It's been an interesting week pondering our experiences in traditionalist circles. Sadly, there's been more discussion of the nutty and annoying than of the sane and amiable, but I suppose getting it off our chests is a coping strategy.
Summorum Pontificum, incidentally, was supposed to make the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, which the Holy Father loves, more accessible to Catholics-in-general and available in many parishes, not just one or two in a diocese. As we know, this has not happened overnight, but hopefully it will happen, not only so that many Catholics can reconnect with the Mass the saints [the Latin ones, not the Byzantines, obvsly] knew, but so the EF no longer seems like a "safe place" to hector women about our clothes or air views that dehumanize other human beings. Those eccentrics who love the TLM will have their pick of parishes, and not all congregate at the same place.
I hasten to once more assure you that I have never heard any unpleasant conversation about women, people who identify as homosexual, foreigners or people of other religions in the church where I attend the EF, or in the carpark, or in the parish hall. Although I have listened to men I first met at church very occasionally (i.e. rarely) air views that beg opposition, this was far from the church and church hall, long after Mass was over, and squarely under the protection of free speech. If I am habitually annoyed by a man's views, I do my best to avoid him, and if I think it will do any good, I will raise a pointed eyebrow or lodge a protest. This is Britain, where less reaction considered infinitely superior to more and the ability to quell with a glance should be celebrated in the Olympics.
One thing I have noticed about my own EF community is that we are much more likely to talk about what we love, not what we deplore. Perhaps it is upbringing, or European notions of what is suitable conversation for parties, or perhaps it is wisdom. Whatever it is, people do not seem to enjoy complaining as much as they enjoy conversations about "what is right with the world." What is right includes saints, art, music, liturgy, wine, funny adventures, funny conversations, European travel, European history, European royalty, ancestors, antiques, cooking projects, parish friends, friends among Anglo-Catholics, friends among the SSPX, vestments and socks. We have a number of dandies among us, and rivalries in the matters of dress occasionally lead to comical outbursts of envy and resentment.
Englishman wearing argyle socks: You Continental peacock!
Continental wearing muted plaid socks: (smiles smugly, twists end of left moustache.)
I wrote earlier about how to use traditionalist men's own traditionalism against them to defend yourself from impertinent and invasive remarks. I recommend doing the same when when it comes to very unpleasant strains of thought that seem to be creeping into trad communities in the USA, at very least. If you wish to confront racist ideology on the spot--without taking your concern to the priest (which you should do, by the way, if people are handing out racist literature on church property)--you might want to cite, not John Paul II, whom some Catholics dismiss as a liberal or, in the case of sedevacantists, no pope at all, but Pope Pius XI and "Mit brennender Sorge," tailored, of course, to the current context. It is hard to keep your interlocutor sympathetic to you if you suggest he or she is a Nazi.
In short, use your head. If you know perfectly well this person is paranoid about "feminists" and "liberals", couch your arguments in such a way that it will be more difficult for him or her to accuse you of being one or the other or both. And you may also want to consider asking a person WHY he or she holds their particular view. This might get you to the heart of their own particular, personal story, the source of their starting opinions. Then you can say, "I'm so sorry that happened," which, for all you know, they have been waiting 60 years for someone to say.
Sometimes, though, your interlocutor is just a boring old man who talks and talks because, to quote Cicero, old age is loquacious. If you can stop this kind of old man in mid-flow and even change his mind, I take my mantilla off to you.
Enough advice. Here's my latest article.
And here is an amazing chocolate pudding. It feeds at least six. I got it from a cookbook by Nigel Slater, and he got it from Nigella Lawson. Both Nigel and Nigella are famous British celebrity cooks.
To make it you do need a kitchen scales. Kitchen scales are what the British have instead of cup measures. Oh, and the flour is British flour, so Americans, Canadians et alia will have to crosscheck with other recipes (or find a North American version of Real Food) to figure out how much flour to use. Offhand, I think self-raising cake-and-pastry flour (if there is such a thing) is what you want. British flour is very soft. British suppliers think Canadian all-purpose flour is super-hard and just for bread and pasta.
Nigella Lawson’s Sticky Chocolate Pudding
150g self-raising flour
25g good quality cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
50g ground hazelnuts
75g dark chocolate (buttons or chopped)
180ml full cream milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
40 g butter melted
1 free range egg
Sauce: 180g dark muscovado sugar, 120g good-quality cocoa powder, sifted, 500 mL very hot water.
Put all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together milk, vanilla extract, melted butter and egg. Pour into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into a large, buttered soufflé dish [a very deep cake pan will do, too] about 20 cm in diameter. Mix the muscovado sugar and cocoa together and sprinkle on top of the pudding. Pour the hot water on top—there is no need to stir—and put in an oven preheated to 180C. After 35-40 minutes the pudding should be firm and springy. Serve at once, with cold pouring cream.
This recipe may sound absolutely mad, and I feared total sog, but when I took the pan out of the oven, there was this amazing island of chocolate cake surrounded by a bubbling sea of chocolate lava. You have to serve it at once before the chocolate lava hardens to igneous chocolate. It is the most chocolatey thing ever.