Monday, November 24, 2008

Calvinist Converts to Catholicism

Poor Calvin must be spinning in his grave since so many of his followers were predestined to become Catholic again. Stop over at Jennifer's blog "On the Road to Rome" and give her a hearty welcome. H/T Catholic Journeyman.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Unity and the Body According to Cyprian

Not long ago a Protestant friend of mine expressed some displeasure at the fact that Catholics excluded Protestants from the altar of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. To no avail, I tried to explain that the Eucharist is a sign of unity and full communion and further that to receive in disbelief would be a lie and to receive in a state of mortal sin would be to profane the Body while scandalizing the community.

The ubiquitous sign of unity for the Church is the Blessed Sacrament. The Body of Christ is one just as the Church is one and only those who share in the life of the Church (Christ’s life) may receive His Body. Thus, when commenting on the Lord’s Prayer St. Cyprian says “For Christ is the bread of life; and this bread does not belong to all men, but it is ours.” And further:
"Give us this day our daily bread." And this may be understood both spiritually and literally, because either way of understanding it is rich in divine usefulness to our salvation.
A sacrament effects what it signifies. Moreover, that one thing signifies another does not preclude it from effecting that thing or even from being that thing. Like a good Catholic, Cyprian affirms that it may be understood “both spiritually and literally”.
And according as we say, "Our Father," because He is the Father of those who understand and believe; so also we call it "our bread," because Christ is the bread of those who are in union with His body.
Notice it is for those who are in union with His Body and not those “animated by His Soul though in broken bodily communion”. That is, there is one Body of Christ – the Church and she is one as His Body is one. If she can be divided, so too can the Body of Christ be divided.
And we ask that this bread should be given to us daily, that we who are in Christ, and daily receive the Eucharist for the food of salvation, may not, by the interposition of some heinous sin, by being prevented, as withheld and not communicating, from partaking of the heavenly bread, be separated from Christ's body
Here, the Eucharist is salvific and mortal sin separates the believer from the Body of Christ. Those separated from the Body may not receive for this reason.
And therefore we ask that our bread— that is, Christ— may be given to us daily, that we who abide and live in Christ may not depart from His sanctification and body.
Cyprian is doubtlessly a student of Ignatius of Antioch who nearly 150 years earlier had said the same things:
To the Ephesians: Let no man deceive himself: if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God. that ye obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality,
To the Philadelphians: Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to [show forth] the unity of His blood; one altar; as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants: that so, whatsoever you do, you may do it according to [the will of] God.
But if there is further confusion regarding where this Body is on earth, Cyprian has already made his views on the primacy of Peter clear which I reviewed here. Again in this same document he says:
But the Lord prayed and besought not for Himself— for why should He who was guiltless pray on His own behalf?— but for our sins, as He Himself declared, when He said to Peter, "Behold, Satan has desired that he might sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not.”
Notice how he links this passage to the unity of the true Church:
And subsequently He beseeches the Father for all, saying, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe in me through their word; that they all may be one; as You, Father, art in me, and I in You, that they also may be one in us." The Lord's loving-kindness, no less than His mercy, is great in respect of our salvation, in that, not content to redeem us with His blood, He in addition also prayed for us. Behold now what was the desire of His petition, that like as the Father and Son are one, so also we should abide in absolute unity; so that from this it may be understood how greatly he sins who divides unity and peace, since for this same thing even the Lord besought, desirous doubtless that His people should thus be saved and live in peace, since He knew that discord cannot come into the kingdom of God.
The last line is a loud clap of thunder in today’s pluralistic world. It silences the noise of various opinions regarding the Church. There is no discord in the kingdom of God. There is no discord in the Church. The Church is one and she is holy. Whatever discord appears among the Catholic Church – it is only discord insofar as those perpetuating it have separated themselves from the unity of the body.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cyprian on The Eucharistic Sacrifice

In the following passage St. Cyprian contrasts the sacrifice of the ancient mass with the pagan sacrifices:
That religious voice has named the name of Christ, in whom it has once confessed that it believed; those illustrious hands, which had only been accustomed to divine works, have resisted the sacrilegious sacrifices; those lips, sanctified by heavenly food after the body and blood of the Lord, have rejected the profane contacts and the leavings of the idols. - Treatise 3.1
In terms of competing theories on the Eucharist, as far as Cyprian goes, this passage alone rules out cccasionalism/receptionism and certainly memorialism. It is clear that Cyprian could say along with Justin Martyr "not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these". He cannot be speaking of a merely invisible reception of the Body & Blood because he says the Body and Blood have touched lips.

