Monday, March 25, 2013

Catholic Magisterial Use of the Description, "Separated Brethren" Prior to Vatican II (1962-1965)

By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong (3-25-13)

Pope Leo XIII 
 [first to do so]

They may then commend to others their own bright example of integral knowledge, and Our dissident brethren may seek out more readily the embrace of their Mother, the Church.

(Encyclical, Orientalium Dignitas; On the Churches of the East, 30 November 1894)

O sorrowful Mother! intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the supreme Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son. [last paragraph]

(Apostolic Letter, Amantissima Voluntatis; To the English People, 27 April 1895)

No better way is afforded of proving a fraternal feeling toward their separated brethren than to aid them by every means within their power to recover this, the greatest of all gifts. (19)

For Our Separated Brethren

27. For that reason We say that the Rosary is by far the best prayer by which to plead before her the cause of our separated brethren.

(Encyclical, Adiutricem; On the Rosary; 5 September 1895)

The ardent charity which renders Us solicitous of Our separated brethren, in no wise permits Us to cease Our efforts to bring back to the embrace of the Good Shepherd those whom manifold error causes to stand aloof from the one Fold of Christ. Day after day We deplore more deeply the unhappy lot of those who are deprived of the fullness of the Christian Faith. (1)

(Encyclical, Caritatis studium; On the Church in Scotland; 25 July 1898)

Pope St. Pius X

 . . .  dissidentes fratres . . . ["dissident brothers"]

(Apostolic Letter, Ex Quo, 26 December 1910)

Désiré-Joseph Cardinal Mercier 

And it is just when devout Protestants are attacked by liberalism and tossed about by doubts, and appeal in despair to authority for help, crying: "Save us, O Lord, or we perish!" that the Modernists would do away with the Chief who makes us the envy of our separated brethren, and invite us to renew an experiment that four lamentable centuries proclaim a failure.
(The Condemnation of Modernism, September 1907)

Pope Pius XI

25. Another bond which should serve to unite us with the Eastern Slavs is their truly singular devotion for the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God. This love for Mary at one and the same time cuts them off from many heretics and brings them closer to us. Our Saint, too, was conspicuous for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin and with childlike confidence trusted in her favor in his work for unity. He was accustomed to venerate with a special love, after the manner of Easterners, a small icon of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, a picture which is also held in great veneration by the Basilian monks and by the faithful of every rite, here in Rome where in the Church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus it is honored under the title of "Queen of the Pasture." Let us therefore pray to her, our most loving Mother, and especially under this same title, that she may guide the steps of our Schismatic brethren toward the pastures of salvation, toward those pastures where Peter, living always in his successors, the Vicar of the Eternal pastor, feeds and rules the lambs and sheep of the Fold of Christ. 

(Encyclical Ecclesiam Dei; On St. Josaphat,  12 November 1923)

23. Moreover, since the words of Christ "the harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few" (Matt. ix, 35; Luke x, 2) are true, even in the present condition of affairs, Europe from whence most of the missionaries have come is itself in need of priests, and this at a time when, with the help of God, it is most important that our separated brethren be led back to the unity of the Church and that non-Catholics be convinced of and delivered from their errors.

(Encyclical, Rerum Ecclesiae; On Catholic Missions, 8 February 1926) 

10. So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it.

12. Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is "the root and womb whence the Church of God springs," not with the intention and the hope that "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. 

13. You, Venerable Brethren, understand how much this question is in Our mind, and We desire that Our children should also know, not only those who belong to the Catholic community, but also those who are separated from Us . . . 

(Encyclical, Mortalium Animos; On Religious Unity, 6 January 1928)

Venerable Pope Pius XII

29. The denial of the fundamentals of morality had its origin, in Europe, in the abandonment of that Christian teaching of which the Chair of Peter is the depository and exponent. That teaching had once given spiritual cohesion to a Europe which, educated, ennobled and civilized by the Cross, had reached such a degree of civil progress as to become the teacher of other peoples, of other continents. But, cut off from the infallible teaching authority of the Church, not a few separated brethren have gone so far as to overthrow the central dogma of Christianity, the Divinity of the Savior, and have hastened thereby the progress of spiritual decay. 

(Encyclical, Summi Pontificatus; On the Unity of Human Society, 20 October 1939)

42. What a proud vaunt it will be for the American people, by nature inclined to grandiose undertakings and to liberality, if they untie the knotty and difficult social question by following the sure paths illuminated by the light of the Gospel and thus lay the basis of a happier age! If this is to come to pass power must not be dissipated through disunion but rather strengthened through harmony. To this salutary union of thought and policy, whence flow mighty deeds, in all charity We invite them, too, whom Mother Church laments as separated brethren.

(Encyclical, Sertum Latitiae; On the 150th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hierarchy In the United States, 1 November 1939)

38. And We, Venerable Brethren, as We celebrate the fifteenth centenary of this heavenly birthday, have no more earnest desire than to see all who can be called Christians take St. Cyril as their model, and work ever more and more zealously for the happy return of our separated brethren in the East to Us and to the one Church of Jesus Christ. Let there be in all one faith inviolate; in all one charity, uniting all together in the mystical Body of Jesus Christ; in all one earnest and practical loyalty to the See of Blessed Peter.

39. The furtherance of this worthy and meritorious work must be the special endeavor of those who live in the East and who, by mutual esteem, by friendly intercourse, and by the example of their spotless life, can more easily induce our separated brethren, and especially their clergy, to become reunited with the Church.

42. And God grant that this Our fatherly and urgent appeal may be given a friendly hearing by those separated Bishops and their flocks who, though divided from Us, yet admire and venerate the Patriarch of Alexandria as a hero of their own land. Let this great Doctor's teaching and example move them to restore peace by means of that triple bond which he himself so strongly urged as indispensable, and by which the divine Founder of the Church willed all His sons to be united together. Let them remember that We, by the Providence of God, to-day occupy that same Apostolic See to which the Patriarch of Alexandria felt bound in conscience to appeal, when he wanted to provide a sure defense of the orthodox faith against the errors of Nestorius, and to set a divine seal, so to speak, upon the reconciliation achieved with his separated brethren. And let them be assured that the same charity which inspired Our Predecessors inspires Us too; and that the chief object of Our constant desires and prayers is that the age-old obstacles between us may be happily removed, and the day dawn at last when there shall be one flock in one fold, all obedient with one mind to Jesus Christ and to His Vicar on earth.

45. It only remains for Us now, Venerable Brethren, on the occasion of this fifteenth centenary of St. Cyril, to implore the most powerful patronage of this Holy Doctor for the whole Church, and especially for all those in the East who glory in the Christian name, imploring for our separated brethren and children that blessing which he himself once so joyfully described:
Behold the sundered members of the Body of the Church are reunited once again, and no further discord remains to divide the ministers of the Gospel of Christ.
(Encyclical, Orientalis Ecclesiae; On St. Cyril of Alexandria, 9 April 1944)

Blessed Pope John XXIII

86. We address, then, as brethren all who are separated from Us, using the words of Saint Augustine: "Whether they wish it or not, they are our brethren. They cease to be our brethren only when they stop saying 'Our Father.'"

