Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Exchange on Whether I am Wrong to Prohibit Bashing of the Pauline Mass on My Facebook Page

By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong (1-9-13)

This took place on a recent Facebook thread. Eugene Cunningham's words will be in blue, a person wishing to be anonymous, in green, and Jeff Kantor's in purple.

* * *

As usual on this topic, if the thread gets derailed into long rabbit trails and controversies and overall foolishness, I still control the delete button on my Facebook page. And I still determine the direction and content and "impression to readers" of this page: what I want it to be for the best of all.

Dave: I have not followed your threads on this issue. I am no sede v. or 'radtrad' but indeed believe what was done to liturgy post VII was a disaster and a mistake. I read Michael Davies and think his findings are correct. Are you familiar with him, and if so, have you an opinion?

Yeah, I am. I think the Pauline Mass itself is fine; abuses of it are not. The Church (notably the pope in 2007) says that both forms of the Mass are equally sanctioned and approved. That should be significant and noteworthy enough to end the discussion.

Everyone has a right to worship as they wish, and should cease blasting the Mass they prefer less (stick to criticizing real abuses). Worship and let worship. Live and let live. A simple enough concept, but lots of folks don't want to comply.

I have to disagree with a few of those principles . . . 

I don't allow bashing of the Pauline Mass on my Facebook page (just so all are aware).

Not 'bashing' but valid legit. disagreement/ critique based on facts - I hope you allow that.

No, I don't allow here what the pope says ought not to be done. One either accepts the judgments of the Church or not. We can agree to talk about abuses in the Mass and lack of reverence, which are somewhat widespread.

Then I opt out. Its not a real discussion when one party tells the other side what it can/ cannot say. I'll start my own thread on my page.

I'm simply abiding by what the Holy Father and the Church desire, as a teacher in that same Church. If someone thinks that is censorship, so be it. Catholics get accused of all kinds of things. It's not censorship. It's responsible stewardship of my time and what is presented on my page, with nearly 5,000 potential readers (actually more, because all my stuff is public). You know I don't want this discussed here. So why do you try to push it? Like you said, you could do a post on your site.

Wow, I greatly overestimated you.

That's fine. I wasn't living for your approval anyway.

You want to have a discussion with traditionalists and people who are inclined that way. But you don't want to hear anything at all about what they think. Or why.

Hogwash. All I said was that the New Mass will not be allowed to be bashed on this page (while abuses of it and lack of reverence can be). I just got through writing a book on the topic, that contains no less than six dialogues, based on actual encounters with real (mainstream) "traditionalists" (at least two of them, my personal friends). They are constructive and useful (or else I wouldn't have included them). So you have no idea what you're talking about.

Of course it's not forbidden for Catholics to discuss whether or not the New Mass was a good or a bad idea.

It is on my page, because thousands of people come by here, and I don't want anyone to be led astray. That's my responsibility under God. I tried to present the reason why. It's perfectly legitimate. My call; my page; my life under God. If someone doesn't like that, they can lump it. If it were at my house, with just a few people present, it'd be entirely different.

Or whether Popes can abuse their authority.

Of course they can (and many through history have in fact). I said nothing about not writing about that.

Or how Catholics should respond when they do. If you don't want to discuss those ideas freely then you don't really want to talk to traditionalists.

Right; which is clearly why I have six respectful dialogues with them in my book . . .

You just want to grandstand.

And you obviously want to judge wrongly.

And don't hide behind the Pope's skirts as an excuse.

I'll gladly do that anytime, thank you (and be proud of it, too).

He doesn't act that way and didn't before he was Pope.
He doesn't run this page, either; nor do you.

So that's all just self-serving bs which you know to be untrue.

Right. Now you have become a mind-reader, too, huh, besides being a harsh judge of Holy Mother Church and her teachings and policies . . .

It's not censorship of course. It's your own page.

A rare truth amidst the bilge of your comment . . .

It's just cheap and small and wearisome. Have a nice life.

You, too. [Jeff unfriended me; I promptly blocked him, since anyone can post on my page unless they are blocked]

But small success to you with projects like this until you grow up!

