Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The first feast day of St. John Paul II

Pope St. John Paul II passed on to his eternal reward one week after I was received into the Catholic Church. Sometimes I wonder if that was what pushed him over the edge.

I credit JPII with starting me on the road to being the Traditionalist crank that I am today. Like many converts, I was high on papal encyclicals when I was studying the faith on my own. It must have been the second or third confession I ever made, but I got into an argument with the priest over moral theology. He told me that it's virtually impossible to commit a mortal sin unless you consciously and willfully intend to reject God forever when you perform the sinful act. I retorted, "Excuse me Father, but JPII condemned that idea." Which he did, in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor. The short version is that some actions are objectively evil and no intentions or circumstances can possibly make an objectively evil act into a good act, although they can lessen the acting subject's culpability before God.

The priest got huffy over my citing JPII but still gave me absolution. Even before I became Catholic, I knew that progressives and heretics tended to bemoan the reactionary tyranny of JPII and how he was obstructing the Spirit of Vatican II with his Polish obstinacy and outdated theology. I always sigh and say, "If only, if only..."

The incident got me wondering what else priests and bishops were either getting wrong or actively concealing. I was already dismayed over how Protestantized the Novus Ordo appeared compared to what I was expecting. That was when I decided to learn more about Vatican II. I knew of it, of course, but I didn't realize it's watershed status until later. Nine years later and I'm the lovable Trad grump I am today.

Ideally we shouldn't need to use labels like Traditionalist because all Catholics are Traditionalists to some degree. Even the most wacked out liberal priest puts on vestments for Mass that have existed in one form or another since Antiquity. Labels have become necessary these days. How else are we to distinguish between heretics like Kasper and good men like Burke? So I accept the label of Traditionalist when others use it to describe me, and I use it as a shorthand way of describing the kind of Catholicism I signed up for and expected to find in every parish. It's not in every parish, to put it mildly.

No comments:

Post a Comment