90. We repeat this prayer, as does the whole Catholic world in union with Us. We are spurred by a burning love for all men, but also by that interior humility which the gospel teaches. For We know the lowliness of him whom God raised to the dignity of the Sovereign Pontificate, not because of Our merits, but according to His mysterious designs. Wherefore, to all Our brethren and sons who are separated from the Chair of Blessed Peter, We say again: "I am . . . Joseph, your brother."[40] Come, "make room for us."[41] We want nothing else, desire nothing else, pray God for nothing else but your salvation, your eternal happiness. 

(Encyclical, Ad Petri Cathedram; On Truith, Unity, and Peace, 29 June 1959)

. . .  that the renewed vigor of all the Christian virtues which We hope this Council will produce will also serve as an invitation and incentive to reunion for Our Brethren and children who are separated from this Apostolic See.

(Encyclical, Grata Recordatio; 26 September 1959)

* * * * *

Monday, March 18, 2013

Origins and Ongoing Evolution of the Term, "Radtrad"

By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong (3-18-13)

Radtrad (or sometimes, Rad-Trad, Rad Trad, etc.) is shorthand for "radical traditionalist". For background (at least from my own perspective) on the definitions of both "traditionalist" and my newly-coined term, radical Catholic reactionary (which I started using instead of radtrad on 3 August 2013), see the Introduction and Chapter One, respectively, of my 2012 book, Mass Movements.

* * * * *

Presently, my interest is in the etymology of the term. I've only used it, myself, since (best I can determine) 17 May 2008:

Radtrad Thomas E. Woods, Jr. [who has since moderated his views quite a bit] and his comrade Chris Ferrara . . .the notoriously radtrad Seattle Catholic . . .

On 23 June 2008, I made it clear that I distinguished the radtrad from plain "traditionalists":

. . . the good ole Remnant, (a radtrad organization: more radical than many -- most? -- "trads") . . . The approach was entirely predictable, and perhaps gives indication of what we can expect to see a lot in the future from "trad" circles (or at least radtrad ones) . . .

On a somewhat ironic note, my friend David Palm, himself a mainstream "traditionalist,"  applied the term to an analysis of mine (i.e., conceptually), even though I had not yet been using the term at the time, as far as I can tell. In a piece posted on 12 September 2007 ("What is Traditional Catholicism?"), that I have pinned at the top of my "Traditionalism" web page, as a helpful definitional aid, David writes (my bolding):

. . . there are loud and bitter denunciations from certain parties. Cries of "schismatics", "dissenters on the Right", and "Rad Trads" abound in neo-conservative Catholic Internet sites and publications.

One Catholic apologist [that's me, folks!] has a three-fold test to try to separate what he would consider the good Catholic wheat from the "Rad-Trad" chaff. He asks:

1. Is the Novus Ordo Mass valid?
2. Is Vatican II a valid and binding Ecumenical Council?
3. Is Pope John Paul II a valid pope? [Now, I presume, he would update this to Benedict XVI.]

These are perfectly good and necessary questions. And I should be free from all suspicion of being a Rad Trad, since I answer yes to all three.

I would note that my thinking on the matter has evolved and expanded considerably since 2007, and since the late 90s, when I developed the above "litmus test" in order to distinguish what I called a radtrad from more mainstream "traditionalism." In fact, articles like David's above, were key in helping me to develop this thought, and to make more nuanced distinctions about the larger movement under consideration.

Before then, back to 1997 or so, I used as a rough equivalent, the term (which I may have possibly coined, myself), quasi-schismatic. (I see that mainstream "traditionalist" Dr. Taylor Marshall used the term on 14 March 2013). Dr. Marshall also provides a nutshell definition of "radical traditionalism":

In case you don’t know what “radical traditionalism” looks like, here’s a snap shot:
a) the denial of the Jewish holocaust
b) the outright denial of Vatican 2 as a valid council
c) rhetorical style of the Rorate Caeli blog
d) the embrace of isolationist sub-culture of Catholicism or “Amish Catholicism”
e) the denial the charismatic gifts and the charistmatic movement
f) sympathy for the Bp Williamson’s style of traditionalism
g) disdain for Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis
h) the belief that Latin Mass Catholics are “A Team” and Novus Ordo Catholics are “B Team”
i) Gnostic ecclesiology – that “traditionalists” form the one true invisible Catholic Church

I really don’t think that most people attending the Latin Mass are all that close to the radical traditionalism expressed in the points above.
("The Latin Mass and the Franciscans of the Immaculate,"  30 July 2013)

In this last-linked paper, I discovered that other Catholic apologists and writers used the term as well. I was not alone, by any stretch. I found it being used by apologists Jimmy Akin [link] and Mark Shea [link], as well as Catholic writers Steven D. Greydanus [link] and Daria Sockey [link]: all in pretty much the same sense that I use it myself. Thus, if the word is evolving (as all words do, and especially newly-coined words), it appears to be generally in the same direction, in terms of its use by credentialed Catholic writers. There is nothing improper in any of this, as any etymologist (expert on the origin, history, and evolution of words) would quickly agree.

Catholic writer Sandra Miesel [see Wikipedia bio] has claimed credit for the origin of radtrad. Miesel holds master's degrees in biochemistry and medieval history from the University of Illinois. According to Wikipedia:

Since 1983, Miesel has written hundreds of articles for the Catholic press, chiefly on history, art, and hagiography. She wrote regularly for the now-defunct Crisis Catholic magazine and is a columnist for the diocesan paper of the Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut. Miesel is also a well-known speaker. She has spoken at religious and academic conferences, appeared on EWTN, and given numerous radio interviews.
She has co-authored [with Carl E. Olson] a book, The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code, a detailed critique of the popular novel based on her knowledge of Catholic history and teachings. Most recently, she has co-authored a book The Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children's Fantasy with Catholic journalist and canon lawyer Pete Vere [and Carl Olson also]. The book, published by Ignatius Press, offers a detailed critique of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.

On 16 March 2004, Miesel wrote about coining radtrad (all bolding added):

As the person who coined the term RadTrad, what I had in mind was a certain complex of views exemplified by the pages of The Remnant, Catholic Family News, The Fatima Crusader, and allied productions: anti-Semitic, Gallophilic, pro-Confederate, anti-American, and fond of conspiracy theories. (It's all the Illuminati's fault doncha know.) Their beau ideal of a ruler is Salazar, the former dictator of Portugal, since there's no King of France available at present. The supreme contemporary example of a RadTrad writer is Solange Hertz who views electricity and even brick-making as inventions of the Devil. 
Lists of supposed Jews among the early Bolshies can be found in the works of Fr. Denis Fahey, a founding father of RadTradism. I have a whole boxful of such books obtained from Catholic Treasures and Fr. Gruner's Our Lady's Book Service.
(comment on a thread on Amy Welborn's blog, Open Book, under the post, "Instead of . . .")