God bless you and very best wishes for a glorious 2013. We did have some good conversations in the past two years. I'll try to remember those, and not this farce.

As for my willingness to discuss and dialogue with authentic "traditionalists" [as opposed to extremist RadCathRs] (Jeff ludicrously claimed that I have no such desire), it should also be noted that I did so just a few days ago, again, to my satisfaction and also my dialogue partner's. Unfortunately, the dialogue had to be taken down for extraneous reasons (by his request), but it still happened, thus putting the lie to the accusation I have received today. 

Dave -thanks for deleting my reasonable post there (good payback for buying, reading your books, reading your site). It might be a good idea to distinguish between 'radtrad' schismatic/sede types, and faithful RCs (like me) 

I've been doing that for many years and spent a great deal of effort making it clear in my book. It would be nice if folks would actually read what I wrote about the very things I am accused of. Wouldn't that make it a lot easier to talk intelligently? Cut me a little slack!

. . . who have legit and well-founded gripes, who spent decades being miserable at moonwalk masses, etc. longing for something reverent and holy, only to be told we need to shut up, accept the non-sense placed before us as correct worship. As one friend of mine said, we are the Church's "house ni**ers", the folks who are faithful to the massa, amen everything he says, stay in his house defending him, and for 'rewards' get table scraps (indult masses, occasionally, in holes-in-the-wall chapels at odd hours once a month), but are still treated with contempt.

I delete anything that bashes the Pauline Mass, Eugene. It was a simple rule and easy to understand (agree or disagree). You disagree. Great. That's why you have the freedom to write about whatever you want to on your blog.

As for your freedom to worship as you please, I've favored that for 22 years. That's why I attend the cluster parish which is one of just two or three in the Detroit area that offers Latin Masses: both Novus Ordo and Tridentine (the midnight Mass at Christmas in my parish was TLM). If you want to go after at me, even in those areas where I am in full agreement with you, you can do so, but it accomplishes little that I can see.

I defend those who want to worship at the TLM just as vigorously as I do the opposite, and had a vigorous run-in with a regular on this page about that topic.

Jeff was classy enough to apologize on my blog. Here it is:

I owe you an apology for speaking to you harshly and uncharitably on Facebook. I don't think we'd probably enjoy each other much on Facebook for a while--something about our attitudes on thi
s subject is apt to make for rancor. But you are my brother in Christ and that matter more than acres of irritation. I am sorry! God bless.

I replied:

Hi Jeff,

Fair enough. I appreciate it and accept your apology. I'll unblock you. You defriended me, so that's up to you, what you want to do with that. If you're unblocked, you are still able to post on my page, because all posts are open to the public. I'll also post your apology on Facebook, which is only fair to you.

God bless you too, and all the best.

Again, round and round we go. Yes, yes, yes, you have a 'rule' to not 'bash' the Pauline mass. I'm sorry, but valid, intellectual critique over a non-theological, non-doctrinal issue is not 'bashing.'

I decide the policy and how to implement it, and what constitutes definition (it being my page). Even if some of that discussion were acceptable, it is still the case that it becomes a free-for-all, and RadCathRs will come in and wreck the entire post. It's already happened several times. One tires of that. If you guys can't muzzle the weirdos and fringe elements of your own group, then don't expect me to put up with them trying to hijack my threads.

[replying to someone else] Where did I say any rites where 'not valid'? That's what's implied here. Also -Dave -so-and-so 'at least had the decency to apologize' -implying I should, didn't. What to apologize for here?

Of course you don't have to apologize for simply being difficult and crabby lately. Nothing implied anything. Chill out.

Dave, only a short comment for now [ha ha!]. I was a bit surprised by this move of deleting whole discussion and posting of only your own comments. 

Yeah, me too. I thought adults should be able to act sensibly. But as it was, the first thread reached a point where it was more harmful than constructive (in terms of a pedagogical function): at which point it was taken down. In the case of a recent posted dialogue, however (and the thread preceding it, where it initially occurred), extraneous factors required that they be taken down (by the direct request of my dialogue opponent). It had nothing whatsoever to do with me wanting to shut down discussion (which he can confirm, if it comes to that). To the contrary, I spent significant time preparing the dialogue last Saturday, and intended to continue it in further installments, but we were not able to do so. It was a good and worthy reason: just vastly different from your conspiracy theories.