Here again, the sacrificial nature of the Christian liturgy is made explicit by contrasting it with the pagan rites which the oppressors had intended the Christians to forsake their faith by. But if that wasn't enough, he speaks perhaps more clearly in Epistle 62 while demanding that wine be used instead of water as was the illicit practice of some:
Whence it appears that the blood of Christ is not offered if there be no wine in the cup, nor the Lord's sacrifice celebrated with a legitimate consecration unless our oblation and sacrifice respond to His passion.
And to Cyprian, this is far from a matter of liturgical preference - this is part of the apostolic deposit of faith. Whereas some think that certain 16th century innovations are what Paul had in mind when he demanded no alteration to the gospel delivered, Cyprian seems to hold the sacrificial Eucharistic cult (and even its particulars such as which elements are to be consecrated) as certain non-negotiable orthopraxy if not the very sine qua non of the gospel.
Since, then, neither the apostle himself nor an angel from heaven can preach or teach any otherwise than Christ has once taught and His apostles have announced, I wonder very much whence has originated this practice, that, contrary to evangelical and apostolical discipline, water is offered in some places in the Lord's cup, which water by itself cannot express the blood of Christ.
Having already demonstrated that Cyprian would clearly reject memorialism, we need only remind ourselves that the sacraments effect what they signify in case anyone would try the tired route of Schaff and other Protestant historians who want only to read their novel theology into the fathers. They say Cyprian means only to say that the wine "expresses the blood of Christ", using this loophole to wholly ignore the remaining passages which clearly prove otherwise. The wine offered is the sign of the Blood and he is arguing that water cannot be an effective sign and therefore cannot be used. This argument certainly does not amount to a reduction of the sacrament to a mere symbol. This is made clearer when we remind ourselves that he routinely refers to the Eucharistic species as the Body or the Blood (not bread or wine) as he does in this moving rhetoric regarding martyrdom:
But how can we shed our blood for Christ, who blush to drink the blood of Christ?
He speaks of bread or wine when it is necessary to speak of the proper elements to be used in the consecration and nothing less should be expected. We Catholics do so until this day. Even after the consecration, we may still, on occasion, refer the the Body and Blood as bread and wine but we do so then only figuratively. See here for more on rejecting memorialism in Cyprian.

In the following passage, he affirms the Bodily Presence in the Eucharist and the need for the Lapsed to be forgiven by a priest before receiving the sacrament:
All these warnings being scorned and contemned,— before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, violence is done to His body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord.
Which demonstrates that for early Christians, absolution of sins was a proper faculty of the Church (which is already clear from earlier authors) but more specifically - by the hand of a priest (confession to a priest can be found even more explicitly in Treatise 3.28-29). Of course, Cyprian would not have allowed a Lapsed Catholic to merely confess to a priest and then receive the Blessed Sacrament - but this is a discussion for another time.

Furthermore, far from memorialism or occasionalism, it is with their "hand and mouth" that they defile the Body and Blood. That is, the Body of Christ cannot be profaned with the unworthy reception of a symbol.

Cyprian goes on to tell of a story of a baby girl who had unwittingly received food offered to idols under the care of a wet nurse. When her mother took her to receive, she refused the Sacrament and upon the deacon's persistence, she did receive and vomited the Body up because "In a profane body and mouth the Eucharist could not remain". This story is not hearsay, Cyprian himself was an eyewitness. He continues (take note of what the third century Bishop of Carthage thinks is happening during the sacred liturgy):
This much about an infant, which was not yet of an age to speak of the crime committed by others in respect of herself. But the woman who in advanced life and of more mature age secretly crept in among us when we were sacrificing, received not food, but a sword for herself.