Om Amy Welborn's site, Via Media (18 August 2005), Sandra clarified:

Trads and RadTrads are two very different species. I have no problem with the former at all but the latter are an ugly bunch.

She reiterated on 16 April 2008 at Ignatius Insight Scoop:

As the inventor of the term RadTrad, may I assert that it doesn't mean simply preference for the Old Mass and traditional devotions. RadTradom carries a lot of other other social and political freight that has nothing to do with praying in Latin: Integrism, Gallophilia, anti-Semitism, Confederate sympathies, attraction for aristocracy and authoritarian forms of government, etc.

Interestingly, one of Miesel's co-authors, Pete Vere (also co-author of Surprised by Canon Law, More Catholic Than the Pope: An Inside Look at Extreme Traditionalism, and Annulment: 100 Questions and Answers for Catholics), has recently claimed the same:

Regarding Dave's use of the term "radtrad" . . ., I find it interesting how the term has expanded and morphed since I first coined it. But that was due to several people and not just Dave.

Basically, in the old sandbox of traddyland way back when, I was just looking for something to counter the term "indulterer" (as I have repeated ad nauseum). I think it is fair, especially after the radtrads introduced the epithet "neo-Catholic" into the apologetics lexicon  . .

(16 March 2013 on Terrye Newkirk's Facebook page; also recorded in a paper of mine on the term)

Pete Vere wrote on a Facebook thread of mine, the following (on 17 March 2013), before I even asked him about it, almost at the same time I was writing this post (but he had read my mention of Miesel at the end of my recent paper):

With regards to the competing claims between Sandra M. and myself over who coined the term "radtrad", she may in fact be correct. Around that time we were corresponding quite a bit on traditionalist issues, because of certain trends and controversies happening within the broader traditionalist movement online - particularly among the schismatic branches. This would eventually lead to the two of us discovering a mutual love of fantasy and children's literature, which years later led to us co-authoring Pied Piper of Atheism for Ignatius Press when the whole Phillip Pullman controversy broke. Regardless, it is quite possible that I had picked it up from her during one of our earlier private exchanges.

And again, within an hour of the above:

The difficulty with on-line research is that most of the discussion took place within email distribution discussion groups that I moderated, first from my own computer (Tradition-X, FIAT) and then via CinGreg. It would later spread over to yahoogroups, but I was long gone by this time. I recall using the term "radical traditionalist" to distinguish from "papal traditionalist" back on Trad-X and FIAT. This would have been during the mid-90's and was before I met Sandra. However, I do not recall using the shortened "radtrad" before meeting Sandra. So it is quite possible that she or Mark Shea shortened it since our initial conversations were three-way, if I recall correctly. On the other hand, I believe Sandra keeps email records of many of these things.

This is not to say that I did not use the shortened "radtrad" prior to meeting Sandra, only that I have no recollection of having done so. It is also possible that we both coined the term independently of each other and then merged definitions during our period of collaboration. One thing to remember is that back then there was little vocabulary for traditionalists of an Indult persuasion to draw upon when responding to criticism from radtrads. So those of us in the mix ended up coining a number of terms and expressions that later made it into popular trad usage. The other thing is that the movement was so small and the workers so few, that we cross-pollinated many of our terms and ideas. What I can say is that I used the term "radical traditionalist" as far back as 1996 to counter the word "Indulterer" among radtrads, as well as to distinguish us "papal traditionalists" (another term I coined at the same time) from those advocating schism. The only reason I recall coining the term "radical traditionalist" is because I coined "papal traditionalist" as the same time.

. . . I really have not given much thought to how it is used today. I was more concerned about defining who we were as "papal traditionalists" than who were were not (i.e. "radical traditionalist"). So I mainly used "radical traditionalist" as a shield against radtrads and anti-trad conservative NOM's, while my sword and main focus was the term "papal traditionalist".

However, if I recall correctly, Mark Shea and Sandra revitalized and re-defined the term "radical traditionalist" (and may have shortened it at this time as well) when the controversy was breaking about Bob Sungenis's views on the Jews. From here it was picked up by St. Blog's and came into wider usage among Catholics outside of the traditionalist movement. So we are talking sometime between 2003 and 20004 if I recall correctly. At that point, both my apologetics and my canon law career were skyrocketing, as the idea of "papal traditionalism" was gaining widespread credibility and acceptance among bishops, and I was answering inquiries from canonists each day from other dioceses whose bishops wanted to offer or expand the indult, or who were wondering about the legitimacy of some obscure priest or trad group that had popped up in their diocese. So I kinda lost touch with the term "radical traditionalist" or "radtrad".

I cannot really comment on how it is used today, except to say that I never objected to how Mark Shea or Sandra M. used the term. Nor have I followed how it has since morphed. 

I agree (apart from a few quibbles) with Mark's spot-on analysis from a 2010 article (my bolding):

It is only when docile Catholics are on the receiving end of this aggressive contempt that we will sometimes use the term "Rad Trad" to describe the aggressor. But we do not mean that to refer to all self-described Traditionalists. We only mean it to refer to those Traditionalists who attempt to reduce the Faith to their hothouse subculture and to exclude those outside it from the dignity of being hailed as fellow Catholics in full obedience to Holy Church. We do not apply it to those who happen to have Traditionalist sensibilities, but who do not suggest, insinuate or say that Catholics docile to the Magisterium are second-class "neo-Catholics".

Mark Shea also defers to Sandra Miesel as the originator. In a comment on my Facebook page (20 March 2013), he noted, in his inimitable fashion:

I borrowed the term from Sandra. These days I prefer "Urine and Vinegar Wing of Traditionalism" to distinguish them from sane and happy Trads.

There is a third claimant, however: Catholic apologist Scott Windsor (who often uses the nick, "CathApol"). Writing on his own site on 9 May 2011, Windsor states (my bolding):

I also fully understand what you mean about the "Rad Trads" (I coined that phrase years ago) as I have had some ties to such "Rad Trads" - though I was never in their camp. Their position is just too untenable to logically stand. 

Later on the same thread, on 13 September 2012, he added:

I'm sure Armstrong got the "Rad Trad" terminology from me.  (grin)

When I asked Scott about the origins of radtrad, he wrote below in the combox (25 March 2013):

As for me and my part in this, I am not sure when I first used the term "RadTrad." I know when I used it, I had never heard of anyone else using it. So, while I claimed to be the person who "coined the term," I am not real concerned with proving that was the fact, so unless something comes out, I too yield to Sandra.

