If you are of a traditional mindset, you are likely to find yourself dismayed and angered by this latest news from Rome. Our Holy Father’s latest motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes, which has placed new restrictions on the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, is most certainly a source of consternation and dismay, and, yes…anger.
It should certainly not be a surprise, however. We knew it was coming. All of the sniper fire coming from the Holy See regarding “rigid” Traditional Catholics pretty much telegraphed their hostility towards us.
Nobody is quite sure to react. I’m writing this Friday evening, 16 July, and we’re still waiting for all the dust and debris to settle. The FSSP is taking a cautious wait & see approach in their Statement Regarding Traditionis Custodes.
Caution on our part is called for as well.
Now is not the time for nastiness. If we take to social media ranting and railing against the injustice of it all, and begin trading insult-for-insult with others Catholic netizens who think this latest news is just marvelous, well we simply play into the hands of the Modernists, don’t we? “See? SEE? We told you those toxic Traddies were a hateful bunch. Just look atall the venom they’re spewing on social media!”
We have many Catholic brethren who are fence-sitters when it comes to this controversy. They haven’t been paying attention. They’re content and comfortable with their Novus Ordo parish; they might be aware that some of their friends “prefer” the Latin Mass (in much the same way that somebody might “prefer” a Whopper to a Big Mac), but they really don’t have a clue as to what’s at stake. They will have progressive/Modernist friends (maybe even their pastor) who will tell them that Trads are a schismatic cult. They’re modern day Pharisees, only nastier. If we react with outrage, jabbing our fingers wildly this way and that as we point out the heretics among us, what kind of an impression do you think that will make on your non-Trad friends?
That doesn’t mean we have to sidestep the issue. Certainly not! What I would suggest to you, however, is that we take a calm and rational approach when we explain the situation to our friends. It won’t be easy to do in the 90 seconds you might have at the office water cooler, but if you stop and think it over, I bet that you can come up with a succinct and reasonable explanation regarding the situation at hand. They’re called “elevator speeches,” because you have them more or less preplanned and rehearsed in your mind, allowing you to make your points in the time it takes the elevator car to go from the lobby to the second floor.
Keep your cool. Keep your rationality. Keep your sense of humor. Keep your faith.