How I Became an Evil Trad, PartII
OK, it's St Wenceslaus Day, 1980. I'm 33 years old and I've just become a Catholic. Where do I go from here? By God's grace, I had joined the Church in a very conservative diocese, tho' I didn't know that at the time. It wasn't until some months later I travelled into the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas for the Baptism of a friend's newborn. At the Mass I realised that lay people were receiving the Cup, which I had not seen before. Upon my return to Wichita, I asked about this and was told that the Bishop forbade it in his Diocese, but it was common throughout the US.
I lived as a reasonably conservative NO Catholic until I returned to live in the Archdiocese of KC in Kansas, where I have lived ever since. At one of the first Masses I attended in my new Parish Church, I heard the Priest compare the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar to beer and popcorn. This was a man (who later left the priesthood) that I came to love very much as a human being while disagreeing violently with his opinions. In fact, he is the only priest I ever came close to physically assualting! During the Hunthausen affair, he got very upset that the Vatican was "persecuting" poor Bishop Hunthausen by sending an orthodox Bishop to "assist" him, while "Nothing is being done about Lefebvre!" The intellectual dishonesty of this statement (Hunthausen still ruled his Diocese, whilst Monseigneur was under the most severe punishment possible, short of excommunication!), upset me so much that I almost decked him!
However, I became active in the Parish, becoming an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist (may God forgive me!) and active in the "Respect Life Committee" (the extreme leftwing layman who headed the committee is now a priest in the Archdiocese!) The interesting thing about the committe was that "Life" as most sane people understand the term, was rarely mentioned. to "respect life" was understood as to do everything possible to prop up the Soviet Union and to further the communist revolution, especially in Latin America.
I remember creating waves in the committee, however, in the 80's when the UCCB issued a document on "Catholic" Social Teaching on the economy. The adopted the leftwing, collectivist Platform of the Democratic Party lock, stock and barrel. They were answered by a group of "conservative" Catholic laymen with their own document, in which they equally adopted the individualist, laissez faire Platform of the Republican Party. When the committee "facilitator" was waxing enthusiastic about the Bishop's document and lambasting the laymen's, I pointed out that neither document had anything to do with the Traditional Social Magisterium dealing with the economy. I pointed out the Papal condemnations from H.H Pope Leo XIII to the currently reigning Pope John-Paul II of both collectivist socialism and individualist capitalism. I was not popular for a few days!
However, as a result of this, I pulled off a coup! I convinced the committte to sponsor a study group on the matter. They actually purchased copies of the relevant Papal Encyclicals so that I could conduct the study. It was during a meeting of this group that I almost came to blows with a fellow on the other side. He is a dear friend and a fellow Trad, but he is infected with an almost calvinist view of the glories of laissez-faire capitalism. We were discussing one of the multitude of Papal condemnations of this false doctrine when he got upset and said, "that's just your opinion!" At this, I read, verbatim, the condemnation and when he still wouldn't accept it, I got so upset I didn't speak to him for almost 5 years. Years later, I met his father and told him the story. He said, "I've got you beat. I didn't speak to him for 10 years!"
However, my readings in the Traditional Social Magisterium started me on the road to Evil Tradism. The bibliographies in the books I was reading contained more titles to read and I became familiar with authors that are no longer discussed, such as Fr Fahey. I also began to discover publications like The Remnant and Christian Order. I also discovered Hamish Fraser and corresponded with him. Our shared, former membership in the Communist Party was a starting point, but I took to "Approaches" like a duck to water. I was becoming more and more Traditional, but I was still attending the NO. Why?
Well, I lived in Lawrence, in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. Our Ordinary had granted the TLM on the first four Sundays of the month, only. No Mass on a fifth Sunday or on Holy Days! I don't remember the sequence, but the 1st and 3rd were in either Topeka or Kansas City and the 2nd and 4th in the other city. Thus, it was extremely difficult to get to them for me.
I did manage to attend one TLM during this period. A student at the University was receiving his doctorate in Medieval Studies and asked His Excellency for permission to have the TLM celebrated in thanksgiving. Permission was given, provided that there be no publicity! Needless to say about 150 people turned up!
Then, in '90 or '91 (I think) I was invited to give a presentation on Catholic Monarchism at the Catholic Voice International conference in Chicago. It was glorious. For three days I attended the TLM, including All Saints at St John Cantius, with all the Relics exposed for reverence. I met Charles Coulombe, Roy Moore of the Distributist League and others and became convinced of the neccesity of full blown Traditionalism.
But, I still lived in Lawrence! I went to the NO and said my Rosary or my Breviary. The situation was so bad that weeks would go by without my being able to receive Communion. I would confess on Saturday, be in a state of grace when I arrived at Mass and be sinfully angry by Communion because of the rape of the Mass I was forced to attend.
Finally, in '99, I moved to Kansas City, KS and discovered that our new Ordinary had authorised a quasi-parish for the TLM under the pastoral care of the FSSP. Home at last! I still attend the NO occasionally, but that's another story!
Last fall, I established this blog. Through this I was invited to join the League. And so, I became not only a Traditionalist but an Evil Trad!