Ultramontanism just will not go away. I have found that since I stopped paying attention to Roman politics several years ago my temper is more even, my prayers are clearer, and my spirit calmer. Of course I am not perfect and not a saint, but for me Papal politics are an occasion for frustration. Since the elevation of Francis many "liberals" and "traditionalist" commentators have gone catatonic over whatever the Roman ordinary did or did not say. Personally I could care less if not for the cottage industry of defending every word of the Pope's, a very fecund and lucrative business run by scores of persons with "neo-conservative" politics who are dedicated to squaring every word and action of the Pope with his predecessors.
Why this bothers me—and many others, "rad trad" or otherwise—is because one cannot escape the banter of these Ultramontanists. In the above video Mr. Voris, VP of Ultramontanism in the McChurch, rightfully bifurcates the papacy with the person who sits on the Petrine chair at any given moment in time. Then he continues to condemn as either modernistic or outside "full communion" (still awaiting a definition on that one) those who dislike either the person or the official actions of the Pope.
Ultramontanism. The last acceptable error, and by far the most profitable. One wonders how the above would react to St. Peter Damian's description of Benedict IX as "feasting on immorality" or Patriarch Gregory II's emendations to the Vatican I document Pastor Aeternus on papal jurisdiction or even Adrian Fortescue calling Pius X an "Italian lunatic." Ultramontanists are driven by a semi-neurotic compulsion to have everything perfect in the Church at every moment in time, an impulse that history shows to be misguided and wateful. The best of Popes lived in the most turbulent of times (Leo the Great, Gregory the Great, Gregory VII, Pius V) and rarely improved the condition of the Church immediately. Many good popes are forgotten because they do not rock the proverbial boat (Benedict XIV and Leo XIII come to mind). By magnifying the person of the Pope the Ultramontanists put the present and future of the Church at the whim of a papal sneeze. Move a pontifical whisker and expect the loyalist police to come with a warrant!
I say none of this out of disloyalty, but rather out of perspective. Many of the popes in history have been mediocre pastors and despicable men. Just as many have been saints. And the rest, like Benedict XIV, fall somewhere in the middle. The same men who voted on Papal Infallability at Vatican I knew this quite well and a minority party, including Newman, questioned not the veracity of the doctrine, but its wisdom. Would connecting the papacy with inerrancy lead to abuse? Surely it did. And let none say that adumbrating this abuse makes the Rad Trad a disloyal Catholic. The decrees and Creed of the first councils of Nicaea and Constantinople which emphasized the Divinity of Christ led in some circles to linguistic and theological abuse which undermined the humanity of Christ and birthed the monophysite heresy. And unlike with the decrees of Nicaea and Constantinople, which came at a time when the Divinity of Christ was in doubt, the "spirit of Vatican I" was driven by political support for the declining temporal authority of the papacy and not initially out of religious motives. Luther was not a heretic because he complained about the immorality and greed of the Renaissance popes. He was a heretic because he denied transubstantiation, changed the Scriptures, concocted new doctrines about the Scriptures, pushed a new view of sin and justification at odds with the Church's historical understanding, and because in principle he rejected the powers above him—all factors that differentiated him from St. Peter Damian, St. Catherine of Sienna, Dr. Fortescue, and Patriarch Gregory II.
The Church is a series of churches. Each diocese is in fact a church, church deriving from a Semitic word meaning "assembly," which pre-supposes some sort of leadership. A revival of Catholicism in the West will have to come from the ground level: devout and prayerful laity working with bishops who care deeply about the welfare and salvation of the flock. One day a Pope will wake up to find himself pastor of the Church and not its CEO, President, Chairman of the Board, and majority shareholder. Then Ultramontane middle management will have to start sending out résumés.