NCReg: Looking at Fr. Longenecker’s article

I picked up this piece from the National Catholic Register.  I beleive the author is associated with St. Mary’s in Greenville, SC, where the pastor, Fr. Newman, has been doing the excellent work of helping his parish return to ad orientem worship. 

WDTPRS gives highest kudos to the goings on at St. Mary’s and the work of all the priests there.  That said, let’s have a look at the following, with my emphases and comments.

Why America Needs the Pope

BY Father Dwight Longenecker

April 20-26, 2008 Issue | Posted 4/15/08 at 12:43 PM

The “three-legged stool” is the way Anglicans explain their understanding of authority in the church. The three legs are Scripture, Tradition and Human Reason.

At first, this sounds like a pretty good basis for making decisions. The difficulty, however, is that without a trustworthy external authority all three of the legs are shaky.

Scripture on its own can be used to prove most anything. Both sides have an interpretative tradition that skews the Scripture toward their pre-determined conclusions. The interpretation of Scripture is therefore dependent on the prior assumptions.

If you are in favor of homosexuality you interpret the Scripture one way. If opposed you interpret it another way.

The same is true of the other two legs of the Anglican stool. Tradition and Human Reason should be external forces that shape the minds and hearts of believers. Instead, the hearts are already determined and the minds are already made up.

Subsequently, Tradition is mined for evidence to support one’s case, and Human Reason is used as a tool to win debates, manipulate the evidence, weight the argument and twist the truth.

The result is not a three-legged stool, but a theological pogo stick.  [A good analogy.  Perhaps Card. Kasper could use it when speaking with the Anglicans.]

This is why Anglicanism is in such disarray. Extend the image: Think of every Anglican prelate, bishop, theologian and priest in a desperate race each on his own pogo stick. Each one is desperately jumping around trying to keep his balance, trying to stay on his pogo stick while at the same time trying to make forward progress and fight the other fellows in the race to the finish line.   [Father starts by talking about Anglicans to make a point about what happens when the Petrine ministry is not given sufficient respect.  Then he moves to Catholics.]

Lest Catholics be accused of smug self-righteousness, we have much of the same problem in the Catholic Church today.

Catholics of all stripes are devoted to causes of all kinds that they put before the authority of the Church.

The “Rad Traddies” have a whole range of causes and beliefs ranging from sedevacantism to enthusiasm for traditional devotions, right-wing causes and the traditional Latin Mass.

“Rad Trendies” have a whole range of causes from homosexual rights, women priests, Marxist theory and liturgical reform.

[The word "Rad" in here is a problem.  It suggests an extreme.  But I don't think it is necessarily true that people who desire the TLM or "traditional devotions" are "rad".  I certainly think that "sedevacantism" is "rad", but if someone is has a devotion to the Most Holy Rosary, is he "rad"?  Probably not.  Also, I am a little disturbed by the moral equivalence the author sets up here between, on the one hand, the TLM and traditional devotions (both of which are legitimate things - nay rather - recommended to a certain extent by the Successor of Peter, and on the other hand, women priests (impossible and wrong), Marxist theory (wrong and probably wicked) and, at least in its more deviant form, homosexual rights.  I admit that sedevacantism is off the tracks, but it is simply wrong to set up moral equivalence between these two sets by calling them both "extreme" or "rad".]

Both ends of the extreme (and lots of people in between) are sincere people. [This sounds a bit like a handful of dirt being thrown in both directions.] They are prayerful people. They all believe they are led by the Holy Spirit. They wholeheartedly believe that Scripture, Tradition and Reason are on their side. But they have all fallen into the Anglican error of using Scripture, Tradition and Human Reason as a resource for proof texts, precedents from the past and sensible reasons for support of their particular cause.  [?]

So the proof texts fly. The examples from the past are presented. The rationale is explained and the reasoning laid out, but no one is convinced. All that happens is that both sides return to their corner, gather their arguments and wait for the bell for the next round.

This is why the modern Church so desperately needs, not a three-legged stool, but the Chair of Peter.  [Did the author just pit a lot of people against what he considers is the true role and nature of the Petrine ministry?]

The Chair of Peter has four legs: Scripture, Tradition, Human Reason and I would add, Facts — Common Sense. On top of these four legs is the seat into which they all fit, and this — to extend the metaphor — is the magisterium. The magisterium is the united, continuous, living, universal teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

The magisterium keeps Tradition, Scripture, Human Reason and Facts together and in balance. The magisterium prevents Scripture, Tradition and Human Reason from becoming proof text mines for people with preset agendas.

