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Bad Arguments

This is not a criticism of traditionalism (or of the Latin Mass in particular). I greatly appreciate the traditional faith and openly reject the modernist perversion of Catholicism. I like the Latin Mass (even though it is not exactly our tradition in the Ordinariate); no, not as much as I like Divine Worship (our form of the Mass), but that should be obvious. This is directed more toward many of the common defenses that I hear that are made in behalf of the traditional practices that we follow.

Sadly, most of the defenses of traditionalism that occur in your average Catholic setting are some of the worst and most unconvincing arguments I have ever heard. There are some good books and arguments out there (Peter Kwasniewski's is great), but few Catholics use those arguments (and that means their opponents rarely hear the good arguments).

Here is a brief summary. I do not have space (or time) to list out every argument and its inherent problems, so instead I will make this broad enough where you should be able to examine your own words appropriately. Many of those who are argue for traditionalism are often heard saying "tradition is not a bad thing" but not actually showing or explaining why authoritative tradition is good -- that is what will attract people after all! It is truly sad that a Catholic (!) has to argue for tradition to other Catholics (it used to be a non-negotiable fact), but these are the times we live in.

You do not have to think hard to realize that the beauty of your argument is the best way to make someone realize the ugliness of his argument. I heard someone criticize the Latin Mass once by saying "I can't understand it". The response was "you don't have to understand it". That is true, but that will not convince anyone to come to Latin Mass! In fact, the listener hears that response and thinks "then it is fine for me to disconnect from Mass whether it is Latin, Greek, English, or Japanese".

It appears that we are at times blinded by the truth. We know that tradition is good, and we know that we are already convinced of it, so our argumentation ends up being a matter of the "fine points" that we like, and not actually something helps another to understand. Whenever we discuss matters in this way, we will not only lose our hearers, but we will also blind ourselves to our own mistakes. If you rejoice at the beauty of the Traditions of the Church, then show it. Let others see what we have been given. After all, Church Tradition is true, good and beautiful.


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