You know, I wasn’t going to say anything about Zita Ballinger Fletcher’s article, and I’m not going to give her the pleasure of linking to it (if you didn’t see, do yourself a favor and don’t bother), but I am going to say a few things after watching the fallout from it today.
I did make two tweets back to Ms. Fletcher in response to some of her tweets, so to avoid any “she said she said”, here are my super mean tweets for your reading enjoyment.
I haven’t said 1 word to u or about u but, I’ve read your piece, and this would seem to be the pot calling the kettle black. So, if you don’t like being slandered, poked fun of, personally attacked, blamed, etc., maybe don’t write a piece doing that to a whole group of people?
And after relaying what a martyr she was but how she doesn’t retaliate because she’s a Real Catholic:
I’ve never really understood the charge of “virtue signalling” but I think this was big help.
Of course, she couldn’t ban me fast enough because, heaven forbid, she defends her rant, but here are some thoughts on it:
First, I don’t go to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass on a regular basis, so I feel like I’m in a unique position to comment on this article. Nobody can point at me and say “Just another mean ol’ trad! She has to say that!”
Next, sorry, I have yet to attend any parish that doesn’t have its own breed of holier-than-thou people who think their way of “Catholic” is the only way of “Catholic”, whether it be the local happy-clappy church down the street or the local FSSP church. The Church is made up of sinners. I have Extraordinary friends who would like to whack some of their fellow parishioners upside the head just like I do some days. I mean, seriously, after the rant yesterday and the follow up on Twitter today, I just can’t see that she can say a thing about any of this after that snide piece. It was just full of hypocrisy.
Could Miss Fletcher have written her article after repeatedly stumbling into the worst of the worst weirdos in all of Extraordinary-land who couldn’t cogently answer “Why the veil?” or who simply ignored the Mass to sneer at her or ran up and tried to sign her up for “the cult”? Anything is possible, but my guess is that her tales are a tad bit hyperbolic and based on the very thing she accuses them of – being judgmental. They don’t agree with her, they’re gaining ground, so she’s going to make them look as bad as she possibly can.
So, back to my experience, when I can’t get to my very lovely Ordinary Form Mass on Sunday, I go to the local church who hosts the Extraordinary Form. I’ve also been to various other EF’s for one reason or another, and her supposed experiences (and this really is all I can say about them) are far from the norm. I’ve never once been told to put on a veil or been sneered at because I’m not dressed just so. In fact, I ran to one at the last second (child was in hospital) and was probably wearing pants, but nobody looked twice. Maybe I just don’t go to Mass and look around at who’s looking at me. I don’t know. I pretty much get the feeling that we’re all just there to go to Mass. Sure, we can get distracted by the people around us, but I think the general theme is “I’m here to adore the Lord.” I still get the impression that Zita thinks all people are supposed to be looking at her and adoring her every fashion choice, and her article had all the indications of that narcissism. When she said “leggings” I thought, yeah, I probably would have been annoyed to be subjected to that, too. If you’re going to veil, not veil, wear leggings, wear something a little more long, etc., somebody is probably going to judge you either way. Deal. Not like you’re being hung on the Cross, for Heaven’s sake. On the occasion it happens, turn the other cheek and pay attention to the Mass.
Oh, and as a strong-willed woman, I also found her insinuation that all women who attend the Extraordinary Form Mass are simply being controlled by men was, well, stupid. Did you catch the part about her friend who started wearing a veil? Ms. Fletcher basically said she caved into peer pressure. Please. Did she ever think for a moment that her friend might have been compelled by the arguments given for veiling? Geez. And how about the idea that somehow veiling is only a trad thing. How does she explain the ladies sitting at the local ordinary parish wearing a veil? So, yeah, people are indeed going to say she doesn’t know because she doesn’t. And, by the way, Ms. Fletcher, Google “veiling”. I find it ridiculous to think that you’ve only heard the silly argument you tried to put forth when there are numerous in-depth articles on the subject. Again, she’d be hard-pressed to point at me and say, “She’s one of the them!” because I’m not. I have many female friends who attend the Extraordinary Form Mass, and there are very few who I’d consider pushovers, nor do they even all look the same. I just about died when I saw Zita say something about earrings. Honestly, unless she wandered into a Pius V chapel, I can’t imagine a place where everyone’s in a floor length dress, no earrings, etc. Heck, I’ve even seen tattoos (not plugging those, just sayin’), so the portrait she tries to paint doesn’t hold true. She needs to take a good hard look at her article one more time, because the only “oppression” going on surrounding the “Latin Mass” is from people like her.
I’d love to ask Zita how she thought her screed would help the situation? Let’s just say she’s right (which she’s not). Doesn’t she think that this might further drive people to the imaginary bunker? Of course, people are going to be defensive at their fellow parishioners and priests being labeled cultish, and of course they’re going to say she doesn’t have a clue. Instead of thoughtful debate and dialogue (you know the thing that’s supposed to be the bomb unless it’s with a trad), I was just being subjected to watching the usual “I’m a martyr” tweets from her. Completely predictable. I suppose a millennial like her thinks that the world is just going to hand her a trophy, but at twenty-eight years old, she should be old enough to realize that there couldn’t be a positive outcome to an article like hers. She didn’t do it out of some loving move to save the Church, she just did it to poke a bear.
Of course, NcR is full of Zitas. It’s like watching all of the protestant churches who could be trying to lead souls to Christ in their own deficient way but every sermon turns out to be “The Catholic Church is so evil!” They have no game so all they can do is to cast aspersion on others. They can’t debate facts. All they can do is come up with unverifiable conjectures to try and make people as paranoid as them. This is why people are attracted to traditional parishes (not with a big “T”) in general. They want to hear how to be a better Catholic. They want to hear the teachings that go along with the readings for the Sunday. They want to be helped to heaven. Sadly, the liberals can’t fill that craving and people looking for faithful Catholicism in its many forms is growing. So they can keep trotting out their usual dog and pony show of stories about how somebody was so mean to someone else and they’re all like that and they’ll do the same to you but eventually people realize that dog has no bark.
Let me give you one last tip, Zita. Toughen up. You made a public statement and you got a public response. This does not a martyr make. If you can’t make public statements without being willing to take the criticism, do yourself a favor and get out of the op-ed business. It’s not the place for fragile snowflakes who can’t take disagreement. People criticize me all the time, but I don’t think I’ve banned a single person for it unless they got profane or downright crass, since that’s not exactly helpful for a good discussion. I don’t suppose, however, that’s exactly what you were looking for in the first place.