Letter to the Editor: In response to “Traddies vs. Charismatics”

I greatly appreciated hearing from the assistant editor of the Troubadour’s rather interesting take on the so-called “debate between Traddies and charismatics.” It was insightful and overall a genuine and balanced view of this whole issue which does seem to pervade our campus and is to some extent unavoidable.

I just was a bit put off by the method in which the “Traditionalists” were encouraged to merely “agree to disagree” on these admittedly pressing issue of the way in which we live out the Catholic Faith.

Reading this article several times, I just was painstakingly hoping that one day through the grace of God the Catholic Church will return to order and balance regarding this very strange “debate.”

Meanwhile, I couldn’t seem to understand how one could possibly just altogether avoid the undeniable tendency – in general – of those within the “charismatic camp” to simply push their views without taking into account the opinions, preferences, and beliefs of other equally-devout Catholics.

I mean, how many times have we all heard from those charismatics who just want everybody to be like them, not genuinely respecting and sincerely caring about the sometimes very differing, contrasting views of those who are more “traditional,” as they say.

I was grateful that Elizabeth clearly manifests this very Christian charity, but just am saddened at the fact that in reality this same humble respect and recommendation that we just shrug and say, “I guess we don’t agree on that topic,” just doesn’t happen all the time.

While I personally don’t think the label “Traditionalist” bodes very well, and by no means would I recommend that we all be “Latin fanatics” or anything of the sort – Vatican II, after all, is a dogmatic yet pastoral Council and we are bound to embrace it in joyful humility and absolute obedience – still I would have to say that to be Catholic is to be traditional, and vice versa.

There is simply no need to emphasize that we are “traditional” – if we are Catholic, that is. If we want to be Saints, we are obliged to follow the practices, beliefs, and behaviors which the Saints have always practiced and believed everywhere and at all times.

Balance and moderation are the key to the Catholic life, for sure. At the same time, the Protestant Pentecostal origin of the Charismatic movement is undeniable, and raises serious red flags as to what extent we should as Catholics participate, believe in, or acknowledge the reality behind such practices.

In company with a good number of other much more pious, holy, and saintly Catholics such as servants of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., Frank Duff the founder of the Legion of Mary, as well as James Likoudis at the Catholics United for the Faith, Fr. Bertrand Margerie, S.J., amongst many others, I have serious concerns about the orthodoxy and veracity behind the distinctively charismatic/pentecostal practices and beliefs.

With these great scholars, theologians, and holy members of the Body of Christ, I don’t buy the charismatic arguments which I find lacking theological depth and precision, appealing far too much to shallow “experiences” and subjectivist arguments which go against the grain of the objectivity of Catholic theological argumentation.

Needless to say, I hope and pray that one day Catholics will “move beyond” – or should I say just outright disregard – what in many ways could be considered the rather meaningless debate which lacks much depth and significance and is not of ultimate concern – between “the Traddies and the charismatics”.

There is One True Church, one True faith, and we as Catholics so long as we live and die, and are willing to shed every last drop of our blood in joyful humility as the martyrs and Saints of the past have done, for the Truth of Christ present exclusively in all of His fullness, love, and mercy in the Catholic Church, there really is no point arguing with charismatics about their “progressive” ideas about “renewal.”

Immersed in this banal “controversial topic,” we are in many ways – both Charismatics AND Traditionalists alike, ignoring, downplaying, or even rejecting/seriously questioning Our Blessed Mother’s messages at Medjugorje and elsewhere, through legitimate mystics, Saints, visionaries of the present as well as of the past, to return to the Faith, to the fullness of Christ and to His love and boundless, infinite, inexhaustible mercy in the Sacraments of the Church.

Prayer, fasting, conversion, repentance, peace, Jesus in the Eucharist through daily Mass and adoration, confession, Sacred Scripture, the lives of the Saints, acts of mercy and compassion, are infinitely more important than this petty and trivial “debate” which I really think, from the perspective of Heaven, seems practically ridiculous and quite literally laughable.

There have been millions of conversions and calls to vocations to the priesthood, religious and consecrated life, and marital life through Our Lady of Medjugorje and Her continuation of Fatima through Her peaceful plan of salvation and sanctification. Let’s all strive to be great Saints by listening to Her unabashedly traditional, unapologetically Catholic calls to genuinely living the Faith from Her humble words at Medjugorje as at other authentic Catholic sites of prayer and penance.

-Ed Abdallah

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