Friday, April 22, 2016

An Episode in Clericalism

(Alfred Weber)

Location: Local Tradistani Parish

Occasion: Monthly Men’s Group Meeting During Lent

Mr. B: Any other suggestions for Lenten reading?

Mr. C: I haven’t had the time to read much, unfortunately.

Mr. J (Me): I’ve been reading Dante’s Divine Comedy. It was recommended by the pope! (Polite laughter from the others.) Augustine’s Confessions would make for good Lenten reading, I think.

Mr. B: Well, I have been reading this collection of devotions to St. Joseph. It has a lot of good prayers and novenas you can use.

Mr. J: (Twitching noises.)

Mr. D: Oh yeah, St. Joseph is great! He’s really helped me out with finding a job after I had to leave my last one.

Mr. B: There are some interesting biographical things about St. Joseph in here I had never heard of before. Like how he was from the royal line of David—

Mr. J: (More twitching noises.)

Mr. B: —and how he was actually pretty young when he and the Blessed Virgin were married.

Mr. J: Ahem. Actually, the oldest traditions about St. Joseph were that he was older and widowed at that time.

Mr. B: You know, that’s what I always thought. I don’t know where this writer got his information. He also says that there’s good reason to believe that Joseph was assumed bodily into Heaven, but I can’t figure out where he gets those beliefs.

Mr. J: They were made up in the late Middle Ages, just as the Renaissance was kicking in.

Mr. B: Huh. I was not aware of that. It’s good to know. Oh well, it’s still a decent book if you just stick to the prayers.

Mr. J: (Sigh of relief.)

Mr. D: We should definitely pray to St. Joseph. His intercession is very powerful.

Mr. B: No doubt. Well, unless anybody else has reading suggestions, I suppose we can break for toni—

(He is interrupted as Fr. M walks in. This is the first time Mr. J has ever seen one of the parish priests show up in a Men’s Group meeting.)

Fr. M: I hope I’m not interrupting. I thought I’d pop in since I was done with confessions.

Mr. B: Not at all, Father! We were just talking about reading suggestions for Lent.

Fr. M: Oh, you should all read about Fatima! We’re coming up on the centennial, after all. Our Lady has many important messages for our time.

Mr. B: I was also talking about this St. Joseph book I’ve been reading.

Fr. M: Oh, if you want to read about St. Joseph, you should read The Life and Glories of St. Joseph, by— oh, I can’t remember who the author is.

Mr. J: (Twitching noises.)

Fr. M: But you can find the whole thing online. Joseph is a great saint. He’s the patron of the universal Church! The Life and Glories has lots of great information about St. Joseph, and all the wonderful graces given to him in accordance with his state in life.

Mr. B: Wow, I’ll have to get my hands on that.

Fr. M: You should! It’s very well researched, with many quotes from the Doctors and Fathers of the Church. He even received the grace of sinlessness and of being assumed bodily into Heaven with Our Lady!

Mr. J: I’ve read a lot of Mr. Healey’s book. I can’t say I was very impressed with his scholarship. In fact, he includes some patristic quotes nobody has ever been able to verify.

Fr. M: Oh, I don’t know. He quotes many Doctors of the Church, including St. Francis de Sales!

Mr. B: Well, if it’s online, I’ll have to find it. Maybe we’ll talk about that book in the next meeting.

Fr. M: Oh, that would be wonderful.

Mr. B: All right, let’s break for tonight. Have a good rest of Lent, everybody.

Mr. J: (The twitching noises become eerily calm.)


  1. When I first joined aforesaid Tradistani parish, I intended to attend these meetings, although something always held me back. But this exchange has now confirmed my fears!

    1. The Men's Group is usually fine. This was an anomaly, but it annoyed me greatly.

    2. I guess it's one of the still decent groups at the parish then. But still, having been there several months, it's not been good overall, from what I've been hearing and experiencing.

  2. A priest from a conservative Novus Ordo parish that I attend during the weekdays said yesterday that we should use the internet to follow what the Pope says because "what he says comes from the Holy Spirit."

    Good grief.

    1. UGH! By comparison, Josephology is an odor of sweetness.

  3. ABS wonders how many soi distant trads reach out to make friends with the local N.O. Pastor.

    At the local franchise of Dead Diocese Inc. America, ABS has befriended the Pastor and we have had frequent email exchanges that are quite frank and bold - although very polite.

    ABS was having an exchange about Wholly Water Vs Holy Water when he surprised ABS by telling him, Not to worry, I use the old ritual


    Many of these priests are well-intentioned although poorly educated and much can be accomplished with some genuine love and masculine frankness.

    Owing to our schedules we have not gotten together for lunch or, better yet, supper and a few drinks but that will be happening this summer.

    ABS has even spoken to him abut the Real Mass but he is not too keen on that but he is very respectfully of the atavistic spirituality of ABS :)

    1. I didn't know that there was the "Non-real" Mass.

    2. Doubtless a slight against the reform Mass of Milan.

    3. Marko. It is just ABS' polemical way of publicly opposing the Liturgical movement which produced, well, a sizable movement.

      A real Mass is what the well-educated in here ( that cohort excludes ABS) discourse about, not the Pauline Rite

    4. Did st. Justin Martyr celebrate a real Mass?

  4. I think it's the fear of neo-modernism's supposed ressourcement. I think that they (residents of Tradistan) think that because neo-modernists hid under "ad fontes" and Fathers they could somehow go wrong if they start reading Fathers as spiritual and theological reading, and thus, they take refuge in post-tridentine devotions.

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  5. A Tradistani acquaintance of mine basically accused me of being a crypto-schismatic because I used the term "Pope of Rome," sic, in an email conversation in which I was otherwise expressing full support for the papal office.

    The same acquaintance once explained to me that if only Paul VI hadn't abolished the Oath Against Modernism, all would be well today.