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Traditionalists weigh in.

Joel Schorn's analysis of traditionalist Catholicism in the October Glad You Asked certainly fits the template of obscuring the facts with half-truths. The term traditionalist applies to a wide spectrum of Catholics who share two things in common: We like to see our bishops and priests follow the teachings of our pope, and we long for a return to reverence at holy Mass. To suggest that traditionalists reject Vatican II and its reforms is nonsense because Vatican II was not a reform council.

It changed no dogmas and affirmed every tradition of the Catholic Church, including the Tridentine Latin Mass. Schorn and like-minded liberals cannot show us one Vatican II document that called for the elimination of the Latin Mass, because none exists. Furthermore, the fastest-growing religious order in the church, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, is exclusively devoted to the Latin Mass and is in full communion with the church. And don't forget that our pope has granted an indult for the Latin Mass that he has asked our bishops to apply generously.

Actually, Schorn is right to say that Gibson and traditionalists are outside the mainstream of Catholicism, since the mainstream of American bishops are entrenched in dissent.

Many traditionalists accept the Novus Ordo [Vatican II's reform of the Mass], as long as it is done reverently and according to the guidelines from Rome--a rarity in most parishes today. As a child of the '60s, I watched the reverence of Mass turn to a folksy circus and could never understand why. To watch the eternal sacrifice being tampered with in order to conform to the modern world was like watching the cast of the Lawrence Welk Show trying to be hip. It was just plain boring and still is. When the graying hippies who have lied to us about Vatican II finally pass on, the silliness of dissent will pass with them.

Robert Kumpel

Valdosta, Georgia

I am not comfortable with the straight-jacketed definition of "traditionalist Catholicism." It makes it seem like Catholics belong to either a north of a south pole--the stiff-backed ones stuck in the past who have no regard for anything or anyone after Vatican II, and the nice relaxed ones who are with the times and got the right message.

Schorn hints that orthodoxy and fundamentalism are somehow tied up with the "worldwide trend." Is he tying them up with Muslim fundamentalism and the Taliban? That really goes over the edge.

Cynthia Gonzalez

Fresh Meadows N.Y.
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Title Annotation:you may be right
Author:Gonzalez, Cynthia
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Previous Article:How would Jesus vote?
Next Article:Debating the issues.

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