Fundacatholics: why they make me want to jump off a cliff.

28 Sep

 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.

29 Responses to “Fundacatholics: why they make me want to jump off a cliff.”

  1. Eli at 1:18 pm #

    This was awesome. I’d just like to say thank you for putting in words, things I had no words for. Thank you. I am a fan.

  2. Joshua Michael at 1:52 pm #

    One common name for this sort of person is Rad Trad (Radical Traditionalist). It helps differentiate them from the more respectable traditionalist types, but I like your nickname too.

    I have a pet theory that many of the more legalistic catholics have a need for strict discipline in their own spiritual lives and should be part of a religious order or lay apostolate that is also strict (Carthusians, Discalced Carmelites, Opus Dei, etc.) But instead they end up projecting their own needs for order and discipline onto the Church as a whole.

    • bruinsandbrews at 2:13 pm #

      I agree. Sometimes I think we turn to legalism for the comfort the structure provides. You know you are doing something because you do XYZ. If you don’t have that, and things get nebulous, doubt creeps in. For some people, the extreme discipline is beneficial, for others, it can distract from seeking God himself.

      • Jordan at 12:14 am #

        I just noticed the date on this post and comments, so I know it’s pretty old, but bruinsandbrews I think has the best explanation. Structure is beneficial for everyone in some ways, and for some it is even more beneficial because of the “I KNOW that I got something done, I can rest a little easier.” mentality of the discipline.

  3. Tara Meghan at 2:08 pm #

    Love it! I don’t understand Catholics being against something the Church has clearly said is okay (as in the choice between Latin and Novus Ordo Mass).

    I think it’s time to find some new terminology to discuss Vatican II. In my mind, if the Church came up with V2, then it *must* be orthodox Catholic, right?

    I do worry about the phrase “spirit of V2”, because the misapplication of that phrase is part of the reason that a life-long Catholic like me reached age 26 without knowing what the Eucharist actually is, or what “communion of saints” means, or having any clue why the Pope had real moral authority over anything.

    How can we draw attention to this failure of education without seeming to bash V2 itself (which, to me, seems equivalent to bashing the Church’s ability to lead)?

  4. bruinsandbrews at 2:10 pm #

    I don’t get all the upset over VII. I think its a little odd that fundamentalists who get worked up over following everything the Pope says to a T, don’t want to do this one. Let the fresh air in!

  5. Megan at 2:27 pm #

    I have recently encountered people like this, and it makes me crazy when they suggest that the Novus Ordo Mass is invalid. 😦 Sigh. I think that the Church is moving toward a beautiful balance of new and old, and the abuses that occurred after Vatican II are slowly being stamped out so that we can appreciate its inherent beauty and value.

    • Tara Meghan at 2:41 pm #

      I sure hope so! Feels like having divorced parents, sometimes.

  6. Fr Christian Mathis at 2:59 pm #

    Well said!

  7. practicinghuman at 4:26 pm #

    I have to laugh because we definitely have these types in the Orthodox Church. [Generally we call them Russians, but the label lacks at time.] It’s intriguing to me how many people latch on to a particular representation of the Church and assert that it must always have been that way. I’m sorry friends, but the movements of the Holy Spirit are far and wide and He continues to guide us. But I appreciate the oddly rigid. My godfather once called them the bones of the body. They do give the body a bit of a shape.

  8. Kerri B. at 9:51 pm #

    Hi! I’ve been following your blog posts for a little while now, but I’m basically a new reader here. I’ve enjoyed reading your thoughts and insights. (I can’t remember how I found you, but your blog name intrigued me! Very creative.) This post was very good! Thanks for sharing, I’m very much in agreement with you. I also wanted to send you the “One Lovely Blog” award. I won’t go into all the details about it here, which really aren’t that many, but you can find them on my post here: (hopefully that will link, otherwise sorry for the cut and paste hassle). Hope you’ll accept and will have a chance at some point to pass it on to some other blogs. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and will be continuing to follow you. Many blessings!!

  9. spilisz08 at 1:47 pm #

    Oh man! I love this post. Thank you for writing it! The parish my family attends does both the TLM and the NO, and I love that we can go to either Mass on any given weekend, based on what our inclination is, or our schedule. As far as I know, our parish is somewhat of an anomaly, as there is a real unity between *most* of the TLM folks and the NO folks. We had a parish picnic recently, and people from both Masses were really meeting one another, getting along, and enjoying all the great food. Of course, all the big families love to play together!

