1. Many “traditionalists” believe that the Novus Ordo Mass is either invalid or "objectively offensive to God."
2. Many “traditionalists” believe that the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council is qualitatively different from preceding councils, or invalid, or intrinsically heretical (modernist), or shot-through with modernist "ambiguity," or a corruption or "evolution" of received Catholic dogma -- as opposed to a consistent (Newmanian and Vincentian and Thomistic) development -- so that it is not binding on Catholics, and may be routinely opposed, and not obeyed.
3. Many “traditionalists” believe that Vatican II is the root and central cause of the present modernist crisis (as opposed to the machinations of theological liberals and heterodox, who "hijacked" or "co-opted," distorted and twisted the orthodox, papally-approved council for their own wicked ends).
4. Many “traditionalists” believe that the pontificates of John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II are qualitatively different from those preceding them, or that they have knowingly (or even unknowingly, as dupes) presided over the destruction of the traditional Catholic faith, passed down from the apostles, or that they are material or formal heretics.
5. Many “traditionalists” believe that (authentic Catholic) ecumenism, or the notion of religious liberty, or salvation outside the Church, properly understood in light of Sacred Tradition -- as promulgated and developed especially by Vatican II -- are radical innovations not present (not even in kernel form) in previous received apostolic Catholic Tradition.
6. Many “traditionalists” believe that the Catholic Church could actually institutionally depart from the True Faith (defectibility). This includes conspiratorial notions that the Church could be substantially and institutionally overthrown by movements such as Freemasonry, the New World Order, Radical Secularism or Humanism, Enlightenment philosophies, Protestantizing elements, etc.
Now, lest I be accused of caricaturing "traditionalism" (i.e., the most extreme variety, that I habitually critique, not simply devotion to the traditional Mass, etc.), three self-described traditionalists responded to these six points on my blog and stated what they agreed and disagreed with:
Kevin Tierney (blogmaster and apologist; remarks of 4-22-05):
". . . your six rather arbitrary points on traditionalism . . .  Of course not . . .  As far as reiterations of past dogma and even on policy manners, one cannot state the position is heresy, and a presumption that the Church just screwed everything up is not a healthy one . . .  Very few traditionalists I argue would say it is the root . . . unintended consequences . . .  . . . The Popes have acknowledged this, and with one approach or another have attempted to fight it, success in some areas, failure in others. Yet the law must be drawn at calling them heretics, for even if we were to have our suspicions (which I do not), . . . "Elsewhere, he didn't rule out some form of legitimate ecumenism, and I highly doubt that he would assert defectibility of the Church, so I will assume he rejects all six as well, rightly-understood.
Total: rejects 6 out of 6.
"Breier" (remarks of 4-22-05):
"I think I reject them all in the sense you probably take them . . . [this is correct; he rejects what I reject, and what he accepts, I was not dealing with] In any event, I tend to think your six points where not written with a thoughtful academic critique in mind, but were more directed to those we'd call "radical traditionalists," or generally people with more zeal than good sense." [correctamundo!!!!!]
Total: rejects 6 out of 6.
So we have unanimous agreement in rejecting (in a broad, general sense) the points I raise as distinguishing radical "quasi-schismatic traditionalism". Therefore, we proceed with this agreement, to our critique, where I believe I have demonstrated that this newspaper repeatedly espouses various of the six errors that the two men above agree with me are wrong. Since we all agree that they are errors, the only discussion remaining is whether I have incorrectly deduced an espousal of one or more of the six points, in particular instances. And that is a discussion where good men can disagree honestly in good faith (and also we might disagree on my present central thesis of denying that the Seattle Catholic is an advocate of "sensible, balanced, non-radical traditionalism"). So the agreements here are really quite a bit more significant than the disagreements.
Now I shall proceed to examine some articles that the Seattle Catholic saw fit to print, and determine whether they fall prey to any of these six very harmful characteristics. In other words, does this paper espouse a legitimate form of traditionalism, or one which contains the pernicious errors above? The answer is distressing, as you will see. Citations will be followed by a number in parentheses, in red, corresponding to one of the errors above.
* * * * *
Never Lose Focus on the Complete Picture
Thomas A. Droleskey (23 August 2004)
Even if Rome granted an Apostolic Administration for the Traditional Latin Mass, obeisance would still have to be paid to the disaster that is the Second Vatican Council and the horror that is the Novus Ordo Missae. (1) (2)
Rome itself must reject the regime of novelty of the past forty years, which is itself an ecclesial embrace of the very errors of modernity that coalesced into Modernism, critiqued so thoroughly by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Domenici Gregis in 1907. (3?) (4) (6?)
