Sometimes the worst thing about blogging and writing as a traditional Catholic is having to deal with other traditional Catholics. The past few months I have had some of the absolute worst online interactions in my life, and they have regrettably been with other traditional Catholics. I am talking about matters of mere disagreement where trads tend to hold various viewpoints. I'm talking about rudeness, insults, detraction, crudity, malice, gossip, ad hominems, bullying, rash judgment, slander, and every vile character trait the Scriptures associate with the godless. It has been so discouraging.
Traditionalism's conflict with modernity is ultimately incidental—Traditional Catholicism is not defined by it's opposition to anything else; if modernity and all its attendant evils disappeared tomorrow, Traditional Catholicism would still be as rich, vibrant, and life-giving as it ever was before liberalism ever existed. Traditional Catholicism opposes liberalism primarily because liberalism opposes it, but Traditional Catholicism itself needs no enemy, no antagonist to give it meaning. Evil is a perversion of the good, but the good subsists in itself.
Liberalism has always been different. As an ideology that is inherently "progressive", its existence depends upon its opposition to tradition. One can only walk up the staircase of liberalism by stomping ones foot on the steps of tradition. This is why things like racism, sexism, poverty, etc. will never go away under liberalism: not merely because liberalism is incapable of solving them, but because liberalism needs then to exist in order to have purpose. Regardless of how un-racists society becomes, liberalism needs there to be racism, just like a Marvel movie needs an uninteresting villain for the heroes to pound. Without an enemy, liberalism can't exist.
But what happens when Traditional Catholicism takes on this character as well? When one defines ones traditionalism solely in terms of opposition to liberalism? What happens when being a Traditional Catholic is reduced to a series of flexes designed to showcase your Traddy cred? When we stupidly define Traditionalism as some Hegelian antithesis to liberalism (Liberals oppose racism, therefore I will be racist. Liberals oppose sexism, therefore I will be misogyinist. Liberals care too much about feelings, therefore I will be unfeeling)? We when think of our Faith as just a "movement" in sectarian terms? When we think being a Catholic man means unfiltered testosterone-driven machismo? We we insult others on their faith journey instead of helping them? When our definition of what it means to be a good Catholic is measured on the barometer of how much we tear down the secular order?
I'll tell you what happens—we choose Barabbas, not Christ.
I could go on about why this seems to be the case among the younger traditionalists, but I don't want to speculate. Rather, I will just say I have been disgusted by the behavior of many of them. And no, they are not just trolls pretending to be Catholics. Were these incidents isolated, maybe that would be a plausible explanation, but unfortunately these experiences are too endemic to be attributed to trolls. There is a real problem in the Traditional Catholic youth subculture, and I can't have been the only one to have noticed it.