A while back I wrote an article on Traditionalism and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. As time passes, I am led to reconsider and rearticulate what I previously stated.
In the article, I very briefly discussed the purposes of each movement, some things I liked about each, and how the two may be reconciled to bring great fruits to parish life. While my opinions about these things may not have exactly changed drastically, I do wish to express some clarifications and bring new knowledge to the table which I didn’t possess before.
Put candidly, I am much more inclined to and enthusiastic about Traditionalism than the Charismatic Renewal for several reasons which I will presently list. Firstly, Traditionalism is much more beautiful, in the objective nature of the term. The Tridentine Mass is inexhaustible in beauty, and an understanding of the theology of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass allows one to develop a much greater appreciation for the old Mass, not to mention higher quality prayer. Chanted Divine Office is central to the religious life and a great spiritual supplement to the lay faithful. It is no surprise, of course, that we are attracted to chant, to good music, as every human is hardwired to appreciate this gift of God. In an age where there is so much indifference, apathy, and relativistic lifestyles, one very greatly appreciates a setting in which everything you say and do means something in that you are participating in a truth that is greater than yourself, originating in the customs of Judaism and the Early Church and ultimately grounded in the Divine Simplicity, Unity, and Beauty of God.
Secondly, Traditionalism is more authentic than the Charismatic Renewal, in my personal opinion. When I say authentic, I mean that the movement itself is relatively modern but it is bringing back something ancient. A thing that stands the test of time is powerful, it’s reliable, and it necessarily touches upon some innate truth about humanity that causes the thing to stay relevant to every human who has ever come into existence. While the Holy Spirit is eternal as the Third Divine Person of the Holy Trinity, it seems as though the Charismatic Renewal movement in its contemporary genesis has incorporated some concepts or practices which are not ancient, at least not a millennia old. And while times today have been changing at a rapid rate, this does not call for something new to be invented and spread; rather, it necessarily requires a return and renewal in the old that is the tradition of the Catholic Church. The antiquity of Traditionalism is certainly much more attractive to a learned person because most great things, i.e. culture, literary works, styles, virtue, came from the past and not the present.
Thirdly and relatedly, Traditionalism is reliable. A Tridentine Mass is celebrated the same everywhere at every time. Its sacredness and proper celebration does not rely on the personal preferences of the parish pastor but rather the right order which has been preserved over centuries in Holy Mother Church. The Charismatic Renewal, however, is very flimsy in that it can very quickly lead to practices which are neither acceptable nor reverent.
Now these are some of the positive reasons I lean much further towards the Traditionalist movement as opposed to the Charismatic Renewal movement. Of course, I could discuss these points in greater detail and offer more substantial reasons, but these are the main ideas and they suffice. In my next article, I will identify some of the flaws with the Charismatic Renewal movement that are quite easily at odds with authentic Catholicism and the areas in which the movement does more harm than good.