To show that the Chair of Peter is not simply a museum piece, someone sits on it: the pope, [Pope Benedict?] the successor of Peter. The reason the pope is so important to modern Christianity is because he is one person who, through depth of knowledge, breadth of vision, wealth of advice and expertise, can see the big picture. [This Pope, at least.]

The pope’s authority transcends vagaries of individual fashion, time and political expediency. The pope’s authority transcends local pressures, intellectual trends, moral dilemmas and subjective social opinions. There is simply no other authority system in the world that is universal in such an expansive and objective way.

This is why, as the Holy Father leaves America after his short visit, Americans need the Holy Father. We need him because he helps us transcend America. He helps us realize that there is something bigger than ourselves; something greater than our great nation. [From Anglicans, to Catholics, and now to Americans? or American Catholics?]

He gives us a universal perspective — universal in time and universal in place. The Holy Father’s authority transcends our isolated and narrow-minded political correctness, our petty relevant religious agendas, our private views of “how the Church should be,” our individualistic opinions on Catholic morality and our private views on Church doctrine[If those views are not in fact shaped in reference to the Church's Magisterium, Scripture and Tradition, right.  However, I get the sense there is a bit more room in each direction than the author perhaps wants to accept.  Perhaps I am wrong about this.  Moreover, I don't think that desiring the older form of Mass, according to Summorum Pontificum and Ecclesia Dei adflicta, is a descent into the ditch of "petty relevant religious agendas".  I don't see a desire for traditional devotions, even in parishes, as a "private view of 'how the Church should be'".]

Submission to the bishop of Rome is not subservient toadyism. Through submission to the pope we gain an expansive perspective. We see history, and our place in it from a wide panorama. 

Living in continuity and community with the pope is to build our house upon a rock. It is to transcend our blinkered vision and glimpse the larger world and the greater plan. In short, to submit to the authority of the pope is not to place ourselves beneath the feet of a tyrant, but to sit on the shoulders of a giant.

Father Dwight Longenecker
is chaplain to St Joseph’s Catholic School
in Greenville, South Carolina.

 

The late Msgr. Richard Schuler used to say, "You can go into the ditch on either side of the road, right or left.  Either way, you’re in the ditch." 

For the most part, Father seems to be expressing the same sentiment and I entirely agree.  Leave the Barque of Peter, you are in the drink.  Leave the road mapped by the Church with the Vicar of Christ, and you stray into dangerous wilderness.

But the road we can follow, though not without its limits is actually pretty wide.  I suspect it may be a little wider than the author thinks.

The folks on the extremes, the true extremes, are careening into the ditch if they are not there already.   These are the folks who have what I call not tunnel vision, or as the author calls it "blinkered view", but funnel vision – they not only refuse to see what is to either side of them, take what they could see and make it as narrow as possible.

Is it possible that the author is applying a kind of funnel vision to this fabled center of the road where proper unity with Peter is found? 

Father’s description may not take into consideration that people can both desire the TLM (without bizzare ideas about the intrinsic evil of the Novus Ordo), or desire traditional devotions (I am partial to Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament myself) and still be properly Catholic.  On the other hand, people may want to embrace liturgical reform (at least properly understood – excluding illegitimate creativity, etc.), or homosexual rights (at least properly understood – excluding acts against nature, etc.), and still remain Catholic.

People who want the TLM and those who defend the authentic rights of homosexuals (just as an example) are not extremists.  They are simply Catholic, a wide and welcoming reality. 

When you start pressing these issues to the point where the only valid Mass must be the TLM, or that homosexuals should be able to marry and adopt children, then I will stipulate that the ditch is pretty darn close.

But if you narrow the road we can walk to the point where legitimate differences are squinted at, then you turn the road itself into a ditch.

I don’t want to hammer this article. 

Father makes good points, chief of which is that if we separate ourselves from Peter, we are in serious trouble.  There is no doubt about that.

