Polemics & Exchanges

On Traditionalists

I had already read Robin Anderson’s biography of Pope Pius VII, but if a book review or anything else has Thomas Fleming’s name on it, I read it.  Alas, no more than nine lines into his review (“The Church Militant,” Reviews, August), I was startled by the first of several attacks on Catholic traditionalists that contributed absolutely nothing to the review.  As a staunch Fleming aficionado, I attribute the anti-traditionalist spasms in the review either to temporary indigestion or to something more serious: Dr. Fleming has been seduced by “Catholic conservatives,” kissing cousins to the neocons he elsewhere despises.  Like the Catholic conservative periodical the Wanderer, Dr. Fleming knows the citadel has been overrun.  But he won’t bring himself to identify the moles who opened the gates or the guards still snoring at their posts, and he criticizes those who will.

Dr. Fleming couldn’t just call us “traditionalists.”  No, we are “self-described” traditionalists.  I take that to mean that we aren’t what we think we are.  Though we cling to traditional ways of worshiping, praying, thinking, and reacting to false religions, Dr. Fleming denies us the title because we won’t follow postconciliar popes down paths condemned...

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