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