But now your comments have been posted and remain! Life is inexplicable, isn't it? Maybe one day you'll even figure me and my motivations out, and figure out that I have acted in perfect consistency with my consistent Catholic principles.

This could make an impression of sophisticated tactic for an attempt of mental and psychological winning the case instead of a real theological confrontation with arguments, which in my opinion weren't answered so I'll try to post them again. 

Nice try. It's fascinating how different reality actually is, compared to cynical conspiracy theories that give a person the least benefit of the doubt as to motives and intentions. But I've come to expect insults from RadCathRs It's nothing new, and nothing (like all the other insults I receive from various predictable groups whose views I critique) that will ever sway me from my apologetic task, my mission, and calling. Many have tried to shut me up and/or shut me down. All have failed, and I am still pressing ahead with more vigor than ever.

Meanwhile, my general predisposition, as I've mentioned many times (surely you saw at least one of those) is not to go round and round with RadCathRs. I made an exception in the case of the fated dialogue that now won't take place, but that's just it: it was an exception to the rule.

I'm now occupied with my new book, The Quotable Aquinas: a project I trust that even RadCathRs and most "traditionalists" will appreciate without controversy.

At first I shall comment some of your thoughts expressed in the article: Definitions: “Traditionalist” vs. “Radtrad” / Supposed “Neo-Catholics”. [later revised, so some of the quotes below may not be the same]

Most "traditionalists" accept the validity of the Novus Ordo or “New” or Pauline Mass (…) whether they regard it as valid or not. 

I believe you should do more distinction in terms here, because the only people who reject the validity of the Novus ordo are sedevacantists. Actually this two things are inseparately connected, so when one rejects the validity of novus ordo, ipso facto must become a sedevacantist because no real priest or bishop could celebrate an invalid mass and as such have the authority in the Church. So there is a possibility of misconception in your statement, that real traditionalists who accept authority of all the popes could consider the novus ordo invalid, which is de facto impossible.

I and most credentialed Catholic apologists I know of, treat "traditionalists" as fellow Catholics. Yet they (especially the radtrads) often refer to us with the highly insulting description, "neo-Catholic." 

In your post you have made a synthesis of the term (based on some sources which you go on interpreting), with connotations which I do not agree, or rather, think that aren't complete and as such do not give an insight in the real meaning of the term. So I shall expose here my own vision of things which I believe is common for most Traditionalist (at least the ones [‘’rad-trads’’] which you confront with). I myself consider a Neoconservative Catholic the one who is orthodox, and accepts all or most of the post-Council reforms as something that should be accepted without reservation, i. e., a faithful development of Council teachings and Church tradition. So the component of ‘newness’ implies this acceptance of the new content, or practices, which are (this at least I believe is indisputable) objectively different from the state of things before the Council, while the conservativism implies the same attitude of keeping the Church teaching and tradition (although in this case, a new or ‘novel’ one). So the second element is as such positive and indisputable, while the trads and neo-cons dispute about the nature and consequences of reforms. And that’s it – I personally see here no insult or a suspicion (let alone an implication) of ones unorthodoxy.

and (as I wholeheartedly agree) often subjected to the grossest abuses in practice. I agree that all abuses ought to be eliminated, but the Church allows and encourages liturgical diversity within a proper observance.

