Sunday, January 12, 2020

Quid est "Tradistan"?

I claim no credit whatsoever in coining the phrase, but "Tradistan", in my view, is a convenient term to distinguish real Traditionalism from the Traditionalist sub-culture. It is also a clear pejorative in a way more clear than the old canard of "Rad Trad". Rad Trad can, in fact, range in meaning from being synonymous with all the negative attributes contained by the term Tradistan, on one end, to being a false pejorative used by Neo-Cons to excoriate Catholics simply for holding to authentic Tradition concerning Liturgy and doctrine, on the other hand.

So what is Tradistan? We see this phrase thrown around by some fellow travelers in the small blogosphere of liturgical restorationists. I don't think we need to analyze the etymology of the word; to anyone with a modicum of knowledge concerning totalitarian, theocratic states, the suffix "stan" is well understood. Allow me then to proffer a definition of Tradistan.

Tradistan - a subculture, mainly present in the Anglosphere, comprised of individuals (and oftentimes the parochial elite) outwardly adhering to some iteration (1962, 1958, or pre-55) of traditional Catholic Liturgy whilst enforcing an uniform control of everyday life among its members concerning dress, manner, speech, commerce and the like under the auspices of restoring a pristine ideal of Christendom. Particular directives tend to be limited to Victorian era mores and practices and moral interpretations of known Catholic ecclesiastics of the same era, exhibiting not an insignificant import of Protestant/Calvinist Fundamentalism into the Catholic sphere. Liturgy is not valued in ipso but typically as a means to an end, and end namely to conform to rigid, uniform morality codes which are purportedly the one, true Catholic way of living.

Tradistan is not one place; it is geographically present at any number of Traditional Mass chapels, large and small, notably in the United States. No one Traditionalist organization has a complete claim to Tradistan; the subculture is found across the spectrum from sedevacantists to the SSPX to the FSSP and perhaps even to a small subset among diocesan TLMS, though the last is the best chance one has to be an authentic Traditionalist without the yoke of Tradistani culture.

Tradistan does not value the Liturgy as an end. As long as the Mass is in Latin and "pre-Vatican II", there is not much else they concern themselves with. Neoscholastic reductionism exerts its power by continuing to make the Low Mass the standard, and High Liturgies are considered "extra". Anecdotes abound about SSPX and FSSP priests forbidding weekday Sung Masses for occasions such as St. John's feast following Christmas (even when a competent schola and serving corps are available) with the dismissive that the parish is "not a monastery". The same dismissal forbids the singing of the full chants of the Tracts on Quadragesima and Palm Sundays. In short, liturgical minimalism abounds, just as it did in the decades before Vatican II, the precursor to the same old, same old in the Novus Ordo.

Tradistani practitioners (mostly male) are seemingly obsessed with how women dress. I have yet to see these same men give a fig about them and their boys dressing as proper gentlemen. The "modesty" gestapo is ever present. The beach is evil. Swimming (pejoratively called "bathing") with mixed company is evil. The opposite sex must be avoided at all times...until suddenly at 18 it is expected for you to court and marry someone with whom you never learned how to relate properly before your youth expires. Kids must be shielded from any possible occasion of sin by...introducing them prematurely to the very knowledge of said sins. Harp and obsess about everything to do with the Sixth and Ninth Commandments per omnia saecula saeculorum. There is only one, true application for every tenet of moral theology, and thou shalt adhere to it.

And then there is the hyperdevotionalism, the true mark of real Catholic prayer. Forget Liturgy. Focus on private revelation and obsesses particularly ad nauseam about Fatima. Saccharine devotions. Pastel art. Effeminate goop masquerading as sacred music. If the Novus Ordo is stuck in the 1960s and 70s; Tradistan is stuck in the 1940s and 50s. Neither twin cousin has any sense of timeless, real Tradition.

If I can condense Tradistan to one overarching principle it is this - minimalism in Liturgy, maximalism in devotionalism and private revelation, and black and white absolutism in moral applications. How would you define it?


The Rad Trad said...

You may not claim credit for the term, but I certainly do! This phrase, coined while grilling dinner one August night in 2014, originally meant one particular parish but has come to mean many of the self-referential obsessions Traditionalists derive in certain communities. While not everywhere, it is as if the more insular the Trad the more concerned they are with ladies' clothes, Modernism, and calling everything they don't understand either "protestant" or "Novus Ordo". It's really more a degree of severity in the Trad community than it is something particular or universally pervasive.

Paul Goings said...

Great post, John. Very much aligned with how I see things. My preferred nomenclature is "Eisenhowerism" because of the close connection with the idealization of a social and economic situation that existed solely because of the dominance of post-War America.

Anonymous said...

The traditional Chapels in my general area are not in any way unique other than how the altar and said Chapel is designed.
Not many people talk with each other and 75% of the congregation clears out after 3 or 4 mins.(not saying it's a bad thing just an observation)
A noticeable drop in attendance since 2017 is becoming the new norm.
Pre-1951 Missal is becoming even more difficult to find though it's still alive in Cincinnati,OH which is long haul for me.
We all need to pray daily for traditional Catholic Priests/Bishops moral spiritual mental & physical well being,myself included.
God bless