Friday, May 11, 2007

Follow up to Scott Hahn's Statement About Traditionalists

Remember the You Tube video clip where Scott Hahn calls traditionalists "servile, legalistic and anti-spiritual?" After this video clip was posted at Catholic Answers Forums, several people, including myself, wrote to Scott Hahn asking him to explain what he meant when he made that comment. To date, I have not received a response, but Robert has, and he has both received their permission and allowed me to publicly post the following email. Comments are welcome.

Dear Robert,

I am [name removed], a research assistant to Dr. Hahn. Due to the large number of emails he receives he has asked me to respond to some of them.

Thank you for your question! Regarding traditionalists and the edited YouTube clip, Dr. Hahn is actually trying to convince charismatics that, if they have really experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, they should focus more of their energy and attention on appropriating contemplation, liturgy, chant, prayer, and fasting. He is saying that these things are fundamental for all Catholics, not just those who want to call themselves traditionalists. He insists that these essential elements of a Catholic spiritual life retain all of their value despite some people who resort to them in a servile rather than a filial way, as though we were merely God's servants and not also His children. I myself have met apparently loveless traditionalists whose appreciation of and participation in the rich treasures of our devotional patrimony looks a lot like "going through the motions." Now imagine what charismatics (who typically face the opposite problem of being hooked on the feelings of enthusiastic religious experience) would first think when he tells them to turn their attention to liturgy, chant, contemplation, etc. He was anticipating their objection and answering it. I hope you find this helpful, may God richly bless you and yours!

Blessings,
[name removed]
St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology
www.salvationhistory.com
www.scotthahn.com


17 comments:

318@NICE said...

Seems like just a way of brushing over what was really said, kind of a way of trying to appease Traditionalists, but in actuality meaning what he originally said. The reason I say that is because even in the e-mail response, the assistant makes an admission,
"I myself have met apparently loveless traditionalists whose appreciation of and participation in the rich treasures of our devotional patrimony looks a lot like "going through the motions."

Don't buy it.
Dave

Robert Garrett said...

You've never met traditionalists..or even modernists...who look like they are "going through the motions?" I have.

paramedicgirl said...

Yes, there are undoubtedly those in both camps who go through the motions, but I have noticed that many people who love the Novus Ordo feel threatened by traditionalists, to the point of making disparaging remarks about them being their own mini popes who try to dictate what the rest of the Church should believe. It's too bad there is such distance between the innovators and the traditionalists. I wonder if there will ever be common ground.

marilena said...

Wonder what mr hahn thinks then of the sspx? servile, legalistic and anti-spiritual?" ? just wondering..

Mark said...

Dr. Hahn is actually trying to convince charismatics that, if they have really experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, they should focus more of their energy and attention on appropriating contemplation, liturgy, chant, prayer, and fasting

This is what I picked up in the video. Consider the comment in the light of the intended audience. If he came across to you as broad brushing all trads, I can accept that it was not meant that way. Who has not applied the broad brush a time or two to a group of "all" before, be it bishops, NO attendees, or whoever?

Let the disparaging remarks be as blessings, if they are really targeted to you falsely, and be as nothing, if they are not.

God bless,
mark

Robert Garrett said...

I think there can be middle ground. First, mutual respect on both sides are required. If an innovator or orthodox parishioner thinks traditionalists are all schismatic heretics or the traditionalist sees the "innovators" who are doing their best to follow Rome as schismatic heretics, then we won't get anywhere.

My parish priest has led me to appreciate traditionalists, even though our parish celebrates the Pauline Mass. Pope Benedict XVI has called on us to pray in Latin, use chant, etc; and my priest has heeded that call. It sounds like Dr. Hahn agrees. That would be the middle ground.

Hopefully, the universal indult is coming, which will help with the spread of the TLM.

Pax,
Robert

paramedicgirl said...
Yes, there are undoubtedly those in both camps who go through the motions, but I have noticed that many people who love the Novus Ordo feel threatened by traditionalists, to the point of making disparaging remarks about them being their own mini popes who try to dictate what the rest of the Church should believe. It's too bad there is such distance between the innovators and the traditionalists. I wonder if there will ever be common ground.

Adoro te Devote said...

Just for the record, I am an NO Catholic with traditionalist leanings. I've never attended a Tridentine Mass, however, so I have no opinion about it other than what I've read and heard.

So I'm speaking from that standpoint.

Anyway, I would atually be sure to take Dr. Hahn's comments within the context in which they are attended, considering his audience. I'm sure he did not mean to disparage Traditionalists.

I'm also sure he sees the SSPX as a group in schism and prays for their reunification with Rome for all separation hurts us all.