And this is really a heart of the matter. Which do you think that there are the real causes of all-prevailing, less or more extensive and grave abuses and deviations from tradition? Do you consider that all the multiple options and ‘flexibilities’ which are built in the novus ordo, as such favor the mentality of even more, self-styled ‘adaptations’? I believe this is indeed true and that the reality is a best proof for the fact. You often emphasize the fact that you attend a parish where novus ordo is celebrated in the most reverent matter – ad orientem, in Latin, with Gregorian chant, communion received on a communion rail etc. This is really great and I would appreciate that we all could have this opportunity, but the reality is that parishes and churches where the novus ordo is celebrated in such reverent manner are rare as needle in the hay and could be found only in 0.001 % of Catholic world. So if the reform was designed that the mass should be celebrated in the most reverend manner according to the rubrics, why did it then prevail that almost all of the bishops in the world do the opposite – use no Latin in regular Church and parish life, celebrate versus populum, permit female readers and altar servers, communion in hand, build new modernist and formless churches, tolerate and they themselves do the abuses? And not only bishops, but even the postcouncil Popes until, Deo gratias, Benedict XVI., have themselves been actively permitting this things in their Papal liturgies! We know of a canon-law precept that a custom is the best interpret of the law, and if we take this into account, I think that it should be a plain fact that the new liturgy just wasn’t designed (or as you say – that it wasn’t a mind of the Church) to fit the scheme which do you have in your parish, but the other, progressive and discontinuited one which is dominant today in the Church.

Meanwhile my policy remains: no bashing of the Pauline Mass. You're skirting the edge and barely avoided deletion with this one. If you cross over the line, those posts will be removed. Whoever doesn't like that can go jump in the lake (in the wintertime!).

I must say that I find it more than a little humorous that since I mentioned that no bashing of the New Mass is allowed, "trads" have had almost nothing to say anymore in this thread. That proves my point as to their leading discussion points and "disproportionate" mentality better than almost anything else I can imagine.

Meanwhile, two became quite ticked off, with one defriending me as a result (but he later apologized: to be fair to him), and now you are neck-deep in conspiracy theories trying to rationalize away actions of mine that you don't care for (and understand even less, because you didn't have all the facts). I get a big kick out of it.

Dave: me being crabby and difficult. Well, putting out an invite to a discussion, then eliminating one side's ability to actually discuss the subject, yeah that could make someone 'crabby'

No, taking away one stinkin' topic! But if that's the only thing you can ever talk about, well, that's another problem now, ain't it? You do your trash-talking on your page. You're not gonna pollute mine with that bilge.

Man, if I had met you guys who are always running down Holy Mother Church when I was an evangelical, I certainly never would have become a Catholic. Why would I? To join a bunch of miserable naysayers; nattering nabobs of negativism? I was perfectly happy where I was.

It's not rocket science:
1) Church sanctions and approves both forms of the Roman Rite.

2) So do I (since I follow the teachings of the Church in their entirety).

3) Because of that, I disallow comments that trash either form (my page not being a platform for unlimited ranting and raving for everyone who has some gripe about the Church).

The EF / TLM is offered in my own parish. We offered it at midnight Mass at Christmas.

I completely agree with complaints and discussion about abuses, as long as it doesn't carry over into criticism of either form of the Mass itself (intrinsic, essential elements of either). Abuses of a thing are not the thing. I am as merciless against abuses as any RadCathR on the face of the earth. I absolutely detest; loathe them. They are disgraceful and outrageous.

If folks could simply read my one paper / chapter about the definition of radical Catholic reactionary and the Introduction to my new book, a lot of misery and frustration could be avoided. 

Dave: "its the only thing you can talk about" -no, but on a post inviting people to talk about one topic, should I talk about other topics?

Eugene, you are amazing. The topic is RadCathRism (i.e., my paper with many thoughts on same). If you agree that all there is to that mentality  is moaning and groaning about the New Mass (which would spectacularly confirm my comment that this is all you folks seem to ever talk about), you refute yourself; also if you don't assert that, because then you would be conceding that RadCathRism is about much more than that (which is the actual truth of the matter), and then you annihilate your comment above about "one topic." Either way, you render your own droning comments in this thread ridiculous and self-refuting.

You invite to a post about 'traditionalism', and don't give traditionalism-inclined folks the right to defend their position because you remove the major component of their rightful objections. Kinda like having a trial and not allowing the defense to take the stand. As for your principle of 'no matter what the Church approves, that's it, no discussion, the end' well, we look ridiculous as RCs doing that because bad policy (such as torture) have been 'approved' of by the Church, and we sully papal infallibility, the real definition of it, when we say 'no matter what the leaders do, you must accept it.' Again, RATZINGER has made that abundantly clear in recent years.

