Betrayed Traditions

Archbishop Lefebvre said in 1991, “We are dealing with people (at the top of the Church) who have a different philosophy from ours, a different way of seeing, who are influenced by all modern subjectivist philosophers. For them, there is no fixed truth, no fixed dogma. Everything is evolving. This is really the Masonic destruction of the Faith. Fortunately we (Traditionalists) have Tradition to lean on.”


“Without Tradition, We Are Cattle”

By Juan Manuel de Prada, famous Catholic writer and columnist in the highly influential Spanish daily ABCIn the following article, published last year (and reprinted on Rorate Caeli), 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?

Procession in Bercianos de Aliste, Zamora, Castile and Leon, in the 1950s

Procession in Bercianos de Aliste, Zamora, Castile and Leon, in the 1950s

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.


Spanish writer Juan Manuel de Prada was first quoted on Rorate Caeli on aspects of the current pontificate (cf. “The Nests of Yesteryear“).

* literally, “cooked in the style of (famous Spanish chef) Ferran Adrià.”

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25 Responses to Betrayed Traditions

  1. Mike Carroll says:

    Is it not time for all those who have been working hard to reform the modern mainstream church to admit that it isn’t going to work, and to also admit that the only way to be at peace now is to proactively support the Latin Mass.

    I have been working hard to rectify the situation locally (along with others) and the truth is that it simply isn’t going to happen. I appreciate that the issues go far beyond the Liturgy, but as Pope Benedict pointed out ‘if we can’t get the liturgy right then we can’t get anything right’. Let’s face it, we are in a modern church where the churches can not even make an effort to worship God in a reverent manner for even one hour (ONE HOUR) out of every week. Is it not tim e to stop all the brow beating and navel gazing and move on?

    Prof. Peter Kwasniewki’s article here….

    ……made me see the light when he points out that in the Novus Ordo

    1. the Propers of the Mass are not required but permitted;
    2. traditional sacred music is not required but permitted;
    3. worship facing eastwards is not required but permitted
    4. communion on the tongue, kneeling, is not required but permitted…. and so on…….

    This has lead onto everything in the Novus Ordo being not required, but permitted. This is maybe not what the rubrics/rules say, but this is how they are being read by man.

    All the gnashing of teeth over the mainstream church by neo-cons and ‘traditionalists’ who don’t attend Latin Mass is now becoming wearisome.

    They won’t change the church, because at the end of the day they can’t change what people think.

    It is time for the ‘teeth gnashers’ to move on.


  2. Darling says:

    I have attended a Latin Mass at St Georges, Lyon which I understand was an adherent to Lefebvre, a quote from whom heads up this article. The Mass was memorable, reminding me of my childhood. Lots of incense, Latin and low light.

    Can I ask if CPS has a view on Lefebvre?

    I ask because he was a supporter of Le Pen, Franco, and Pinochet. He was also excommunicated and was involved in the first Church schism in a century.

    I always wish to be corrected when wrong and to hear other views.

    In de Prada’s main article, this seems right- ” guitar-led and imbecilic songs during Mass,”
    This seems wrong and unpleasant – ” reduced to a human-shaped creature that withers around in his own filth pleased with himself,”

    Thank you.


  3. kathleen says:

    @ Mike Carroll

    By your term “teeth gnashers”, I assume you are referring to the author of the article, Juan Manuel de Prada, who is described in the introduction of the link to his previous article published on Rorate Caeli as “a conservative author who is at home in an orderly novus ordo Mass, not a Traditionalist (though not an anti-Traditionalist either)”… and to all those who like him, are orthodox Catholics, but are not promoters of the Traditional Latin Mass.

    I think you make an excellent point.

    I find it hard to get my head round understanding how one can say they are a “Traditionalist” and yet not see how the TLM is at the very heart of Tradition! The clearly witnessed good fruits summed up in the well-known words “lex orandi, lex credendi” – quoted every time the value of Liturgical Tradition is brought up – does not appear to convince everyone, strangely enough, thus the continual ‘shifting chairs on the Titanic’… or IOW, the well-meaning attempts made to improve the way the N.O. Mass is celebrated, or to look elsewhere for the root causes of problems in the Church. Yes of course, the N.O. can undoubtedly be made better, holier, but by its very community-focused nature (rather than God-focused), it’s more mundane liturgy, and its general lack of awe, reverence, silence, etc., the N.O. Mass lacks the right and necessary ‘base’ – of the sacrificial nature and sublimely beautiful liturgy of the ‘Mass of the Ages’.

    And the Holy Mass, “the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven”, is at the very heart of our Catholic Faith. Sadly, I do not think Fr. Faber’s words could be attributed to the N.O. Mass!

    Juan Manuel de Prada presumably lives in Madrid. As I know, there are plenty of opportunities in Spain’s capital city to attend a TLM if he so desired, unlike in other parts of Spain where TLMs are few and far between. If one starts with repairing the ‘lex orandi’, then the ‘lex credendi’ and the ‘lex vivendi’ will follow suite.