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40 Responses to NCReg: Looking at Fr. Longenecker’s article

  1. Oliver says:

    With due respect, Father, I haven’t the same reading as you. Nowhere the author does say that fans of the TLM are all Rad Trads; nowhere he says that they are extreme. [ You mean other than where he wrote: "The “Rad Traddies” have a whole range of causes and beliefs ranging from sedevacantism to enthusiasm for traditional devotions, right-wing causes and the traditional Latin Mass."  He continues in the next section to use the word "extremes".] He just says there are extremists of both sides – that they are, indeed, Rad trads and that one of their causes and topics is the TLM. That doesn’t imply at all that all or the majority of the fans of the TLM are ‘Rad’.

    Conversely Fr. Longenecker says there are Rad Trendies, one of their causes is the liturgical reform. A reading like yours – excuse me – would imply that all the lovers of the liturgical reform are extreme and ‘Rad’.  [Yes, but seem like what the author was saying.  I may be wrong, but that was my impression.] Of course it’s not true – of course there’s an extreme way of loving the liturgical Reform (as there’s an uncatholic way of praising the ‘only catholic (latin) mass’) but there are also many, if more or less clever, catholic ways of praising all or part of the liturgical reform. With my prayers for your apostolate.

  2. David says:

    What’s radical about cleaving to our heritage as Catholics? Our tradition and our ancestors that passed on that tradition should be honored; not scorned by calling their descendants radicals. When I look back at our Catholic history, I’m proud of our Catholic ancestors and in a certain sense we honor our ancestors by upholding and continuing their tradition.

  3. David: I think the author would say that we must cleave to our heritage as Catholics: the Petrine ministry is part of our heritage as Catholics.

  4. This is a really lousy article. How on earth can you be a “Rad Traddy” because you desire traditional devotions and the Traditional Latin Mass? What exactly is a “Rad Traddy” anyway? What are “right-wing” causes?

    I work at the biggest newspaper in America and I can’t believe that this article wasn’t ripped to shreds by some editor. Doesn’t this paper have any notion of editorial or journalistic standards?

    This does a great disservice both to the Church and to journalism.

  5. London Calling says:

    I think it\’s a good article though perhaps Fr Longnecker could have been more explicit about the different \”rad\” groups. Richard Williamson\’s statement that Pope Benedict is \”objectively insane\” is clearly made from the bottom of a ditch, as are the Dutch Dominicans\’ calls for lay presidency at the eucharist. What about the numerous statements that the Novus Ordo liturgy may be (barely) valid but is still responsible for most of the ills besetting the Church? In my view those are teetering on the edge of a ditch if not already in it.

    A number of conservative Catholic blogs and combox-writers on these blogs take a stance that seems strangely Protestant to me, more in the spirit of Luther\’s \”here I stand; I can do no other\” than of sentire cum ecclesia. The bloggers and commenters seem prepared to attack priests, bishops and cardinals if they don\’t do \”the right thing\”. Pope Benedict has, for the most part, been spared because he is very orthodox and has liturgical sensibilities that the bloggers and commenters agree with. But Pope Paul VI is often treated with complete disrespect, as are a number of current prelates — Cardinal Murphy-O\’Connor, for example, or Archbishop Harry Flynn.

    WDTPRS itself (the posts, not the comments) seems to avoid these extremes; I wish other blogs and commenters did the same.

    I wonder if that\’s part of what Fr Longnecker was getting at. Thanks, Fr Z, for bringing this article to light.

  6. Steve says:

    My issue with the article is Fr. Longenecker’s definition of “Rad Traddies”. It does not distinguish between sedevacantist or those who attend an approved TLM. He does not identify the “right wing” causes or the “traditional devotions”. Rather, all of these Catholics are deemed extremists on one side of the Church with the extremists on the other side of the Church begin those who support “womenpriests”, Marxists, and homosexual rights. He then states that these people have fallen into error.

    I am not a sedevacantist, but I do attend the TLM, like traditional devotions (such as saying the Rosary, Angelus, and Stations of the Cross), and many would say I have “right wing” causes such as the prolife movement. That does not make me an extremist; it means I am a practicing Catholic. It does not mean I have fallen into error. This is the problem with this article.

    I have written a letter to the editor and reply was posted by Fr. Longenecker. The problem with reply is Fr. Longenecker does not apologize and says he did not slight anyone. He did slight someone, or I would not have written the letter. Moreover, Fr. Longenecker goes on to say what he meant to say in the article, and here in lies the next problem. We cannot read Fr. Lonenecker’s mind – only his words. And his words say those who attend the TLM and like traditional devotions are extremists and in error, just like those who favor “womenpriests”. This is simply wrong.

