Friday, August 30, 2013

Dave Armstrong's clarifications... what makes one a RadCathR or Madtrad or any other thing.

I have been rather critical of Dave Armstrong lately for his take on a Vortex a while back.  I do hope that in taking on the matter I did not scandalize anyone. Armstrong has been a noted apologist and convert for a long time and he probably feels what he said was just.  I disagree with him viametly but respect him as a person and encourage you to use his work as an apologetical source.
He does have this need to go after what he calls RadCathR’s, which means radical Catholic reactionaries.  Others like Patrick Coffin of Catholic Answers have labeled the perceived phenomenon as MadTrads.  As a general rule of thumb sites like Rorate Caeli, The Remnant,, Harvesting the Fruits of Vatican II and others fall into this distinction.  I myself frequent such sites and really have no concern as to any label placed on me by anyone.  I love the work of the now deceased Michael Davis, John Senior and Walter Matt, who while traditionalists and probably RadCathR’s to Armstrong remained faithful to the Church, giving obedience due and pointing out the things that needed to either be clarified or fixed going forward. 

In his article where he defends his criticism of Voris (which I thought was better but still problematic), Mr. Armstrong delves into how RadCathR’s can be identified.  I have posted them below and his reason for labeling Voris as such.  I will put myself into the list and see were I come out.  Enjoy!  :-P

My quick four-point identifier of RadCathRism is one who continually and vehemently:

1. Bashes the Novus Ordo.
[I myself don’t go out of my way to bash the ordinary form, or the Novus Ordo whichever way people wish to label it.  I assist at the local Ancient Rite mass at St. Stans in Milwaukee on Sundays and most Holy Days, but it is hard to be there during the week because its not down the street from work, and the Mass times are not helpful.  Therefore I tend to assist at the local OF at The Gesu downtown early in the morning.  It’s the typical Jesuit mass (get the picture), but it’s the same Christ and that’s why I go.  I do have some major concerns with the OF which does play into my theological thinking on the liturgy.  We need to make distinctions like things that are actually part of the NO, and things that were later allowed to be applicable in the NO.  For instance when the new missal was issued by Ven. Paul VI in 1969 there was a push by some including Paul VI (I do have the quotes just ask) to set up the new liturgy so as not to offend protestants in order to draw them in quicker.  Things like the elimination of the collect, eliminating the final Gospel, a lectionary bent on broadness avoiding confrontation at times like Pauls writing against sodomites in Romans and multiple optional prayers are major issues which honest Catholics can and should be aware of and discuss.  Not that we expect anything to change, but we can hope for more.  His Holiness emeritus Benedict XVI called for mutual enrichment of the two forms.  Now put aside that im not sure how the NO is supposed to enrich the TLM outside of driving people to it quicker, we should not be afraid to delve into liturgical issues including how the missal was put together in the first place which many including Catholic Culture have condemned others for doing in the first place.  Below I have posted three videos delving into the NO’s formation by Voris (warning it’s an honest take with citations that doesn’t fit the go along to get along attitude many apologists take today).

2. Bashes Vatican II.

[I don’t bash Vatican II because I see no reason to blanket condemn anything including a valid ecumenical council with all that follows that designation.  Asking for greater clarity or asking whether something actually has binding authority attached to it doesn’t necessitate bashing of anything, its more a matter of putting forth questions that at never answered for reasons not to be mentioned here.  We need to be honest about the council and what it said, and how it applies to us, and I don’t think such clarity can be expected anytime soon.  For instance Cardinal Ratzinger and others were critical of parts of the council but were not bashers.  I think its fair to say even the SSPX really aren’t, as a fraternity, about bashing Vatican II, so much as them are calling those responsible for Holy Mother Church to be clear on the council and the documents that followed.]

3. Bashes popes (since Pius XII).
[Being critical of a Pontiff is not wrong in itself.  Now have the Popes since the council done foolish, or even perceptively wrong things.  I think its possible to say yes to this.  Do we condemn them?  No, we need to be objective about their actions however. This includes Pius XII and even St. Pius X, who anyone familiar with traditionalist thought would know is venerated greatly but his change to the breivery is often criticized.  Pius XII’s change to the Holy Week liturgies is also criticized by trads so its not really about being pre or post conciliar.]

