Rorate Caeli

Without Tradition, We Are Cattle

Spanish writer Juan Manuel de Prada has already been quoted here - for instance, on aspects of the current pontificate (cf. "The Nests of Yesteryear").

In the following article, published days ago, he uses very Spanish examples to make a very profound universal point for all former Christendom. The Catholic Church always used to be the top defender of local traditions, local languages, and local cultures because she was the confident bearer of a Tradition that does not die. Now, with her self-confidence eliminated, her Tradition wounded and humiliated, her liturgy destroyed in vast regions, local traditions also disappear and are replaced with a global pseudo-cultural blob. The strength of Tradition and traditions allowed the Christians of the Iberian peninsula to reconquer their land, and then conquer much of the world for the Church. What will they do now?

Betrayed Traditions
Juan Manuel de Prada
August 31, 2014

I have read that in a hamlet in La Rioja they set up a run of... American bisons! And I was very sorry for the folks in this La Rioja town, sorry for so many Spanish villages that have betrayed their traditions and then replaced them with mocking and insulting substitutes, sorry for living in an ignominious age that has turned us into the poor lackeys of new and ephemeral fads, subjected to foreign fashion and to the stultifying colonization of the media, and to the tyranny of our own disoriented impulses, who today want to take part in a bison run, and maybe tomorrow in a reindeer run (with the rancher dressed as a yuletide puppet called "Santa Claus", goodness!) Saint-Exupéry wrote that only a philosophy of belonging, by linking the man to his family, to his work, and to his fatherland protects him from the abyss of space; and that only attachment to rites and traditions protects him from the erosion of time. When this sense of belonging is lost, we become mediocrities thrown into the dustbin of history organizing bison runs.

If Spanish villages abandon their life cycles bound with farming and cattle-raising, it's natural that their young stop seeing in the wild bull a force of nature before which they wish to test themselves; and the time that in the past was dedicated to farming and husbandry chores (abandoned thanks to the bribes of the European Union) is now spent before television, where, while they zap around as lobotomized zombies, they watch a Kevin Costner movie with a bison stampede. And since their soul still carries within it a reminiscence or nostalgia for ancestral traditions, even if a nostalgia warped by the dizzying noise of foreign fads and the media, these lads will inevitably conceive the delirious idea of organizing a bison run, with animals that will then have become as exotic as bulls.

Attachment to traditions, by creating links between men, makes for strong peoples, impregnable to material or moral plundering; and from these deeply rooted peoples come the strongest and most diverse personalities. Peoples without traditions, on the other hand, are destined to the gloomiest solitude, which is the one that, while it preaches individualism, leads to mass-production; and from these peoples, unarmed before the material and moral spoliation, only come forth weak and crude personalities, debilitated by the obsession for independence and freedom, but which invariably end up doing the same collective nonsense. That is why traditionless societies are, paradoxically, the paradise of statistics: because there where there are no traditions (which are the riverbed on top of which our original personality flows), the behavior of individuals, though apparently erratic, is easily predictable, almost automatic. But those who wish to see us converted into a lonely mass, reduced to slavery, do not take our traditions suddenly away from us (out of fear that the memory or nostalgia still lying in our souls may prompt us to rebel), but rather amuse themselves by giving us mock replacements which, on their turn, act as soothers of our pain, and allow them to amuse themselves cruelly at our expense, watching us as we cultivate silly and bizarre passions and habits.

Nothing pleases more those who wish to reduce us to a lonely crowd than to see us set up bison runs, after we have forgotten the husbandry of the wild bull. Nothing pleases them more than seeing us eat (with delight!) some post-modern* concoction cooked with liquid nitrogen, after we have forgotten how to cook (and even enjoy) garlic soup. Nothing pleases them more than to see us dance spasmodically with some tart we don't even know in a night club, after we forgot how to go country-dancing with the girl next door in the street fair. Nothing pleases them more than watching us sing guitar-led and imbecilic songs during Mass, after we have forgotten liturgical chant. Nothing pleases them more than to give us advice in the choosing of a fiancée through an internet contact agency, after we have rejected our mother's advice.

That is the way they want us: despoiled of our traditions, reduced to a human-shaped creature that withers around in his own filth pleased with himself, fed with mock, sordid and ridiculous replacements. Turned into cattle, into a herd, from whom they even charge for the provision of substitutions.

[Source. / Image: Procession in Bercianos de Aliste, Zamora, Castile and Leon, in the 1950s. / *literally, "cooked in the style of (famous Spanish chef) Ferran Adrià."]