Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Modern Usage for Catholic Writers

To the Reader: In an age like ours, words are coined and defined and redefined at an ever-accelerating rate. It is important to keep up with the most current usage so as not to be left using outmoded definitions. To that end, The Rad Trad blog is happy to provide the Internet with a handy reference guide.

barron. A type of online personality who gains notoriety via vlogging and keeps up the pretense of orthodoxy while entertaining Balthasarian blasphemies.

blogger. One who opines online in public without the benefit of an editorial edifice and usually without the benefit of immediate doctrinal and moral guidance.

clericalist. One who selectively defends men that have received Holy Orders in spite of their grievous errors and public sins. For example, the clericalist will defend a priest he loves against any abuse allegations, even obstructing investigations, until the priest admits to a lifetime of pederasty, and then will fall silent and refuse to apologize for any abuse leveled against his opponents. He will appeal to the dignity of priests' office to place them beyond criticism, but this will not stop him from attacking priests he does not like. See also ultramontanist.

conservative. As variously applied to Catholics by Catholics: (i) A Catholic who votes Republican. (ii) A Catholic who votes Democrat, but feels really bad about abortion. (iii) Applied by liberals to anyone to the ecclesiastical right of Rev. Robert Barron.

extraordinary form. A term coined by P. Benedict XVI in 2007 to refer to the 1962 form of the Roman Rite in Summorum Pontificum. This term has not passed into common usage among traditionalists except as an ironic compliment, but it is commonly used among neo-conservatives who are also ultramontanists.

liberal. A Catholic who dissents against "official" Church doctrine on some matter, often regarding sexual matters. The liberal will also have an "emotional attachment" to the Novus Ordo revision of the Roman Rite.

neo-conservative (or neo-con). Coined by Christopher Ferrara and and Thomas Woods in The Great Fa├žade, the derogation "neo-con" is frequently applied by traditionalists to anyone to the ecclesiastical left of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. Generally speaking, a neo-con is a Catholic who lives in a state of cognitive dissonance, constantly defending the orthodox Faith whilst also defending the same episcopacy which is actively undermining it.

novus ordo. The term "Novus Ordo Missae" was coined by P. Paul VI in 1969 to describe his near-total revision of the Roman Rite. This may or may not have linguistic connections to the Masonic phrase "Novus ordo seclorum." While not originally a derogatory term, it is frequently used as such by traditionalists. See also Ordinary Form.

ordinary form. A term coined by P. Benedict XVI in 2007 to refer to the Novus Ordo form of the Roman Rite in Summorum Pontificum. Used as a derogation by traditionalists to emphasize the banality of the Novus Ordo.

orthodox. When not applied to the separated Eastern churches, an orthodox Catholic refers to a conservative or traditionalist Catholic who assents to all defined doctrine.

orthopraxis, orthopraxy, and orthopractitioner. Theologically these terms are contested, but are generally said to mean that a certain liturgical practice is in proper keeping with the broader and ancient liturgical traditions of the Church. Catholics who follow the liturgical norms of the Church claim to be working within the bounds of orthopraxy: a neo-conservative will apply this to himself if he follows all the rubrics for the Novus Ordo Missae; a traditionalist will apply it to himself if he follows the rubrics of one or more of the pre-1969 versions of the Roman Rite. One sometimes wonders how accurate these assessments truly are.

pope emeritus. New term coined by P. Benedict XVI in 2013 to describe the rare phenomenon of a retired Bishop of Rome. As practiced by the current Pope Emeritus, he is to wear white vestments, thus fueling all manner of speculation by Fatima devotees. A love for cats is considered by most canonists to be optional.

radical traditionalist (or rad-trad). Derogatory term used by Catholics against any other Catholic deemed too extreme in their attachment to some older form of the Roman Rite, or to supposedly outdated moral norms. Definition is more flexible than traditionalist, so there is no established usage.

