Rorate Caeli

Modernism is ideological - Tradition is realistic, but must be lived in simplicity

Modernism is ideological, Tradition is not, it is realistic.

Tradition v. 
It is Modernism with abstract concepts, adopted from the prevailing culture, which has claimed to transform Catholic life and thought. Starting from modern philosophy, idealism, Personalism and the ideological psychology of modernity, modernism has wanted to adapt the truths of the Faith and the actual life of Christians; in so doing, it has destroyed everything and has rendered the Christian life, first false, and then useless and impossible to live.

In Modernism, everything comes from ideology; cogitations by contemporary atheist and agnostic thinkers are embraced uncritically as good, and there is a desire to force Catholic thought to adapt to them so that it will not remain ‘outside history’. It is a continuous desire ‘to keep up with the times’ so that Christianity does not grow old. It is not reality that commands, but ideology and the ideas of intellectuals.

Tradition, by contrast, comes from reality.

The reality where God reveals Himself, is made known, and the reality of man, a poor sinner, who has need of a salvation which he is unable to give himself. This is realism and Christian simplicity. When one draws close to the world of Tradition one senses the beauty of this simplicity and realism. The man who is simple of heart and who has not been spoilt by the pride of the latest intellectuals in vogue, tastes this simple realism which enables him to face his existence and to act worthily. He senses that everything becomes clear in life.

Pride makes man delirious : it makes him complicate the simplicity of God and makes him lose the way of salvation. Pride - pride of the intelligence and heart - impedes his ability to reason and so makes him complicate everything. ..and “the Lord hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart”.

However, it is necessary to be vigilant always.

Even in Tradition this pride can “return”. This pride that ruins everything. Tradition must be lived in simplicity and not with haughtiness. All of it must be lived in firm realism: the Mass of all time must be celebrated and attended because it saves the world from the abyss. It must not be lived merely as a demonstration – as a “political” position - against modernity. A Traditional pilgrimage with the Mass of all time, must be done not as a show of strength, so as to prove to the modernists that these things are done better by conservatives. Rather, it must be done as an urgent appeal for forgiveness and graces to the Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints, as, for example, we did on the second pilgrimage to Oropa [Sanctuary dedicated to the Black Madonna near Biella, Piedmont, Northern Italy], which is part of the great nine-year novena that anticipates the Centennial of the Coronation of Our Lady.

It is a question of life and death; if we fall into the trap of ideology, Tradition will be on a dead-end street. Traditional manifestations will be held here and there, perhaps even solemn ones, but these will not touch hearts, will not really communicate grace and will not change lives. We want to remain with those simple and great people, who for centuries have been kneeling before Our Lord, knowing that they are in need of everything. A humble people, because they are souls who truly ask forgiveness for their sins. A people, courageously firm, because on the truths of the Faith, on the form of the Traditional Mass, on Catholic doctrine, they will not give in to even one iota, because all of these have been given by the Lord for our salvation. They are not our property.

By contrast, the intellectual who loves the Traditional Mass out of conservatism, in one way, wants these public moments to affirm his taste for ancient things, but at the same time, he becomes weak in the battle against heresy, for fear of being excluded from the public assemblies of today, or worse, from the public life of the Church; he comes to terms with error and ambiguity from the modernized Church, because of the human need to be a winner in the end; he does not trust the Lord and wants to be assured of a victory which is purely human.

We must pray frequently, we must attend the Traditional Latin Mass frequently, if possible daily, we must receive the Sacraments, we must love Catholic Doctrine, so that we remain realistically and humbly attached to Our Lord. And the Lord will give us the graces, even after the darkest night, even after the most tremendous crisis of the Church.

May the Most Blessed Virgin grant us a pure heart, and free us of intellectual pride. Then it will really be Christmas.

[Editorial: Radicati nella fede, December 2012, bulletin of the Catholic community of Domodossola and Vocogno, Diocese of Novara, Italy - Translation and tip: Contributor Francesca Romana]


  1. "A people, courageously firm, because on the truths of the Faith, on the form of the Traditional Mass, on Catholic doctrine, they will not give in to even one iota, because all of these have been given by the Lord for our salvation"


    December freeze
    Warmth melts the chill
    At Mass alone
    On Calvary's hill.

    Where from its heights
    Fierce, sleety, rains
    Beat down upon
    Stained-window panes.

    At the Mass of all times
    The Faith's never frozen
    "Many are called...
    But few are chosen."

  2. Quote:
    We must pray frequently, we must attend the Traditional Latin Mass frequently, if possible daily, we must receive the Sacraments, we must love Catholic Doctrine, so that we remain realistically and humbly attached to Our Lord. And the Lord will give us the graces, even after the darkest night, even after the most tremendous crisis of the Church.

