Rorate Caeli

Finishing Off Traditionalists — Article by Enrico Roccagiachini

As time passes, we understand more and more clearly how the civil war unleashed by the Church leadership against the “traditionalists” has developed and toward what goals it tends.

We properly speak of a civil war because it is really an internal struggle, albeit one that began in terms opposite to the prevailing dynamic of such a phenomenon: it is not a portion of the people that rises up against those in power and seeks to undermine them, but rather those in power who seek to crush a portion of the people. All this is because, in the regime that is to be established at all costs, it has no place: there is a dominant group that has gained power precisely to introduce “irreversible changes,” and that portion of the people, by its mere albeit peaceful existence, constitutes an insurmountable impediment to the realization of the revolutionary utopia.

Instead, strictly speaking, we should not speak of “traditionalists,” except to simplify for convenience. Not only because, for us, traditionalist and Catholic tout court should be synonymous, but also because the part of the people that they want to eliminate is not confined to “classical traditionalists” (those—to be clear—“of the traditional Latin Mass”) but, as has been appropriately noted, includes those who believe that the Church cannot change her definitive moral and doctrinal teachings—that they are irreformable. If this were not the case, in fact, why, for example, should Opus Dei be targeted, despite all the mimetic efforts it has made in recent years (including a rigorous distancing of itself from traditional liturgy) in order not to be even remotely perceived as belonging to the “opposition”?

Therein lies a key juncture for understanding what is happening: the “traditionalists” are not persecuted in order to suppress the resistance, the opposition, the possible disobedience that they oppose to the new course (for those who openly oppose it are there, but they are not representative of the whole group, and in Rome they know it very well); on the contrary, they are persecuted even if, concretely, operationally, they do not oppose it, and even if they expressly condemn their more belligerent colleagues.

The “traditionalists” are persecuted for the mere fact of being there, because by their very existence, however silent and hidden, they show the world the impossibility and substantial injustice of the ongoing revolution; they show the fruitfulness of the counter-revolutionary alternative, the vigor of “Church 1.0” and the concrete, factual impossibility of replacing it with “Church 2.0.” They stand to the project of irreversible changes, the project of the Catholic catching-up from an alleged 200-year lagging behind on modernity, as the kulaks stood to the violent project of Stalin and the full Sovietization of Russia. Such were not to be “converted,” nor were they to be defeated or bent to the will of the revolution: they were simply to be suppressed, eliminated (even physically), because in the new world they just were not supposed to exist; because, just by existing, even in perfect silence, in the midst of that new world and its magnificent fates and progressives, they would empirically show its inherent fallacy.

We are thus witnessing yet another version of a historically recurring phenomenon: the search for the Final Solution. The current one, in fact, also exhibits its characteristics.

It began by considering the trads as a freak show, tending to be comical, destined to spontaneously die out. This phase is the one in which they were made to coincide totally with the devotees of the ancient liturgy, and were thought to be old nostalgics already out of touch with reality and now close to dying off, or insignificant and harmless misfits. It was the phase of amused tolerance, of more or less good-natured mockery.

Then, however, the ones in charge realized that things were not exactly like that—that the “infatuation” with Tradition was taking root and spreading. However, while no longer being able to see it as a folkloric phenomenon, Traditionalism was still not seen as a real danger but as a kind of accident along the way, a manageable and controllable problem: after all, some traitor will always be there, it was said; it is a nuisance one has to reckon with and somehow live with... That was the phase of the “Indian reservation,” of apartheid, of containment and ghettoization: “All of you go to the SSPX or some other ghetto that might segregate you from the rest of the faithful—and do not get in the way of the majority’s path to its unfailingly bright future. You are not worth worrying about any further; faith in the certain success of the revolution and the new Pentecost is so firm that it does not fear you.”

But as time went on, even this thesis collided with the facts. The trads cannot be contained: they are attractive, their communities do not allow themselves to be ghettoized and are multiplying, they are full of young and fertile Christian families, they peacefully fit into parishes, and they are even producing priestly and religious vocations at a rate that the mainstream Church can no longer even imagine, let alone compete with; they could really represent the future! At the same time, the revolution itself is beginning to run out of breath, the sun of the future has been slow to rise, and those who are really in danger of dying from old age are precisely… the revolutionaries. These cannot and will not allow their new world to be corrupted by the existence of the traitors, for their existence would (as we said above) prove inexorably the new world’s fallacy. Therefore, they can no longer be tolerated or segregated; they must be suppressed—and it must be done quickly. The Final Solution must be reached soon.

And so, that brings us to the present moment. The first ones in the crosshairs can only be the liturgical traditionalists, because it is easy to find them and hit them. But then it must include also all the others, the “fanatics” of orthodoxy and of perfect continuity, wherever they are nested and however they are camouflaged—even if they are perfectly aligned with the Novus Ordo.

There is little to add. Except that historical experience would seem to teach that, sooner or later, perhaps decades later (but what are a few decades in the designs of Providence?), the real Final Solution annihilates the persecutors, not the persecuted. Not least because they may not necessarily try to defend themselves: the self-defense of the betrayed—think especially of the laity—is still largely to be found, and may turn out to be the next chapter in this dramatic and painful saga.

Enrico Roccagiachini

(Published on August 14, 2022 at Messa in Latino)