I can see it coming. The glimmer in their eye that sparks as soon as I say something edifying about a Novus Ordo (or Eastern Rite) parish in town. When I’m caught entering the sanctuary without a headcovering (usually because unknowingly to me it floated off while running from my car to the church doors). When I quote Pope John Paul II on Facebook or mention reading the CCC or mispronounce a word in Latin.
Enter the Fundacatholic: “Pardon me ma’am, but your Vatican II is showing.”
Yes, well, the putrid scent of your Catholic arrogance is overwhelming me. When I decided to convert, I thought I was leaving denominationalism behind – unfortunately, it just tends to take on a different name in the Church. We call it Vatican II vs. Vatican I (or The High Holy Purveyors Of Truth). Do I consider myself a Traditionalist? No. Do I consider myself a Modernist? No. I’m Catholic. Period.
I love the Traditional Latin Mass. It touches corners of my soul that before I began my conversion only ever came out of the shadows in the cold, dark, damp ballet studios where I poured out blood, sweat and more than a few tears. It’s personal to me. It’s coming face to face with God. The majesty and the imagery make me tremble before the Almighty, and I realize just how small I really am in Eternity – and just how powerful my God is.
But the Novus Ordo is equally special. It’s like a family reunion. There are the cousins that irritate you. The grandfather that tells embarrassing stories. The crazy uncle who does things like hula hoop in a coconut bra in the middle of a barn. (True story. From family reunion. Not Mass). Is it as earth shatteringly beatiful as the TLM? Hardly. But it’s coming together in simplicity and union, and meeting God in community. Where the TLM, for me, is interior and vertical, the NO is exterior and horizontal. Both are necessary. Both are valuable. I recently attended my first Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy, in the Maronite Rite, and it added even more to my spiritual life.
I’m tired of the rigid “My way or you’re a heretical schismatic.” vitriol. My personal favorite is when it’s announced that non-Religious (and the definition of Religious is limited to only those who are anti V2) have no business studying the theology of the church, and should leave that to “The Intellectuals”. ?????
But you know what? However blood-boilingly angry Fundamentalist-behaving Catholics make me, they are still my brothers and sisters, and I have to love them – just like I do everyone else. Just. . .in the meantime, please make sure you cover your Fundacatholicism when you’re in public – I can see your knees.