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A Statement from Trad Recovery on Recent Events

Updated: Mar 26

The wave of recent activity on Catholic internet in response to the upcoming conference has made it very clear that some clarifications need to be made. The first pertains to how certain terms are used. In watching or reading various reactions to the group and the upcoming conference, I am reminded of the relentless accusation from Protestants that Catholics worship Mary, where no evidence you present to them can convince them otherwise. The issue is that the word “worship” means something fundamentally different to Catholics and Protestants. For Catholics, worship necessarily involves sacrifice. We obviously do not sacrifice to Mary, and to do so would be blasphemous. But to Protestants, worship simply involves prayer and praise, and so what they see Catholics doing is more or less the same way in which they worship God. Unless they understand what it means to Catholics, they can only see this as blasphemy and idolatry.


In like manner, many self-identified traditionalists today understand that word to mean a preference for older forms of the liturgy and a culmination of their Catholic identity. They associate traditionalism with tradition, and any accusations that traditionalism is harmful would mean that the older form of the mass or older practices and devotions are somehow also harmful. Nothing could be further from the truth. But at Trad Recovery, as we have clarified and as our site members have tried to explain in comments sections, we do not have the same definition of “traditionalism.” We understand it as an ideology which is born from distrust, suspicion, and rejection of the Church; an ideology that pervades all “traditionalist” communities, even if they are canonically approved. Even in some people/groups among communities like the FSSP and ICKSP, there is an “other”-ness, a rejection of material that came from the council (the new catechism, new authors, openness to new forms of theology, etc), an isolation from other Catholic communities, and a sense that to depart from these “traditionalist” communities would mean one was endangering their soul, or compromising important values. This breeds fear and anxiety, and things like scrupulosity, anger, cold-heartedness, and other negative side effects result from this. Our members’ backstories confirm that the patterns are the same across generations and across various groups. The issues go beyond canonical irregularities; they affect the movement as a whole.


This is what we are trying to help people “recover” from. We are trying to help them build their trust in Holy Mother Church, to reassure them that it is perfectly acceptable to attend their local diocesan church instead of their local 1962 liturgy, and that submitting to the magisterium and allowing themselves to be led by the Bride of Christ does not and cannot endanger their souls. Prudence and discernment is obviously necessary for many situations, but the “traditionalism” we are trying to assist people in shedding is the spiritually harmful ideology, not a certain form of worship.


It is risible in the extreme to think this makes us modernists, Marxists, communists, schismatics, heretics, or any of the other absurd accusations that have been leveled (and it is truly unfortunate that the worst of these accusations come from those who see themselves as “traditional Catholics.” This is decidedly un-Catholic behavior.) One sees this “other”-ness on full display in the barrage of messages, posts, video responses, and other reactions that have followed this announcement. Apparently if one is not full-blown “traditionalist,” they are on the other side of the aisle by default, and can be nothing less than a “beige Catholic” (to borrow Bishop Barron’s term), and are more or less a Catholic in name only. These online figures are obviously unaware that many of our site members still attend the Latin Mass, that we share resources for finding reverent masses near them, that we decry liturgical abuses, and that we share their concerns and frustrations about the issues in the Church today. We just do not see the ideology of traditionalism as a remedy to these issues.


The second thing that must be stated is that critics of the site do not understand what it is like to have grown up in these communities and what that does to one’s mental and spiritual formation, especially to young children. These online figures have discovered “traditionalist” communities within the last 5 to 10 years or so. If they have grown up in these communities, they most likely have never tried raising concerns or doubts about their ideologies, and have not experienced the inevitable backlash, rejection, ostracizing, and shunning that comes as a result. Quite frankly, they are in no place to be criticizing the experiences of those who have suffered through mental, spiritual, and emotional trauma that comes from being in these groups, as they do not know the social dynamics at play within families and circles of friends. To leave this way of life behind after being formed in it is to anathematize yourself from friends and family, and requires a huge effort to “rebuild.” (One might ask these online figures what they would think or do if their children left traditionalism and began attending their local diocesan church.)