This, then, is my final contribution to the Seattle Catholic site, which is such a vital source of news and information on the Internet. . . . I will still try to produce articles twice a month for The Remnant. [a radical "traditionalist" periodical]
The Vatican II Renewal: Myth or Reality
Kenneth C. Jones (8 December 2003)
(The following article is reprinted with permission from The Latin Mass magazine.)
. . . it is beyond question that our Holy Mother Church is again falling into ruins . . . understand and respond to the emergency before it is too late. (6)
The myth that the Council did not cause the crisis in the Church — the post hoc ergo propter hoc objection. (3)
These hard facts show a growing, vibrant, militant Church at the time the Second Vatican Council opened. Attempts to portray it otherwise are revisionist history by those who want to justify or explain away the revolution in the Church since the Council. (3)
The final myth I want to discuss is the idea that the crisis we now face was not caused by the Council or the changes imposed in its name. (3)
I think the burden is on those who make the post hoc argument to offer a better reason. If the changes made after Vatican II did not cause the crisis, what did? They offer no other reason. (3)
. . . it's time we discard New Catholicism, as we discarded New Coke. It's time to bring back Catholicism Classic, the real thing. (3)
No Wonder Our Ranks Keep Growing
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (3 November 2003)
. . . the ongoing post-conciliar revolution. (3)
Isn't one interpretation of the catastrophe that has resulted from revolutionizing the Church that the pre-conciliar Church may have been on to something after all? (3)
Peter W. Miller (2 August 2004)
Responding to the ever-growing disenchantment many Catholics are starting to realize regarding what we are still being told is a "New Springtime" for the Church, a number of "Why Vatican II was Necessary," "How the Council Saved the Church," "Vatican II - We Love You," type of articles have been appearing with a greater frequency in a number of publications. With an underwhelming amount of direct evidence for positive results from Vatican II, the line of argumentation quickly turns to perhaps the last vestige of a revolutionary apologist - undocumented and largely anecdotal attacks on aspects of the pre-Conciliar Church. (2) (3)
Similarly, the post-Conciliar revolutionaries in the Church are having an increasingly hard time demonstrating the success of what they worked so hard to create. Faced with discouraging numbers and a universal impression of chaos to those within and without, they stubbornly stick to their guns. More and more people are starting to recognize the folly of this program, but when speaking out, are faced with the problem of authority since, by and large, those holding positions of authority in the Church are still those who wholeheartedly support the current revolution in which we find ourselves.
Catholic prelates are increasingly finding themselves in the position of Martin Luther, wondering why the revolution they helped facilitate is failing to draw new adherents, or why they are needing to fight a growing counter-effort seeking to undo what they have established. (3)
Revisiting Some Old Questions
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (25 July 2003)
The new rite itself, of course, by breaking dramatically with liturgical tradition, de-emphasizing important Catholic doctrines, and imposing bland, manufactured prayers, has severed one of the Catholic's most tangible links to the communion of saints. No longer does he worship in a manner that those who came before him would have recognized . . . Roman Rite Catholics have been rendered spiritual orphans, rootless and rudderless in a hostile world. (1)
Common Ground on the Catholic Crisis
Peter W. Miller (4 April 2003)
Most orthodox Catholics are by now able to readily acknowledge the severe crisis the Church is facing in a number of areas: liturgically, doctrinally, pastorally, morally, and so on. Although conservative and traditional Catholics may agree on many things (and most importantly the Doctrines of the Faith), their disagreement as to the specific causes and contributors (particularly the role played by recent Popes, the Second Vatican Council and the liturgical modifications) have been the source of an ever-increasing amount of friction and vitriol. (1) (3) (4)
More so than any other, the point of contention revolves around the Second Vatican Council and the role it played in "causing" the current crisis. Those who take up certain criticisms of the Council are accused of committing the logical fallacy, post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after the fact, therefore because of the fact); that is, they falsely assert something that happened after the Council was caused by the Council merely because of the temporal sequence. Such would be a legitimate criticism if that were the crux of traditionalist arguments, but once the issue turns to citing specific examples which support one's case, the defense must turn to a more direct refutation rather than a reiteration of a supposed logical fallacy that could no longer apply, if indeed it ever did at all. (3)
When speaking of the relationship between the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar crisis, "cause" is perhaps too strong a word. Rather than an originating cause of these problems, Vatican II was more of a catalyst or mechanism by which certain problems already affecting the Church were amplified and given an apparently authoritative basis. As mentioned before, liberalism can generally be regarded as the true cause; the argument then becomes whether Vatican II aided the advancement of liberalism which was already making strides in previous decades or effectively confronted and curtailed it. (3)
Although such figures show the difficulty of those who maintain or suggest that the Second Vatican Council was the sole cause or absolute starting point of all current problems in the Church (which I'm not certain anyone actually does, unfortunate choices of phrasing notwithstanding), arguing that the Council was not a "disaster" does not necessarily keep it from being characterized as a "failure". (2)
It doesn't take much imagination to surmise that had Vatican II never have come about, the Church would not be experiencing any glorious age in 2003. We would most likely be facing many of the same problems, but would they be as bad? Would Catholics accept all the claims of renegades if there were no Council to which they could appeal for authority? If the Mass itself were not drastically altered, would other changes have been possible? Without a Council to mark a shift the Church's orientation, would subsequent Popes have tolerated any of this?
