Traditional or Liberal? Right or Left Wing Catholicism?
|Traditional or Liberal? Right or Left Wing?
Should one be Traditional or Liberal? The answer to that question is neither.
The reason is because both represent extremes. The purpose of this paper is to show the errors of Traditionalists and Liberals and how we can be truly faithful. The problem with most Traditionalists is that they believe progress is always wrong. They believe that all progress is wrong. Fulton Sheen called them “men with two feet in a pair of shoes who refuse to walk.” They don’t understand that time changes and sometimes things must change. One thing good about Traditionalists is that they love the doctrines. However, some are so obsessed with doctrine that they would seemingly become a Pope of themselves.
How many times do you hear “we expect the Pope and the Magisterium to be faithful” from the Traditionalists? They themselves become their own Magisterium and their own Pope. In other words, it is the exact same error as “Sola Scriptura.”
Liberals on the other hand, emphasize progress but have nothing to progress to. Fulton Sheen called them “an automobile without a steering gear.” They don’t know where they are going, but they know they are on their way. Their only dogma is “we want no dogmas.” How self-contradictory -- but they will accept anything except the truth.
The whole irony to this is that the liberal of today is the conservative of tomorrow. So if we shouldn’t be a Traditionalist or a Liberal, what should we be? We should be Catholics. We should just be good Catholics.
Many Traditionalists try to be good controversialists instead of becoming a good Catholic. We must remember that the ultimate object of faith is not a doctrine, but God. We must also keep in mind that all progress is not wrong. As I said, time changes. The Liberals’ mistake is that they change the principles, and the Traditionalists don’t apply the principles to our modern times. This is what the Church does. She changes her hat when the seasons change, but doesn’t change the head. As the great Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, said, “Virtue is in the means.”
How are we to become good Catholics? First, we must love God and our neighbor (Matt 19:16-21; 22:37ff). We must love most of all, the poor and our enemies (Matt 5:43ff; 25:31ff). Charity is a start of spiritual growth. After making acts of charity, they will become habits and will finally become our character. Then, we must be well acquainted with the teachings of our faith. This includes the mystics or the spiritual writers.
Many Traditionalists are so obsessed with doctrine that they miss the riches of the mystics. Mystical theology is a part of Catholic theology and it helps doctrines develop. I would even go so far to say spiritual writings are the basis of Catholic theology since it is a language of love, which is the language of the Holy Spirit.
This helps us to become aware of the “sensus fidelium” of the Church. The more we learn and the more we make acts of charity, we will gain not knowledge, but wisdom. The problem with some radical Traditionalists is that they are not concerned with spirituality and the problem with Liberals is that they are not concerned with truth.
Another key point is obedience to the Pope and the Magisterium. So many people think of the Church like the US government. They try to mix politics with the faith. If you ever hear a constant attack on the Pope from someone, that person is not Catholic. That person does not have respect for his Holy Father. I wonder if such a person would ever say those kinds of things to his own earthly father.
We must always remember that where Peter is, there is the Church. We must act with charity and teach the faith. The good Catholic is one who has the greatest theological virtues, wisdom and charity above all (1 Cor 13:2,13).
God love you
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