sedevacantist. One who believes that the Seat of Peter is currently vacant, in spite of one or more public claimants to the throne. The beginning of this period of evacuation is a matter of some speculation, but the most popular belief is that P. Pius XII was the last true pope. Other contenders include Pius IX, John Paul I, and Benedict XVI. Most sedevacantists also assert that the continuation of Holy Orders ceased with the revision of the relevant rites shortly after Vatican II, so that the true episcopacy and priesthood exists only as a small remnant scattered throughout the world.

traditionalist. As variously applied to Catholics by Catholics: (i) One who wishes to include an occasional smattering of Latin within the Novus Ordo Mass. (ii) One who has an "emotional attachment" to any form of the Roman Rite as used in 1962 or earlier. (iii) One who prefers the liturgies—sacramental and of the Divine Office—in use prior to P. Pius X. (iv) One who demands the restoration of pre-Tridentine Roman usages.

ultramontanist. Literally meaning "beyond the mountains," ultramontanism refers to an appeal to the pope's authority over and above that of the local bishop or patriarch. Strictly speaking, this can be in keeping with the definition of papal authority at the first Vatican Council. However, the term also applies to the kind of clericalist who is overly pious and defensive towards the office (and often to the person) of the pope. Heterodox and liberal Catholics are ultramontanist only when popes are agreeable to them (such as when the pope approves of sinful communions); orthodox and conservative Catholics may be ultramontanist with popes of any kind, because of an excessive piety towards the papal office (see also Voris).

uniate. Derogatory term applied to Eastern Catholic communities who have left the Orthodox churches to be in full communion with the Holy See in Rome, and financially sustain themselves by throwing cultural festivals.

voris. Vortical commentator whose position on many matters is protean yet ultramontanist and generally neo-conservative. Is perfectly ready to delete vlogs without explicitly retracting any past commentary that may contradict his current commentary. Expresses a voracious desire to shut down all online Catholic commentary but his own. Occasionally can be seen carrying a vorpal blade.

zuhlsdorf. A type of Internet clerical commentator with a penchant for publishing meal photographs and republishing the articles of others with constant interruptions in bright red type. Best referenced in abbreviated form (e.g., "There is no scandal, there is only Zuhl").


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'll second that, but then who's the Keymaster?

  3. It isn't on the list, but my favorite would be self-absorbed promethean neopelagian.


  4. Hey now, the Greek Orthodox church in our town financially sustains itself by throwing a yearly culture festival on which it is absolutely dependent. The local Slavic uniate church isn't dependent on the fests, but they do make good money.

    Terms missed:
    "Novus Ordo Catholics": derogatory term applied by some traditionalists to anyone who attends a Pauline Mass, no matter how orthodox said person is.
    "Magisterium": A term meant to be used as an absolute to help define what the church teaches, but is ironically so poorly defined to be useless. It serves only to make the user of the term seem like they are making a pretentious and weak appeal to "authority".
    "Church Fathers": Some old men who taught theology in the early days of the church. Their teachings are to be cherry picked by Balthasar and Barron as they see fit while ignored by traddies because they are not from the Counter-Reformation. Also, they are the main source from where the uniates take their theology.
    "Pius XII": To most sedevacantists, the last true pope. To standard traditionalists, the last good pope. To liberals, a Nazi. To Jews, a man who saved thousands. To those who know history, the one who started the destruction of the Roman Liturgy.
    "Decentralization": To many traditionalists, a heresy tantamount to Gallicanism as the pope should be an uncontested monarch... Except when it is pope they don't like.
    "Low Mass": a counter-reformation and 19th century practice whereby Mass is reduced to its barest form. Many traditionalists see it as the norm and standard of orthopraxis. and remain in absolute denial that it was the template for the Pauline Mass.
    "Rosary Crusade": A practice common in the SSPX whereby Catholics are encouraged to pray rosaries for a period of time and then... count. how. many. they. said....
    In other words, something beautiful ruined by an attempt at quantification of prayer and grace.
    "Fatima Apparition": An alleged apparition by the Theotokos to three children in Portugal warning of an impending doom. Some believe that Communism, World War II, and the crisis in the church have shown the apparition has come to fruition. Others have exploited a book-selling market warning of further doom and the cover up of a "third secret". This has caused some Catholics to lose sight of everything else and make this apparition the center of their faith.