  7. Greg: Unhelpful. Simply ripping on the article isn’t really useful.

  8. dcs says:

    This article appears to display an attitude discussed by Dietrich von Hildebrand in his book The Devastated Vineyard. Von Hildebrand devotes a chapter to refuting the notion that we should always look for a middle way between extremes, and points out that whatever the errors of the “rad traddies” — whom he calls “Integrists” — they are nothing compared to the errors of the Modernists and liberals; and it is certainly not the errors of the “Integrists” that are tearing the Church apart.

  9. dcs: I have read a few of D. von Hildebrand’s works, but not that. I shall add it to the wish list.

  10. Father Z,

    This article needed a serious editorial review starting with:

    1) Defining terms — What are right-wing causes? What is sedevacantism? I bet most people who read the NCR don’t really know what it is.

    2) Gross mis-labeling — Lumping together Catholics support homosexual rights and women priests with Catholics who want “liturgical reform” is gross mis-labeling. Intimating that Catholics who desire traditional devotions and the Traditional Latin Mass are “extreme” is very misleading.

    If the NCR wants to be taken serious as a true newspaper, it must have editorial and journalistic standards. I am sure Fr Longenecker did not intend to cause confusion but unfortunately that was the result. A simple editorial review could have solved the problem.

  11. Father Z: Father makes good points, chief of which is that if we separate ourselves from Peter, we are in serious trouble.

    Might this not apply to any bishop, priest, or layperson who — contrary to the evident intent of Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum — openly disdains either valid form of the Roman rite, by blanket questioning of either its validity or the legitimacy of those who prefer it?

  12. Martha says:

    “On the other hand, people may want to embrace liturgical reform (at least properly understood – excluding illegitimate creativity, etc.), or homosexual rights (at least properly understood – excluding acts against nature, etc.), and still remain Catholic.”

    Why throw this in (“homosexual rights” properly understood)? It is like saying abortionists’ rights–properly understood as not killing babies; murders’ rights–properly understood as not committing murder; adulterers’ rights- properly understood as not being unfaithful.

    Sin and evil and lies have no rights.

  13. Martha: Your comment is a good example of why I need to specify “properly understood”. Homosexuals are people, with the dignity of all the children of one common divine Father. They are images of God. They have dignity and the right to be treated with charity. We must never condone homosexual acts, but never denigrate the people themselves. People who fight their inclinations and try to live virtuously are worthy of our respect and support.

  14. Henry: Yes, that is definitely a good question. I think we can refer as well to John Paul II’s words in his 1988 Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei adflicta where he calls for respect for people’s legitimate aspirations.

  15. Greg: After reading your first post, I thought you might have a more general editorial concern than the more specific ones mentioned in your second post.

    Namely, that when one sets out to write an article to make a single main point, but then loads it up with generalities and extraneous issues as ballast , then the original purpose of the article is blunted or diffused and may therefore fail to be achieved.

    Whence, the standard editorial advice to “Define your objective, and stick to it.”

  16. Chas says:

    dcs & Fr. Z,

    Before I looked at these comments, the first thing I thought about was von Hildebrand’s , and I snatched up to find the place where he discusses the false idea of a middle way. The entire chapter is quotable, but I think you would be worthwhile to quote just this bit: “the narrowness of the integrates may be regrettable, but it is not heretical. It is not incompatible with the teaching of the holy Church. It views certain philosophical theses is inseparable from orthodoxy, though they in no way are. But these philosophical theses are also in no way incompatible with Christian revelation. Four, it is completely senseless to place those who hold the philosophic thesis to be inseparable from Christian revelation, i.e., from the teaching of the holy Church, on a level with those who promulgate philosophic PCs which are in radical contradiction to the teaching of the holy church, of which we spoke in the last chapter.”

    What is particularly interesting about this is that von Hildebrand suffered severe criticism from the integrists. He still manages to attribute goodwill to those who condemn narrowness of mind: “men who have had to suffer much under the narrowness of spirit of the extremists, and who have been unjustly suspected of being heretics, have developed such an antipathy towards this fanaticism, and they shone in fear so much, but they are inclined to put this evil on the same level as great errors of faith, or indeed, as explicit heresies.” What a great book! I’m going to need to read it again.

