“I don’t know about sides. I go my own way; but your way may go along with mine for a while. … Wizards are always troubled about the future. I do not like worrying about the future. I am not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side, if you understand me: nobody cares for the woods as I care for them, not even Elves nowadays. Still, I take more kindly to Elves than to others … And there are some things, of course, whose side I am altogether not on; I am against them altogether: these — burárum” (he again made a deep rumble of disgust) “— these Orcs, and their masters”
– The Two Towers, JRR Tolkein
There is no “crowd” in the Catholic Church into which I fit conveniently. No stereotype describes my position and there is no article that details the ground on which I stand. I am where I am through my own choices, at the command of my own conscience, and as a result of my own conclusions. Many others in life have had great impact on me, providing me with knowledge of which I knew not and giving me invaluable resources from to learn. Every time though, I have drawn my own conclusions whether it agreed with their own or not.
However, I am beholden to no faction or clique in the Church. “Trads” generally consider my views too “liberal” and Ratzingerian, but I would undoubtedly be cast as a “Rad Trad” in the average diocesan parish. I am sympathetic to many things about the SSPX and will defend their sacramental validity, yet I find their understanding of the problems in the Church to be incomplete and too narrowly focused. I have little opinion of Taize, have skepticism towards the Charismatic movement, rejoice at the reintroduction of the Chalice for Communion but loathe Communion in the hand, am a proponent of Intinction, have absolutely no opinion on the “issue” of communing standing or sitting, believe the reintroduction of Deacons as more than just senior seminarians in the Latin Church was a good step that didn’t go far enough, believe worship should be ad orientem (which would include allowing it to “face the people” if it means facing east), believe that the trads should allow more vernacular but that the mainstream parishes should introduce some Latin, am in favor of lay readers but not lay Eucharistic Ministers under most circumstances, hold the belief that most of Vatican II is good minus a couple unfortunate documents while Vatican I is technically correct but caused even more damage than its sequel, and finally believe that both past and present popes both can and have been heretics.
With these beliefs, I hope it is easy to see why I gravitated so naturally towards the Christian “East”. There are issues there, to be sure, but far less of the above variety. Those will burn anyone out as they burned me out. There is really no place in the Roman Church where I would feel fully at home as a disillusioned former “Trad” and be able to escape always hearing about these controversies (perhaps the Anglican Ordinariate, perhaps… or a remote monastery).
I have had to consider this recently as the possibility of a life-changing event that could potentially force me to consider attending a “regular” parish has entered the realm of possibility. I will need to pray for God’s guidance on this, but such an event would be a long way off. It could also be subject to change. Who knows?
God’s will in all things, I suppose. Whatever that may be…