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.
His photo speaks volumes about what he thinks of his vocation…he’s a modernist, just like 98% of the clergy out there.
A great book to read Cleansing Fire by Peter Kelly
I do often wonder what will happen to these types when the Church regains Her bearings again (something which I doubt I will live to see). It’s very possible they will simply chuck the Faith entirely at that time, when it becomes obvious that what has been happening in he last century or so has been a distortion (remember that Popes like St Pius X and Pus IX were already deeply worried about the future of the Church, for they could see the edifice weakening even in their own times.)
So many of them have built there homes of straw.
He could dye his beard and be a duplicate for ex-Father Corapi. The people I have encountered at the Latin Masses were young and had large families. Dying out? From his greying beard–it looks more like he is on that path. The young traditionalists (or Latin Mass attendees) have not been fooled by the modernist input. As said above–Fr. L is just another Protestant thinker–and one to be avoided. Send us Father Ray Blake, or Father Rodriguez, and not these impostors..
Where are all these “young people who are filling traditional religious orders with young vocations” of which Fr. Longenecker speaks? We know about the SSPX, the FSSP, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the Institute of the Good Shepherd, the Personal Apostolic Administration of St. John Mary Vianney, the Franciscan Friars, the Franciscan Sisters, all of which are (or were) growing at a considerable rate. But otherwise? To the best of my knowledge, outside of traditional circles, the numbers of vocations are hovering right around their all-time low. Is there any evidence to the contrary?
If the trend remains stable, N.O. will be obliterated in France by 2050.
In light of the promises of Christ and Our Lady, might we not consider these Longnecker comments along with so many others– as a modern example of the truth old adage: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” ?
As the (aging) Apostles declared in Acts 5, so do we “aging” faithful Catholics hereby repeat:
“Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins.  And we are witnesses of these things and the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to all that obey him. 
When they had heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they thought to put them to death.  But one in the council rising up, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, … said to them: Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do, as touching these men…let them alone; for if this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought;  But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest perhaps you be found even to fight against God.
…  And calling in the apostles, after they had scourged them, they charged them that they should not speak at all in the name of Jesus; and they dismissed them.  And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.
 And every day they ceased not in the temple, and from house to house, to teach and preach Christ Jesus.
This is just another attempt to substitute logical fallacies and blatant lies for actual thought, a common characteristic of modernist rhetoric. And a shameless attempt to gain more readership, perhaps, by turning the well-known observation – that it is the Novus Ordo hippies who are dying out – against those who defend Tradition.
After reading Fr. Longnecker’s blog post, a second time, we think his point was more that the younger generations don’t care as much about the divisions that developed among Catholics during and after VII, and don’t care to classify themselves as either traditional or progressive.
While this may exonerate him from attacking traditional Catholics by reassuring his readers that they are all dying out, (because he was really saying both sides of that argument are dying out) it leaves out any discussion of what caused the split between those who saw the destruction of morals and values and the attack on Truth as related to VII, and those who went with the “spirit of the council” which seemed to toss out those essentials.
Where it may be an insult to traditional Catholic parents, is in its claim that the new generation of unselfish priest-candidates is coming mostly from some blending of the two sides, rather than predominantly from the fruits of their labors in home-schooling and instilling the Faith in their children , despite the terrific odds against them.
Mostly his ideas seem to be opinions for which he gives no solid foundation.
There is a new, young family at our SSPX chapel almost every month, it seems. Pope Francis, despite his best intentions, is doing a splendid job at evangelization – for the Society of St. Pius X.
“If you tell a lie often enough, it becomes truth.” This is the modus operandi of these people, witting or not.
Like modern man in general, neo-Catholics can be swayed by crowd mentality. Not all of them – there are many good, sincere neo-Catholics who fight the temptations of the world daily. But, most want to do what is popular, or at least *don’t* want to do anything so crazy as being a Wacky Traditionalist, and are quite happy to hear the wacky movement is dying out of its own accord.
Thus does Fr. Longnecker have an audience.
And, yes, how telling indeed it is that this man realizes that the Catholic Church, the Bride of Christ, pure and undefiled, had a “revolution”. What good could possibly come of such a thing? How could She possibly be in need of such a thing?
Anyway, good for him for somehow making it through that Anglican->Catholic obstacle course! He must have nine lives.
Not “ex-Father” – unfortunately for him (if he does not repent before death), he’s still a priest, since the Mark of Holy Orders is indelible. Unfortunately because, of course, this Mark means greater torment in the abyss.
Fr. Longnecker on his best day was nothing close to Corapi. Corapi spoke the truth with beauty and power, and I find his fall tremendously sad. I pray for his repentance.
There are several false premises underpinning Fr Longenecker’s contentions. For one, it assumes that there was no objective truth or falsehood attached to the positions taken in respect of Vatican II Council; if something is true or false, it continues to be so. I wasn’t living at the time of the Council (like most people) but I am still bound to reject any error that was purported to be introduced into Church practice on foot of that Council.
Neither was I living at the time of the council. Which brings me to the question: Why am I Traditionalist? Aren’t all Traditionalists old people confused and unsettled by the simple bringing-up-to-date of the Church that was Vatican Council II? This is most perplexing.
God can make use of means that He does not approve. My own grandmother converted and became a near daily communicant because “after the changes” she couldn’t see any difference.
But the Church has been wise in the past to hesitate putting converts in influential positions, such as bishop (with exceptions).
These types of folks are reeking havoc in the already protestantised American Church.
I think this is a very straighforward case of projection. Mr Longenecker is starting to feel he wasted his time in ‘converting’ to vii catholicism (who wouldn’t) and so feels his affinity for whatever is left of real Catholicism ‘dyiing out’ in the face of Bergoglio’s war of attrition – the aggiornamento war which seeks to smother the last ounce of authenticity out of the True Faith, and, thereby, the Authorship of God Almighty. Then will the religion of man be complete.
“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.” Mr Longenecker, a bit rich, eh, ‘specially since you went across the Atlantic to become a devotee of VII.
Mr Longenecker also said, ““Not only are they dying out,” he wrote, “but their ideas are dying out.” What the world (and its longeneckers) see as a waste of ‘space’, God sees otherwise:
wis.3.1 But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure was taken for misery: And their going away from us, for utter destruction: but they are in peace. And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality. Afflicted in few things, in many they shall be well rewarded: because God hath tried them, and found them worthy of himself.
p.s. I reckon “One who embraces with gusto every word that has come forth from the mouths of the last five popes would have at least one [toe] in Protestantism” and another in judaism and another in islam, and another in antheism and another marxism, and the whole other foot in a smelly old shoe called ‘who am i to judge?’
We were living at the time of the council, and we didn’t and still don’t consider ourselves anything but Catholic, before, during, and after it.
We consider Tradition something that is part of Divine Revelation along with Scripture, which is expected to be safeguarded both in content and meaning by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. It doesn’t change with the times, as the many false prophets and ear-ticklers try to claim. And although it’s very old, it is not going to disappear any time soon. We have Jesus’ word on that.
The only perplexing thing is that those in top positions of authority, are as dis-oriented as the priest at a Novus Ordo Mass. If they’d just turn around and look at God as the center of worship, instead of man, we’d all be a lot happier.