Rorate Caeli

Editorial Note: After "reactionary", "illiberal"...

Christ is the true Light
[Lucien Simon, Les communiantes (The First Communicants), 1911, Musée d'Orsay]

What will be the next "insult" that this strange breed of Americanist Catholics whose century-old dream has been blending water and oil will choose to depict Traditional Catholics?

"God-fearing"? "Conscientious"? "Principled"?

Traditionalism (that is, Catholicism) is both historical and non-historical. Naturally, a Catholic imbibed in Tradition is often in love with the traditions of his land - but these two cannot be confused. Love for God and love for country are not the same thing, and there should be great suspicion that trying to infuse Catholicism with the values of a specific place and time as a condition for the healthy "development" of the Church might come too close to idolatry for comfort.

In other words, it is understandable that, having had a couple of centuries of reasonably (though not completely) safe exercise of their religion, American Catholics have become joyful or almost proud of the civil liberties recognized to them and the true Church of Christ. This historical contingency does not and must not alter the doctrine of the Church one iota - and much less can it be demanded of American Catholics to fuse into one the humanistic founding principles of their nation, rooted in specific circumstances of time and place, and the eternal principles of the hierarchical Religion established by God Incarnate Himself.

One thousand years henceforth, if this Earth is still in existence, there may or may not be the Constitutional Federal Republic known as the United States. But there will certainly be a Catholic Church. And the circumstances of 1776 or 1787 will be as remote then as those of the age of Charlemagne may seem now. This is why Tradition, while based on a permanent historical foundation (as willed by God Himself when He incarnated in History and established a succession that the word "tradition" itself depicts), is also above and outside History. When entering a Traditional Latin Mass today, a visitor from the age of Charlemagne would encounter many differences, but he would immediately recognize the setting, the sounds, and most of the words. And so, we know it, would one of us in that hypothetical far future, when the Traditional Mass will still be celebrated and cherished, if only by a remnant...

A gracious acceptance of the Law (as long as it does not impinge upon the rights of the Church) and thankfulness for the bounty of the earth do not prevent the Catholic faithful from recognizing that their own land departs significantly from the demands of Catholic doctrine. Instead of silly anecdotes and vignettes, let us look back at the reality lessons of the Martyrs of our Enlightened Age. Enlightenment is a tricky concept: it leads to the guillotine and mass graves, and to the drownings of Nantes, and the Vendean Genocide, and to atheism and all its horrors that deigned to abolish Christ in the name of the workers or convert him into a model for a paganized yet enlightened and superior race, and to the nuclear obliteration of Urakami. It leads to the rivers of blood of unborn children, the victims upon the Enlightened altar of an Enlightened polity. It can be a light of goodness and reason, or simply the deceptive light of Lucifer.

'Even if every nation living in the king's dominions obeys him, each forsaking its ancestral religion to conform to his decrees, I, my sons and my brothers will still follow the covenant of our ancestors. ... We shall not swerve from our own religion either to right or to left.' (I Maccabees ii)

Neither to Right nor to Left: Amen.