Sunday, March 16, 2014

I guess It's just the Ides

But I came home from Rome this evening feeling stabby. The conversation on the train-o was about whether Putin was going to keep going when he was finished taking Ukraine back into the warm embrace of Mother Russia. The conversation was made doubly interesting by the company; two of my companions were from the Baltics, one from a former Soviet state and another from Finland, where they fought one of the very few successful wars to fend off the enthusiastic ardour of the Stalinists.

So, y'all will forgive me when I say that I've not got a whole lot of patience for the stupidity that passes for Catholic debate in these difficult times. My friends were wondering whether they were going to have a country to call home in a few weeks or months. All the Europeans are wondering if they are going to be dragged into another war, either cold or hot.

So, really, Just at the moment, I've not got a lot of patience for the self-indulgence and chronic self-deception that American Catholics tend to be prone to. The grown-ups have things to think about over here.

But I see that my reservations about having a huge influx of new readers were justified. There has been an annoying little inflammation of itchy argumentation in the commbox below, with the newcomers apparently unable to understand that when I say we do not engage in such rudeness here, I really do actually mean it.

I see that I will also have to clarify what kind of site we have here.

This is the site of a Traditionalist Catholic. I do not adhere to the self-deception of the neocatholics. I gave all that up some years ago, and after much study and a good deal of pain, I have learned to reject the NewChurcian lies. I don't blame anyone for not being either ready to do this, or for not knowing enough to know the difference, but the one thing I really don't have any patience for are those who come in here and try to tell me that I don't know what I know. I also don't have any patience for rude, crass, American neo-Catholics trawling the blogs trying to generate arguments in order to boost their readership. It might be useful for the newbies here to remember that I am not an American and that in general, Americans do not endear themselves to the rest of the world with this kind of behaviour.

It's late, and I've had a very nice birthday in town, went to see the absolutely gorgeous Lawrence Alma-Tadema/Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at Santa Maria della Pace this afternoon, followed by an insanely huge meal of fish at my favourite Sardinian place near St. Peter's. There were presents and ridiculously overpriced tea at the Viennese Tea Room, and a long gaze at my all-time favourite Bruegel painting at the Doria Pamphilj gallery (and a couple of pretty good Caravaggios and Raphaels) and a nice private Mass at the St. Philip altar at the parish. More or less a perfect day.

So I'm not going to spoil it by staying up too late and getting into a big unpleasant thing, just because there are some people who don't have either any manners or enough to do with themselves, and who don't know how to disagree pleasantly.

I am only going to leave this:

I'm a Trad. I've been a Trad for ten years. I used to be a neo-con, but after a while, I just couldn't keep feeding that crocodile. Therefore, I not only know the difference between a Trad and a neo-con; much more importantly, I know that there is a difference. This is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of taxonomy. The recognition and identification of objectively discernible traits. And I've got exactly no patience at all for the people who try to tell me that by admitting the existence of these clearly discernable differences I am somehow trying to be "divisive" or "political".

Truth is divisive. Adherence to The Real is as divisive as Christ himself always told us it would be.

Suck it up.

Here are some links, in case you are wondering if I have ever had anything to say about it before:

First, define your terms:
Real things, things that exist in nature, have characteristics, observable accidents that can be quantified to help us decide what sort of things they are, and what sort of other things they are related to.

Of course, people don't like to be quantified in this way, and it is especially unfashionable now that political correctness has entered the fray. I can't tell you how many times I have heard the indignant cry, "I'm not a ____, I'm just a Catholic." Well, may I suggest that in the modern Church, if that is true, then you are, most likely, simply a lazy Catholic who has never bothered to learn anything about the Faith, to discover its depths and surprises and has never had an opportunity to find out what your reactions to those surprises will be. The Church is in crisis and is fragmented from top to bottom. If you are trying to claim that you are "just a Catholic" I suggest that you are attempting to wish these realities into the cornfield, a power you do not have. Grow up and get into the fight.

Very few modern Catholics know half of what the Church teaches, and if they did, it would scare them silly. Don't forget, most of them, even the "conservatives" think that feminism can be "Christianised," that it is natural and good for Church and State to be separated, that "freedom of speech" is a natural human right... a lot of rubbish, but it is rubbish upon which their entire universe is founded. It is no wonder, then, that they are scared stiff of the fullness of the Faith and get angry with Trads and call us names when we point out that they are infected with the Disease. (That and I think I mentioned Trads tend to be jerks about it.)

Traditionalism, therefore, is not "extremely conservative conservatism". "Traditionalist" is not a sliding term, it cannot be used as an adjective and it is certainly not part of a scale from Trad to Modernist. THERE IS NO SCALE.

Traditionalist can't be used as an adjective; it is only a noun. You can't be "more traditionalist" than someone else. You are, or you are not a Traditionalist. There could be such a thing as a conservative Traditionalist, I suppose, because "conservative" can be used as an adjective. And in theory there could be such a thing as a "liberal" Traditionalist, but the thing is what it is.

I am a Traditionalist. This totally precludes me from being "a conservative" (noun). I do indeed also happen to be quite a conservative Trad, but that is using the term "conservative" as an adjective to describe my personal style and attitudes. The issue here is the difference between substance and accident. I am not a conservative of any kind. I am a Traditionalist.

My buddy Chris explains it all to you
Where there are differences, one must make distinctions. And in the Church there are differences (and how!) and therefore we make the distinctions as best we can. (Taxonomy is the least exact of all the biological studies).

It is not pious or noble to try to ignore these differences or to sneer at the people who are attempting in good faith to clear away the dishonest effort made by many churchmen over the last 50 years to paper over and ignore these differences, to the harm of millions.

Now, I'm going to bed. And tomorrow I'm going to be out, and after that I'm going to Umbria for a week. So you can all just go look at cat videos for a while.



Dave Heath said...

Bravo...well said and well written.

Wendy in VA said...

It's selfish of me, I know, but I do wish you'd use your superpowers.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

I would use them for good...

at first...

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Anonymous said...

America loves you. America wants to be close to you. Why do you keep pushing America away? - Karen

Seraphic said...

Happy belated birthday, dear Hilary!


Anonymous said...

Being a shameless self-promoter, I advise one and all of my birthday a good many weeks ahead of time, having learned several years ago in my hometown that the good intentions of well-wishers will earn me free beer for at least a month before and after the blessed event.

Now, I wake to find that I missed your day when last night I was making merry with friends in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day. Had I remembered it was not only the vigil of said feast but Hilary Day as well, I would've had an excuse to quaff one more pint. Keeping that news to yourself until after the fact has deprived you of the honor, and me of the refreshment, an oversight I pledge to remedy over tonight's corned beef and cabbage.

Happy Birthday!

Gerard Brady said...

A belated Happy Birthday from a fellow Traditionalist.

Gerard Brady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Agellius said...

It's been a long while since I was here. I'm glad to see you're still going strong. Happy birthday. : )