If the post-conciliar Church were strong with faithful Catholics and effective governance, the Second Vatican Council would most likely not have had any significant negative impact and we would be living in better times. Vatican II was not inherently bad or evil, but due to the influence of liberals and the freedom they were given, certain deficiencies and ambiguities ended up in the resulting documents and were seized upon by most of those same individuals in order to drive through their agenda.
. . . To maintain that the Second Vatican Council was a destructive force which descended upon a glorious Church to usher in the present crisis is to overlook plain and basic facts; but to absolve it from any and all culpability due to the previous existence of problems or a tentative understanding on the nature and outcome of Ecumenical Councils demonstrates an even greater obstinacy. . [relatively helpful, qualified observations]
Conservative and Traditional Catholicism Compared
Edward Faber (21 March 2003)
There is perhaps no contemporary theological discussion that alienates the traditionalists from everyone else in the Church than ecumenism. The tremendous force of John Paul II in the ecumenical direction has been welcomed by the conservatives, who justly point out that they often have more in common with their evangelical friends than with their fellow Catholics. The traditionalist is very uncomfortable with the whole ecumenical thing as it seems to compromise the unicity of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. While many traditionalists often accuse Vatican II of saying what it does not say about ecumenism, they rightly remain perplexed when the Church seems to whisper apologies for being the fullness of truth while then performing actions, be it on the papal or the diocesan or the parochial level which blatantly compromise that fact. (5)
There is a great attempt on the part of conservatives to distinguish between a true and a false ecumenism while trying to uphold the unicity of Christ and Catholicism and reconcile ecumenism and evangelization. Much ink has been spilled on the matter without there being any convincing theological resolution. The traditionalist ignores all of this, . . . (5)
A Brief Defense of Traditionalism: Responding to certain attacks and misconceptions
Peter W. Miller (21 December 2001)
As the heretics of yesterday have become the liberals of today, the liberals of yesterday now lay claim to the title "conservative". Consequentially the conservatives came to be known as "traditionalists". Unfortunately, these terms are no longer completely accurate descriptions. So for the purposes of this essay, I will use the following general definitions to delineate the differences between traditionalists and "conservatives": (3) (4?)
TRADITIONALIST: One who challenges the novel practices and teachings of Catholics (including bishops and priests) which appear to contradict the prior teaching of the Church. A traditionalist questions the prudence of new pastoral approaches and holds the belief that those things generally deemed objectively good or evil several decades ago remain so today.
"CONSERVATIVE": One who upholds and defends the current policies and positions of the Church hierarchy regardless of their novelty. . . . "Conservative" will be used it in quotation marks to avoid the misleading connotation of being diametrically opposed to liberalism or on the far right of the spectrum. [i.e., "conservatives" are really "liberals"]
Again, some "conservatives" claim all current Papal actions to be completely consistent with his predecessors and Vatican II completely in line with the history of the Church, while the Pope and Cardinals claim and celebrate the opposite. (2) (4)
And why are "conservatives" the only ones defending these documents? Why don't the actual authors in the hierarchy provide clarifications? While many "conservatives" are quick to defend some of the novel language Ut Unum Sint or Dominus Iesus as perfectly orthodox, such defenses have not been regular or forthcoming from the Vatican. And (as with the Novus Ordo) since when does something "perfectly orthodox" even need a defense? (1) (2) (5)
Traditionalists tend to place the "blame" for many modern issues on the Vatican Council and the New Mass (also Church governance which could be seen as an extension of conciliar-style "ecumenism" and "collegiality"). (1) (3) (4) (5)
Traditionalists make a compelling case for the role the "renewal" of Vatican II has played in the modern crisis. . . . Traditionalists believe the Second Vatican Council to be harmful to the Church. (2) (3)
Which brings us to the much heralded "Spirit of Vatican II" which is used to justify any and every aberration or heresy. Regardless of whether you see this as an abuse of the Council or the result of the logical progression it unleashed (I tend to favor the latter), such novelties would have no excuse were it not for the Council, and the laity would be less likely to accept them. Novelties on a far smaller scale went on before the Council but received limited support and were clearly seen for what they were. (3)