  17. jh says:

    Let me say I wished he would have been clearer. I know what he means by Rad Traddies and I don’t think he is getting it across very well. THis article in fact if my memory serves me correct first appeared in the London Times. That is one reason there is such emphasis on the Anglican aspect. Anyway as soon as he used this term in the way he did I thought it was going to cause problems.

    That being said this Priest and well as anotherblogging priest he works with are in the northern part of South Carolina. This area is not only very hardshell Baptist but is influenced by the massive PTL empire that is right over the border. Their efforts there and witness have been widely successful in a most difficult place

    It is difficult of course to come to vast conculsions from his blog and the one that his Co worker Father Neuman has. However I have been following both for some time. For those that are offended I think there is a lesson to be learned that can be taken from Father Z’ Rules of engagement. That is observe those rules.

    Both of these Priest are pretty Orthodox. However once they mentioned they felt no need to offer the TLM they were and in particular Father Newman , they were then subject to the most bizaree and silly comments from those that represented the TLM point of view. I have certaintly seen this pattern before where people who are really allies are attacked because some feel some sort of betrayal or some silliness.

    I am willing to bet because of the area they are in that most of the exposure to people that have a devotion to the older extraordinary form of the MAss is through. the internet.

    The Lesson here is not only in our personal lives when advocating Liturgical reform not to come off as some extreme but to police our own

  18. Craig says:

    I sympathize with the criticisms of the article, but “rad traddies” are real; some posters here need to look in the mirror.

    Is there anything wrong with preferring the older form of the Mass? No. That’s not what the article is criticizing, any more than it is criticizing liturgical reform. It is criticizing habits of thought.

    The point is, it’s very easy to profess allegiance to an imaginary authority while rejecting allegiance to all real contenders for the position. This is the classic Protestant position, that scripture and ecumenical councils are authoritative “when understood properly” but that no-one here on earth has been given the charism to put any doctrinal matter irreversibly beyond question. Rome locuta est more than once when it comes to the validity of the 1970 Mass; the theology and praxis of Eastern churches (both in and out of communion with Rome); freedom of religion; the covenant with the Jews; and so forth. But numerous posters here are quick to declare Rome in error when she does not conform to expectations (sometimes erroneously drilled into them from childhood).

  19. Jim Dorchak says:

    Fr Longenecker

    “Me thinks that tho dost protest too much”!

    I think that Fr L, ignors the fact that those of us who have an affection for the Latin Mass have history on our side. In addition the Holy Father it seems has the Latin Mass on the top of his list as a good thing (IE in the center of the tracks)? Hey but what does he know eh?

    These arguments are best kept on the back porch, while smoking a cigar.

    YEs I geuss Greenville SC is the center of the Catholic Universe.

    Jim Dorchak
    Greer SC

  20. Gregor says:

    It would have been clearer if Fr. Longenecker identified “Rad Traddies” as those who repudiate Vatican II and “Rad Trendies” as those who repudiate Vatican I. Either way, the problem is in the pride some have who want to assert an alternate Magisterium and do not want to look to the Pope for guidance.

    Both groups seem to have adopted a defacto hermeneutic of discontinutity regarding Vatican II. The first group sees discontinuity as bad, the second group sees discontinuity as good. I am not a “Rad Traddie”, but I sympathize with them because the implementation of Vatican II has been bad and reflects a discontinuity that is not present in the actual documents. I think disobedience on the part of the bishops in the matter of pride-of-place for Latin and Gregorian chant is the scarlet letter on the Novus Ordo, and reflects their subconsious rejection of continuity. This needs to be healed.

  21. Dan J says:

    From the responses that I have read on the blog it is easy to see people have just jumped on the term “Rad Trads or Rad Trendys”, I feel the point of the article it to show that without the authority of the Chair of Peter the church would be a rudderless ship in a sea of modernity and relativism. It is easy for us to sit here and play Monday Morning Pope, saying this should be this and this should be that but the fact is that it is not for us to second guess what Peter has set out for us because he is the pilot of this ship, now the greater question is what are we doing for foster Peter’s vision for our society and become more Christ like. Fr. Z, has it right we have to pray for the grace that we are truly able to receive the gifts of the the Holy Father’s “Marshall Plan” (I still say Fr. Z should have a blog entry on how we can avail ourselves to the gifts of the Marshall Plan). I am truly glad that the Pope came to America because it strengthened myself in a world of hard blowing sand. The Pope threw down a challenge to the young people and in turn to all of us “What are we doing to bring Christ into the world, it could be either through vocations into the religious life or married life but what are we doing to bring forth our King’s light into the world?”