And when one, who himself was defiled, dared with the rest to receive secretly a part of the sacrifice celebrated by the priest; he could not eat nor handle the holy of the Lord, but found in his hands when opened that he had a cinder.
Although sacrificial language regarding the sacred liturgy is by no means introduced here by Cyprian (i.e. it can be found in the earlier fathers), Cyprian makes this central tenant of the Christian faith more explicit than any of his predecessors. It is no surprise then that while the fathers before him had already affirmed the Church's Christ-given right to absolve sins, it is Cyprian who clarifies this charism especially in connection with the priestly vocation of the Catholic clergy. And for Cyprian, nothing is more central here than the Eucharist.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cyprian on the Possibility of a Divided Church

In a recent post, Protestant blogger Kenny Pearce and I have been going back and forth regarding the nature of Church (as in invisible or visible). Kenny has used an image of a severed hand which is still potentially part of the body because it is animated by the soul (not dependent on physical connectivity) which flies in the face of the obvious starting point of the bodily metaphor. Paul compared the Church to a body which is a unified, natural substance per common sense and not a hacked up carcass animated by an invisible soul.

Catholic Christianity teaches that the soul is the form of the body. This is why Protestant attempts to get around the obvious short falls of the Reformation's "invisible Church" do not work. The body is not just a visible manifestation of the soul which is accidentally unified (whereby if it were disconnected it could conceivably remain a body although divided). Instead, the soul and the body are two principles of one being (a person).

To read some more from Cyprian:
Nor let any deceive themselves by a futile interpretation, in respect of the Lord having said, "Wheresoever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Corrupters and false interpreters of the Gospel quote the last words, and lay aside the former ones, remembering part, and craftily suppressing part: as they themselves are separated from the Church, so they cut off the substance of one section.

For she [charity] will ever be in the kingdom, she will endure for ever in the unity of a brotherhood linked to herself. Discord cannot attain to the kingdom of heaven; to the rewards of Christ

They cannot dwell with God who would not be of one mind in God's Church.

Now here's where it gets really good:

God is one, and Christ is one, and His Church is one, and the faith is one, and the people is joined into a substantial unity of body by the cement of concord. Unity cannot be severed; nor can one body be separated by a division of its structure, nor torn into pieces, with its entrails wrenched asunder by laceration. Whatever has proceeded from the womb cannot live and breathe in its detached condition, but loses the substance of health.
Again, we have on the one hand the Protestant idea of a visible manifestation (the collective separated bodies of all Christian ecclesial communities) of an invisible Church and on the other, we have the Catholic insistence upon a Church which is unified in form and matter. St. Cyprian clearly speaks in the way the Catholic Church does now - as do the other fathers. It would be anachronistic to ask their opinion of the Reformation but supremely naive to assume that the Reformation was substantially different than what was occurring in the early Church already. That is, Martin Luther wasn't the first heretic and his heresy has not yet lasted the longest.

The concept of "visible manifestations of an invisible Church" presents us with a perfect soul having a mutilated body. St. Cyprian clearly does not believe that unity can be severed. In fact he insists that the health of a being depends on it maintaining an essential unitive condition. After all, Christ did say that the separated branches are discarded in the fire (not remain animated by Jesus although detached).

Cyprian follows a natural philosophy here. We don't have to stretch our imaginations to understand what he's getting at. If you cut off a body part, how many bodies do you now have? You have one not two (and the one is not divided). If you cut a foot from a living body you have a living body and a dead foot. Similarly, if a heretic breaks from the Church, you do not have a divided Church. You have one Church and a dead heresy.

There is only one existing source of unity. That is the life of Christ through His Church which He promised to build on Peter. Now, those outside the formal confines of the Catholic Church (especially those born into a given heresy) are not completely detached from the life of Christ as long as they have a valid baptism (and most Protestants do). Similarly the Orthodox obviously enjoy a much greater participation in the life of the Church because of their apostolicity and their retention of the sacraments. That being said, the fullness of the Church, the unique Body of Christ, that one being which has indefectible unity - who has remained and shall remain throughout all heresies - she is the Catholic Church.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Army of Martyrs on Facebook

I now have a Blog Networks page for Army of Martyrs. If you're on Facebook, do me a favor and confirm me as the author. (If I'm not one of your friends, add me while you're at it).

