The purpose of this document is to describe the concept of Traditional Roman Catholicism. To do so is not as simple as it may sound. Even those of us who consider ourselves to be of the traditional, that is, the ancient, persuasion, certainly do not always agree on what are the defining features of a Traditional Roman Catholic or Traditional Roman Catholicism. Necessarily, therefore, within the contents, dear reader, you will find my own thoughts on the subject. I am writing on this topic particularly for those souls who are new to Tradition and have no background on the subject, but it may also serve as thought-provoking for others as well. All should understand, however, that mine is not the definitive position that everyone will agree on. We would hope that this missive will serve to provide some background; however, also that the reader, if he or she so chooses, will probe further and so gain a more in-depth knowledge of some of the difficulties facing our holy religion presently.
To understand Traditional Roman Catholicism we must first appreciate its origins. Prior to the last great meeting of Church prelates, called the Vatican II Council, which ended in 1965 under Pope Paul VI, most everyone belonging to the Church was a Traditional Roman Catholic, although there was no such term at the time. By this we usually mean particularly that many of the faithful, who were of the Latin rite, participated in the Holy Mass codified by Pope St. Pius V of centuries ago, which was actually the Mass essentially unchanged in its essence since the time of the first popes and of Our Lord Himself. In those years and centuries prior to 1965, to the Catholic mind was emphasized by the prelates, clergy, and religious all of the concepts of Traditional Roman Catholicism, or Tradition, which we can say is, essentially, all of Catholic dogma. Dogmas, simply, are revealed truths contained in the inspired Word of God, the Bible, that all Catholics are bound to believe, and live. The Church is living, and the Word of God is living; although His Word is unchanging, the Church for two millennia, through specific Councils and the Popes, have defined and documented these truths more and more. Such revealed truths cannot be contradictory; they simply build on what has been written before, and most likely the Church will continue to do this until the end of time. To prevent Her from erring on matters of so great importance, which concern the very salvation of souls, She was given the Holy Ghost as Counselor to guide Her, by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Since dogmatic writings are oriented for theological scholars and can therefore be complex, they are stated more simply in catechetical books so that even laymen lacking religious training can grasp the concepts.
We believe as Roman Catholics, for example:
We believe, as Roman Catholics, that all of the above items are contained in Holy Writ and that it is essential to believe and follow them and all other revealed truths.
- 1. the revelation that The Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into Heaven as Queen Mother,
- 2. that the Pope and Councils can speak infallibly and are thereupon guided by the Holy Ghost,
- 3. that Catholic dogma, and the process of the interpretation of Scriptures by the Catholic Church to be written as revealed truth, has and always will be guided by the Holy Ghost,
- 4. that only the Roman Catholic Church has been granted this power,
- 5. therefore that the Holy Roman Catholic Church is the One True Church and the Holy Roman Catholic Faith is the One True Faith,
- 6. that those who are not Catholics because of ignorance might possibly be granted eternal salvation, but it is through the Catholic Church and the blood that the Lord God shed for all mankind at the first Catholic Mass that allows this to be so, and
- 7. that the Blessed Virgin, the angels, and all of the saints are our strong friends, protectors, and allies who will pray for us powerfully and effectively to God when we ask them with holy intentions, and by honoring them we honor God Himself who established His Church.
This is in contrast to, for example, Protestantism, or Judaism, in which the individual is more or less left to him or herself to interpret the Bible and discover what it means in his or her life. We believe that such persons, and religions, are in error, in part because they have no promise from God that their interpretations will be correct. Indeed, under such circumstances we could have as many interpretations of the Scriptures as there are persons that populate the whole earth. In some cases, for example in many of the Protestant sects, the pastor takes on the task of interpreting the Scriptures for his or her congregation. It is even commonplace that to continue membership in the congregation one must believe whatever the pastor’s interpretations might be. One can readily see that this will lead to a very enhanced power of such Protestant pastors over their flocks, who are then dependent on a single man, essentially, to tell them how to live.
On the other hand, as we have said above, Catholics have always enjoyed a substantial freedom from erroneous interpretations of Scripture, having the guarantee of Our Lord and the Holy Ghost that what they believe, in the form of Catholic dogma, is Truth and is therefore indefectible. Since Vatican II, however, the above emphasis on belief of dogma has unfortunately been diminished substantially. I should state for any purist readers that the Catholic dogmas are still intact; I am not suggesting that they have been removed by the Vatican II Council, but everyone in his right mind will certainly agree that they are not given the emphasis they once were. The Church rather, in these modern times, now focuses mainly on a concept that we shall call "social justice." It is certainly the predominant theme in the non-Traditional, or what we may describe as post-conciliar, parishes throughout the world.
With the ushering in of social justice has come the main talking-point that being a good Catholics means to become an advocate for the misfortunate, even at the expense of the prevailing culture, as the primary means to attain salvation. The emphasis, therefore, since the Vatican II Council, has become one of a very specific social action as a way to gain Heaven. And to achieve this goal, certain barriers between peoples must naturally be eliminated. The Vatican, for example, now enthusiastically trumpets the concept of multiculturalism, that is, that all cultures are good and should be embraced by all people, so that we blend and become a unified, homogeneous people throughout the world. It wholeheartedly supports mass immigration, with the consequent destruction of the prevailing culture, as a preparation for the creation of a unified world body and politics, ut unum sint (that all may be one).