    Anyway, I really appreciated this — and thanks for your post over on my blog about the Mantilla! 🙂

  10. Calah at 3:45 pm #

    Oh this is hilarious! And awesome. Do you mind if I add you to my blog roll? As another Protestant to Catholic convert, I love your blog.

  11. priest's wife at 11:07 pm #

    YES!!!!! You are AMAZING (save your blog posts- I sense a book in your future)

  12. Kimberlie at 4:01 am #

    OK, so I am late to finding this post (leaving aside that it is 4am and I am not asleep kind of late), but my experience, as a convert, is that the Fundacatholics I most often encounter are converts from an Evangelical or Fundamentalist Protestant church. It’s like they just took their fundamentalism and transferred it to Catholicism. I, for one, was glad to leave that behind me and embrace the Church and all her different charisms.

    I have to admit, I have never attended a TLM because as a convert, I don’t know Latin. Easter season is a strain for me because I don’t know all the Latin Mass parts. It’s intimidating. However, based upon your post, I think I am going to make an effort to check it out.


    • WSquared at 11:32 pm #

      Don’t be intimidated, Kimberlie. The lay responses are actually quite easy. And when you’ve gotten used to them (it’ll take you about 3 weeks or so), it’ll free you up to more easily pray the Mass as a whole. Furthermore, Latin Masses tend to provide everyone with bilingual booklets with the Latin on the left and the English on the right. So you’ll be fine. If you want to learn more about the Latin Mass, I would suggest checking out

  13. Jennifer at 10:50 am #

    I’m obviously late coming to this post… but I have add my round of applause. As I find myself a homeschooling Catholic, I find many of our Church groups filled with radical traditionalist whom I enjoy their company until it’s clear that our family is determined lessor.. they seem to enjoy picking us as pet projects to improve with tradition… ugh.. blah.. but like you I consider them the irritating cousins and love them anyway!

  14. Erika at 12:16 pm #

    This made me chuckle. I am a recent convert to the Church (2009 Tiber Swim Team!) and have encountered quite a few folks like this in online forums. I love the older traditions of the Church that aren’t as common now (wearing a headcovering for example), but I think it is harmful when people get rigorously dogmatic (and arrogant) about it. That’s how you start developing schisms, which never please Christ.
    God bless you!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Erika! I agree – I love many of the traditional practices of the church. I wear a headcovering 90% of the time, I’m trying my best to learn as many of the traditional prayers in Latin, etc. I think it is absolutely important that Catholics of the Roman rite know as much about their past as they do their future. Just, in all things, charity!

  15. Nathan Coleman at 1:36 am #

    I saw you comment on Bryan Kemper’s recent post about converting, and was interested in the name of your blog, so I stopped by to check 🙂

    Anyways, I love this post. I know exactly what you mean…I’ve been talking to some Sedevecantists and Feenites and other people with strange long titles recently, and it can get a bit frustrating, they’re whole world-view is confused.

    “please make sure you cover your Fundacatholicism when you’re in public – I can see your knees.”…I just might quote that sometimes 🙂

  16. Brent at 9:00 am #

    “the NO is vertical”. Unfortunately it was never meant to be. The Holy Father is showing us how to get the NO back on track. I’ve never been to an EF/TLM but I hope to very soon. The Vatican II/Pre Vatican II tension isn’t real but perceived. If you read Vatican II you’ll find that most that you hear people object to is objectionable.

    Peace to you on your journey.

  17. Anne Bender at 10:58 am #

    This is both wonderfully and sadly true. Even for a lifelong Catholic like me, it can get awfully uncomfortable in church at times and I wonder if I will ever fit in!

    Love your blog!

  18. David Suitor at 10:03 pm #

    I am one of those fundlementalist Catholics. The reason we stress the history of the Catholic Church is because it factually proves that Jesus founded the Catholic Church. History also proves that we wrote the New Testiment. The history of our shared faith has the power to lift you up and transform your life into a living poem for Jesus and the Church HE founded on Earth.

    • Will at 9:09 am #

      You have put much more charitable words than mine to a problem that has plagued me for some time. Rock on, and God bless.

  19. Will at 8:16 am #

    Looking back, I see ambiguity. I was not referencing David Suitor’s comment. I do not agree with him. I agree with the main article. Rock on to “The Secret Vatican Spy”.


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