I began thinking about all this, because in my ongoing pilgrimage through cyberspace, I recently came across the website of Most Holy Family Monastery in Fillmore, New York. The “traditionalists” there take the insolitus position that Benedict XVI is a heretic, in part because he knelt and prayed eastward – or, as they assert, towards Mecca—during the papal visit to Turkey at the end of 2006. And they have the photos to prove it!
More temperate observers will recognize that the Pope was simply “oriented.” The view of the Holy Family website suggests, as Jaroslav Pelikan once remarked, that whereas tradition is “the living faith of the dead,” traditionalism is often “the dead faith of the living.”
Hmm, isn’t the belief that the Pope is a heretic itself a heresy? I didn’t find the heresy above (how much time should I have spent looking?) but there are plenty of others, mostly revolving around ecumenicism and the Jews. To be fair, their issue isn’t with Papa Ratzi; according to this bunch, John XXIII and every pope after him were antipopes. But they’re bashing the guy who has done more than anyone to undo the worst damage of Vatican II; you’d think they’d give props to somebody on their side. But when you’re that far from shore, in such deep water, you have no idea in which direction to row.