"Conservatives" are faced with another problem when they start blaming the current crisis on certain dissenting bishops and priests who spread heresy, dissent and scandal. If they are to blame, so is their leader. Who is the one in charge of governing the bishops and priests? Who is responsible for keeping them in line? If local policemen start a riot, you can bet the police chief and mayor will be held accountable. When Palestinian suicide bombers attack Israel, Arafat will certainly be held to blame. When a company is facing bankruptcy and losses, the CEO needs to answer for it. Pick any organizational analogy you like — teachers, parents, sports teams, schools, businesses, organizations, societies — the result is the same. The state of a household in ruin has something to do with its head — whether through misguided actions or the lack of appropriate response. So any attack against a liberal Cardinal or dissident bishop is an implication of Our Holy Father. (4)
As a final clarification, most traditionalists do not see the Second Vatican Council and Novus Ordo as formal "causes" of the modern crisis but catalysts which allowed a number of Modernists to come to the forefront and foist their ideas and heresies on the Church under the guise of a "renewal". Both marked a sort of "triumph" of liberal, masonic and Modernist ideals within the structure of the Church. It is not wholly inaccurate to claim that:
"What the French Revolution was to France, the Second Vatican Council was to the Catholic Church." (1) (3)
While the validity of the sacrament may not be up for debate, the prudence of the decisions supporting the revision (revolution) of the Roman Missal is not beyond questioning, especially given one of its chief objectives. If one objects to the current ecumenical direction and practices which humiliate the Catholic Faith and cost countless souls, why should the Novus Ordo Mass receive immunity? (1)
The dissidents on the left who were rightfully shunned a half century ago have seen their ideals (religious liberty, collegiality, ecumenism) gain great measures of support in the Vatican. (5)
"Conservatives" would dread having to get down on their knees every night worrying what the Pope is going to do or say next; or how many potential converts are being lost due to the ecumenical shenanigans; or how an orthodox priest will ever be able to make it through a seminary without getting expelled for being too Catholic; or what type of man a College of Cardinals which includes Mahony and Kasper will elect to succeed John Paul II. (4) (5)
[yeah!!!! What kind of man would be elected by all those "conservative/liberal" John Paul II appointees? Well: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: without a doubt the "traditionalists"' very favorite and most-cited Cardinal (particularly with regard to lituregical abuses). What a "revolution" and conspiracy in the Church against "traditionalism" and orthodoxy, and a blow against reform of liturgical abuses, huh? What, did all these "conservative/liberal" Cardinals wake up overnight and discover the wondrous truths of "traditionalism", which caused them to elect the right man? Hmm????]
It is ludicrous to share in the Vatican illusion of a "Springtime of Vatican II" when all eye can see is a devastated vineyard. (3)
[in an older online version of this article (as late as February 2004; removed by April 2004), there was an additional section, entitled "POST SCRIPT: 'Wandering' aimlessly? ," where the author gives his thoughts about a controversy between The Wanderer and ["traditionalist" periodical] The Remnant. It's not clear whether the removal of this piece suggests a move away from more radical "traditionalism" on the part of Miller or not. His article, "Common Ground . . . ", above, contains some relatively balanced statements on Vatican II, so it could be indicative of a positive trend in his thought; yet the "Postcript" remained for about a year after this article appeared]:
The Remnant (an American traditional Catholic periodical whose editor was among the targets of the attack) published a series of responses which defended the individuals singled out, as well as Catholic traditionalism as a whole (FULL TEXT). The responses demonstrated the obvious inconsistencies of the attack and summarily refuted what anti-traditionalist arguments were made. To the objective observer, the original work was destroyed and the author embarrassed. As much was obvious even to a non-objective "conservative" observer. I know because I was one.
Like any good "conservative", I would react strongly against those who claimed that Vatican II or the Novus Ordo Mass had any deficiencies — they were both doctrinally sound but unexplainably hijacked and abused by evil men. (1) (2)
Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger were my role models and the shining examples of wonderful "conservative" Catholicism in an increasingly liberal world — the generals fighting the "culture of death". (4)
I knew all the "conservative" mantras: . . . "Pope John Paul II brought about the 'fall' of Communism"; (4?)
While the problems were already becoming quite apparent before even reading the responses, I (like several other "conservatives" I knew) acquired copies of The Remnant to read them for myself. What I knew would be a relatively easy defense became a complete and irrefutable annihilation of The Wanderer and the work they mistakenly chose to print.
Since that event, The Wanderer has been on a very questionable "trajectory". . . . The criticisms of Cardinals and bishops have become less frequent as the actions of their superiors in the Vatican have become more similar. (4)
The name is becoming more and more fitting as the direction in which this periodical is "wandering" becomes more and more unclear.