When one dares to attend Latin Mass, any positive talk of it immediately dubs them a “Traditionalist”, “rad-trad”, or “Traddie”. These people do the real wild things of observing the Ember Days, and abstaining from meat every single Friday. The women veil their heads, and they fast during Lent and no one is quite sure why they made these startling changes like actually reading their Bible. So, we see this in the age of social media where men and women alike plaster “Traddie!” in their “About Me” sections which in turn leaves them open to criticism from the ever-liberalizing modernists within the current Catholic Church. Liberal here does not mean Hilary Clinton, anti-gun loving socialists, but more likely, the cradle Catholic who is usually willing to vehemently chastise you that “it’s all the same!” and “you just think you’re holier than the Pope” (currently not that hard, actually).
I would like to bring to light a different type of traditionalism. The traditionalist that is so because of one reason only, a broken heart. These are the only types of traditionalists I know and the type I surely am. This, is one such tale:
It begins with a weird feeling like something is off when you see people actively waving their hands about during a rock song after Communion, or the retreat Masses complete with projector screens and massive, but bare crosses. You see journal after journal heavily promoted and you are very quickly brought back to your Baptist days where Devotionals and self-help books were the perfect guide to your Sunday sermons. Inherently these things are not evil, but inherently these things are not Catholic.
So, you start praying the Rosary, you look up the different Titles of Mary (you did not know various titles existed). Sometimes you join a third Order and are brokenhearted by the female pants suits and [Extra]Ordinary Eucharistic Ministers and realize, “these people think I’m nuts” whenever you talk about wanting more than two kids. You stay because you read about great Saints who shook the walls of their monasteries and convents with the traditional practices your family uses today. You attend Latin Mass for the first time and leave feeling like you just witnessed something extremely special. You realize that something special is actual reverence for the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. You further realize your lack of worthiness and are overwhelmed with grace and thanksgiving and vow to respect and encourage respect of this Gift. You attend Novus Ordo (NO (is the acronym a coincidence?)) Mass again and cry. Not tears of joy, but ones of sorrow and grief. You hate that Mass. You read about the Eucharist and realize how woefully uneducated you are about basically anything truly Catholic. You realize the Mass is not about your wants and preferences. You feel incredibly selfish and silly for ever thinking that. You rage against the post Vatican II Church but eventually end up giving up on arguing with the 15th person on females on the freaking Altar. You still strongly dislike the NO Mass. You still go because it’s Mass (and it’s quite literally your only option) and make the best of it. You pray devoutly for the Pope because you know the Church herself is divinely inspired and will somehow overcome (even if it’s not in your lifetime).
You think of your beloved Carmelite Saints, and remember that they all attended Mass in Latin and received on their knees. You are encouraged by Pope John Paul the Great, who despite being a post Vatican II Pope, knelt before the Eucharist even when he physically could not do so alone—he had aids help him down and up rather than ever receiving in vain while standing. Another modern Saint, Mother Teresa, also did not dare to touch the Body of Jesus. You think of your friends who introduced you to Latin Mass and thank God that social media has put you in touch with so many more. Your heart is filled with joy. You pray instead of argue with those who are poorly guided by their diocese and smile weakly when the 20th old person tells you they just HAVE NO IDEA why none of their adult children are still Catholic. You feel your womb-baby kick and have an ounce of hope.
I realized that after all of this time what I feel is not anger or hatred, but brokenness over a very shattered Catholic Church. Reverting back to the tradition that lasted up until the 1960’s is the way my family knows how to mend our hearts and create a solid foundation of faith for our children, something neither of us had growing up. It is not to spite anyone or put on any sort of heir of “we’re better than you” and the fact that modernists LOVE to pull the self-righteous card is honestly unwise. I too, was very much judgmental of the NFP using family, and actually of anyone that received on their tongues (I was not even given this option growing up). So, modern Catholics, out of charity for yourself, educate yourselves on the traditions of the beautiful faith you profess, of the lives of the Saints, and the reason you even say you’re Catholic at all—the [literal] Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.