Confessions of a “Postconciliar Exile”

Book Review: Tradition and Sanity: Conversations & Dialogues of a Postconciliar Exile, Peter A. Kwasniewski, Angelico Press, 232 pages, $17.95.

“Some, if not many, people, call you ‘traditionalists’. Sometimes you even call yourselves ‘traditional Catholics’ or hyphenate yourselves in a similar way. Please do this no longer… You do not belong in a box on the shelf or in a museum of curiosities. You are not traditionalists: you are Catholics of the Roman rite as am I and as is the Holy Father.

You are not second-class or somehow peculiar members of the Catholic Church because of your life of worship and your spiritual practices, which were those of innumerable saints. You are called by God, as is every baptized person, to take your full place in the life and mission of the Church in the world of today, not to be shut up in — or worse, to retreat into — a ghetto in which defensiveness and introspection reign and stifle the Christian witness and mission to the world you too are called to give.”

I grew up attending both the traditional Latin Mass as well as the Novus Ordo. As a child, I was brought to Eucharistic adoration daily; I learned the rosary, novenas, and other traditional prayers. I was taught Christian doctrine from a young age and knew how to defend the Faith. Simultaneously, my mother volunteered at a Catholic hospice for persons suffering from HIV/AIDS; she also made sure I had direct contact with and serviced the poor in our community. When she wasn’t adoring the Blessed Sacrament or teaching me the Catholic faith, she was in her inner-city job helping underprivileged students. Was she “trad”? Was she a liberal social-justice warrior? Up until my freshman year of college, I honestly had no idea what a “traditional Catholic” was, because what I experienced at home was Catholicism in its purest and most traditional form — all without the labels.

What theology did Vatican II change? Asking for a friend.
I would rather be an “illiterate muck farmer” working out my salvation than be a bourgeois American subscribing to the heresy of liberalism.

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John Monaco

Doctoral student in theology, seeking the true, good, and beautiful.