I definitely got the term from someone, since I wasn't using it before 2008, and its use online goes back to at least 2002, as I will demonstrate below. Pete Vere wrote on my Facebook page, on 18 March 2013:

I apologize, but I had forgotten completely about Scott Windsor. Given that he was a big contributor to early discussions and debates back in the mid-to-late 90's, I could easily recognize his claim to having coined the term "radtrad" as well. Regardless of whether it was Sandra, Scott or myself who coined the term, I think it is clear that the term goes back almost twenty years and that it was coined by traditionalists loyal to Rome (or their sympathizers) as a shield against those who attacked our status as traditionalists.

And this brings us to a central point that I vainly tried to make to one of my out-of-control, misguided accusers a few days ago: the term is used precisely in order to distinguish between respectable, "magisterial"-type "traditionalists" and those who -- at least overwhelmingly in tenor and tone, if not canonically in schism --, act in very different ways. The intention (I can't stress this highly enough!) is to differentiate between the two, so as to make clear that genuine "traditionalists" are not in schism or anywhere near it. As such, it is as much an act of charity (in this regard) as it is slightly tongue-in-cheek and biting-but-permissible social commentary (as directed against its recipient).

Pete couldn't have put it any better than he did. And a lot of the information I compile below confirms this, rather strikingly.

Some Internet History of Radtrad 
 [bolding added]

F. John Loughnan (10 July 2002):

Personally, I believe that the RadTrad schism is "smallfry" compared to the potential schism of the radical apparitionists.

Pete Vere added:

Dave, another thought on your article. John Loughnan, Bill Grossklas and I were very close collaborators from 1997 to 2002. In fact we communicated by email and by phone weekly, and sometimes daily, during this period. Thus if John Loughnan was using the term radtrad as far back as 2002, as you demonstrated, I know I would have been using the term as well.

Lane Core, Jr. (23 October 2002):

. . . the main problem was blockheaded and/or vitriolic anti-Catholic Protestants; at about the time I got out, the RadTrads were just starting to make their way in.

Christopher Blosser, at Against the Grain, wrote (11 April 2003):

James Likoudis of Catholics United for the Faith published a blistering review of the recent 'radtrad' polemic The Great Facade: Vatican II and the Regime of Novelty in the Roman Catholic Church, by Christopher A. Ferrara and Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (Remnant Press, 2002).
And on 21 September 2003:

I've referred to Sandra Meisel's article Swinging at Windmills a number of times in blogging on the radtrads.

And 11 October 2003:

In her appearance to three children at Fatima, Our Lady requested that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart by the Pope and the bishops of the world. It is a common allegation among the RadTrads -- among them CAI's Robert Sungenis, Christopher Ferrara, and the suspended priest Fr. Nicholas Gruner 1 -- that the Pope never followed through in said consecration, and is complicit in a conspiracy to cover up "The Third Secret".

And again on 1 November 2003:

Bill Cork posted recently on "Ecumenical Jihad", referring to a book by Peter Kreeft, a philosophy professor at Boston U. and Catholic apologist. The title of the book is apt to send some religious factions into hysterics (radtrads at the word "ecumenical", liberals at the word "jihad"), but if you glance beyond the cover the proposition is interesting: a united moral front of Christians and Muslims against the oncoming tide of godless secularists"who acknowledge no law above human desire and all the religions of the world." (Incidentally, Mark Shea invoked Kreeft back in January 2003 in a plea for anti-Catholics and radtrads to cease "niggling about niceties of some point of doctrine" and come together over what counts).

And yet again on 10 September 2005:

The issue of virulent anti-semitism as an obstacle to reconciliation was addressed on this blog back in 2003, as well as by Bill Cork (with respect to another on the radical fringe); it’s presence among “radtrads” has been copiously documented by F. John Loughnan.

Apolonio Latar (31 May 2003):

Debate with a Rad-Trad

This was a debate between a Radical Traditionalist and me.

"Secret Agent Man" (16 August 2003): 

The reason Kooky RadTrads don't twig to this issue is that, deep down, they're Calvinists.

This Rock (Catholic Answers), September 2003 issue (p. 10:  "The Apologist's Eye"; unknown author; possibly Jimmy Akin):

Mad Rad Trads

For years, Pope John Paul II has been called evil by the "radical Traditionalist" (a.k.a. "rad trad") folks at because of—well, the Novus Ordo Mass, among other things. So when the Pope announced that a Latin indult Mass would be celebrated at St. Mary Major, the folks at Novus Ordo Watch were full of Christian charity and gratitude, right? Well, no.

Jeff Miller ("The Curt Jester"), 18 February 2004:

RAD TRAD = Radical Traditionalist. Those that have joined groups like the SSPX that believe that [the]  Church has gone astray since Vatican II and some believe that there is no current valid pope or that the pope is someone other that John Paul II. This is not to be confused with traditionalists like those who have a love for the Latin Mass and wish that it was made more available. The major difference is obedience to the Church.

Ben Douglass, himself a "traditionalist," wrote the following article, with a tongue-in-cheek title that indicates something about the ongoing evolution of our term; dated  28 January 2005:

"I Make a Terrible Radtrad (On Communion in the Hand)"

By 2005, even one of the most prominent anti-Catholic apologists used the term. James White wrote (22 June 2005):

I do not trust Bob Sungenis. His credibility is shot with me, and with anyone else who has followed his tortured path to his present position, and truly, what is accomplished by vindicating Reformed theology against someone who was once with Harold Camping, and once a Presbyterian, and once a member of the International Churches of Christ, and now off on his own in the rad/trad camp somewhere, who may well be who knows where next year?

Urban Dictionary (8 April 2006):


In the Catholic faith, a derogatory word for "radical traditionalist." This generally involves the following things:
1) Rejection of Vatican II
2) Rejection of the non-Latin mass
3) Rejection of the authority of the current bishops and pope
He was so disgusted by the homilies at his parish that he started going to an SSPX chapel and now he's a complete RadTrad.

Jimmy Akin (August 2006):

This is further corroborated by the fact that his father is a known anti-Semite and that anti-Semitic views are common in the Rad Trad circles in which Mr. [Mel] Gibson apparently moves.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker (15 April 2008):

The American Catholic Church is also highly polarised. At one extreme are the ‘rad traddies’. They argue for the Latin Mass and support schismatic groups opposed to modernising the Church. These radical traditionalists want to turn back the clock to some golden age before the Second Vatican Council. They live in a black and white world where anyone outside their group is a damnable moderniser. They come across as angry, self-righteous kooks. . . . In between the ‘rad traddies’ and ‘rad trendies’ are the largest group which my friends refer to as ‘AmChurch.’

He clarified this on 8 May 2008 on the New Liturgical Movement site (in an article by editor Shawn Tribe):

No, I am not against the Latin Mass, but against the extreme traditionalists who rubbish Vatican II, support cranky right wing conspiracy theories and take a sedevacantist or semi-sedevacantist position. That's why I referred to them as 'Rad Traddies' ...

Those who support and encourage the Latin Mass within the full life of the church as promoted and permitted by the Church I have no problem with.

