When I tried to fit myself into a few of the caricatures of the Catholic Tribes in American put together by Michael Warren Davis and Damian Thompson I somehow fell flat in the middle of nowhere. However, I know that there are American Catholics that think like I do since I know many of them personally, and perhaps, if I put this out there, I will find more of them.
A few years ago I wrote about a group of people that I called “Hipster Traditionalists”—people who love the Traditional Latin Mass, also known as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, but don’t quite fit in with other traditionalists. These days I think that the title Modern Traditionalist is a better fit.
A Modern Traditionalist is a lover of all things traditional, not out of a nostalgia for things pre-1965, but out of a real love of the beauty preserved in it. For them it is not just a preference, but the realization that the older liturgy is more beautiful and profound. In the fast-paced world, the Modern Traditionalist loves the contemplative silence of a low Mass and the smells and bells of high liturgy as alternatives to their digital social lives. They are either converts or Catholics raised attending the Novus Ordo Mass, probably of the Xennial or Millennial generations. They had never imagined the stunning beauty possible in the Roman liturgy until their first Solemn High Mass with polyphonic chant that left them in awe.
However, the Modern Traditionalist does not shy away from new things.