4. Bashes ecumenism.
[Ok I have to be honest here.  When I hear ecumenism a couple things pop up into my head.  Perhaps Terrance you can comment on this.  First is the picture of the ecumenical service at St. Al’s in Greendale were different protestant sect leaders make their way down the aisle in procession along with the priests of St. Al’s for Good Friday service.  This service has really nothing to do with the liturgies that are to be offered according to the rubrics for the day.  In effect its more about reading Christs last words and expounding upon them.  While this might make us feel good about ourselves that we are not killing each other, there is a real problem with indifferentism that penetrates such events (I use this word willingly).  Is it good to have heretical groups parade down the aisle?  Is it good to have people that support heretical thoughts given a pulpit to espouse their views openly to what is usually mostly Catholics who attend the event?  Are their views on things like the atonement which will be necessarily addressed, worthy of being said so as to create confusion on the difference of doctrine for protestants and Catholics?  While most of us accept them as separated bretheren and therefore Christians of a heretical viewpoint, that does not necessitate us pretending that they are due any greater respect for their actions and their views.  I wish to remind the reader that the purpose of ecumenism can be put simply in that such engagements are done so as to call those separated from the Catholic Church back into her fold.  This includes primarily the Orthodox because they have churches, and to lesser extents the protestants who are ecclesial communities as Cardinal Ratzinger put it is Dominus Iesus as confirmed by JPII.  Such gatherings are a grace for the protestant or Orthodox to willingly accept and come home.  If we forgo this final purpose in favor of a mutual non aggression pact we fail Christ who calls all to the unity that the Catholic Church Herself is.  I myself delve into ecumenism but make it clear to anyone that I speak to the necessity of the Church for their salvation.  To forgo that is to mock Christ who is His Church.  Charity rests in Truth.]

Voris definitely (rather outrageously) does #1, did #2 to a large extent in a video about the alleged profound "ambiguities" of Vatican II; I haven't seen him do #3. He did #4 big-time in a pathetic video (August 2013) about Pat Robertson that engaged in some of the worst anti-Protestant vitriol that I've ever seen.
[My comments above should suffice here along with my take on his commentary of the Pat Roberson video can be found a few posts back if your bored.]

Therefore, I conclude that if I have to choose a classification for him, it must be radical Catholic reactionary at this time. It's not too late for him to reform his views and become a mainstream "traditionalist" (if I could become a Catholic, certainly anything's possible!)
[Not sure what it means to be a mainstream traditionalist.  I would assume it would mean merely a preference for the Latin Mass.  If this is true he does nothing helpful. No so called traditionalist is really interested in being mainstream to begin with.  Our love for the ancient rite, as stated earlier is not merely a preference, but theologically linked.  I cant really think of who is a mainstream traditionalist.  Even FSSP priests are generally shunned for their stance on certain documents of the council.  Perhaps he is appealing to Taylor Marshall who assists with his family at a tridentine mass.  I don’t think I would call him mainstream seeing as he only recently has done so, the same goes for myself.]

The stark differentiation between "traditionalist" and radical Catholic reactionary is very important to acknowledge, so that folks who simply prefer the TLM (Tridentine / extraordinary form) and liturgical tradition are not wrongly classified as radicals and extremists. 
[Well this could open a can of worms]

I don't think Voris is a "kook" and I hold out hope for him to modify his views, where he is not in line with the Mind of Holy Mother Church
[On what exactly he is out of line with im not sure], but to classify him as a mainstream "traditionalist" would be a disservice to those who truly are in that category [This is one of the reasons I don’t like categories.  People that go to the NO are not any less catholic or mainstream then myself.  Even those who are critical of the council while accepting its validity are not outside the realms of Holy Mother Church.  There will always be head butting by so called trads and novus ordo types, neither should be shunned or mocked but listened to attentively.] I've staked out these definitions (I think, rationally and sensibly), and I have to apply them consistently and fairly.

May God lead all of us -- with His grace and power -- into the fullness of truth, and give us the wisdom and humility to accept correction when we are wrong. Lord, help us to be open to that!

All of my papers devoted to Michael Voris can be found on my Radical Catholic Reactionaries vs. Catholic Traditionalism page, in one section devoted to him.
[Mark Shea is jealous]

So what can we take away from it?  Dave is sincerely concernced about Michael Voris.  He holds that being critical of the council, ecumenism, Popes and the Holy Mass in its ordinary form is unacceptable, probably anathema.  He has set up distinctions within the traditionalist movement, distinguishing many as reactionaries and outside the mainstream of traditionalism (which I would beg to differ). You can read the rest of his article for yourself, it is informative and generally readable without anger consuming you.  Have a fantastic day!


  1. Delighted to hear that mainstream "traditionalists" (like yourself) can read my post without dissolving into a froth of anger and detestation and melting like the wicked witch of the west. :-) I'll even link to this on my Facebook page.

    I thought you were charitable. Thanks. God bless!

    1. thank you for you're kind words and repost. It is greatly appreciated have a great day!