Cyprian on Unity

In 251 AD, following the election of St. Cornelius to the See of Peter as Bishop of Rome, Novatian (a Roman priest) had himself elected bishop (and therefore the second anti-pope following Hippolytus) by several Italian bishops supported by five Roman priests. The fact that this schism so rocked the entire Catholic Church (East & West) speaks highly of the preeminence of the See of Peter during this time.

Cyprian of Carthage writes in response:
Who, then, is so wicked and faithless, who is so insane with the madness of discord, that either he should believe that the unity of God can be divided, or should dare to rend it— the garment of the Lord— the Church of Christ? He Himself in His Gospel warns us, and teaches, saying, "And there shall be one flock and one shepherd." And does any one believe that in one place there can be either many shepherds or many flocks?
For Cyprian, there is a unique and indefectible unity which belongs to the Bride of Christ. As Christ prophesied "there will be one flock and one shepherd" not "I hope there will be one flock and one shepherd" and not "I am the One Shepherd of many flocks". But in whom/what does this unity subside?
There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, "I say unto you, that you are Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, "Feed nay sheep." And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, "As the Father has sent me, even so send I you: Receive the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained; " yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity.
As for Cyprian's later views, that is a topic for another discussion. For now, at least we have the assurance that the early Church saw no possibility of a divided Body of Christ. The Body of Christ inevitably subsists in undivided - bodily form (not fractured, not invisible). If there is no bodily form, it cannot be the body of Christ. A divided "body" is not a body at all but two bodies and Christ is not polygamous - He has but one Bride and one Body.

St. Cyprian knew the head of that body was the See on which Christ promised to build His Church (body) and therefore the sine qua non of Christian unity.

Divorce for Any Reason Whatsoever?

Back when I was my own personal magisterium, I read the exception clause regarding divorce like most other Protestants (although few pay it any mind when the rubber hits the road). And even up to a few months ago, when I was asked about "biblical exceptions" for divorce by a Protestant elder, I didn't really have a good answer.

I would recommend Dave Armstrong's post on translation bias and the followup dialogue with an evangelical preacher. In short, there is no clause for "adultery" as an acceptable reason to divorce your wife. I knew the Church taught this, but didn't really understand why/how this is true given what the text seemed to be saying.

Saying that you can't divorce unless your wife is unfaithful is like saying you can't murder unless someone really pisses you off. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Christianity - Relationship not Religion?

If I hear that line one more time I'm going to puke. If we say Christianity isn't a religion, then all we've done is re-define the word "religion". In any meaningful sense, yes Christianity is a religion. The statement can't be true unless it's meaningless and nothing can be true without meaning. Therefore Christianity is a religion.

This popular sentimentality is most often found spewing from those who think that Jesus' primary purpose was to teach Jews how to be Platonists (and when they didn't get it, He went and taught the Gentiles).

I called my boss out on it this morning perhaps a bit too hastily. She said something like "we don't like to feel like we're religious here - we think religion is a bad thing" and I responded "that's funny because Christianity is a religion".

Sentimentalism is lack of emotional sobriety. It's not just distasteful and embarrassing, it is a sin.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

When Ideology Trumps Reason

Recently, a commenter named Steven remarked:

"Jesus teaches that the church is made up of all the believers in Him."

Which is funny since Jesus said no such thing. Jesus did mention the word "Church" twice during His earthly life:
Matthew 16:18 - And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Matthew 18:17 - If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Now I'm under no pretense that I can interpret these verses without bias but doggonit...He just doesn't seem to be advancing the doctrine of invisible church here.

So how does our friend Steven start representing the peculiar doctrine of his denomination as if it were actually the teachings of Christ?

It's like where I work, our income is higher than last years income and is just above our budget year to date, but I have heard upper management reporting that our income is down because of the economy. It's not that they haven't seen the figures - they have; it's that they've already decided what the figures say before they saw them. Same with our pal Steven. He's been taught that the church is invisible and so regardless of what Jesus actually says in Scripture, Steven will recall Christ's teachings as such. Steven is not alone.

Patristic Carnival XVII

Patristic Carnival XVII is up at Heart, Mind, Soul & Strength.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Liturgy And Lager Blog

Earlier this year, some friends and I started a group of (Catholic) guys who meet once a month to discuss theological & liturgical issues. We call this group Liturgy & Lager and by clicking on that link you can see our new blog. If you live in the Charlotte area, you might be interested in it. Otherwise, probably not, just need to help my google rankings out ok.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Festival of Hope

Catholic author Barry Michaels is hosting a "Festival of Hope" on his blog throughout November with several book give-aways. Looks pretty interesting.