    I'm sure there's more we can add, but that's a start.

    1. Another one I can think of:

      crypto-Lefebvrianist. code for someone who extols any pre-1969 Roman liturgy and points out the defects of the 1969 rite.

    2. Fr. Angelo Geiger, friar of the Franciscans of the Immaculate - noteworthy as one of the protesting friars who filed the complaints with the Holy See which led to their present "receivership" offered a quite different definition: "“[Crypto-Lefebvrism] is when people say they really do not sympathize with the SSPX and then say that they think the Society should be regularized without having to agree to anything.”

      And of course, he felt that his order was badly infested with such creatures. I'm not sure how the extermination efforts are faring at present.

    3. Another example of elasticity. I found the definition I put here from the NLM site (not so precise as i have put it), I believe, in the post concerning whether or not the TLM can be improved on or not by Dr. K.

    4. It was Pius X that start the Liturgical Reform,NOT Pius XII.

    5. Josemaria brings up a good point. I have been praying pre-1911 for a while and it is amazing to see how much damage St. Pius X did to the Office.

    6. Indeed. I read TheRadTrad's book recommendation "Worship as a Revelation" and it shows why the reforms of the 20th century were misguided, a kind of rationalism to make everything fit perfectly. Laurence Paul Hemming shows particularly the wrongness of the idea of "green" Sundays, even to the effect of making Apostles/Evangelists mere commemorations!

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. With regard to the two Pope Pius',I tend to look to XII more than X since X's changes at least can be defended with "there was a legitimate problem with the Office as it stood in 1910". We all know now that the wrong action was taken and that is unfortunate.

      However, XII's changes were nonsensical, arbitrary, and were a completely useless upheaval. Annunciation, Holy Week, Joseph the "******", etc.

      Can one man be found to defend these changes?

    9. I know what he did to Holy Week and St Joseph, but what did he do to the Annunciation? Thank you.


    10. I think Ecclesial Vigilante meant the Assumption.

  5. Some of these terms have a certain . . . elasticity in common usage. Sometimes, comically so. I recall Fr. Robert Taft, S.J., fine expositor of eastern liturgies but with some terminal prejudice regarding his own patrimony, vigorously denouncing anyone supporting a pre-1969 Latin Rite as a “right wing neoconservative wacko (hereafter NCW’s)." ("Interviewing Liturgical Leaders: Robert Taft, S.J.," PrayTell, June 11, 2014) And, perhaps even more comically: "But that does not mean that the NCW’s are not a threat, since it is said that large numbers of them now control the terrain in our seminaries."

    I guess we're *all* neo-cons" now - even if under protest.

  6. For some reason I can't get this reply to insert up under your last post, Paul:

    ...why the reforms of the 20th century were misguided, a kind of rationalism to make everything fit perfectly.

    Actually, you can see a lot of the same thrust of rationalism in the forging of the 1917 (Pio-Benedictine) Code of Canon Law during Pius X's pontificate - the very first time the Church had put together a true, self-contained, systematic legal code. And its conception wasn't based on Justinian or any other ancient source, but on modern European legal codes.

    It's not surprising that we see the same idea at work in other spheres of the Church at the same time - such as in the liturgy. And marks a point where the Church finally really is being shaped more by the external culture than it is shaping that culture, even if that might not have been obvious to many observers at the time.

    1. I remember reading an incisive article by Dr. Brian McCall in the Remnant concerning this very thing, the 1917 Code of Canon Law.

    2. A pity, though, that Dr. McCall didn't connect the 1911 liturgical reforms of Pius X with the imposition of the 1917 Code of Canon Law a few years later.

    3. Here it is: