Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tradition "On the Ground"

For as long as I can remember following developments within the Catholic world, there is always a particular way the mainstream conservative Catholics have responded to various crises within the Church - and I mean things like liturgical abuse, abuse of canon law, profanation of the Blessed Sacrament, or whatever. And that is to simply cite papal or magisterial documents. Is the Eucharist being profaned? Cite Eucharistia de Ecclesia. A papal address on canonical norms. Trot out Sacrosanctum Concilium to address liturgical deviations. Reams and reams of documents. 

Of course, that never works. Has any liturgically deviant priest ever had a concerned congregant bring him a copy of Sacrosanctum Concilium and been like, "What!? Gregorian chant is supposed to have pride of place? I had no idea!" and then changed anything? Has a priest who calls the entire congregation up to the altar to stretch out their arms an "co-consecrate" with him ever ceased doing so because some parishioner showed him a document that told him it was not allowed?  Well, I suppose at least the parishioners tried; God will reward them.

But this kind of naive trust in the efficacy of documents is related to the modern Magisterium's notion that it can create tradition by issuing documents. The post-Vatican II Church was not the product of an organic development of tradition, but in many respects was an ad hoc creation of committees of experts who simply conjured up the modern Church out of thin air.  It was assumed that new theology, morality, and even the Mass itself could simply be established by magisterial fiat.

And despite the disorders it created, the post-Conciliar Magisterium continued to try to reform the Church by mere judicial decree, regardless of how ineffective those decrees were.

Now, I am not at all suggesting the Church does not need to legislate. Humanae Vitae remains authoritative, even if it is ignored. The point is not that documents should not be issued, but that we should remember that an authoritative document exists not to create the truth, not to establish the tradition, but to attest to it - to bear witness to it.

And if the truth it is bearing witness to is not actually being observed by the Church "on the ground", then these documents become strange creatures that somehow retain their theoretical authority while losing any practical authority. What practical authority does a document have that 99% of Catholics ignore?

Like it or not, the tradition is what is going on on the ground. It might not be the "authentic" expression of tradition (like liturgical dancing is not an authentic expression of the Roman rite, or any expression of it for that matter), but to a large degree what establishes tradition is not some documents, but what is actually happening out in the Catholic world. If the 95% of the parishes are doing communion in the hand, that is the tradition that is being established. It is not a good tradition; it is not authoritative or authentic - but it is a tradition, and one that is supplanting the authentic Tradition. And it does no good to appeal to an ecclesial dictate that exists only on paper and is being observed by nobody.

Liturgical abuse does not stop by citing documents saying it should not happen when the reality is it happens all over. Tradition "on the ground" has diverged from tradition-in-writing, and whatever the theological truth of the matter, the practical authority of the Magisterial documents grows weaker and weaker as Catholic "tradition" becomes synonymous with "whatever is actually happening out there."

The new Catholic tradition is spreading all over and multiplying; it is what is happening "on the ground" in a million parishes across the globe. What ultimately matters is what is happening, not what is talked about. Ironically, Pope Francis is the first post-Conciliar pontiff who really seems to get this.

How will it all be combated? By citing documents? The way to combat this faux-tradition is not by citing documents, but by living the authentic Tradition.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Let's Suppose...

Let's suppose - just hypothetically - that most of all Catholic marriages today are invalid. And let's suppose that the reason they are invalid is because the partners, when entering into their marriage, were deficient in some aspect of the faith, or did not fully understand that marriage was indissoluble. They were not sufficiently educated. Let's just suppose that this was the case, that such a lack of knowledge rendered the sacrament invalid.

In that case, the sacrament of marriage would be reserved with those to who have an exceptional level of faith and certain degree of education. Not only the right intention, but also a sufficient level of education would be necessary for the sacrament to be valid.

And not only a certain degree, but an amazing degree, if the knowledge possessed by the majority of Catholics in the most information-rich, hyper-educated age in history was not enough to prevent the majority of their marriages from being invalid.

If that were all true, would it not mean that the sacraments were rewards for the educated, trophies for the righteous, rather than medicine for sinners? 

Because I thought heard somewhere that sacraments are not rewards for the righteous but medicine for the sinners? Or something like that... 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Hey, Lionel...

Hey Lionel. Yeah, you know who I'm talking about. You go by "Catholic Mission." Do you want to know why in all the many years I have been blogging I never publish any of your comments? Because you never make your comment relevant to anything we are talking about. And you have constantly been blathering about the same three subjects for the past six years. 

On this article about Pope Francis and Kiril, you're spamming about "Cushingism" and extra ecclesiam nulla salus and Vatican II:

Then on this video about Catholic Tradition, again, we get more on Cushingism and Fennyism, with the standard barrage of spammy links I am used to getting from you:

Then on the same post, when I didn't publish your first spammy comment, you post another - same old talking points, extra ecclesiam nulla salus and Vatican II. Then some reference to the Synod even though the post had nothing to do with the Synod. And more spammy links.

And this...what on earth does this have to do with Ganswein's comments?

And this is only a fraction of the spam you try to post. Lionel, please, number one rule for of etiquette for commenting on blogs is please say something relevant to the post - don't just use the post as an occasion to post spammy links to your own garbled work. As long as you can't seem to get that, I will never, ever post any of your comments. Post your own thoughts, relevant to the article you are commenting on, and without spammy links to your own site.

I have been very fortunate on this blog to have a great group of people leaving comments. I'm sorry to call this out publicly, but you have been pestering me for the better part of six years with this nonsense weekly and I am sick of it. Observe some basic etiquette or just go away. 


In response to this post, Lionel tried to spam me again, suggesting that no matter what I post about, his ramblings are somehow always relevant - and repeating the same old three taking points he always has.


After my first update, Lionel posted again, again reiterating the same points. Blah blah blah. Lionel, please learn blogging etiquette and stop posting your spammy, irrelevant comments. I know you don't believe it, but not every article on Catholic Tradition is immediately relevant to EENS, Cardinal Cushing, Feeny, and some letter from 1949. In fact, I don't even understand what you're argument is because this is so illegible. I don't know what "problem" you are saying I can't address because I've never bothered to address any of your nonsense. Stop spamming this blog, or learn to post comments relevant to the discussion and actually engage in discussion with other people. It's like you only have a single dialogue going in your mind and all you can do is repeat it ad nauseam across the blogosphere. Please go away.