The Fruits of Trent, Plus Opinionology

computer_monitorAL suggested something of an anti-traditional crusade on my part. I don’t deny that I find many aspects of traditional Catholicism lacking: the promotion of uniformity, poorly performed chant, clericalism, opposition to key movements from Vatican II, an adversarial tack with much of the world, pessimism, and a slowness in responding to the times in which we live.

And yet each of these are flip sides of some great graces which blessed Roman Catholicism from the mid-16th to the mid-20th century.

Uniformity produced a great sense of Catholic identity. In my original parish, the Germans and the Italians might have feuded from time to time, but they quickly closed ranks and stood together during the immigrant decades in the US.

Chant might have been poorly performed, but even those who misunderstood the genre needs life and pulse knew they were continuing a great tradition of sacred art.

Trent’s initiative to mandate celibacy, seminaries, and substantial training gave the Church thousands of fine priests who were well-prepared to lead and serve.

The Western world was turned upside down, and name your cause: sex, rock music, the military-industrial complex, communism, world war, television, suburbs, the interstate highway system, inbred Euro-aristocrats, the French Revolution, or the Enlightenment. If Vatican II’s implementation in some parishes wasn’t ham-fisted, why wouldn’t one lump a few thousand bishops and two popes into the category of “suspect”?

Is that enough of a list?

My consistent criticism of traditional-leaning Catholics is their internet misbehavior, especially when it’s conveniently pseudonymous. I’ve also been a consistent critic of those who might want to impinge on the net’s freedom to write. I think people can write what they want. And if I disagree, I’ll write a reply here or on another site. I’m not trying to censor anybody, or even suggest that they should be shut down or fired or excommunicated.

A day after I write something nobody reads it ever again. End of conversation. I don’t preface my writing with “imo” or “imho” or even “imnsho.” This is the blogosphere. It’s all about opinion. More accurate to call it the “opinionsphere.” Please: don’t give me or this site any more credibility than just another opinion.

If people don’t like my opinions, they can choose not to read them. If it’s on someone else’s site, they can delete them or ban me.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to The Fruits of Trent, Plus Opinionology

  1. AL says:

    I have no problem with, and actually enjoy, substantive criticism of elements of traditionalism. But the personal feuds are a waste of bits. “He started it,” doesn’t make it any better. Half the internet is about people attacking people. It’s hardly noteworthy. Sure, substantive critiques can bleed over into the personal but even then it should be rooted in substance.

  2. Joe Mcmahon says:

    Thanks for your opinions here and on other blogs. Please allow a few diverse comments from me: 1) It is helpful to read John O’Malley’s “Trent: What Happened at the Council,” because it explains how the civil powers were hoping to reform the papacy, but the papacy got many reforms going at lower levels and escaped. 2) Charles Borromeo made the mistake of “reforming” pious associations of women (as St. Angela Merici’s successors) by walling them in (Aut murus aut maritus). One hits first the ones without clout. 3) I attended more than 25 years of Tridentine liturgy. The reforms made sense. We now hear some of the Hebrew scriptures proclaimed! In my elementary school days, epistle and Gospel were read to the wall.

  3. Atheist Max says:

    Props for not censoring.
    I learn from people I disagree with. And a little intellectual jousting keeps the mind sharp and sensitive to the perspectives of others.

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