Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rising Vocations

What I find fascinating is the rise in vocations in France amongst the Traditional Orders, Princess Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis writes about then in the Catholic Herald. Fr Z does a friendly red ink job on the article too.

I wish I could say that I was truly a "Traditionalist", the truth is I am a pragmatist. Liberalism leads nowhere, seminaries are more-or-less empty, convents are being sold off, parishes are closing, schools are left without Catholic heads or teachers, even the vocation to marriage and therefore to the Catholic family are seriously diminishing.

I don't know why "Traditionalism" flourishes on the continent, even in liberal anti-clerical France but in England it seems to be thought of something of a specialist interest. The article deals communities which are attached to the "old rite" but this is too narrow an approach to these communities, but even the "new rite" communities are far from liberal, they too flourish.


Ottaviani said...

Who said "traditionalists" aren't pragmatists?

Henry said...

It is probably something to do with the general principle that result and effort are related. There is no satisfaction to be gained from that which is too easy. It gives no sense of achievement as nothing has been achieved.

Anonymous said...

I am perplexed by your comment about traditionalism. I think you misunderstand... it is nothing more than emphasising continuity. It is not against change or adaption...this occurs in the living and transmition. It is unconscious. I am English...basically we are has fed our fears and shaped our national myths. Catholics ape Anglicans in that we want to be toned down respectable catholics...but English and accepted. Being English is so important. When we have a religious commnity in the UK that is see the vocations will flow. Meanwhile abbots and superiors as well as bishops block it. We don't want to be too extreme, too unEnglish. I say who cares. The only fresh things that have helped us has been from overseas. Lets be Catholic and bend Englishness to the Church. Not the Church to England as is happening now. We are just being inbred if we don't..

Sussex Catholic said...

The landscape is changing so rapidly that soon the name "traditionalist" will hopefully lose any meaning and rightly so. "Traditionalist" Catholics do not tend to feel comfortable with the term since it suggests something out of the ordinary or different from the norm. The essence of the "Traditionalist" position seems to me to be that it sees itself as the norm, as merely "Catholicism", as nothing other than faithful obedience to the Church and her teachings and liturgical inheritance and certainly not a fringe. This is because it views its position in the context of the Church over her entire history. Naturally there has tended to be rupture between this position and the so called "neo-conservative" position since the Council but this gap is rapidly disappearing under B16 towards an "orthodox" consensus. This in my view is a deliberate policy by the Pope to draw the battle lines more clearly, hence his use of the "Continuity/Discontinuity" approach.

Father Catechism said...

Dear Anonymous,

To be fair to Father Ray he is ventilating a problem with the use of the word "traditional..."
Sadly it seems to be conflated with Orthodox and in the eyes of some appears to mean the following: A priest or layperson is not fully orthodox unless they both follow the Teaching of the Church and are in favour of the pre Vatican Council liturgy.

However, one can be Orthodox and celebrate the Novus Ordo.

I believe the dearth of genuinely contemplative orders is something that reflects how poor we as a Church in this country have been in placing prayer at the centre of our lives.

Anonymous said...

yes i did a post re the veil..bring it & the habit back & see vocations increase,,,some still see it as 'old-fashioned'..

George said...

God Bless all our young seminarians, priests and religious brothers and sisters. They are an inspiration to us all. They fill us with great pride and we in turn must pray for them - daily. Thank God for these wonderful vocations.

tempus putationis said...

Dear Father,
Please do not say you are a 'pragmatist' except in the sense that, in the end, when we have made our choice between heaven and hell, we are all pragmatists.

I lived in liberal anti-clerical France for many years and found, despite the prevalent 'Gaillot' style vociferous demo-catho-citizen identity, a growing but patient, resilient, sacramental movement which manifested in various forms: Emmanuel, Le Barroux, Les Beatitudes, Les Petits Gris etc. They were not all following the 1962 Missal but were bringing to the Novus Ordo the care, attention and devotion of the older form.
"Traditionalism" in France in this sense is flourishing, but is subject to the same insults, misunderstandings and abuses as here.
The difference, I think, is that France has only had 200 years of anti-Catholic prejudice. The UK has had it for 500 years.
I found as a teacher, catechist etc in France that the basic tenets of the faith were acknowledged by most parents and grandparents, even if they were no longer 'believers'. They saw a purpose in the Wednesday morning catechism, and who are we to say that this was purely opportunist?

The crucial difference, I suspect, between our two cultures is that whereas what we may call the Catholic Capital accumulated in France since Clovis converted, despite being frozen some 200 years ago, is still paying a small dividend, our UK Catholic Capital which was liquidated in the mid 16th century is now a very small fund indeed: small but perfectly formed, one might say.
'Anonymous' is right to say that Catholics in England ape the Anglicans. I felt at home in France but has taken me years of frustration, misunderstanding and parish-hopping here to find anything like the orthodox fervour and faith of the most unassuming French 'paysan'; I feel at home here, unsurprisingly, amongst the minority 'traditionalist' community in England. Most parishes my way just don't seem Catholic at all.

Fr Ray Blake said...

By describing myself as a pragmatist, I really do believe "if it works, we should use it", if something is of God it generally works, because it is part of God's plan or law.

That which has grown organically over a long period tends to work because it meets human needs, or has had the dross knocked out of it over time. So I will describe myself as a pragmatist.