The essence of legitimate mainstream "traditionalism" (as opposed to the extremist RadCathRs) is advocacy for reverence, solemnity, pious Masses, and detestation of abuses (as well as orthodoxy and traditional, apostolic, biblical morality). With this I am 110% in agreement. What you seem to advocate, however, is the absolute necessity of having to run down the Pauline Mass (itself, not just its abuse).

In doing so, you make the essence of your real or alleged "traditionalism" merely bitching and negativity and endless bashing, rather than the pro-active notion of championing liturgical freedom and traditional worship. The legitimate "traditionalist" can (or should) simply extoll the glories of the TLM and all things associated with it, without having a need to run down something else (other than an abuse).

This amounts to you thinking far more like a Protestant ("either/or" dichotomous mindset of pitting things against each other harmfully and unnecessarily) and a Pharisee (legalism and missing the forest for the trees) and a "Catholic" modernist dissident (picking and choosing what you like and don't like in the Church) than like a Catholic in line with the Mind of the Church (tolerance of different rites and forms of rites and "both/and" outlook).

If you insist that you absolutely cannot advocate traditional worship without having to bitch and rant and rave, then you are a textbook, classic example of what I call a RadCathR. All you can do is run down: your enterprise is essentially negative and reactionary, rather than positive and pro-active.

This goes back to the historic scourge of rigorist sects like the Montanists, Donatists, Puritans, Jansenists, and others, who thought they were better than everyone else. This is a lack of charity, and spiritual pride (the essence of separatism, schism, and sectarianism). Not a good place to be, spiritually . . .

By the way, "RATZINGER" happens to be our present Holy Father, so why don't you address him that way, or as pope? Now you talk exactly as anti-Catholic Protestants do: some of whom deliberately refuse to call him Pope Benedict XVI, precisely because they detest Catholicism and the office. You're revealing your spirit at every turn. How I wish that you could feel the joy and peace of being Catholic, and not have to be so miserable.

Dave -funny how you have not even heard a word I have to say, and you presume/ assume/ pre-judge to know what my views are. It is an entire field of legit. debate/ discussion (what occurred to liturgy post VII, which again, CARD. RATZINGER is the leading Churchman on this topic), and your words are nasty and uncharitable.

Readers can judge who is listening and interacting and who is uncharitable in the new dialogue of all this I have just put up on my blog.

Calling me names (Protestant, rigorist, etc.): that's charitable and valid debate?"

Can't you ever get it right regarding what I say? I called you nothing except quite possibly a RadCathR. You are not your opinions. What I said was that in this respect: how you are arguing now, you "think" like these groups. You exhibit a spirit that is very much like theirs, or analogous to them.

You probably know nothing about my church life -where I attend, etc.

That's quite correct, but also quite irrelevant to my comments, since they don't depend on that at all; rather, on what you are saying in this thread.

yet presume these labels about me.

Learn about what an analogical argument is. I don't have time to walk you through it (especially with your present hostile attitude). Cardinal Newman specialized in it, and he is my hero, and has profoundly influenced me in that respect. I use analogical arguments all the time, as he did.

If we want to lecture about name-calling (real or imagined), I could write a book on that: RadCathRs have called me a modernist, liberal, Novus Ordo Catholic, neo-Catholic, neo-conservative (Catholic), half-Protestant, and many others,in all likelihood, in private. I've "called" you exactly one (RadCathR) and even qualified that a bit: not showing absolute certainty at all. I wrote (above):
If you insist that you absolutely cannot advocate traditional worship without having to bitch and rant and rave, then you are a textbook, classic example of what I call a RadCathR.

[the anonymous person again tried to post a comment that included bashing of the Pauline Mass: that I quickly deleted. I replied as follows],

See my RadCathR page for dozens of dialogues with both "traditionalists" and RadCathRs. As I said, I have six in my new book. Your mistake lies in assuming that I must do so with everyone (including yourself), that I have nothing else far more pressing to do (presently, The Quotable Aquinas), or that I must debate these things indefinitely.