Obama Mocks the Bible

The narrator's comments are a bit off and don't really speak to the fundamental reason why this typical liberal inability to understand Scripture or Christianity is wrong. Deuteronomy isn't what gave us the 10 commandments it only repeated them but anyhow...

Part of the problem is that Obama has been raised in Protestant Christianity which is, without mincing words, an offshoot of true-Christian doctrine.. i.e. it is heretical. He is treating Christianity here as if it were a 'religion of the book' as Islam is for example and authentic Christianity certainly is not a 'religion of the book'.

There is a professor at UNC Charlotte who opens his course on Paul with the line "Paul affected Christianity more than Jesus did" and the same sort of straw man attack is happening. I am willing to bet that this professors' primary exposure to Christianity is a Protestant one in which entire Bible is read through Pauline goggles instead of reading Paul along with the rest of the Scripture. His reasons for thinking that Paul has such enormous influence on Christianity is that his idea of Christianity is skewed by a sect (and one that represents a small historic minority). So this is one problem I see here, identifying "Protestantism" with true Christianity (not to say Protestants aren't Christian) when if he understood authentic Christian doctrine, his ideas wouldn't even get off the ground.

But in case those silly ideas do get off the ground, they are easily shot down. Obama is making the same fundamental error as I made when I was an uneducated teenager and the same one Martin Sheen arrogantly makes in this clip:

Neither Obama or Sheen understand that the OT Law was written for a specific people at a specific time. They make several errors. First they think that we either have to follow all the laws exactly until this day or none. Second, they think that mentioning a practice that occurs without explicitly condemning it is the same as condoning it. (Because the Scriptures mandate things to do with slaves such as treat them humanely etc... without condemning slavery necessarily means that Scripture condones it in their minds...) Third, they assume that since arbitration is required, it must be up to the individual instead of the Church. The voice of the Church is left out of the equation in both of these videos.

Neither of them understand the difference between apodictic and didactic laws. Apodictic laws are those which are necessarily true and thus true for all ages (do not commit adultery for example) and thus correspond to the natural law. Didactic laws are intended to instruct and are not always necessary under all circumstances (do not mix types of threads for example). Now if Martin Sheen isn't clever enough to figure out that (do not sleep with a man as with a woman) falls under the category of Apodictic law and is a heinous violation of natural law, then the Church has an unambiguous voice to tell him so. And if Obama isn't so spiritually keen to know that slavery is against Christian morality and that stoning your children is not part of God's plan for parents, then... again, the Church is here to tell him so.

To Undermine Christian Morality

First let me heartily recommend the excellent post (as they usually are) from Brian Cross entitled "On Imitations and the Gospel". He stole a bit of my hot air and turned it into thunder (what I mean is that I had this post in the oven before I read his and he said it much better than I could have anyway).

Bishop Jugis (Charlotte) and Bishop Burbidge (Raleigh) issued a joint letter to North Carolina Catholics on the voting issue (it can be read here) and this was read throughout both dioceses at the weekend masses. The letter is short and to the point - "the intentional destruction of innocent human life is an intrinsic evil that can never be supported" - and I applaud our bishops for their courage in leadership during times when moral clarity is a dangerous thing to advertise.

Though I'm afraid our bishops across the country are quickly finding themselves first in a world where speaking out is becoming increasingly necessary and soon in a world where merely speaking out will not be enough. Whatever they said in that letter is 100% irrelevant in the mind of the average NC Catholic because the message is trivialized by the News & Herald (delivered weekly to all Catholics in the diocese) which ran a five part series comparing the candidates on the various issues. The first one, on abortion, is so ambiguous that you come out feeling like McCain is only a marginally superior candidate on life issues. No need to even read the other four (Immigration, Iraq War, Education & Environment) to see what sort of slant they have. I'll say it again, the time is quickly approaching where bishops will need to do more than write letters.