    (I divide my time between Granada and a small town on the southern coast, and have no alternative but to attend the N.O. Mass most of the time…. except for a much-anticipated, once-a-month TLM that not even wild horses would keep me from, celebrated by a visiting traditional priest.)


  4. kathleen says:

    @ Darling

    Yes, that final descriptive sentence of Juan Manuel de Prada does seem a bit OTT (over the top), I agree with you. 🙂

    In answer to your question about Archbishop Lefebvre, Pope Benedict XVI lifted the automatic “excommunication”, and that of the other bishops in the SSPX, in 2009.

    If you read about his life and works, you will see that he was a very holy man whose sole objective in life was to preserve the treasures of the Traditional Catholic Liturgy and Devotions for future generations. It saddened him very much to disobey the Holy Father of the time, but he felt that over and above his duty of obedience to Christ’s Vicar on Earth, was his duty of obedience to Christ’s Church and its Traditions.

    On the famous Chartres pilgrimage I have met people (all quite elderly now) who knew Archbishop Lefebvre personally. Some of them used to belong to the SSPX, but they all say he was a great and holy priest who bore great suffering; they all believe he was a true saint.


  5. GC says:

    I have to confess I had a little giggle when I read that, kathleen. I’m sure he meant “metaphorical” “rhetorical” filth.

    How about this from A.C. Grayling?

    Seven centuries after the beginnings of classical civilisation in the Greece of Pericles and Socrates, an oriental superstition, consisting of an amalgam of dying and resurrecting god myths and myths about the impregnation of mortal maids by deities, captured the Roman Empire. Such was the beginning of Christianity. By the accident of its being the myth chosen by Constantine for his purposes, it plunged Europe into the dark ages for the next thousand years – scarcely any literature or philosophy, and the forgetting of the arts and crafts of classical civilisation (quite literally a return to daub and wattle because the engineering required for towers and domes was lost), before a struggle to escape the church’s narrow ignorance and oppression saw the rebirth of classical learning, and its ethos of inquiry and autonomy, in the Renaissance.


  6. Mike Carroll says:

    Yes, I am talking about ‘conservatives’ who class them selves as traditionalists. It really is an oxymoron.

    In fact, after Summorum Pontificum the whole ‘group label’ nomenclature has changed. I do not like these labels, but how else do we differentiate between what certain groups of people think?

    Since Summorum Pontificum conservatives are now considered to be ‘liberals moving at a snails pace’. In fact, I was initially shocked to find that many of the ‘self styled conservatives’ at my past church in fact openly disagreed with church teaching. From this I got the impression that many conservatives have little interest in the fullness of the teaching of the Church, but are only interested in HOW IT ALL LOOKS i.e. does it look conservative. This is exactly how the Anglican Church operates i.e. as long as it ‘looks as it should’ then everything is fine. You will find commentators in the Catholic internet who consider ALL conservatives to be liberals.

    As far as I am concerned the word TRADITIONALIST equates to Latin Mass, and Latin Mass only.

    Then we have the neo-cons (or neo-Catholics). I heard it said once that ‘the last thing that every neo-con does is convert to the Latin Mass once they work out that they cannot reform the mainstream church’ – (I am one of them).

    Then we have the ‘reform of the reformers’. There is something I have noticed about this group. They place them selves in a ‘reformed’ parish’ and suddenly believe that everything is rosy and fine. They instantly forget that if they were to drive to a Catholic Church 20 miles in any direction their ‘utopian reformed Novus Ordo dream’ comes to a rapid halt. In com-boxes and on Facebook you get a sense that they think “I’m alright jack”. They seem to forget all the faithful who are left to starve. They only work out that things are not so rosy when they are forced to attend another parish due to relocating. I was one of this group as well, and the reform of the reform does not work, as it depends solely on the priest being genuinely traditional, which are few and far between.

    As I always say to friends who complain about

    1. Talking before Mass
    2. Bad homilies
    3. Extra-ordinary ministers of Holy Communion
    4. Communion in the hand
    5 The list goes on…..

    Go to the Latin Mass as you will finally be at peace and never have to worry about these things ever again..


  7. toadspittle says:

    “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..”
    A piece of total tripe. “If,” being, of course, the weasel word here.
    For one thing, “ cycles bound with farming and cattle raising,” are still very much in existence, and are actually making a comeback, in the face of the financial crisis.
    The wild bull surely is a “force of nature,” as is a tornado, or an earthquake – but fewer and fewer sane people ascribe any great merit to torturing it to death in order to prove some obscure “traditional” – Catholic presumably, point.
    …Such as that bulls are fertility symbols, for blindingly obvious reasons, penises, testicles and all that, and the horns going in right at the “bullfighter’s” groin area, if he doesn’t manage to dance fast enough..

    And which all goes back – far far beyond the new, fresh-faced, kid on the block of the last meagre two thousand years – Christianity.
    Forty thousand, maybe, from the wall paintings. We don’t know.


  8. toadspittle says:

    “Peoples without traditions, on the other hand, are destined to the gloomiest solitude,”
    Yes, we may well suppose they might be, except for the awkward fact that there are no peoples without traditions – we are, all of us, constantly creating new traditions – virtually daily.

