And this morning I'm going to try to put the whole thing into words, to make sense of it myself.
Lately, if your frequent the Catholic blogosphere like I do, you've likely seen the phrase "Rad Trad" pop up here and there, usually written into a sentence in the same way you might inject a swear word. I see the phrase and I'll admit that I'm instantly uncomfortable. I dislike it because I know what's going to follow... and I have yet to see it used in a way that's going to unify the Church Christ entrusted to Peter.
It doesn't help matters that I find the title very much mixed in with part of my own identity. Am I a Traditionalist (they always write it with a capital T so I guess I will too)? I cover my head. We pray the rosary as a family. I only wear dresses and skirts. And yes, I prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, although I have another internal struggle going on as to whether or not we'll be able to continue to attend with Patrick's lovely incense allergy. I pray in English and Latin when the mood strikes. Does that make me a Traditionalist? A Rad Trad?
I'm not sure. I tend to think of myself as a Catholic, plain and simple. The rest of the stuff surrounding it is preferences that do make it easier for me to live my faith. They add to it. But at the end of the day, with everything else cut away, I am just me, a person who believes that Christ founded the Church with Peter ("And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." Matthew 16:19) and who can't imagine life without the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist ("Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 54He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. 55For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever." John 6: 53-58)
I've turned the annoyance I've felt lately over, again and again, in my mind... Why am I personally offended when I hear Rad Trad used in a tirade? It's usually used with a disclaimer like: "Well this Rad Trad scum... no offense to the rest of you... I mean, you're not all like that... but..." And I think I've finally began to uncover an answer. It would probably be a little less offensive if we ever heard anything other than negative rants attached to those words.
Every time I read any number of my favorite bloggers posts with a reference to "Traditionalists" it is attached to some sort of extremist negativity about how we're doing it wrong. It usually involves someone being portrayed as crazy. There is never anything nice or complementary said. It's always about how we're some far out, set in our ways group and they'll usually throw in that we're someone or another's "minions" and we sound a little bit brainwashed or brainless depending on the post, and likely racist and hateful.
And I want to raise my hand and say: "Yeah, I'm sure there are people who love tradition and prefer the EF who are like that, just like I'm sure there are people who prefer the OF who are like that..." because we all have tendencies towards our own particular temptations and yes for some, that particular sin, all wrapped up in an ugly sort of pride, is the poison they're predisposed to. But I'm sick to death of only hearing about how Rad Trad's are screwing up everything, every time I read my favorite blogs.
Can we stop sowing division now? Ease up on the name calling a bit? Maybe if you're really concerned with those icky "Rad Trads" that offend you so, so much every time they speak, you could try praying for them instead of writing post after post about how absurd you find them, which does offend plenty of your Brothers and Sisters in Christ who also have simple preferences that differ from your own.
One writer I read recently said that all Rad Trads must speak out every time any Traditionalist says anything stupid. Apparently it's some sort of unwritten obligation. And I couldn't help but find that ridiculous. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to give some obscure madman a platform on my blog just because they claim to prefer the EF and we have that in common, so I therefore must write about how they're wrong. That's insanity. Sometimes I do write about the outrageous-ness in the world, but I think you'd all get a little tired if I went off on a rant every time I saw a story about evil that screamed out for justice, because I'd have to write at least a half dozen rants every time I turned on my computer.
Go ahead and speak out against idiots when you find them... but if you could consider not lumping the rest of us in with them... well, I'm sure I'm not the only one who would appreciate it. Instead of responding to hate with hate, maybe responding with truth... plain, simple, beautiful, vibrant truth... would sway more hearts and minds towards your words.