Memories of Love and Hatred

Holy Family Dayton Ohio 3

Holy Family church in Dayton, Ohio. The Indult where I attended faithfully for years.

Over the past years since I’ve started THAVMA, though, I’ve been brought into contact with younger Novus Ordinarians who insist on remaining Novus Ordinarian, and have noticed something about their faith and approach to the Church that was missing in my own experience. There’s a reason I mention this.

Recently a conversation came up where a friend felt compelled to choose between two Novus Ordinarian parishes: one was FSSP, and the other was “On Eagle’s Wings” style of Novus Ordo. One priest in the group said it was difficult for him to be objective because his memories of the Novus Ordo Church were from prior to 2007, when the Novus Ordo Church was a very different kind of experience than it is today.[1]

I responded that I too have the same difficulty. My own experience of the Novus Ordo comes from the same dark times during the 80s and 90s, and I was blessed to have a mother who referred to the post-Vatican II Church as “not Catholic,” and she openly said that “These younger priests don’t know shit.”[2]

Of course, I also spent many years having no contact with Novus Ordinarians whatsoever, the closest being a 30-strong congregation of ex-Novus Ordinarians who formed an Old Catholic church, which in turn retained the “Boomer Masses” prevalent in the 80s and 90s, so there wasn’t much opportunity to re-evaluate.

Which brings us back to the younger Novus Ordinarians I’d mentioned in the first paragraph. One will find many Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers, and early-wave Millennials who left the Novus Ordo Church altogether either right after the changes or because they got sick of the brainwashing.[3]

Yet likewise, I’ve noticed many of our late-wave Millennial and Gen-Z[4] juniors have fonder memories of the Novus Ordo Church and speak of it as though a day-and-night difference from the Church we experienced in our own childhoods. In fact they speak as though nothing from those days – the attempted brainwashing, the theological diarrhea, the liturgical chaos, the emphasis on false ecumenism, and total domination by a Modernist hierarchy – as though none of that ever happened. Is it possible these generations were more successfully brainwashed, or did the Novus Ordo Church finally clean up their act and take a step in the right direction toward reverting to Catholicism?[5]

Is it possible my own criticisms of the Novus Ordo Church are out-of-date? Well, the fact a semi-open modernist like Mr. Bergoglio was even able to acquire the Big Chair™ tells me my criticisms aren’t quite obsolete just yet,[6] and won’t be at least until the Gen-Silent hierarchy at the top of the food chain start dying out.[7]

Okay, enough preamble. The following is my own lived experience and impressions of the Novus Ordo/Indultarians of the time, including the “liberal” and “conservative” factions then prevalent,[8] and the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back causing me to leave them. This is excerpted from the Patreon post where I told the story of my priestly ordination, edited for typos and with footnotes added for further elucidation.

Before we begin, I should point out that my use of the words “liberal” and “conservative” refer to theological positions, not political ones. While the two spheres often overlap, it’s quite possible to meet a theologically-conservative person with politically-liberal stances, and vice versa. Please don’t confuse the two.

Dark Red Line

The Story…

The backstory for me is quite simple. You already know I was raised as something of a “Home Aloner,” my mother pulling my sister and me out of the Church because (in her words) “That Vatican II shit isn’t Catholic.”[9]

You also know that I agree with her, and so did the mass exodus of Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers from the Church during the years circa 1965 to circa 2005 or thereabouts. We were the experimental generations, the generations the Modernist-dominated hierarchy insisted in trying to brainwash with the New Religion and run through mental courses like so many lab rats, commanding that we adhere to the party line and obey without questioning, but never once showing us anything positive that we’d get out of the deal. Is it any wonder why so many of us walked away?

Is it any wonder why so many of our generation turned to Neopaganism, Fundygelicalism, or outright Atheism?

What people don’t understand, though, is that there were two distinct strains of brainwashing during those years. One was the “liberal” strain, its more radical forms described in Randy England’s A Unicorn in the Sanctuary and Donna Steichen’s Ungodly Rage. This is the strain everybody heard about (or heard decried) the most.