He wrote again on 30 January 2010:

When I compare two groups of Catholics: the rad trad crowd and the vast hordes of AmChurch ordinary Catholic folks I have to ask what my impression is of them as people. As a priest I get far more negativity, criticism, sour self righteousness, suspicion and downright ugliness from the traddies than the trendies. I also get far more appreciation, respect, good humor, and open positivity from the trendies than the traddies.

See also his excellent summation and rationale: "Must We Call Them Rad Trads?" (1 August 2013)

Michael Liccione (9 June 2008):

A rad-trad converts [title]

Scott Windsor (12 January 2010):

I was recently castigated for using the term “Rad Trad” on Patrick Madrid’s blog [not by Pat himself, but by someone else] but I assume it was due more to a lack of understanding of my intention than anything else.  I was accused of “sweeping generalization” and “put(ting) down those who love Tradition.”  Perhaps we should all try to be clearer in the terms we use.  I suppose I could have included a bit of an explanation when I posted that – and in hindsight, I believe I would have had I known the way some would respond.  Here’s my initial comment from Patrick Madrid’s blog:

Catholics of all flavors need to be conscious of the potential scandal in attacking fellow professing Catholics in public. I believe some of the “Rad Trads” don’t really care – thinking they are the only “true Catholics” – but those of us who ARE true Catholics must be careful not to cause even more scandal by making public accusations against other professing Catholics. “Rad Trads” may be “true Catholics themselves, just misguided by a zeal for tradition which overlooks the “novo cedat ritui” (they may recall singing this in Benediction). In their zeal – they may be causing even more harm to the Church, but we should not increase that harm in attacking them. Let us present the fullness of the truth as God continues to reveal through His Church.
So what IS a “Rad Trad?”  Well, as the “label” implies – it is someone who is not merely a Traditionalist, but is a “Radical Traditionalist.”  An old Latin phrase goes:  “in medio virtus stat” – (in the middle, virtue stands).  One has to be careful when embracing the extremist in any movement.  Traditionalism is a GOOD thing in the Catholic Faith!  However, extremists or “radicals” who go around blasting anything new and/or anything post Vatican II are doing more harm than good in the Church.

Under fire, on the same day on Pat Madrid's blog, Scott clarified and defended his usage (first bolding and also asterisks his own; subsequent bolding is mine):

Folks, I am a Traditionalist! I support the Traditional movement, and have since I converted to Catholicism back in 1988! Please don't misread me, I do NOT "put down those who love Tradition!" "Rad-Trads" are those who would throw out the baby with the bathwater, as if - if it is not in Latin, it's Modernism. Be real folks, there are some "Rad-Trads" out there who do indeed give the rest of us Traditionalists a black-eye. Now I, for one, would not shed a single tear if Pope Benedict XVI abrogated the New Order of the Mass (Novus Ordo Missae) and reverted the entire Latin Church back to the Traditional Latin Mass - but I am also not one who proclaims the Novus Ordo is invalid and/or that priests ordained after the Rite of Ordination changed (early 1970's? - I don't have the date handy) are not valid priests. There ARE those in the extreme of the Traditionalist movement who DO make these claims - and I have engaged and been summarily condemned by them because I have ANY tolerance for anything post Vatican II. I am of the mindset that IF there is ANY defects of the "novo cedat ritui" - that "praestet fides supplementum" (faith supplements). . . .

I hope that helps clear up what I was saying. As I said, I do not oppose Traditionalism. I support bringing more and more Latin back into the Mass - as Vatican II proclaimed as well, "the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites." I also participate more frequently in the extra-ordinary rite (as it is now called) than I do the novus ordo rite.

Mark Shea was lied about by someone on the same thread, in exactly the way that I was lied about, myself and turned into a straw man to pummel, a few days ago, by a good half-dozen people or more: as if I am somehow opposed to Latin Mass or the Extraordinary Form. Mark replied as follows (14 January 2010):

Mark Shea's entire online existence revolves around complaining about Catholics who attend the traditional Latin Mass.

False. You are either ignorant of the fact that my son often attends a Latin Mass or you are just another liar. I have no problem whatsoever with the Latin Mass. I have a problem with so-called Traditionalists who treat brother Catholics as second-class Catholics and half-breeds.

His latter sentiment was, in fact, the reason for the initial post (11 January 2010) that led to the thread above, by Patrick Madrid. While not using or endorsing the term radtrad (which Mark often uses in battling the above mindset, as shown in one of my links above), Pat stated in full agreement with Mark (and with what is my own view):

Mark Shea throws down the hammer on those who impugn Catholics (such as Karl Keating, myself, and others) as "Neo-Catholics," pointing out that this epithet is simply a thought-stopping term used by some against those who, as Mark pegs it, are not "sufficiently bitter" toward Pope John Paul and Vatican II.

While Mark and I may disagree on a variety of issues, I think he's right on target in his analysis of the connotations implicit in the snarky "neo-Catholic" put down. Frankly, his push-back on this particular issue is overdue, and I am happy to see it. Thanks, Mark. You said it better than I could have.

Patrick Madrid clarifies in a comment (13 January 2010), that he, too, is a "traditionalist" (in the broadest sense), who attends the Tridentine Mass:

Just to clarify, as a life-long Catholic, I personally LOVE the Traditional Latin Mass and try to attend it whenever the opportunity arises (there's a bit more on that in my bio..). I am not a party to any antagonism toward anyone because they, like I, love the Traditional Mass.

My purpose in drawing attention to this particular comment of Mark's is that I believe he correctly identifies the problems surrounding mis-labeling certain Catholics as "neo-Catholics."

Same here. As I've stated till I am blue in the face, I have attended Latin Mass (Novus Ordo) for 22 years at my parish, St. Joseph's in Detroit. My parish also offers the Tridentine Mass sometimes, for example, at Midnight Mass at Christmas. I have attended them. They're beautiful and highly moving. Our parish cluster is one of only three or so that offer the Tridentine Mass in metro Detroit (one of the parishes, every week). There is no hostility at all (zero, zip, zilch, nada, nuthin'!) to Latin or the Old Mass here. I advocated Pope Benedict's position of freedom to worship as one pleases for my entire Catholic life, which is now about 22 1/2 years. I always receive Holy Communion on the tongue, kneeling at an altar rail (in my parish), I detest and have often roundly condemned in my writing, all violations of liturgical rubrics, massive overuse of eucharistic ministers, etc. It's not difficult at all to ascertain what I believe (me, with my nearly 2,500 blog posts). Ever heard of a search engine, folks? Hello!

Patrick Coffin, host of Catholic Answers Live, wrote in the article, "Meet the Mad-Trads," (12 July 2013):

On the Friday, May 31, edition of Catholic Answers Live, guest Tim Staples and I tackled the phenomenon of radical Traditionalism. The concept is fairly straightforward, typified by groups like the Society of St. Pius X (and the two splinter groups who had no choice but to flee the SSPX's creeping liberalism), the sedevacantists (those who believe that the last legitimate pontiff was Pius XII), and others on the ecclesial far right who have broken communion with the Roman pontiff for their own sundry reasons. . . .

