A refugee from the toxicity and weirdness of Traddery pens a thoughtful letter that (with far more charity and kindness than I would ever be able to muster) tries to open the eyes of the self-pitying bullies in Traddery to their destructive pride, narcissism, and the incredible damage they do to souls. This is just a sample. Do read the whole thing:
My mother and father are converts from Protestantism, and they came into the Church when I was five. As is often the case, they had certain preconceptions of what life in the Church would be like. After all, it was supposed to be a safe haven away from the problems of Protestantism. What they discovered, however, was that God’s Church on earth was a mess (as it has always been). They were exposed to bad liturgies and poor catechesis. My parents had also been in the military and were high achievers, and most Catholics came across to them as undisciplined pukes in their (non)practice of Catholic religion. Gradually my parents came into contact with the traditional Catholic movement, and it immediately drew them in. All this happened in about two years, and I became an officially inducted “Trad” at the age of seven. My first holy communion, confirmation, and religious formation all took place under the auspices of the SSPX.
Shortly after “coming into Tradition,” my mom discovered Sedevacantism, which demonstrated to her several logical and historical problems with the doctrinal positions of the SSPX. These are what had prompted the first splinter group of priests to break away from the Society in 1983, called “the Nine”. Among them were the now well-known Traditionalist priests Daniel Dolan, Donald Sanborn, and the late Anthony Cekada. They refused to accept the reformed 1962 Missal of Pope John XXIII, and believed that the ecclesiological position taken by the Archbishop and his Society was inconsistent with the Tradition of the Church. These priests were expelled, and lengthy legal battles over real estate ensued. Mom came to embrace their position as her own, although she continued to receive the sacraments from the SSPX chapel our family attended.
My dad admired the leadership of Archbishop Lefebvre, and also that of Bishop Richard Williamson. He believed that they had achieved a delicate balance between the two extremes of the “Novus Ordo church” and Sedevacantism. Following their example, he did not completely reject the possibility of a sedes vacans, but he found it problematic in several regards. This allowed a period of relative peace in our family, as my parents did not completely disavow each other’s positions, and they were united in their rejection of the “conciliar Church”. Besides the SSPX chapel, where Mass was available only every other weekend, we would also attend Masses offered by the priests of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI), which they would offer in our houses on the off-weekends. As my dad liked to say, “We’re all on the same team.” This lasted until a parishioner snitched to our SSPX pastor, who threatened to ban us entrance to the chapel if we continued to open our house to the naughty Sedevacantist priests. This seemed very ungracious, considering the CMRI did not forbid its followers to attend the SSPX chapel. But perhaps it is to be expected in a turf war.
I received my vocation to the Dominican Order when I was eight, after reading a life of St. Dominic by Mary Fabyan Windeatt. I was eager to join as soon as possible, so upon learning the minimum age required by canon law, I wrote to the community associated with the SSPX in Avrillé, France. They generously offered me an opportunity to attend their high school, while at the same time participating in their postulancy program. My parents were very supportive, and I arrived there in Summer of 2011. I spent a year of discernment with this beautiful community, until I decided to return to the United States to complete my high school education. Before I left, I had the pleasure of a private audience with a family hero, Bishop Williamson, who had come to visit our community in Avrillé. He kindly agreed to meet with me, and gave me wise and helpful advice regarding my vocation. I did not exactly know what he was doing in Avrillé, but the reason would come to light later. I had begun to hear rumors of “infiltration” and “compromise” in the SSPX. This was strange, but not quite as strange as my homecoming.
Upon my return in 2012, my family was walking around with candles and believed the earth was the center of the universe. My parents had become enamored with the writings of Charles A. Coulombe and Solange Strong Hertz. These were two intelligent Traditionalists who had followed the logical trajectory of Traditionalist principles, and they were advocating ideas and doctrines which, interestingly, most Traditionalists would reject. Coulombe advocates for Feeneyism, and points to the Aristotelian philosophy of St. Thomas as facilitating the Church’s betrayal of the traditional dogma extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. Hertz branches out even more broadly, indicating that brick-making and electricity are of demonic inspiration, that the Church has compromised herself by accepting heliocentrism and democracy, and that these two led to universal salvationism. I did not quite know how to react, especially since I had studied encyclicals by Popes Pius XII and Leo XIII which contradicted Hertz’s narratives. Whose interpretation should I accept, the Popes’ or Hertz’s? Both made solid appeals to Tradition and Scripture. Had the Church of Rome gone off track even before Vatican II?
The longer the madhouse of Traddery goes on, the more it looks and acts like a very strange sect of Fundamentalist Protestantism that happens to have a fetish for Catholic aesthetics. And the more sane and Christian and actually loving the Holy Father they hate so deeply looks in comparison to them.
I hope this guy finds some peace. The comboxes on the piece show a few other souls who are looking for a way to detox, but even the comparatively sane ones still express their naked contempt for the Holy Father. It’s a discussion taking place way out on the right end of the bellcurve and ordinary Normals in the Church are not welcome in that blast furnace of rage. I’ll take a parish of quiet, unassuming Normals who don’t think God died and sent them to save the Church from the Pope any day.