The other strain, about which almost nobody said a word, was the “conservative” strain. While the “liberal” strain was characterized by the ideological fervor of what we’d now call “social justice warriors,” the “conservative” strain was characterized by literal adherence to everything the post-Vatican II hierarchy said, a fetishization of Papal Infallibility to the point of Papolatry, an over-reliance on the word “magisterium,” a hatred for Traditional Catholicism, and an insistence that everybody obey the Pope and Bishops blindly even when they don’t agree. There was to be no criticism of the Pope and Bishops whatsoever, even if they were to teach heresy. Even if they were to cover up the abuse of children.[10]

I’ve spoken against these strains[11] before; I believe they are both diversions from Catholic teaching and are thus both harmful to the Church. But that when all was said and done, I also believe it was the “conservative” or “Neocatholic” strain that did the most damage. Not only do I say this because it was the strain least talked about, not only because it emphasizes a numbing of the mind and sometimes the holding up of ignorance as a virtue, but because it’s the strain that ultimately became mainstream (at least in the American Church). Yet not only because this strain became mainstream, but because this strain is the most malleable and vulnerable to changing its principles any time there’s a change in marching orders.

I think an excellent example of the “conservative” malleability can be shown in the approach to liturgy. During the 80’s and 90’s, the “conservative” faction believed (like the “liberals”) that the Latin Mass was a thing of the past, and that the Novus Ordo liturgy was to be embraced full-throttle because that’s the liturgy the Pope wants us to attend. In fact, “conservatives” were the ones leading the charge at calling Latin Mass people “throwbacks” and “nostalgics,” and in at least one case I was called “crazy” for “wanting that medieval stuff” because “we don’t do that anymore.”[12]

For those interested in a timeline, that was in the 1990s, almost a decade after John Paul II had “permitted” the Latin Mass in 1988. Now admittedly this expanded permission, the indult Ecclesia Dei, only came as a response to the Lefebvre consecrations. From 1984 to 1988, the Latin Mass was only allowed under very restricted conditions and not in a parish church. Hearsay is that nobody under 50 was allowed to attend Latin Masses during this period, but as I can’t find a shred of documentation for that claim, I’m not going to assert it as anything other than hearsay. For our purposes it suffices to point out that as late as the 1990s, the “conservative” faction was poo-pooing the Latin Mass simply because they believed the Pope didn’t really want it to happen.

Enter 2007, four months after I embraced Sedevacantism,[13] that Fr. Ratzinger released Summorum Pontificum and practically decimated the Traditional Movement as a result (in fairness, the Trad movement decimated itself with all the craziness and purity-spiraling; most laity attending Trad chapels only wanted the Mass, and Ratzinger simply offered them a way to get that without having to put up with the crazy). However, once Fr. Ratzinger suddenly “liberated” the Latin Mass, you’ll find the “conservative” faction couldn’t give enough thanks and praise for “returning the Church’s patrimony.”

This was a complete about-face. And you’ll notice they didn’t do this about-face because they studied the objective principles of whether the Latin Mass was a good thing or a bad thing; they did this about-face simply because a sitting Pope commanded it.

These people, the so-called “conservative faction,” proved themselves a wishy-washy hive-mind time and again, hence the many barbs you’ve noticed me throwing at them over the years. This hive-mind approach with no tolerance for dissent has led to their leadership being the “John Paul II priests,” the ones said to insist on “orthodoxy,” though not because they’ve studied it, questioned everything, left no stone unturned, and come to their own conclusions about truth and error, but because they’re programmed to parrot and obey, and expect others to do the same.

[NOTE: I tried to find a link that explains the difference between “John Paul II priests” and “Vatican II priests” in an objective, irenic manner. Sadly, all I could find were blog posts and publicized E-mails where one side was taking pot-shots at the other.]

This is the milieu in which I left the Indultarians for the Traditional Movement …

Leaving the Indultarians

I had been with an Indultarian church for a few years by this point, the beginnings of which I described during the Rosary and the Ring cycle of posts. The parish life itself was something I enjoyed and in fact have sought to emulate throughout the course of my own ministry. Not only are we talking about a Latin Mass, but the preaching was orthodox (insofar as post-Vatican II preaching can be), the people weren’t reactionary, and in fact it was common to see teenagers with purple hair and torn jeans right next to little old ladies wearing mantillas, both in the pews and socializing with each other in the vestibule.