Tim Staples sharply contrasted a traditional expression of Catholicism with those who willingly break communion with the Church. . . .

These people are not Rad-Trads outside the Church, they're Mad-Trads inside the Church. 

What is a Mad-Trad? Well, if you accept the norms of the Second Vatican Council, to a Mad-Trad you’re a "Neo-Catholic," a misguided liberal; you know, like Mother Angelica and Blessed John Paul II. . . .

Sadly, some of these individuals have already left the Church, at least inwardly. . . .

Because of the intensity of the reactions to the May 31 show, we are going to revisit radical Traditionalism on Monday, August 12, again with Tim Staples.

A notable exception to the general trend of the evolution of the word radtrad is a man who may be considered  the father of the modern Catholic apologetics movement,  Karl Keating. Writing on a public thread on Terrye Newkirk's Facebook page on 15 March 2013, he stated:

Usually it's the Traditionalists who collapse into name-calling. . . . I have an extensive vocabulary. If I want to indicate my disdain for someone, I don't have to fall back on slang such as "radtrad" or "Fundie" or "Prot."

Likewise, staff apologist at Keating's Catholic Answers, Michelle Arnold, wrote on 20 February 2013 on that organization's site:

Some years ago, I contributed posts to my colleague Jimmy Akin's blog. One of the more controversial posts I wrote was Single RadTrad Catholic Seeks Same [Feb. 2006], in which I talked about an online dating site for single Catholic Traditionalists. (Nota bene: Following global upgrades to Jimmy's site over the years, the original byline indicating my authorship of the post was inadvertently altered, but the post was indeed written by me and not by Jimmy.) Quite a few Catholic Traditionalists, whom I will admit I might have treated more kindly by not using the faddish moniker "RadTrad" that was popular at the time, were outraged that I criticized a dating site that catered specifically to their desire to find a likeminded spouse.

These are the only critics of note (apart from the RadCathRs themselves) that I could find (and I looked very hard). Perhaps they are correct (this is not an absolute thing in the first place), but in any event, words evolve (see the study of etymology) and develop as time goes on, and definitions are determined by actual usage, not preordained proclaimed "dictionary dogmas." That itself would be another long discussion (and I love it, myself). We have clearly seen from the above survey how the new term radtrad (originated c. 1995) is evolving: overwhelmingly in one direction, with remarkable agreement across the board.

I would happily engage anyone on this topic, provided it is serious, constructive, respectful, amiable discussion (in other words, very unlike what I was subjected to over the last weekend).

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Latest Update: 1 August 2013. Terminology updated on 7 August 2013. Further updates: 8 August 2013.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

"Dialogue" on Obamanomics (vs. Bruce Townley)

By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong (3-1-13)

This occurred in a public Facebook thread on my page. I've edited it for more compact presentation. Bruce Townley is an atheist and former Christian (though those things don't have any direct relation to the present discussion) , with whom I've had many (attempted) debates on theological topics, going back several years (he used a pseudonym in those). Unfortunately, the exchanges were always of the unsavory character that we again observe in this instance (hence my use of quotation marks around "Dialogue" in the title). His words will be in blue. I started out citing an article that stated that 296,000 fewer Americans were employed since January.

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Bravo, Obama voters: your guy's doing great for his lobbyists, green companies, and the fatcats on Wall Street, with almost record-high stock prices (for now). For the little guy, not quite so wonderful. I'm barely surviving as a full-time apologist, directly due to his idiotic policies, that have caused reduced sales across the board, for all kinds of products. But at least I still have a job. Pray for those who don't, and for folks to vote Republican in 2014, lest nothing will be done at all for the economy until 2016.  

White unemployment is 6.8%.
Teenagers (25.1 percent),
blacks (13.8 percent),
Hispanics (9.6 percent)

[additional source]

Again, this is the ironic folly of groups voting disproportionately for the candidate who is hurting them the most. They see no relation between his policies and unemployment. The GOP task will be to convince these groups that there IS a direct relation, and that there are alternative policies to this ongoing madness.

This sort of "causal blindness" is extraordinary and almost unprecedented. The only precursor I know of is FDR during the Great Depression: where his policies never ended the thing (only WW II did); yet everyone thought he was wonderful, and so kept blindly voting for him.

The government stops counting certain unemployed after a while: the ones who have given up altogether. So that puts up the appearance of reduction. I think the actual rate would be 12-13%. The real numbers are above: 296,000 no longer employed. That's a lot of folks and a whole lot of suffering.

This nonsense should have started to recover by 2011 at the latest. But because Obama is a socialist it just goes on and on. I still believe that the Dems are gonna pay a huge price in the long run for this economic lunacy. They may hoodwink and fool people for a season, but they'll get their come-uppance once further disasters start happening.

My only raises are new book contracts. I achieved four of those in the last year-and-a-half, yet my income went down 10% last year; it's so bad. My royalties had already been decimated compared to five years ago. Thus I keep knocking myself out, working harder and harder, in order to have less income than I used to.

If the economy were normal I think I'd probably be doing better than ever. If only . . . there has never been an election where the result had such a direct negative effect on my income. Carter would have done the same, but I was in college then and not supporting myself yet.

Dave Armstrong, what Obama policy (idiotic or otherwise) do you attribute to directly reducing your sales?

Higher taxes, more regulations, the various stimulii, health care (that continues to raise health care costs), making the business climate lousy, leading to layoffs and unemployment and reluctance to invest. This affects everyone, so that we have less spending cash, and less disposable income, which in turn lowers sales. Since my income is entirely sales (book royalties) and (to a far lesser extent), donations-based, I have to suffer disproportionately, because folks buy less books and make less donations in a bad economy, when they can barely pay their bills.

Excepting the Great Depression, the average length of a recession or depressed economy is about two years. It is directly due to Obama doing nothing or exactly the wrong thing, that the current mess is now over four years, with no end in sight.

I've observed this in my own life on at least three occasions: the early 70s; Carter and the early 80s (when I was trying to get my first major job and was unemployed two years). Reagan got the economy going again by lowering taxes.

Again, a minor recession occurred at the end of Bush I's tenure in 1992 (thus we see the cyclical nature of it: about every ten years). Bill Clinton knew how to get out of that because he's an economic centrist; even tilting a little to the right. But not Big O: he's gonna do the economically stupid thing come hell or high water: no matter how many people he harms in the process.

Thus this madness looks like it'll continue indefinitely until we see a complete collapse of the stock market, with all the dire consequences of that.

Ah. Ok. I was looking for more than partisan punditry points. Like the actual policy and analysis why an alternative policy would have increased your sales, etc. Some of these points best. Others seem even contradictory to your position.

