When you are standing up in a rocking boat, I suppose it is easy to lose your balance. The photo is of a lady in Canada who was invalidly and illicitly ordained (off-shore) as a "Catholic priest". But I am not so much concerned with her (Lord, love her) as with some other examples of theological and spiritual vertigo. I lately became interested in Michael Voris of Real Catholic TV. He has been presenting the case for orthodox Catholicism at WYD in Spain - or so I was led to believe. To be honest, I don't know enough about him, but he is being criticized by some fairly balanced (in my view) people for being OTT and not quite honest in his criticisms of others. This led me to think about the Corapi debacle and other "mistakes" of the contemporary Catholic scene.
I have been celebrating the 1962 Latin Rite now for about two years. I like it very much, but I am only able to celebrate it about three times a month. I tend to wear my cassock most days when in church (and have been doing, more or less, since I was ordained in 1975). I bought a biretta some years ago and wore it for funerals (because I was fed up of wearing a beret and a raincoat over my shoulders at the graveside when it was raining - and looking like something out of a French film). I was quietly criticized (by a fellow priest) for wearing it. I even have a cincture and sash! I am noted (I think) for being what some call "traditionalist", but I am not. I prefer to be called orthodox (as opposed to heretical or even, perhaps, liberal). I try to be balanced in my approach to present difficulties in the Church. It is not easy. If I say one thing, I am a traditionalist; if I say another I am - so it was said - a "modernist" (even). People do like labels and pigeonholes. I suppose it makes life easier for some.
I have become concerned at the behaviour of some priests who have now taken to wearing not only full soutaines (nothing wrong with that) but capes and those round brimmed "flat" hats (perhaps even with tassels in some places). It's not just the apparel, but sometimes ( I say sometimes) the affectation and attitude that goes with it. I remember the "black sheepdog" (Corapi) going on about polyester vestments, and I have heard others getting upset about the same thing. Alright for them - they have the money. In all of the parishes where I have been PP there has been a lack of funds for decent, expensive vestments and so, I have had to use, most of the time, polyester ones. These points may seem like so much drivel to the man on the Clapham omnibus (or the Heckmondwike to Leeds double-decker) but I am trying to indicate a danger without doing what I think others are doing - attacking fellow Catholics too much and from a narrow position. I don't mind a fellow priest wearing a flat hat. There is a well-known American priest who wears a cowboy hat and boots to match (I wish he wouldn't). What I am trying to say in all this is, please let's keep our balance and not go around knee-jerking all the time or swanning around as though we have suddenly discovered what being a priest means or just woken up to the beauty of the pre-Vatican II Church (it was not all beautiful you know). I am just getting a bit worried again that too many good things and sacred truths are being voiced by people who are certainly grinding axes and wielding swords. In other words, there are too many self-appointed Elijahs out there. Perhaps I am even one of them, but hopefully with enough of a sense of humour to stop myself turning into a boring old nuisance.