    Dan Howell
    Bronx, NY

  22. Antiquarian says:

    I would offer that while Father L could have been clearer, when he says that “Rad traddies” have a lot of causes, including the TLM, that doesn’t say that everyone who supports the TLM is a radical.

    Many people support wider use of the EF.
    “Rad traddies” support wider use of the EF

    Therefore all people who support wider use of the EF are Rad traddies? False syllogism, and it’s not, I think, what he meant.

  23. Melody says:

    Kindly do a search on your own website Father Z. Father Longenecker is a traditionalist himself who recently introduced ad orientem masses at his parish. He was merely criticizing the extremist positions on either side of the church.

  24. RBrown says:

    In the past I’ve looked at Fr Longnecker’s blog a few times and have come away with the impression that he’s still in the process of discovery. His bio:

    Fr. Dwight Longenecker is an American who has spent most of his life living and working in England. After graduating from the fundamentalist Bob Jones University with a degree in Speech and English, he went to study theology at Oxford University. He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest and served as a curate, a school chaplain in Cambridge and a country parson.

    Realizing that he and the Anglican Church were on divergent paths, in 1995 Fr. Dwight and his family were received into the Catholic Church. He spent the next ten years working as a freelance Catholic writer, contributing to over twenty-five magazines, papers and journals in Britain, Ireland and the USA.

    Fr. Dwight is the editor of a best-selling book of English conversion stories called The Path to Rome– Modern Journeys to the Catholic Faith. He has written Listen My Son—a daily Benedictine devotional book which applies the Rule of St Benedict to the task of modern parenting. St Benedict and St Thérèse is a study of the lives and thought of two of the most popular saints. In the field of Catholic apologetics, Fr. Dwight wrote Challenging Catholics with John Martin, the former editor of the Church of England Newspaper. More Christianity is a straightforward and popular apology for Catholicism as the fullest and freshest version of the Christian faith, and Mary-A Catholic Evangelical Debate is a debate with an old Bob Jones friend David Gustafson who is now an Evangelical Episcopalian. Fr. Dwight’s Adventures in Orthodoxy is described as ‘a Chestertonian romp through the Apostles’ Creed.’ He wrote Christianity Pure&Simple which was published by the Catholic Truth Society in England and Sophia Institute Press in the USA. He has also published How to Be an Ordinary Hero and has just finished The Healing Rosary.

    Fr. Dwight has contributed a chapter to the third volume of the best selling Surprised by Truth series and is a regular contributor to Our Sunday Visitor and National Catholic Register. Fr. Dwight has also written a couple of children’s books, had three of his screenplays produced, and is finishing his first novel. He’s researching a play about Elizabeth Barton a feisty Catholic nun from the English Reformation, and is researching a double biography of C.S.Lewis and T.S.Eliot called Reluctant Allies.

    In 2005 Fr. Dwight accepted a post as Chaplain to St Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina. This brought him and his family back, not only to his hometown, but also to the American Bible belt, and hometown of Bob Jones University. He is a candidate for Catholic priesthood under the special pastoral provision for married former Anglican clergy, and will minister at St Joseph’s, and in the parish of St Mary’s, Greenville.

    Fr. Dwight enjoys movies, books, and visiting Benedictine monasteries. He’s married to Alison. They have four children, named Benedict, Madeleine, Theodore and Elias. They live in Greenville, and are learning quickly about American suburban life, Wal-Mart and how to survive fast food.

  25. Templar says:

    It might help to understand Father L a little better by checking out his Blog. http://gkupsidedown.blogspot.com/

    I for one have read a great many of Father L’s articles and blog posts and find I agree with him much more than not. He has also authored a few books, which I have, regretably, not yet had time to read.

  26. Chas says:

    I think it’s safe to say that Fr. Longnecker did not mean to lump all traditionalists together in the term “rad traddy”. However, the lack of precision in his description of rad-traddies give the impression that all traditionalists are “rad”. This is, unfortunately, still a very widespread impression of traditionalists in general. We are still treated like the nutty aunt in the attic by most people in the Church, especially those in authority positions. Irenic discussions of the strengths and weaknesses of the two forms of the Roman rite are next to impossible, because as soon as you reveal yourself as a lover of the older form, every criticism of the newer form is equated to the denial of its validity. I have been very discouraged by the unwillingness of good catholics to seriously engage each other intellectually. Non-traditionalists are automatically defensive when a traddy, rad or otherwise, criticises anything about the Church in her present condition, and generally accuse them of hypocrisy and protestantism in the process. Ultimately, all these labels are too difficult to apply properly and lend themselves to arguments of guilt by association and so are not that helpful, especially since they do not describe a defined school of thought.