Now...I have also been involved with the Charismatic side of things, enough to know it's not my spirituality, but I recieved great benefits and what I learned/experienced there lead me to Adoration and contemplation.

But many Charismataics, sadly, kind of miss the point with tradition and don't understand it. The group I was involved with was into traditional prayers, I see many of them in Adoration, and they are very careful to be obedient to our Magisterial authority. But there are others who question authority and don't have a solid anchor to keep them from goign off into the deep end.

They do need to have the extremes defined to them, to find a comparison of the extreme behavior on their end vs. the extreme behavior on the other end.

I also know trads that are very off-putting. They are conceited, self-righteous, pharisitical and look down their noses at anyone who isn't them. But I don't see them as representative of all trads. In fact, I also know trads who are very giving, loving and probably more an example of the majority.

I also know NO Catholics who are lackluster, NO Catholics who are pharaisitical (um...that has defined me and sometimes still does), and lots of people completely on fire for the faith and willing to accept and experience all the best our faith has to offer, from the NO to the Tridentine Mass, to the Eastern Diving Liturgies.

If I may, I'd like to maybe draw a parallel; Dr. Hahn is very well versed in theology (obviously) and is a solid Catholic. Agreed? Just from the one class I have taken as a grad student in theology, it is very difficult to take very broad concepts and summarize them, keeping the essence of the point because everything leads or is linked to something else. I'm still dealing with this in trying to finish my paper1 It's hard to find a happy medium and express the point, especially when one has to reach a group where it is at. He didn't have the luxury of considering trads because there were likely none there.

I'm also certain he'd say things to a group of trad. Catholics that would deeply offend charismatics who weren't there for the full context.


So let it go. Don't let it bother you, and if he meant those words exactly and it is his opinion? Let it Go. It's not your problem...it would be his.

Feathered Friends said...

true, it would be his problem.

Adoro te Devote said...

Um.. * blush *

I'm not sure what "Eastern Diving Liturgies" are, and I'm quite certain that would be a serious abuse.

So, just for the record, that should say "Divine"


ROFL!

Terry Nelson said...

I think Scott Hahn is way over-rated, so I could care less what he said.

Angela Messenger said...

Adoro - excellent points.

Terry - I have several of Hahn's books and on one hand he can make me understand what others couldn't yet when I read him he still talks like an evangelical.

My friend studied under him for 2 years at Steubenville and she is very orthodox but thought he was a good teacher and he and his wife are beautiful examples of Catholic family life.

Vox Cantor said...

My personal experience is that Tradition's greatest enemy are quite often "Traditionalists" themselves.

And, I conduct a choir for a Traditional Latin Mass...

paramedicgirl said...

I'm beginning to believe there is some merit to what you say, Vox. Traditionalists are a vocal bunch, probably because we are always feeling that we have to defend the true faith; we are not satisfied with some weak, watered down version of it, which is so often what gets presented to the Catholic faithful these days as the true faith. I guess that makes us our own worst enemy, as it does very little to persuade liberals and innovators that tradition is desirable. It would probably have greater impact to just quietly live a traditional Catholic life and lead by example. I guess we should be careful how we speak up, rather than not speaking up.

Terry Nelson said...

No doubt Scott Hahn is very good but I'm just not into him. He helps many people with the faith and has good insights - perhaps it is the Evangelical sound that turns me off, I don't know.

paramedicgirl said...

Terry, he seems to be the favourite of converts. He has done much good in bringing Protestants to the Catholic faith. When I was reverting to the faith, I read his books, but I no longer find they appeal to me.

Robert Garrett said...

Ironically, as a convert (former Presbyterian) in a "Cafeteria" Catholic Church in California, Dr. Hahn's books actually helped me become more orthodox, which has led me to the more Traditional.

BTW...I agree with the assessment of Traditionalists being their own worst enemy. As someone who is coming toward a more Traditional faith, I often feel insulted by Traditionalsts for whom, if you aren't 100% TLM, you are a part of the Novus Ordo heretics.

John C. Hathaway said...

One thing I've learned in life is that everyone has a "message" that is theirs. Some people can be encyclopedists and/or "Renaissance Men" and do so successfully--that's why we applaud such people as super-geniuses. Most of ushave to specialize. And while we may have well-informed opinions on various matters of the faith, each person has particular issues and reas in which he or she is particularly interested and qualified.

Thus, an apologist, particularly a convert, usually has no more than 4 or 5 worthwhile things to offer, and once you've exhausted them, move on. That's why Jesus told the Apostles to move from town to town.

I have big problems with the Charismatic Movement. I like Scott Hahn's work. Where it's good, it's good, but it has its limitations.

As for this comment, I think the "some" modifier is sufficient to see that he's qualifying.