Mainly this has brought about the destruction of the former predominantly Catholic culture of cities and towns and countryside throughout the world, which are replaced, for example, by the ranting of Muslim clerics, Kwanza co-religionists, and feminist agitators. The new doctrinal emphasis even embraces the concept of engaging peoples of other religions in a perpetual ecumenical dialogue, and a reduced accentuation of Catholic beliefs in the process, as being the truly Christ-like way. In fact it is probably valid to suggest that practically speaking, the greatest sin in the post-conciliar Church has become to not embrace social justice; other sins, grave sins, such as a complete disregard for prayer, Mass attendance, the Sacraments, or sexual impropriety, are frequently given a secondary emphasis.
This is effectively the policy of the Vatican II Church today, and if anyone thinks me wrong, all one has to do is listen to the sermons and writings of many of the priests and bishops and even the pope, and the prayers of the faithful given at the New Mass implemented as a result of the Vatican II Council; they almost exclusively emphasize "social justice." Little, if any, is said anymore about Catholic dogma, for example concerning mortal or venial sin, or penance. We are given almost no information about the Four Last Things in the non-Traditional sermons and writings, or in the preparation of Catechumens to enter the faith, because they do not fit in with the Vatican II concept of nurturing, healing, positive self-aspect, and being inoffensive to the false religions. As a direct result, almost no Catholic layman knows anything about dogma, most Catholics have no idea what Catholic dogmas are or what they mean, since they are so rarely mentioned at the New Mass, in the diocesan newspapers, or in non-Traditional periodicals. What is worse, as a result of all this, rather few non-Traditional Catholics understand or believe even in the concept of the Holy Eucharist, the very essence and center of Catholic faith, that Christ is present in both body and spirit when the priest pronounces the words of holy consecration during the Mass. No one can say that any of this is good.
Now it is clear that as a result of this about-face in emphasis from the ancient to the modern, a certain wholesale devastation of the Church has come about. We certainly can observe a strong correlation. Since 1965 all of the old emphases have been corrupted, watered down, or forgotten, and the new emphasis of social justice has become preeminent. Coincident with this switch in accentuation, since 1965, Mass attendance and religious vocations have plummeted. Whereas also, since 1965, the number of "annulments" (Catholic divorce) have skyrocketed, as have the number of Catholics fleeing to other religions. We have the phenomenon of whole Protestant churches of Baptists or Evangelicals or some such, being made up of members who were formerly Roman Catholic.
The Holy Roman Catholic Church was once a powerful moral force in the world. No one could argue with Her successfully, and few would try. Today, things are exactly the opposite. No one listens to Her anymore, really. Think of it: millions of Catholic adults are fornicating, annulling their marriages, aborting their children, and voting scoundrels into public office, and what kind of example is this for younger ones, the most innocent and impressionable? Notably, we have the new and hideous phenomenon of young Catholic school girls allowing boys to pleasure themselves with their female bodies in various ways, even if physically they keep their virginity for a time. These same girls fail to realize that they have permitted their persons to become deflowered, spiritually. They have denatured themselves, their bodies and their minds and their souls; like their elders, they have embraced a watered-down and de-emphasized, we can say a diabolical, concept of Church laws, in this case concerning chastity and purity.
Clearly with the acceleration of these and other heinous events, examples of which are but a keystroke away on the Internet or in the local community, that are by command and decree of satan himself, we can see ahead to the proximity of the end of the Age. It is certainly a sign that sin and hell have been forgotten by the many throughout the whole earth, and also that the demoralizing trend, the reduction and denaturation of truly Catholic emphasis, is mostly ignored by those with the authority to do something about it. This, dear friends, is a sign of the times and a warning to all who love the God of Heaven; I cannot say this more strongly.
And what of the impact of the concept of "social justice" on the world – has it had a good effect? Actually, it has played directly into the hands of the far-left, those who seek to destroy our faith. It is in fact politically correct nowadays to work for social justice, and all the major media, who have the world in a stranglehold, a death-grip so to speak, make it a prerequisite for any person who expects favorable "coverage" from them. We might then wonder where will the social justice movement lead, should we be foolish enough to play into the hands of the secular media and other undesirable characters. Well we start out helping the poor and the sick, which is admirable, and can lead to many merits and graces from the Lord God - these are, afterall, in line with the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. But this concept quickly becomes distorted, so that social justice comes to mean that a World Court will supercede the sovereignty of nations, and implement its own agenda. In fact it is happening today, and the agenda, we can say, is not good. It initiates with making abortion and fornication and euthanasia a "right" of all throughout the world, even a right for children. It continues by completely removing all power of parents over their offspring, and replacing it by the power of the state. It goes further by outlawing religion. And it ends, dear friends, with the Antichrist. Unless we work to prevent this, we too will be guilty, and I shudder to think what our sentence will be at the end of time, when we all stand before the Supreme Judge.