  27. boredoftheworld says:

    “I believe the author is associated with St. Mary’s in Greenville, SC”

    Does anyone still dispute the obvious divinely ordained fact that Greenville is the center of the universe? Can a week go by without this anthill being kicked?

    Several weeks ago when Greenville became the topic of conversation on this blog the local fallout was disastrous.

    Oh, and if Father Longenecker is a traditionalist then I’m a cheese sandwich.

    Fr. Newman has been calling the people of his parish to “radical discipleship” for years because there is no point in claiming the middle ground and calling it the high ground. If we can’t be “rad” in our faith then really we belong in the Church of “Cake or death?” (and anyone who gets that reference probably shouldn’t admit it)

  28. I’m surprised that nobody has yet commented on this passage:

    “The Chair of Peter has four legs: Scripture, Tradition, Human Reason and I would add, Facts — Common Sense. On top of these four legs is the seat into which they all fit, and this — to extend the metaphor — is the magisterium. The magisterium is the united, continuous, living, universal teaching authority of the Catholic Church.”

    This passage, I believe, encapsulates much that is wrong with current Catholic
    Apologetics. There is a tendency to overemphasize authority at the expense of objective Tradiiton, to elevate (not in theory, but in practice) the Magisterium to an equal if not higher place than either Scripture and Tradition, and the imagery here pretty much conveys that emphasis. (Lest it be forgotten, the “three-legged stool” hasalso been incorporated into Catholic apologetics since the 1980′s, the three legs being Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium.)

    This kind of language is completely unknown to the Ecumenical Councils and to the theolofy of the old manuals, and can be productive of much mischief.

    Doubtless, the magisterium is necessary. However, it is only the servant of
    Scripture and Tradition. We do not need a conception of the Papacy and of the
    Hierarchy that sees these as being somehow equal and autonomous in relation to
    Scripture and Tradition. We already saw in the 1960′s how a near-absolutist and postivistic
    view of ecclesiastical authority played a major role in the ruin of the Sacred Liturgy.

  29. B. says:

    I think this is a very disappointing article, especially as Fr. Longenecker also has good things to say.

    The definition Rad Traddies and Rad Trendies and equalization is one thing, but the rationale of the whole article is flawed.
    Obviously in the mind of Fr. Longenecker “proof texts fly[ing]“, “examples from the past [being] presented” and “the rationale [being] explained and the reasoning laid out” are not good things or they must immediately stop when the pope says so. So, nobody should have argued against the selling of indulgences, nobody should have said that the translation of “pro multis” is not “for all”, nobody should have protested against the TLM being forbidden. Yet in all three cases those who argued against that (and against the pope) have been proven right by history and subsequent popes. Yet for Fr. Longenecker reality seems to change every time the pope makes a new announcement. I cannot understand this.

    Now of course the question remains, the pope sitting on the Chair of St. Peter *has* significance, so where should arguing against what the pope has said stop? That would be an interesting question, but it isn’t even tackled. Instead after having said that arguing is no good and therefore we need the pope he jumps to America and the article ends in confusion.

  30. “to the theology of the old manuals…”

  31. “Yet for Fr. Longenecker reality seems to change every time the pope makes a new announcement. I cannot understand this…”

    Unfortunately, for many (not all) Catholic conservatives, orthodoxy means cheering
    the latest papal utterance. It was precisely this mistaken notion of orthodoxy that
    helped the liturgical deformation of the 1960′s to conquer the Church so speedily.

    And so, a lot of the people who, in 2004, had been declaring the Novus Ordo as perfect as it is and as being in no need of major reform, and who had been denouncing the TLM, are now praising the TLM to the high heavens and declaring that the Novus Ordo is a damaged liturgy.

  32. “I work at the biggest newspaper in America and I can’t believe that this article wasn’t ripped to shreds by some editor. Doesn’t this paper have any notion of editorial or journalistic standards?”

