Neo Catholic means a conservative catholic who converted from protestantism or converted from being a liberal catholic. They generally adhere to catholic teaching on divorce, birth control, abortion, and homosexuality. They want to see the Novus Ordo Mass done with reverence and obeying the rubrics (written directions in red on what only to do). They would like once in a while some latin parts sung in the mass like the Gloria and Sanctus. They are big on apologetics defending the catholic understanding of the Bible and the Holy Eucharist.
Since they are recent converts or reformed catholics, they do not know a lot about the church before Vatican II. They mean good. The want to be good catholics and be obedient to the Pope and the Magisterium. They pretty much want to be catholics like on EWTN Television. They are good new catholics of the new church since Vatican II.
I understand them because I have gone through this conversion process myself. In the late 70’s, when I began my conversion to be a good catholic, few catholics in my parish of Resurrection in Aptos California went along with the Pope or Magisterium. So the litmus test then was “do you go along with the Pope and the Teaching Authority of the Catholic Church” or not.
By reading St. Augustine’s “Confessions”, I decided stop being a cafeteria catholic of picking and choosing what I agreed with and didn’t agree with that the church taught. Reading this book showed me that St. Augustine was way more educated and smarter than I. Also since he had experience with so many different religions and philosophies, I decided that he must be right in saying that the Catholic Church is the only true religion. This is when I decided to make an act of consent with my will and heart to totally accept all that the Catholic Church taught to be true. From that point on in my life I began to love the church.
But is was still a long time before I started knowing anything about liturgy or church history. I only knew what the church taught about morals. It did take a grace from God to get to this point in my conversion, as it took for St. Augustine. But that was only the beginning and not the end. Many of you are in this process of discovering what the church teaches and what is sacred liturgy. Others of you are way further ahead in the conversion process.
Ascension Thursday I had a discussion with a good young teacher who was in religious formation for 4 years and studied at conservative catholic colleges. But he totally disagreed with me when it came to Michael Davis in general and Chris Ferrara’s book “Liberty, a God that Failed”. He said that they were extreme and the cause of conflict. When I read Michael Davis, I like him, because I lived through what he describes like the destruction of the interior of churches, the break down of morals, the wild liturgies, and democratization of the church. I was part of it. No one can take away my personal experiences as a liberal catholic in two liberal parishes in Aptos and Corralitos California.
The Holy Spirit is working on me and I am sure will work on these very well meaning people who just want the New Mass in a devout way and catholic morals. But there is way more to being a good catholic than those two aspects.
All we need to do is look at the art in churches. All we need to do is look at how people come dressed to mass. All we need to do is to see that we are selling off all the churches. All we need to see is that if it were not for the Mexicans, the churches in general are only made up of old people. All we need to do is look at vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
When I asked this young teacher why the church was getting so small, he responded by saying Pope Benedict said it was going to get small with few people who believe in the catholic faith. Of course that is true, but I ask why?????? God does not want the catholic church to be a small church. He wants everyone to be catholic and for His church to be growing and converting all mankind. So why are we willing to settle for a small church of believing catholics. No, we need to diagnosis the virus we are suffering from and administer the medicine.
So where do we begin. First knowing Fact 1: the church is 1980 years old. Fact 2: magisterium did not begin and end with Vatican II. There were many councils before like Vatican I and Trent that need to be looked at. Fact 3: The Latin Tridentine Mass was loved and said for centuries. Fact 4: The New Mass of Pope Paul VI is the first mass that was not organically developed over centuries with very very small changes made over time. The Novus Ordo was only promulgated in 1969 (44 years old). Never in the history of the catholic church was there anything called a new mass created in an academic setting to please modern man and to be ecumenical with protestant influence in it. One protestant said that they would have no problem accepting the New Mass of Pope Paul VI because it had what Luther had asked for in the “reformation”. Like what; vernacular, little about sacrifice, lay people involved, presider instead of priest who offers sacrifice, and commemoration of the last supper rather than the sacrifice on Calvary.
Now reading this you have to do the hard work of investigating yourself if what I am saying is true or not. This is the hard work. Read the Encyclicals of all the popes, not just Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict. Read Pope Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius X, Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII. I’ll bet you didn’t even know that these popes existed and wrote Encyclicals too. To understand why everyone in our families are leaving the church, we need to read all the pope’s teachings and all the councils. Neo Catholics only know and talk about Vatican II and the popes since then.
I will say this very strongly, BEING CATHOLIC MEANS BELIEVING IN ALL THE CHURCH’S TEACHINGS FROM PENTECOST UNTIL TODAY. It is so wonderful to be a traditional catholic and to know a great deal about the church way before and up to Vatican II. Let us be patient as we all grow in knowledge of the TRUTH. Let us be patient with Neo Catholics who think they know it all. We need to be humble as we share what we have studied and lived over these years to come to discover these catholic treasures.
Finally, as a catholic priest and saying the two masses together (Novus Ordo and Tridentine) I know the difference between the too. Many lay people can criticize me, but they have not been a priest saying the two masses together for 6 years. I have. And I have found the Tridentine Mass so much more sacred and catholic.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.