Ah. Ok. It was straight economic analysis (obviously from my conservative outlook). You asked a question; I answered honestly, and you come back with mere generalized disagreement, minus any substance. This is your pattern. It gets quite wearisome.

If you want real discussion, then engage in it. You're quite capable of that, for sure (apart from your positions), if you put your mind to it. Otherwise I'll simply ignore you henceforth, if you're merely looking for "gotcha" moments and chances to lob insults. But others are reading this, too, so my efforts here aren't a total waste of time.

I don't have time ((let alone desire) for an extensive treatment of basic economics. That is your burden, not mine, if you lack understanding of it. We know from past experience that certain policies stimulate business and the economy and others do not. We can actually learn from history (a novel concept!).

Reagan and Clinton and Kennedy all successfully did that, with regard to stimulating economies, so it's not merely a "partisan" thing. There used to be widespread agreement on what works and what doesn't. The present policies obviously do not work, or else we would have had an upturn long before now.

You voted for Obama (apparently, twice). If you think he is so wonderful and good for the country (for reasons beyond same-sex "marriage": that we know you are fired up about), by all means tell us why. Make your case, if you think mine is so insubstantial. Don't just say in your usual manner that mine stinks. You say you are a "disappointed" voter. Fine: how come?

Like I've said, I have to live with the consequences of Obama's and the do-nothing Democrats' policies (their doing nothing about very important matters, like job creation and the immense debt) every day. You're doing fine in your well-paying occupation. Obama's policies don't harm nearly as much those in the upper middle class and upper class: the 10%; the 1% . . .

Wall Street is doing fine. Hollywood and music stars are doing great. Those with lots of money to invest continue to do so. It's those of us who are struggling every month to simply meet our family budgets who are suffering, while Obama plays golf and hobnobs with Beyonce, etc., and utterly refuses to work together with Republicans to accomplish anything.

My only investment is my own books. My house certainly isn't an investment anymore. It's losing value every month and I am paying over twice what its market value now is. All I have is my books, which are my life's work. Thus, an economy that has very low sales does immense harm to me, and I'm not getting any younger (55 in July). And it is the same with many businesses: especially the small ones, and the sole proprietorships.

The medical profession is also suffering because of the craziness of Obamacare. We have had a wonderful family doctor for 22 years, since my first son was born. He has practically been run out of his profession. He's not a conservative; he's a Jewish liberal. But he knows why he is struggling.
Alas, Bruce and I have a little history. I have refuted his atheist anti-biblical arguments so many times, he's not inclined to listen to what I have to say about anything. :-) That's why we talk past each other and never rise to actual dialogue.

A quick note before I am off to work today. I attempt to obtain information from various perspectives from theist to non-theist, liberal to conservative to libertarian, American to Asian, etc. It is just your misfortune to be one of conservative sources where I occasionally question.:-)

Good for you. You question me, then when I give a detailed, sincere reply you simply mock and sneer and don't engage in conversation. You don't like what I say. I don't like how you refuse to engage in normal conversations (at least with me). So we're at cross-purposes. Like you, I attempt to converse with all sorts of people. Unlike you (again, at least with me), I actually engage them, rather than childishly pursuing "gotcha" moments and rapidly descending into condescending sneering and disdain, as you habitually do with me.
My pattern and practice is easily seen—first I get clarification, then I probe a bit to see how consistent the claim is. Alas, in the past I have interacted with you on your Facebook page in this manner, and the post disappeared. I no longer spend the time doing more thorough analysis, as it seems to be quite a bit of work just to have it disappear.

If I feel that a thread is worthless and unedifying or uneducational to my readers, I get rid of it. Call it quality control. It just so happens that one or two of the threads you were in, were of this nature. If you improve your level of communication (in semi-street language, stop acting like a pompous ass), then it will stay up! Your choice. In any event, my patience with you is running pretty thin.

It's not just with you that I do this, on occasion. I remove political threads quite often, because they aren't my main purpose here. Most of the threads I remove (lately) are dominated by "traditionalist" Catholics. In that case, I am objecting to the manner and lack of argumentative acumen (or charity) of a portion of my own group.

You talk about effort?! I put all kinds of effort into answering you this time, only to get back your usual acerbic, short, disdainful potshot. Sorry, that ain't conversation. You can do far better than that.

You don't need to act like an ass with me. I'm well familiar with atheist modes of argumentation. I treat atheists with charity, as I do any other group with which I disagree. I've visited your group in-person (for the knowledge of other readers): once with sixteen atheists and agnostics and myself as the only theist / Christian in the room: spontaneously answering scores of questions.

Now I ask questions, and if your response does not provide any illumination, I indicate I have read it, and will be moving on. Sure, I do it with a bite—this is my nature.

Here you indicated there were certain Obama policies directly influencing your income. While I suspected this could be difficult to substantiate, I asked first in case I missed something. Perhaps there was some policy or implementation that did impinge your income, and I would agree with you. As I have said before, there are some things I agree with you on Obama, some I disagree, and some (same sex marriage) there is no reason to even comment as we both know each other’s position and disagreement.

Just to show how I would normally respond, let’s take just one of your indicated policies—“higher taxes.” Presumably, because your income is from people spending discretionary sums, you are indicating higher taxes means less income and therefore less buying your books. It would seem the very basic analysis would start with reviewing:

A. When did Obama increase taxes; and
B. Your income level at or near this period of time.

While we may have a “correlation vs. causation” issue, it would seem to me this would be at least the jumping off point. Yet in looking back at the last four years, Obama did not increase taxes! (Until 2013) Indeed, during some of the period, taxes were actually decreased by a reduction in individual social security contribution.

If individual taxes are directly related to your income, then during the period the taxes were decreased one would think your income must be increased.

I could have pointed this out. I equally could point out concerns about the other general categories you indicated. But why bother if this post will simply disappear?

No more for now, I really must get to work.

I gave the general answers that (fiscal) conservatives usually give. You didn't like the answers; you wanted them to be more specific. I don't think they need to necessarily be with regard to these issues under discussion. My reply was about describing how Presidents (and parties in control of Congress) directly affect the economy. What they do (or don't do) has an impact.

This economy has been in the toilet for over four years now. You can try to blame Republicans for that if you wish. Normally, the party in control gets the blame. Bush sure as hell caught all kinds of blame when he was in there. Yet Obama doesn't seem to be subject to the same criticism or oversight.

He claimed that his stimulus would bring unemployment below 5%. It didn't. He claimed things would be much better by now. They aren't. He had both houses under Dem control for two years. He claimed that Obamacare would reduce health costs. It didn't; they're going up. He claimed that Bush was "unpatriotic" for bringing about a debt far less than his own. He claimed that he would cut that debt by half. He didn't. Instead, he exponentially raised it.