This mix of people came to know each other and form a real community, and rather than being reactionary or insist on dress codes or certain sets of political beliefs or whatnot, the one thing that mattered most was how devout you were. To my mind, this combination of orthodoxy and open-mindedness was a beautiful thing, and showed me that 1. yes one can have a balanced middle between the two extremes, and 2. such a balanced middle is not only desirable but even sustainable.[14]

Well, this was not to last. Some of the more “conservative” members in the congregation (one of whom was the county sheriff) started pushing to turn the church, Holy Family, into an FSSP parish. Prior to this point, Mass was said by two retired priests alternating Sundays: Fr. Frank[15], with whom I became friends; and Fr. Ken, who was more aloof and preached a little obsessively about abortion, another fetish of the “conservative” faction (protip: talking about something all the damn time like a broken record is not going to make it go away). Both men were getting up there in years, Fr. Frank was 85 as of this time and Fr. Ken pushing 80, so the pro-FSSP faction was looking for a way to help their Latin Mass community survive for the long term.

Be that as it may, the arrival of the FSSP meant the end of our “orthodox-yet-open-minded” community. Everything that group touches, they turn into a LARP of 1940s and 1950s American Catholicism. Everything that group touches, they drove out the teenagers with torn jeans and purple hair, the exchange of ideas on Donut Sunday, and anything else that didn’t fit the “pay, pray, and blindly obey” motif of the “conservative” faction.

Me personally, I wasn’t down with this level of intolerance or this level of lockstep groupthink. Hashtag #TimeToBail.

-={END OF EXCERPT }=-

Dark Red Line

Of course, all that led me to jump out of the frying pan and into the proverbial fire, but that’s a story for another time.

Actually that’s a story I still have a lot of anger over, making it hard for me to talk about without getting pissed off. Maybe that’s another benefit of having started THAVMA, being able to speak to other ex-Trads who were willing to talk about it – a lot aren’t, because our experiences are so different from most people’s that almost nobody will understand – and learning our experiences and reactions weren’t all that different after all.[16]

Dark Red Line

FOOTNOTES:

1. The Catholic Church is properly referred to as “she,” while I refer to the Novus Ordo Church is “it.” While for me the barrier is much less than what most Traditionalists see, I still see enough variance to keep from recognizing the two as being one and the same.


2. My mother said this long before the rise of the so-called “John Paul II priests,” so I ask the reader to consider their reactions in this context.


3. My best friend, Jessica, and I have a joke about this: “What do you call a woman with above average intelligence who went to Catholic school all her life?” The answer: “Pagan!”


4. There is no standard delineation for when generations begin and end, so I’m loosely adhering to the distinctions drawn by William Strauss and Neil Howe in their books Generations (1991), Gen-13, Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail? (1993), and The Fourth Turning (1997).

For an overview of each generation according to Strauss-Howe theory, this link at the Milkcan Papers website is quite helpful.


5. My conditions for the Novus Ordo to be called “Catholic,” you ask? My issues are doctrinal, not liturgical, meaning:

(a) a blanket abjuration of the clause subsistit in and replacing it with the word est.
(b) Mr. Bergoglio will need either to abdicate the papacy altogether or (1) clarify all ambiguous statements made since he uttered the word “accepto,” (2) openly convert to Catholicism by kneeling before a Lefebvre-line or (non-Palmarian) Thuc-line bishop and making a formal abjuration of heresies (mentioning and renouncing them by name), professing the Oath Against Modernism, and then (3) receiving absolute consecration to the episcopate so he can perform his offices competently,
(c) returning to a stance on ecumenism more in line with Mortalium Animos, and
(d) rewriting the Catechism of the Catholic Church to be more emphatic on the Catholic position in places where it differs from Protestantism or Orthodoxy; I do not believe the CCC to be heretical outside the subsistit in, but its presentation of Catholic doctrine seems too concerned with not offending the “separated brethren.”

