View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Orthodox vs. Traditional (Traditionalist)

On Saturday I went to our local Catholic bookstore. Given my bibliophile ways, that's always a risky thing to do.

My main reason for going was that in an anthology of Catholic poetry I had come across some poems by Jessica Powers (Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit). I liked them, and I remembered spotting a collection of her poems at the store.

I did indeed find The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, which I bought. But as always happens with visits to the store, I left with a few other books as well.

I found a copy of Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, which I had wanted to read. I also found O Holy Night, a collection of Christmas poetry (and I collect both religious poetry and things Christmas).

But the first book I am reading from that trip is The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism by David J. Hartline.

Early in the book, Hartline offered in a footnote some "clarification" about the differences between "orthodox" and "Traditional" Catholics.

He says an orthodox Catholic is "someone who holds to and obeys the authentic teachings of the Church." Traditionalists may be orthodox, but they "are characterized by their profound attachment to the pre-Vatican II Mass."

He goes on to point out that some of these Traditionalists are not orthodox because of their beliefs that some portions of Second Vatican Council are not valid, or attach themselves to "schismatic movements that have rejected the authority of reject the authority of their local bishops and the Pope."

Hartline's clarification makes sense to me. Although I have had my wanderings and spiritual missteps I think I would qualify as orthodox, but clearly not a Traditionalist. I follow the teachings of the Church, but I am not one who has a strong desire to attend pre-Vatican II Masses, nor have I rejected Vatican II. I have attended some pre-Vatican II Masses, and thought they were nice and applauded the fact that they clearly meet some people's spiritual needs, but did not feel the need to attend regularly myself.

I have probably improperly used the terms "orthodox" and "Traditionalist" interchangeably before, but will refrain from doing so any more.

As for me, I guess I am an orthodox Catholic. That label is okay with me.



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