For the ‘good’ traditionalist the Old Mass is something he adds to the ‘hobbies’ section of his Facebook page. He likes the late Beethoven piano sonatas, jogging, karate, Minesweeper, Iron Chef, knee-length socks and the Old Mass but would never criticize the New Mass. After all, he's a 'good' little traditionalist!
A particularly endearing distinction made by neo-Catholics concerns the difference between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ traditionalist. The difference is never explicitly iterated, but as far as I can tell, a ‘good’ traditionalist just so happens to prefer the Old Mass, whereas a ‘bad’ traditionalist also feels it necessary to criticize the New Mass in some such way.
If we are to listen to the neo-Catholic, it is apparently perfectly fine to like the Old Mass, as long as the reasons for that particular preference are completely superficial. The ‘good’ traditionalist has no problem with the new prayers, versus populum, communion in the hand, the three-year lectionary, altar girls, lay lectors, and the like. That is to say, the ‘good’ traditionalist is quite happy to know that other people prefer that stuff. It’s merely that he personally just so happens to not like that stuff as much. He subjectively prefers the Latin language, ad orientem, the old prayers, silent reverence, and all of those old, charming, traditional things.
Are traditionalists really just a bunch of snooty, confused, rebellious, prideful dimwits?
We had to recently endure a burst of man-bites-dog rhetorical rambling from sundry atheist intelligentsia. For a while there, it seemed that an innocent window shopper couldn’t even walk past his local bookstore without being shown the most recent manifestation of atheist testimonial, or the latest naturalist ‘refutation’ of God. Alas, like any faddish movement, New Atheism has lately lost some steam. People seem to have grown tired of the screeds, or perhaps the open-minded and unaffiliated came to realize that the en vogue ‘naturalist’-based critique of religion was just so much clever, provocative sophism, helped along by a good publicist or two. Of course, one of the main reasons that this movement slowed down, was that it quickly became clear (to those paying attention) that the atheist evangelists were broken records. Richard Dawkins in particular seemed unable to deal with counter arguments. He had to find fresh meat to get any traction, forced as he was to rely on his original script. Eventually, audiences unfamiliar with theist rebuttals became thin on the ground.
For in addition to thoroughly misunderstanding the cosmological argument, Dawkins also seemed content to rhetorically demolish a hackneyed version of the ‘intelligent design’ argument. Then again, it wasn’t so much that he was ‘content’ with this argument as that he was unable to deal with the real arguments of the classical theist. Quite frankly, I don’t blame him for avoiding the good stuff. His own silly version of the theist could be fantastically and impressively bludgeoned with the Dawkinsian brand, to great effect; it was simply poor strategy to change course.
A Letter from a Recent Lutheran Convert
Dear Folks at The Remnant:
I've been a lurker to your website for a while, and a subscriber to your fine newspaper for a few months now. Your paper has been a continual source of clarity and....well, sanity.
You mentioned in a recent YouTube shtick (it was with Matt and Ferrara), that you were going to devote future YouTube conversations to the problem of the New Mass. It made me think of my own case.