Dr. Kozinski said:
“It is simply dishonest of you to say that anything I have written implies that ‘traditional Catholics’ are gnostics. That is simply not true, and I can't see how you do not see that it is not true.”
I’m not attempting to imply that you hold that ALL traditional Catholics are Gnostics. I’m repeating Kozinski's position that some, many, most, a fraction, whatever, are Gnostics, and on that point I vigorously disagree and think that in Kozinski saying some, many, most, a fraction of traditional Catholics are Gnostics does damage to traditional Catholicism in general. Not to mention it does damage to Kozinski's own reputation.
As I have already stated, and as was stated in the editorial reply to Kozinski's article in the New Oxford Review, what Kozinski is attempting to describe is not Gnosticism. His definition of Gnosticism is not only inaccurate, but it is so vague that can be applied to any person of faith.
Implying that some traditional Catholics are Gnostics has the same affect as the long-standing implication that some traditional Catholics are disobedient separatists. The general impression among mainstream Catholics became that all traditional Catholics are disobedient separatists. This is born out by Archbishop Nichol’s comments in the Catholic Herald, wherein he seems to be entirely caught up in treating that old canard. The simple fact of the matter is that traditional Catholics are far less disobedient and separatist in attitude than mainstream Catholics whose overwhelming majority practice artificial contraception, vote for pro-abortion politicians, and form their consciences by using values clarification. In light of the deplorable state of the Church, it’s completely unreasonable for bishops to be concerned by the disobedience of such a small number of people who are careful to embrace all the dogmas of the Church. The only reason for this phenomenon has to be the old canard of “traditionalists are disobedient separatists.”
In Kozinski's NOR article he attempted to forge another untrue canard about traditional Catholics: some, many, most, whatever number of traditional Catholics are Gnostics. The affect? Well, read the comments on Fr. Z’s blog and the NLM. There are surprisingly a lot of commentators who accepted Kozinski's erroneous definition of Gnosticism without question, and equally that there were some, many, most, whatever number of traditional Catholics who are Gnostics.
But as I’ve said already, and will continue to say, there are no Gnostics at the Traditional Latin Mass! To keep maintaining the use of the terms “Gnostics” and “Gnosticism” in this debate is dishonest, because we all now know what the term means and we all now know Kozinski is not using it correctly.
As the New Oxford Review editorial reply to Kozinski's article asked:
You say… “there is no other alternative but to accept the one, post-conciliar Church, and to think there is some escape from that, as many traditionalists do, is to adopt a gnostic stance." Why is this gnostic? What does this have to do with esoteric knowledge? Most of us know the traditionalist viewpoint; it's not a secret. And what does this have to do with cosmic dualism?
The answer is absolutely nothing. It has nothing to do with Gnosticism in the least, and it is dishonest to continue insisting that it somehow does. It does Kozinski's reputation no credit to misuse this term in this fashion.
The same editorial reply to the article rightly stated:
You say, "Ultimately, gnostic traditionalism is a manifestation of pride and is tantamount to the sin of schism [is it or isn't it?], which has its ancient origin in Lucifer…." But are you not full of pride? You indict gnostic traditionalists as being "puffed-up," but are you not puffed-up? You accuse the traditionalists of being "neurotic," "Donatists," "spiritual poison," "spiritually sick," "Catholic Pharisee," "insane," of "digging a deeper and deeper hole to a self-created Hell," of being "malignant," "anti-tradition," of "daily immersion in the Luciferian regimes," "psychological and spiritual disorders," "sin of schism," "paranoia," "Jansenism," "smoke of Satan," "ancient origin in Lucifer," and "lead us only to suffocate." From what pedestal do you speak? These types of wild accusations smack of pride to the max.
Their point is clear, and I echo it. Kozinski bemoans the pharisaic traditionalist while being, himself, just as pharisaic.
Dr. Kozinski wrote: “I think that traditionalist Catholicism had become something of a sect.”
I’m sure there are some, even many, traditional Catholics who simply want nothing to do with mainstream Catholicism. This isn’t sectarian or separatist. It’s insulation from all the things Amerio catalogued in Iota Unum. No one seems overly concerned about mainstream Catholics who want nothing to do with traditionalists. But, at any rate, it’s a canard. Given that the vast majority of mainstream Catholics have a sectarian attitude when it comes to central issues such as the proper veneration of the Eucharist, the use of artificial contraception, voting for pro-abortion politicians, dissenting from central teachings of the Church, it’s hard to fathom why so many people seem so concerned with such a small group of traditionalists wishing to insulate themselves from this sorry state of affairs.
That may be overstating the case. I don’t wish to pass judgment on any Catholic, traditional or mainstream. I do recognize that there are tasteful and reverent offerings of the new order of the Mass. I used to attend such on weekdays, and would again if one were offered at a convenient time in my area. However, I also realize, as I’ve already stated, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is far superior than the Ordinary Form, no matter how it is offered, when considering them both according to their own merits. Likewise, traditional Catholicism is a way of life far superior than all the problems inherent in mainstream Catholicism, as cataloged by Amerio in his book, Iota Unum. If there were no way to completely escape the psychological and spiritual damage (which I’m pretty sure I agree with you on that score), I would rather be suffering in Amerio’s faithful remnant:
The second conjecture about the future of the Church is the one Montini began as a bishop and completed as pope. The Church will continue to open itself to the world and to conform itself to that world, that is, it will continue to undo its own nature; but its supernatural life will survive, restricted to a faithful remnant, and its supernatural end will continue to be pursued faithfully by that part of it which is left in the world. The misleading well-being of a Church that is dissolving itself into the world will be matched by the progressive contraction and wretchedness of a small number of people, a tiny minority that seems insignificant and doomed to die, but which in fact contains the concentration of God’s elect, an indefectible witness to the true faith. (759)
At the end of Iota Unum, Amerio is an optimist—not the kind of optimist that paints a rosy picture. It must seem that his considerations came to a "conclusion that amounts to a negative", but, I contend, only to those in the mainstream. He is an optimist that understands reality: “From abasement to exaltation; this the old road familiar to faith… The divine action runs form one extreme to the other, so that creation touches the lowest point of evil and then rises to the height of all good” (761).
It was recently pointed out to me that we can’t expect the Church to rid herself of the new order of the Mass. Concessions must be made. These concessions are exactly what Amerio was bemoaning when he pointed out the emergence of a multiplicity of ritual forms and rubrics and local disciplines resulting from a renunciation of authority. The spirit of concession comes from a spirit of pessimism. The spirit of pessimism is the defining characteristic of the generation that lived through the tragedy of 1970.
My friends, my age and younger, aren’t afraid to look forward to the day when the new order of the Mass will be abrogated, and the Mass will finally start down the road of organic reform. We are able to say this with a smile and while keeping our good humor, because we didn’t live through 1970. We are free of the previous generation’s pessimism. Yes, we are abject… for now. But the new and emerging generation of traditional Catholics doesn’t see traditional Catholicism as a counterpoint. Traditional Catholicism is what is real, and nothing else will do, not because we want it, not because it is the better argument, but because it is what it is: the truth.