(Likewise, Fr. Ratzinger cannot come back without meeting the same conditions, as he was suspected of heresy by the Holy Office under Pius XII, has denied the physicality of the Resurrection as recently as 1996, and his rejection of the Limbus Infantium is an indirect denial of the necessity of Baptism for salvation; he was also consecrated by the 1968 Ordinal.)

You may think this a long list, but it’s far shorter and less nit-picky than the Trad movement would demand; in any case, I fully expect none of this to happen.


6. Some of my readers will respond, “But, but, but Pope Francis cares for the poor!” I respond “It’s also a pope’s job not to be a heretic.” For a Pope who both cared for the poor and was a clear, competent, unambiguous, non-heretical theologian, Pope St. Pius X serves as an archetypal example.


7. Baby Boomers get a lot of credit (or blame) they don’t deserve. In fact a lot of the issues Boomers get blamed for, were actually created by Gen-Silent. A subset of Boomers – not even the majority – just picked up on it without questioning or even thinking (a common feature I’ve found with both “Prophet” and “Civic” generational archetypes, while the “Artist” and “Nomad” archetypes tend to do the original thinking). Most Boomers, however, are no different from the “normies” of any other generation: most want to be “normal” and live “normal” lives, however that word may be defined.


8. This is a reflection of my experience of late 1990s and early 2000s Novus Ordinariansm/Indultarianism in particular.


9. My mother said this to me around 1999. To the best of my memory, her exact words were, “I made a promise to God I would raise my children Catholic, and that shit wasn’t Catholic!”


10. Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. I’m not prone to outrage, but this report is one of the few things that put me there.


11. You know what else has “strains?” A virus.


12. The person who said this to me was associated with my then-girlfriend. She (the person, not the girlfriend) fit the archetype for what I’ve come to call a “Type A Perfect Parishioner:” daily Mass, private devotions, voted how the hierarchy told her, etc. And she was every bit as much the virtue-signaling hypocrite as that class of parishioners usually tend to be, too.


13. My current stance is “Sede-Indifferentist,” as I no longer care about the Sede question. For background information, it was Ratzinger’s denial of the Limbus Infantium (which is indirectly a rejection of the necessity of baptism for salvation) that led me to embrace Sedevacantism in the first place. I recognize and continue to recognize all Popes prior to him, including John Paul II; in spite of disagreeing with their administrative decisions, I’ve yet to find one instance where they taught clear and unambiguous heresy.


14. I’m a centrist by nature, with no love for extremism from either end of the spectrum. What I saw in this community was that center-balance between upholding doctrine and applying it charitably. Though it took an individual time before being accepted “into the family” and receive those benefits (they took time to discern whether you were a “tourist” and there for the right reasons), the fact is these benefits had nothing to do with how you were dressed, or how old you were, or other such externals as I’ve encountered elsewhere.


15. It pains me to admit that Fr. Frank was one of the priests I talked about in my Blackpilled video.


16. There’s a lot that goes on within the Traditional Catholic subculture that affects one on a visceral level, making it very difficult for ex-Trads to communicate these behaviors and feelings to the average person who hasn’t experienced it firsthand. For me it was a feeling of “smallness” and “repression,” with a lot of self-censorship for fear of saying the wrong thing or appearing as somehow “less Catholic than thou.” It becomes rather controlling, and after awhile it’s hard to realize the world is much larger than this tiny little movement of purity-spiraling reactionaries. Even then, though, I’m still not describing it accurately.

About Agostino

Originally from Queens, N.Y., and having grown up in Dayton, OH, Agostino Taumaturgo is a unique figure. He is the product of the unlikely combination of coming from a Traditional Roman Catholic background and a spirituality-friendly home. It was in this home that Agostino first learned the basics of meditation, prayer, and spiritual working. In time Agostino completed his theology studies and was ordained to the priesthood and was later consecrated a bishop. He has since left the Traditional movement and brings this knowledge to the “outside world” through his teaching and writing, discussing spiritual issues and practical matters through the lens of traditional Christian theology.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Memories of Love and Hatred

  1. josh reynolds says:

    This was a very interesting read! I was also wondering what your views on Gnosticism are, I hope you post something about that.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s