The Failure of Tradition
The title of this article may be somewhat misleading; tradition has not failed but nevertheless, within much of the traditional Roman Catholic Faith lies the seeds of its own destruction. Having lived through the violent religious and social upheavals of the 1960’s, the Decade of Revolution, I witnessed the culmination of the anarchist, leftist, and Communist agenda we had been warned about since the previous 19th century. The decades leading up to the 60’s were a period of preparation, experimentation, and psychological manipulation in planning of the implementation of what Our Lady had called the errors of Russia, because of the failure of our spiritual leaders to Consecrate this nation to her Immaculate Heart.
As we all know the social and economic battles we witness today have their origin in the great spiritual battle we, as individuals, participate in daily, that is, battles with dark powers and principalities. This epic and foundational struggle is not lost on the atheist both then and now, so it is crucial to them that the Faith be subverted, because this is the vital support on which all else lies. With that said, though to all outward appearances, the decades preceding the Decade of Revolution were, beneath the veneer, very turbulent indeed. Yes, even within the Church subversives had been dispensing their evil venom within the seminaries, diocese, and local parishes. It is this, the great and holy Pope St. Pius X, saw on his ascension to the papacy and of which he had tried to counter and warn so often and in so many ways. So we can see that the period of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were merely setting the stage for the 1960’s. Much to the chagrin of many loyal Catholics who idolized the period of the 1950’s as a type of Golden Age, this was a period of fierce struggle beneath the surface to “democratize” the Roman Catholic Church most especially here in America.
With the usurpation of the Roman Catholic Faith by the Second Vatican Council of 1962 – 1965, we saw the wholesale overthrow of the one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Roman Catholic Faith replaced by the Church of Man, the Novus Ordo, i.e. The NewChurch. Yes, it is true that the council fathers, properly called perpetrators, couched many of their changes by sometimes including previously defined Catholic Dogma, for the most part this council was revolutionary and introduced countless innovations that were not only new but in many cases contrary to the Magisterial Teaching of the Catholic Church.
Now advance to the post Councilor period of the 1970’s and the rise of great Catholic heroes who not only sounded the alarm of the errors perpetrated by Vatican Council II, but began to implement alternatives to which the Faithful might have recourse while still remaining Catholic. Great prelates arose to lead the people, men like Father Gomer DePauw, who was one of the advance guard, who made provisions, at the risk of incurring the ire of his superiors, to maintain the Mass and the Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church in his little corner of the world. Others like His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, hero and counterrevolutionary of the infamous VCII, no doubt inspired by the Holy Ghost and Christ’s promise to never abandon His Church, that is, His Mystical Body on Earth, made provisions to maintain the holy Priesthood according to the norms of the Sacred Magisterium. Additionally, many of the laity, our parents and grandparents among them, came to the defense of the Faith to ensure its propagation to future generations as pure and undefiled as they had been given. These great men and women, in the spirit of the great fighters of the Vendee and the Cristeros gone before them, sought, at great personal expense and sacrifice, to continue to cling to the Faith of their Fathers.
In the early years, those of us who saw these diabolical changes taking place wished only to see a return to the pure Roman Catholic Faith. As the years of toil in the Lord’s devastated vineyards progressed, however, many Catholic were attracted not by Faith, but by the accoutrements, that is, the smells and bells of the rich pomp and ceremony of the Tridentine rituals. Again, the Holy Ghost intervened through granting perception and discernment to our Pastors who tried to instill a grounding of conviction of the Faith within their flocks; as they used to say it is not the quantity of re-converts back to the Faith, but the quality of the converts. That is to say, they stressed the need of zeal and conviction of each of the Faithful to the Roman Catholic Faith.
As the years of struggle progressed into decades and generations came along and the lived memories of the melees of the 1960’s and 1970’s faded into nothing but tales to be told to the children as an admonishment to vigilance, the fervor, that “fire in the belly”, became less urgent. This is less to fault the younger generations but more to blame the older for not I instilling the fire of Faith more ardently in their children. As in most struggles in life, however, the battle gets old and tiring. The valiant fighters are worn down by time and spiritual and temporal fatigue …yes, even malaise. Many of these old warriors long for the less turbulent days of their youth within the Catholic Church, even the false security of the Golden Age 1950’s. In subsequence, we lose our vigilance and provide an opportunity for the devil to sow his evil seed within our people and Faith.
Initially, our counterrevolution stood out like a lone mighty oak in a clear-cut forest, the acorn planted by the likes of Lefebvre, Castro d’Meyer, DePauw, and many, many others. It grew tall and strong, and was a formidable force against the erosion of our Roman Catholic Faith by the enemies of Christ and His Church. Now this tired oak tree stands forlorn: weakened by borers from without and termites from within. Its nourishment, that is, the firm conviction of Faith and not just the superficial attraction of the magnificence of old ritual, is drying up. Limbs are falling from the tree caused by the vermin and disease within. The old arborist is weakening and fading from the scene and new blood with vim, vigor, and enthusiasm is needed to take his place. This new arborist must be grounded in his Faith and fervent in his conviction. He must take the task in hand and not compromise. He must assiduously prune where pruning is needed and never compromise one iota in effecting a cure, that is, a return to the one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith of Christ and the Apostles. In short, we must be like a mighty oak and not bend to the buffeting winds of worldly change that has insinuated itself in our Catholic Church and even within tradition. Should, despite our best efforts to correct our ailing oak of tradition, it succumb, we can be sure that from its roots new saplings will shoot skyward, to the glory of God. Meantime, as these saplings mature we must not neglect them while trying to save the tree; both deserve nourishment, because upon both stands our salvation if one or the other should fail. So as our good Bishop Williamson and the other dissident but otherwise loyal priests have advised don’t stop attending or supporting the Society of St. Pius X, but also support our sapling apostolates springing up all around us from the roots of the mighty oak planted by His Excellency Archbishop Lefebvre.
Continue to pray the Rosary for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that the errors do not spread to tradition; she is our only recourse. Meantime, I leave you with the words of wisdom of His Excellency Bishop Richard N. Williamson, still and always, SSPX.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.