Fr. Dwight Longenecker, posting on his“Standing on my Head” blog (appropriately named given the frequency with which pontifications seem to flow so freely from his other end), recently suggested that traditionalists (aka Catholics) are “getting old.”
Obviously, he’s never been to a “traditionalist” gathering to witness the overwhelming presence of young, often quite large, families.
“Not only are they dying out,” he wrote, “but their ideas are dying out.”
It isn’t immediately clear what “ideas” he has in mind, but presumably he is speaking of such notions as the Social Kingship of Christ as taught with such stunning clarity by Pope Pius XI in Quas Primas, the reality of Christian unity as taught by this same Roman Pontiff in Mortalium Animos, and last but not least, the Mass of all Ages, the devotees of which he has castigated as unstable for daring to drive considerable distances to assist at such a liturgy.
Fr. Longenecker went on to opine:
Fifty years after the revolution of the Second Vatican Council we are moving on from the tensions it created. Those tensions existed because Catholics kept comparing the pre-Vatican II church to the post-Vatican II church. The ones who did this most were the folks who went through the Vatican II revolution … Everything was viewed through that lens.
Well, at least we agree on one thing; the Second Vatican Council was a revolution.
Where I and every other reasonably well-formed Catholic parts company with Fr. Longenecker is his preposterous assertion that those who cannot help but draw comparisons between Catholic life before Vatican II and the bitter realities of the present crisis are necessarily “the folks who went through the Vatican II revolution,” and they are the reason tensions exist over the Council.
Does Fr. Longenecker believe that to be Catholic, no matter one’s age or personal experience, is to view everything through the lens of all that preceded us?
Does he hold the firm conviction that ours is the Faith that comes to us from the Apostles; not just the faith of the most recent “pastoral exercise” or the currently reigning pope?
Does he fully embrace the reality that this faith is immutable; may never be believed to be different, and may never be understood in any other way?
Apparently not, which actually makes perfect sense if you stop to consider his background:
Brought up as an Evangelical. Dwight Longenecker graduated from fundamentalist Bob Jones University. While there he became an Anglican and after graduation went to Oxford to train as an Anglican priest. After serving for ten years as an Anglican priest he converted to the Catholic faith with his wife and family. Eventually he returned to the United States to be ordained as a Catholic priest under the special provision from Rome for married former Anglican clergy. (Amazon.com bio)
Is it just me or does there seem to be something missing from this curriculum vitae; namely, any kind of training in Catholic theology and protestant deprogramming?
In any case, I suspect, and Fr. Longenecker himself may very well admit, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell he would have swum the Tiber if awaiting him on the other shore was the “pre-Vatican II church” circa all the way back to 1958.
This raises yet another question: Did Fr. Longenecker convert to the Catholic faith whole and entire, or did he convert to some protestantized (read: distorted) conception of the same?
Clearly, it is the latter. Remember what he said:
Fifty years after the revolution of the Second Vatican Council we are moving on from the tensions it created.
You see, only the protestant mind can conceive of a “revolution” in the Church in such terms; as if the revolution isn’t a problem in and of itself, but only the tensions created by the recalcitrant few who just can’t seem to let go.
Indeed, it may well be that the vast majority of converts over the last fifty years, priest or otherwise, more properly converted to a protestantized conception of “Church” and not necessarily to the Faith in its fullness.
It’s not necessarily their fault.
Think about it: One who embraces with gusto every word that has come forth from the mouths of the last five popes would have at least one foot in Protestantism. Obviously, Fr. Longenecker does, and this even as he stands on his head.