    Amen. This article warrants a detailed response which will be forthcoming. Looks like it was written in about 10 minutes.

    I’ll save the analysis for the article rebuttal. “Conservative” hammering of traditionalists in broad terms (Mark Shea, anyone!) needs to stop. They have no idea what they are talking about.

    Funny, I thought that Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium were the pillars of Catholicism. And the current Pope has been attempting to reassert true reason as well–as Faith and Reason are not mutally exclusive as this article attempts to convey–I think.

    Formal response will be forthcoming. Does anyone know how much formal philosophy/theology Fr. Longenecker had to do in the Roman Catholic Church prior to being ordained?

    The anti-spam word says “Pray for our priests.” Three Aves for Fr. Longenecker. And no, he is not a traditionalist by any sense of the imagination.

  33. Chas says:

    For some reason this didn’t post when I submitted it a couple hours ago:

    I think it\’s safe to say that Fr. Longnecker did not mean to lump all traditionalists together in the term \”rad traddy\”. However, the lack of precision in his description of rad-traddies give the impression that all traditionalists are \”rad\”. This is, unfortunately, still a very widespread impression of traditionalists in general. We are still treated like the nutty aunt in the attic by most people in the Church, especially those in authority positions. Irenic discussions of the strengths and weaknesses of the two forms of the Roman rite are next to impossible, because as soon as you reveal yourself as a lover of the older form, every criticism of the newer form is equated to the denial of its validity. I have been very discouraged by the unwillingness of good catholics to seriously engage each other intellectually. Non-traditionalists are automatically defensive when a traddy, rad or otherwise, criticises anything about the Church in her present condition, and generally accuse them of hypocrisy and protestantism in the process. Ultimately, all these labels are too difficult to apply properly and lend themselves to arguments of guilt by association and so are not that helpful, especially since they do not describe a defined school of thought.

    In light of the comments that have come since I originally intended to post this, I would like to add that the ultramontane view of the papacy should not be condemned as heretical, but should be allowed to be discussed freely, and that those who oppose any criticism of the reigning pontiff should refrain from calling those who criticise the pope bad catholics. In short, we must argue positions, not people.

  34. Furthermore, distinctions about the ordinary, extraordinary and authentic magisterium and the level of assent owed to each (like the Vatican II documents: a religious assent of mind and will, but NOT DE FIDE) would also go a long way to adding clarity to this article.

    Yes. Papolatry or ultramontism is NOT a heresy. But even the current CCC says the Pope’s authority is NOT absolute–esp. over the liturgy. He is tasked to hand on what he has been given.

    Until every conservative Catholic, so-called, reads Fr. Ripperger’s article on this subject, these discussions will continue.

  35. Michael says:

    “The reason the pope is so important to modern Christianity is because he is one person who, through depth of knowledge, breadth of vision, wealth of advice and expertise, can see the big picture.”

    In other words, the Pope is so important because he is in a position to be the most pluralistic.

    I find it quite disturbing that when discussing Papal Authority, there is absolutely no mention of the Holy Ghost or the very explicit promises of Christ Himself. Especially when the discussion comes from a Priest.

    We should submit to the Pope because he sees the “big picture” and has the best advisors and not because Jesus Christ promised His protection?

  36. Bill says:

    Fr. Longenecker asserts the presence of a fourth leg: “Facts — Common Sense”. What surprises me is that no one has yet noticed how odd an addition that is. Facts are data which are true, while common sense, I would define as the derivative of the application of reason to facts. And let me be clear in rejecting the too common usage of facts to mean assertions true or false.

    In light of this, I submit that what the good Fr. may have thought he meant to say could not possibly be deduced from what we have read, as what we have read confounds logic and reason.

  37. Paul Murnane says:

    Until every conservative Catholic, so-called, reads Fr. Ripperger’s article on this subject, these discussions will continue.
    Brian Mershon

    Brian,
    do you have a link?

  38. I don’t know if I’d say that those of us who love the TLM are Rad Traddies, I’d leave that distinction for anyone who thinks the NO is intristically evil and invalid, or anyone who thinks their above the Pope for my own personal opinion.

  39. I think it best right now to close the com box.

    I had some concerns with the article I posted, but I don’t want to let this run too far.

    If Fr. L has any response, I welcome it, but perhaps by e-mail is best. In no way did I post this to cause him any grief or problems.