My present policy of not debating "trads" (for the most part) dates back to the year 2000 at the latest. At times I make an exception to my rule. That, too, is for me to decide, not you or anyone else. I proceed as my judgment and discernment deems best for the furtherance of my apologetic and pedagogical goals. It's worked pretty well for me so far (even you say that you like all the rest of my apologetics), so I'm not gonna change my methods at this late date, after now 32 years of apologetics.

This very day I haven't gotten a blasted thing done with my new book, that I'm dying to get to. Instead, I'm bogged down with this nonsense that never ends.

You are very articulate, nuanced, make your case well, and are charitable. I readily grant all that, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with how I decide to spend my time: what I will debate at any given time, and my policy as to Facebook discussions. 

I am (or 'am like') a rigorist, montanist and Pharisee....yet "you must accept everything, sans exception, the Church and popes decree or do or else I'll delete you." As for my referring to Pope Benedict in these posts as 'Ratzinger' or 'Card. Ratzinger', Dave, you know or should know what my point is -that he, as Card. Ratzinger, was the most outspoken churchmen on the issue of the liturgy, which means, unlike what you claim (that 'the pope says we cannot discuss this' or however you phrased it), it is perfectly 'ok' for RCs to discuss it. You're implying that because I didn't call him 'Pope' that voila! I must be a sede/ radtrad, which makes you look ridiculous to assume these things of me. 

Are you really this clueless about what I think? I didn't say one has to accept everything the Church or popes do, without exception. Never said such a thing; never thought it. I myself dissent from the pope's and Church's stated positions on the war in Iraq; also (slightly) on the death penalty. I advocated universal availability of the TLM before it was allowed in 2007. In other words, I held the pope's stated position then, for 17 years before he expressed it, so in that sense I dissented from the policy prior to 2007, though I didn't run around squawking about it or making it my life's purpose, as RadCathRs do. So that refutes your ridiculous charge right off the bat. Do you think I'm an idiot? Since you bought my books, I assume not. If you now do, then take my books and go line your bird cage with their pages.

If you continue acting in an obnoxious fashion and distorting what I say over and over, then you'll be blocked. I have certain standards of rudimentary discourse here.

Once again, you distort my reasoning (or don't understand it in the first place: take your pick). What I objected to was your statement: "Again, RATZINGER has made that abundantly clear in recent years." That is a statement about the present, pretty much. He's been pope for over seven years.

Now you're trying to connect that complaint of mine to an alleged direct charge of sedevacantism (!!!): never remotely dreamt any such thing. Nor did I tie your use of "Ratzinger" to possibly being a RadCathR. I quoted my words again regarding that. They were very specific and precise. Here they are for the third time: "If you insist that you absolutely cannot advocate traditional worship without having to bitch and rant and rave, then you are a textbook, classic example of what I call a RadCathR ."

You're simply not thinking logically anymore about what is being discussed here, and some of your comments are literally paranoid. It's obvious in how you report back what I supposedly argued or believed or concluded. I suggest you cut your losses and cease now. My patience is wearing very thin at this point, having basically wasted my entire work day bantering about things that I consider patently obvious and beyond serious dispute (my prerogative to simply disallow one topic on my page).

If you mention this again, you'll be blocked as a troll (just so you know). My patience has completely exhausted itself now. You've offered a textbook example of the obnoxious and ludicrously contentious tendencies of certain (and sadly numerous) "trads": the nature of which is precisely the sort of thing that St. Paul repeatedly warns Christians to not engage.

Ok, Dave, thanks for the clarifications. I shall try reading your main posts about this topic (and order books) asap, and in this way, thoroughly examine your arguments. I wish you God's blessing in your apostolate, and I assure you of my prayers.

Thanks so much for your prayers and wishes, brother. I'll send you my latest book in PDF for free.

"I don't allow here what the pope says ought not to be allowed." That was in your original posts. What, specifically, does this refer to? The discussion of this issue? Go ahead and block me - really, I'd welcome it at this point. My view of you has hit ocean deep.

Your wish is granted. 

* * * * * 

Revised on 12 August 2013, in order to incorporate new terminology.



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