And these negative effects are indeed directly correlated to the traditionalist ideology. A spiritual elitism, constant criticism of anything and everything that is not “traditional,” isolation from the rest of the Church, relentless threats of hellfire and damnation, and many other negative effects create spiritually stunted minds that have not been shown the love of God or the beauty of the Church in a real, understandable way. These people grow up in constant spiritual fear, having the weight of the world on their shoulders after being told that it is ultimately up to them to stay strong and preserve the faith, since the Church has lost it. They are surrounded by superiority complexes that raise the bar to an impossible standard; namely, being the “true Catholics” with the “true faith,” sentiments expressed in actions and attitudes if not words, and sentiments that Pope Francis accurately cited when issuing Traditiones Custodes. These people see themselves as the chosen few, the remnant, and this is what they teach their children. And for those children, deserting their post means they let God down and gave up. It means they didn’t care enough about their faith and “compromised” by just submitting to the Church and trusting in the Lord.


Those who have not grown up under the “traditionalist” umbrella do not know what it does to young minds, but one day, their children will. Perhaps then they will see that the faith has to be about more than an appealing liturgy or about certain devotions. It must come from the heart; it does not reside in a certain set of rubrics. And the reactionary, divisive, uncharitable, and downright insidious responses that have come from some people are an exhibit of what this traditionalist mentality does to people. Pride has eroded their charity away. If one finds it somehow reprehensible to recommend books about Vatican II and its true intentions, offer research on traditionalist errors from canon lawyers, give resources for scrupulosity and anxiety, and offer a community of people who have experienced similar hardships, they may want to re-evaluate what this mentality is really doing to them. C.S. Lewis wrote, “Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel good—above all, that we are better than someone else—I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil.” We all ought to keep these words in mind.

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just watched this documentary on Mass of the Ages..kinda long..over an hour..I thought it was very well balanced and interesting..just wonder how others here would say about it..

https://youtu.be/5aPbZj2C5_I

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Corbin C.
Corbin C.
Mar 24
Replying to

Surprisingly, while I didn't agree with everything I actually thoroughly enjoyed part 3. It was definitely at lot more balanced compared to pt 2 and wasn't presented like some kind of crime drama which is what pt 2 seemed like. Something interesting is a lot of people (those who think the sspx are great) are actually not huge fans of pt 3 because the sspx/archbishop Lefebvre wasn't front and center. They actually even want MOTA to do a full documentary on the sspx. There's also a lot of complaints on what the women were wearing in the video. What's even more funny on Kennedy Hall's review of part 3 someone made a comment saying the SSPV was included. Guess we…

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Traditional*ism* is the belief that Tradition protects the Church from magisterial errors; rather than the Tradition being protected by the magisterium.


Traditionalists think that since the pope cannot teach anything binding that contradicts Tradition the faithful should simply reject magisterial teachings which they judge to contradict Tradition, the Tradition as interpreted by their own private judgment. So there is no unity, no communion, with Catholics who trust the pope and accept that his teachings accord with Tradition.


The real truth is that the pope is the guardian of Tradition (see Vatican I). He has the charism to faithfully interpret Tradition, he is divinely protected from teaching error, the faithful must believe the Church (see Catechism of the Council of Trent…

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Andy, this was awesome! Thank you for so carefully articulating what so many of us have been through and still battle with to this day. This reads like a mission statement for our own journies into this supportive group. Thank you again!

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Clarification sometimes does help, but not when it is accompanied by things that are not true. Please do not slander the ICKSP. They are different from other Latin Mass communities, and you are doing a huge disservice by lumping them in with other groups.

Part of the charism of the Institute is presenting the truth with charity, and they do this by doing the following: 1. Accepting Vatican II, 2. Engaging with both new and old ideas without compromising the truth, 3. Engaging and working closely with the dicoese that they have Apsotolate in (they certainly are not isolated!), 4. Being willing and able to help in the dicoese that they are working in, and being obedient to their bishops.

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@reyers.brusoe I think you have. A great opportunity to help your local community to stay out of the trad traps that many like myself found ourselves. I was a diocesan TLM who developed the schismatic mindset there. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.


I don’t have any direct experience with the ICKSP priests but noted they were at the SEEK conference.

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Kate357
Kate357
Mar 22

Thanks for clarifying and I agree. This should be pinned to the top of this website for all visitors and members to see. There's a distinction between wanting to preserve the Tradition passed down from the Apostles and Church Fathers, something all Catholics should desire and a traditionalist mindset that wants to dissent from all things modern.

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