A few months ago, I sat at lunch discussing morality with an OPC friend when a co-worker joined in. I was talking about the movie "Evan Almighty" and lamenting it's awful message when the co-worker remarked "Well I guess some message is better than no message at all". Negative. It is better to have a story without a moral than to have an immoral story.

The message of "Evan Almighty" was that God was angry with us for living in suburbia and driving SUVs and because of that, He sent a second flood. This is a bad message because it is anti-Christian (it replaces and undermines the real Christian message). There is certainly nothing inherently Christian about suburbia or SUVs and certainly nothing unChristian about environmental stewardship but there is something decidedly unChristian about parading environmental concerns in lieu of much graver issues.

So the bishops can write such a letter, and again I applaud them for doing so, but I'm afraid their message is easily drowned out in a sea of competing voices (from friends, family, Hollywood and even our diocesan newspaper) which promotes a message that directly undermines theirs.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Traditional Catholics - we're a dying breed - or maybe Vatican II baby boomers are a dying breed. I guess it depends how you want to interpret various conflicting studies. Mass attendance is declining and 1 in 10 Americans is a former Catholic or something like that. But Catholics per capita are holding steady while Protestants are declining. Is faithful Catholicism declining faster, slower or at the same rate of faithful Protestantism? It's the younger clergy who are likely to be traditional (or so I read) and the other day I read that most young Catholics are Socialists. Whatever.

The point I'm clumsily trying to express is that trends are often difficult to discern from headlines. I'm finding myself too often caught up in trying to analyze the trends in this regard - are things getting better or worse? Lately I'm thinking they might just be staying the same.

This verse is quoted far too seldom if you ask me :
Say not, "Why were the former days better than these?" For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. - Ecclesiastes 7:10
"Trads" especially seem caught up in this myth that a generation ago, the Catholic Church was mostly populated with saints. What does it really mean to be a "traditionalist" anyhow?

Don't think I'm not sympathetic to traditionalist concerns (and as far as the label goes, I fit the bill to a T I guess). I just got back from the only MEF in Charlotte (that's "Mass in the Extraordinary Form" for you non-trads). My other "trad" credentials include starting a Gregorian schola (and seeing it kicked out of my parish by a spirit of Vatican 2 feminist music director), being rejected on various proposals to my pastor including A) to chant the propers of the mass in lieu of our horrid music program just once per month and B) inviting a willing priest to say the MEF in the chapel (again only once a month) and organizing a "Theology on Tap" knock-off to whine about these things (I say this tongue in cheek). If my wife would have it (and always when I was a bachelor), I'd even attend the Ukranian Catholic Divine Liturgy just to get my fix of raw beauty, reverence and the sacred. Hell... I'm a subscriber to The Crescat and if that don't make you a "trad", I don't know what does. (Also in good fun, Kat is a good friend of mine).

So I guess I'm a "trad" if we need to categorize ourselves. Now I don't have a problem with labels or categories and in fact, I categorize anyone who does as an idiot. And I don't have many negative things to say about the "trad" movement. I just want to remind myself in public (and readers can take it or leave it) that the MEF was the only mass available when that army of hippies so grossly and intentionally used Vatican II as a WMD against Catholic tradition. Traditionalism can't be the only answer to our woes. In fact, it can't even be the substantial portion of our answer.

Our problems are spiritual and spiritual problems aren't any different in substance now than they were 40 years ago. We're still at war against the same forces (spiritual not physical) and still have the same failures (sin not too much vernacular). Tim Jones discussed some of the peculiarities of our problem recently in his post on the "Tidal Wave of Technology". It's worth reading (though some seem to have missed his point). And I'm in total agreement with him, things are different now than they have been for various reasons - I mean the quality of our sin has remained though in some regard the quantity has increased. You probably need to read his post before you'll get what I'm saying here or how this ties in with what I'm trying to say. Now you know why I'm an amatuer blogger and not a professional writer.

So in a nutshell, some things are different these days - but essentially, we have the same problems as we always did - me and you (and those blasted liberals... I mean ya know.. especially those blasted liberals). The Church has always been full of sin, sinners, bad liturgy, hippies and feminists... just more hippies and feminists lately and new ways of sinning and particularly bad liturgy. A real "trad" is one who looks forward more than he looks back. Tradition (with a capital T) is always looking forward, is ever contemporary and is never whining.