    These are TRUE words. One problem though, for conservatives (those who just want "the reform of the reform)."Traditional Latin Mass" is the 1962 transitional missal soon to be the New 1962 hybrid missal (or 2013). Same for the frase "love Catholic Doctrine", for conservatives, that means VII "Doctrine" for Traditionalists, it means the entire Church Magisterium including the all the dogmatic (infallible)definitions to which many VII "teachings" are in direct opposition.

    These great words have a different meaning to "conservatives" and "traditionalists".

  3. Sorry, NC, forgot to read the attribution. Well said, whoever said it.

  4. Beautiful and powerful. Thank you NC for posting this.And thank you, Long Skirts, for your poem AT MASS ALONE.

  5. Even though it appears that we all have been saved:

    1741 Liberation and salvation. By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. "For freedom Christ has set us free." In him we have communion with the "truth that makes us free." The Holy Spirit has been given to us and, as the Apostle teaches, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Already we glory in the "liberty of the children of God."

    I think this excellent editorial is edifying and excellent.

  6. Wow, very impressive and true.

  7. This is as uplifting as the Clown Mass was depressing.

  8. In Modernism, everything comes from ideology

    Yes, exactly -- which is why it's so pernicious, because we all of us have our ideas about this or that -- and very often fail to listen to Wisdom and Revelation.

  9. That's so true!

    And Long-Skirts, thank you for the poem.

  10. We shouldn't confuse 'Individualism' with personalism and inter-personalism, as our Holy Father stresses in Caritas in Veritate: "As a spiritual being, the human creature is defined through interpersonal relations. The more authentically he or she lives these relations, the more his or her own personal identity matures. It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God."
    I don't recall St Pius X ever mentioning personalism in his Catechism on Modernism.

    Stefan Gillies

  11. A truly outstanding article. Thank you for posting it.

    "The Lord hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart."

  12. Read Pasciendi - part of the genius of it , is that it reads as if it were written yesterday. Reduced to a few lines, religion according to modernism is subjective, what I make it to be. Religion is no longer a grace from God, but a false god created by myself, and so on.

  13. Modernism is used as a stalking horse for Marxism. One might start attending the TLM as a rebellion to their tambourines and human chains, but soon it grows into true humility of our free will.

  14. Indeed, as one Italian writer spoke of JP II in his ecumenical and intereligious politics, he reduced the church to rubble which is to say, philosophically speaking, by adopting liberal modernism which is a patchwork quilt of ideologies in itself, the modernists have deconstructed Roman Catholicism and The Church it supported over 1965 years leaving it in pieces which can no longer be reassembled. That is unless they return to Sacred Tradition admitting they have made an enourmous mistake pursuing such destructive, purposeless, superficial and ephemeral ends.

  15. "Modernism is used as a stalking horse for Marxism." how true and well put - how many other "stalking horses" outside and in are there offering sheep to wolves?

  16. Why don't these women get the message, the Church cannot ordain women Full stop

  17. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with personalism; there is, however, a great deal wrong with bad personalism, much as there is a great deal wrong with bad Thomism (e.g., K. Rahner, B. Lonergan).

    If you want decent personalism, I suggest you read Love and Responsibility by the Catholic University of Lublin's most famous Thomist - or perhaps some philosophical text by the traditionalist author of The Devastated Vineyard and Trojan Horse in the City of God.

  18. Dear Mr. Gillies,

    It is no wonder that Pascendi (1907) does not mention personalism.

    As the Holy Father mentions in his memoirs, its origins are in the work of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, whose seminal work was published between the world wars.

    But its origins lie in German idealism, as do all the earlier manifestations of modernism.

    The basic problem with personalism from a Catholic perspective is that on its account, not only is everything relational, but all the relations involved mutual enrichment between the parties.

    The most dramatic example of this is the consistent and avowedly personalist position of the Holy Father that secularism and religion must mutually enrich each other. Otherwise, religion will deteriorate into vile fundamentalism.

  19. Look at "main line" protestant churches, on the whole their churches are empty, most have more liberal clergy than they know what to do with. Where as conservative protestants, with a clear message fare much better. I think there is a lesson here for us. Fr. Dan hesko

  20. With the culture wars of the last fifty years or so raging still, it is difficult not to be sometimes indignant, not to use tradition as a standard against the others.

    I understand more and more that this attitude is not pleasing to God. He wants humble people of tradition. He wants servants as Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were His servants.

    Mary, regarding yourself as nothing, and pointing always to Him, pray for us!


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