The Madness of Traditionalism
I do not post to this blog as I should; always some other duty calling. But I had some spare minutes today and since I am still shaking my head, I felt I should write a few lines in way of explanation.
As some who visit here regularly will know, a small group of Catacomb Catholics have recently crashed head-on with the likes of the South Texas St. Jude Shrine handlers and their “priests.” The incident began with a few innocent remarks about being removed from an e-mail list of folks who believe the priests officiating at this shrine were valid and licit. The boss himself weighed in to castigate the “offender” with his usual ire for smearing these “holy priests.”
AHA! The trigger word, and all on the e-mail list begin to sing the mantra: a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedek…A priest forever, ad nauseum. If only we had holy priests, but the reality is we have no priests at all! And accusing stay-at-home Catholics of being “jealous” of those who go to these messes is ridiculous. We pity those so entrapped in the lies that convince them these men are real and pray for their deliverance. We have proven over and over again that these “priests” are at least illicit — their services sacrilegious at best and probably idolatrous — so why in heaven’s name would we be jealous of those attending them?
Such a statement is just one of the many examples of madness that seem to be engulfing the Traditional movement at an alarming rate. The inability of members of these groups to think for themselves in any meaningful way without tapping into their gurus is yet one more reminder that there are more destructive religious sects out there than can be believed. It is sad to watch the process from the outside after having endured it for years myself on the inside; painful and discouraging, especially when one sees the damage done years later to families and children. Not everyone gets out, no matter how many throw them a lifeline. Life is hard, and it hurts; prayer and sacrifice are the only things that work — especially in these situations.
And then there is the man who argued that epikeia applies in these cases concerning clergy and magically resolves all difficulties. After a few rounds of e-mail responses, he wound up a bit desperate it seems, deciding to offer the ”proofs” advanced by a proponent of the Feeneyite heresy! Is this even possible? Are these people for real, or are they like so many others — only halfhearted hangers-on, going through the motions but never making the necessary intellectual connection. And this individual is reportedly writing for a well-known “Traditionalist” columnist with a solid Internet following. Scary, to say the least.
Perhaps the maddest and most disheartening thing of all, however, is that these followers of such groups cannot see that they have been lead in a big circle right back to the original V2 vomit they were at first so anxious to escape. Dressed up, recycled for its audience, ritually attenuated, these “masses” and Sacraments are no different and no better than the Novus Ordo ceremonies they abandoned; many of these “priests” and “bishops” were or still are connected to the church in Rome today in one way or the other. What Trads are engaging in is a charade, an elaborate costume party complete with role-playing and prizes awarded for the best costume and performance. Those Traditionalists favored all these years by these gurus and their coterie of strange assistants have often been singled out for attention or assigned special missions, receiving lavish gifts, trips abroad, “privileged” information, or entrusted with special secrets that bring them into an inner circle they are not likely to abandon. Flattery is a very successful hook, and “secret knowledge” amounts to induction into a sort of Gnosis. Once their group experience has advanced to this level, it is not only a loss of face followers must worry about, but possible retribution by the guru(s) should any secrets be leaked. What results is a sort of irresistible and inescapable enmeshment that holds such people fast, unless they be blessed by a rare and special grace.
The consequences of such behavior and its resulting aberrations are chronicled by the Prophet Isaias in Ch. 24, vs. 1-15, and we are experiencing them today: “Behold the Lord shall lay waste the earth, and shall strip it, and shall afflict the face thereof, and scatter abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be as with the people, so with the priest: and as with the servant, so with his master: as with the handmaid, so with her mistress: as with the buyer, so with the seller: as with the lender, so with the borrower: as with him that calleth for his money, so with him that oweth. With desolation shall the earth be laid waste, and it shall be utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourned, and faded away, and is weakened: the world faded away, the height of the people of the earth is weakened. And the earth is infected by the inhabitants thereof: because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant.
“Therefore shall a curse devour the earth, and the inhabitants thereof shall sin: and therefore they that dwell therein shall be mad, and few men shall be left. The vintage hath mourned, the vine hath languished away, all the merryhearted have sighed. The mirth of timbrels hath ceased, the noise of them that rejoice is ended, the melody of the harp is silent. They shall not drink wine with a song: the drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. The city of vanity is broken down, every house is shut up, no man cometh in. There shall be a crying for wine in the streets: all mirth is forsaken: the joy of the earth is gone away. Desolation is left in the city, and calamity shall oppress the gates. For it shall be thus in the midst of the earth, in the midst of the people, as if a few olives, that remain, should be shaken out of the olive tree: or grapes, when the vintage is ended. These shall lift up their voice, and shall give praise: when the Lord shall be glorified, they shall make a joyful noise from the sea. Therefore glorify ye the Lord in instruction: the name of the Lord God of Israel in the islands of the sea.
Pray that we be counted among those few grapes and olives. And pray that God delivers us from the madness all around us; from the snares of the enemy and the noonday devil.