All of this brings down the economy and keeps it down. There is cause and correlation here. Whether it is Obama or not, my income overall has decreased (literally 10% in 2012). My book royalties are drastically decreased from five years ago. Something has caused that. If it's not Obama and the Dems' policies, you tell me what it is. You can't argue that it's decreasing quality in my books (trying to blame me somehow), because I continue to have bestsellers in my field (my current Quotable Newman is doing very well). I managed to obtain four new book contracts in the last two years. An author (in any field) can scarcely do better than that. That's the bread and butter of an author. I even got one with a major Protestant publisher (for my Quotable Wesley), which is a huge breakthrough into new markets.

So it ain't me. It is less disposable income generally. Obama doesn't know how to stimulate an economy. It doesn't have to be the way it is.

When I was referring to "higher taxes," in context it had to do much more with corporations: on that macro-level: not as much individual taxes and micro-level stuff. Thus, much of your present (rare attempt at) counter-reply about taxes was irrelevant from the get-go, since that wasn't what I meant. You took my comment out of context, and ran with it, warring against a straw man. It may look good to the observer, but now that I have noted that it was a non sequitur, it's not nearly as impressive. The argument is that higher taxes and regulations on corporations and small businesses stifles economic growth.

Thus, when both Kennedy and Reagan decreased taxes, including (for Reagan) vastly lower corporate tax rates, the economy exploded with prosperity. That helps everyone: a rising tide lifts all boats, etc.

I give you my word that I won't delete any thread where you are active. Perhaps then you will engage in actual point / counter-point discussions: after I have taken away your great fear of your laborious wisdom being consigned to Internet oblivion.

You want concrete examples of my decrease in income, and arguments indicating direct causation. Well, the most obvious one is the loss of a part-time job in Dec. 2010. That came about as a result of the non-profit organization that I worked for, experiencing a massive decrease in donations (it is an outreach that specializes in Catholics who are joining or returning to the Catholic faith).

Now, clearly the bad economy caused that scenario to come about (that much seems unarguable from any perspective). The question then becomes: whose fault was that? I have argued in the past, and provided documentation that Bush and the Republicans were opposed to the practices of the government-related housing / mortgage / real estate businesses (promoted by the likes of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd). They were warning that a crash was gonna come soon.

Sure enough it did, and of course they were blamed for it, as always (while Dems and Frank and Dodd got a pass). Bush did spend too much and got excessive. Most conservatives agree with that. I say it was primarily the Dems' fault. And now it is almost solely their fault that things continue to be in the tank, since he's been in there four years, and the Republicans have virtually no power. Everything the House does to try to make a change is DOA on Sen. Reid's desk. Thus, how can they be blamed?

This is why I blame Obama directly for much of my own woes and decreases of income. I mentioned earlier that, historically, excepting the Great Depression, economic downturns rarely lasted more than two years. This continues on, 4 1/2 years and running, with no end in sight, because Obama has no clue what he is doing. He does idiotic things, like not okaying drilling, and the famous pipeline, that would create many thousands of jobs and prosperity. We could easily become energy independent, with all that is happening in North Dakota and elsewhere, with huge reserves being discovered: but not with HIS brain-dead energy policies.

This is some of the reasoning I bring to bear in analyzing why things are the way they are. I'm the one suffering (with many millions of others). You're doing fine, as far as I know. It's easy to "armchair quarterback" on the economy when you're doing great. Those of us who have been harmed by the economic lunacy have a very different perspective. I'm trying to support four kids and pay a mortgage. Teaching and being an author never were very lucrative professions. I didn't choose this profession for big money in the first place. I just wanna pay my bills. I need all the help I can get, but Obama literally harms me and makes it far tougher to survive as a full-time author and Christian worker: precisely because bad economies greatly lower contributions to religious workers and book sales alike.

This will be my last comment (I apologize for the delay; busy weekend.)

It is no surprise you (and those sharing your beliefs) consider my positions refuted, or that I am a pompous ass, or grant no charity. Equally unsurprising, th
ose sharing my beliefs consider the same about you. [shrug] It is human nature in these types of discussions. I am resigned to it, and muddle on.

I also understand you don’t like my style. I use different means depending on medium--as Facebook is a more shortened form, I figure a few sentences or significant question demonstrating a difficulty is sufficient. (And as previously pointed out, even that much effort can disappear—why exert even more?) As all my presentation forms upset you, I will refrain entirely.

And to finish this discussion, if by “Higher taxes” you were referring to corporate tax; again I would note corporate taxes did not increase during Obama’s first term. [Although one could point out increased corporate contribution to Social Security, this did not occur until 2011, after your indicated loss of income.] Again, the analysis fails to conform to the claim. I would also note Reagan increased corporate tax, so I am unclear as to your claim regarding Reagan “vastly lower corporate tax.” [Indeed the very reason Reagan could lower individual income tax was by offsetting it with increased corporate tax.]

[I did make an error here. I confused the corporate and individual tax rates. Reagan lowered the highest individual income tax rate from 70 to 28% (that's what I was referring to). See an article about it. According to another article, here are the results of Reagan's policies:

1. 20 million new jobs.
2. Inflation dropped from 13.5% in 1980 to 4.1% in 1988.
3. Unemployment fell from 7.5% to 5.5%
4. Net worth of families making between $20,000 and $50,000 grew 27%.

5. Real gross national product rose 26%.
6. The prime interest rate went from 21.5% in January 1981 to 10% in August 1988. 
7. Employment of African-Americans rose by more than 25% between 1982 and 1988.
8. More than half of the new jobs created went to women.
9. Federal spending actually went down in 1987.
10. The Tax Reform Act of 1986  brought the lowest individual and corporate tax rates of any major industrialized country in the world.
The Gipper wisecracked, with a wry smile: "I could tell our economic program was working when they stopped calling it Reaganomics." Elder George Bush famously had called his policies "voodoo economics" during the 1980 primaries. Would that we had much more of this "voodoo" and would bring it back today!]

You did ask a pertinent question with, “Something has caused this. If it’s not Obama and Dem’s policies, you tell me what it is.” A quick perusal of Google will demonstrate varied and conflicted reasoning regarding the 2007-2008 recession. However, for whatever reason, we all see it did occur. This Facebook status indicated (for whatever reasons it originally occurred) Obama’s policies either continued the problem or worsened it. I was curious as to what particular policy. One mentioned was “higher taxes.” My study on tax rates in the past decade made me question how this policy was even in force, let alone contributed to the recession. I have my answer as to your position.


Be well. Again, it is evident that there is no dialogue here. I tried.

You've insulted me a number of times, in many ways (not just in this exchange, but in many of ours), yet you can't handle one "pompous ass" and now take the cowardly route of appea
ling to others of your fiends who feel the same about me (ad populum fallacy). Your choice. I was actually trying to have a conversation, as clearly seen by my lengthy replies and the time put into them. Unfortuinately, this was certainly not a real, constructive dialogue, in the classical, constructive sense. It's "mutual monologue."

The entire exchange will be posted on my blog. Feel free to post it on yours, too, if you're convinced that you did so well and that I manifestly stand refuted.

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