    Among the latest of these being the tradition of “Gay Marriage,” along with the tradition of not jailing practising homosexuals, plus the now-hallowed traditions of outlawing slavery, banning drunken driving, banning smoking in public places, permitting pornography, and allowing “The Weaker Sex” to vote.
    Not all traditions are good, as we see.


  9. Darling says:


    Thanks for your kindly reply.

    First, most importantly, – isn’t Chartres the greatest cathedral on this earth? Vezelay is the cathedral of light, Chartres the cathedral of mystery.

    I have looked at the life of Lefebvre, and found his support for Le Pen, Pinochet, Franco , and the Schism etc. Tradition is one thing, this is quite another. There is a high body count for Franco and Pinochet, which no holy man, no Catholic could countenance.

    You say, ” …he felt that over and above his duty of obedience to Christ’s Vicar on Earth, was his duty of obedience to Christ’s Church and its Tradition.”.

    Do you then feel that if Catholics act with scrupulous honesty they can disobey Christ’s Vicar and go their own way? If so, do you agree that raises questions about the Catechism, Doctrine and the nature of Catholicism? Can anyone be Catholic if they take such a Lutheran cue?

    As for de Prada, an interesting person indeed. The kind of awkward writer I often like. But can we trust anything he writes given his approval of plagiarism? Do we even know who we are reading?

    GC – of course ‘filth’ is a metaphor.
    You quote Grayling alleging ‘ scarcely any literature” in the so called Dark Ages. What? No Beowulf? No Irish or Welsh literature? No art treasures buried in Sutton Hoo?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I find it hard to get my head round understanding how one can say they are a “Traditionalist” and yet not see how the TLM is at the very heart of Tradition!
    Would you agree, Kathleen, that the TLM does need a reformed Missal? Not to alienate my TLM-devoted friends, but I feel the need for reform every time the Congregation receives the Ite Missa Est before the Final Blessing.


  11. Oh, and the Introit after the entrance, and when the choir and the priest are almost singing two separate Masses. That being said, then is a need to return to the older forms, but I do think we need an organizational overhaul for the old Missal.


  12. Darling says:

    GC – excuse me, for this is most important, you will agree.

    In the alleged ”Dark Ages” , no Book of Kells, started in Iona? No Christianity spreading out from Ireland to the continent? No seats of learning initiated by Celtic Christian monks? No Canterbury and Augustine in 597?

    Never place your trust in Grayling. Never.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You quote Grayling alleging ‘ scarcely any literature” in the so called Dark Ages. What? No Beowulf? No Irish or Welsh literature?
    Not to mention Kudrun and the Nibelungenlied and Das fließende Licht der Gottheit (The Flowing Light of Divinity).


  14. Darling says:

    The Nibelungenlied – yes, an epic European poem of the 5th century; Wagner’s inspiration I think. Though I prefer baroque and rock.

    Grayling it must be concluded, is a Little Englander, a posh geezer. And we’re not ‘avin’ it!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. GC says:

    Petal Darling, I think you’ll find Mr Grayling’s “rhetoric” evaluated here.


  16. Darling says:

    Thanks GC.

    I do prefer to read what *you* think, first hand.

    Excuse me please, for I am not inclined to read second hand stuff named ‘Strange notions”. I have enough strange notions of my own, as we all do. (smiles)

    Please don’t have anything to do with Grayling. However I used to fish for trout and caught grayling, a beautiful fish and I think, a close relative of the glorious brown trout with its golden belly and speckled flanks.

    Your cheeky ‘petal’ comment suggests that you may not be up to speed on my name. Sigh. There is no harm in it ; yet I think you don’t like me.


  17. GC says:

    Acts 17:19-20

    They took him and led him to the Areopagus and said, “May we learn what this new teaching is that you speak of? For you bring some strange notions to our ears; we should like to know what these things mean.”


  18. Darling says:

    This, GC, is lovely.

    So I say,

    ”Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
    Sounds, and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.”


  19. toadspittle says:

    “Without Tradition, we are cattle”
    So what? We traditionally and frequently liken ourselves to sheep, don’t we? Let’s not split hairs.

    “… we have forgotten how to cook (and even enjoy) garlic soup. “
    Nonsense. Garlic soup is on practically every Menu Del Dia in Spain. Because it’s cheap.
    Make it every few days, myself.


  20. Darling says:

    Hmm. I’ve noted the thumbs up/down. Reminds me of Roman toffs consigning Christians to death.

    I won’t use it because it’s pre-adolescent and contributes nothing to debate.

    Because it’s anonymous it’s much less than honest. It serves the inarticulate who won’t be held to account. Otherwise known as the mob; we saw the mob at Calvary. Didn’t we?

    I like this site because it’s literate.Thumbs up/down is not literate.

    Am I wrong?.


  21. johnhenrycn says:

    No, my darling Mr Industrial Magnate, you are not wrong. Personally, I never use “thumbs down”. Still, à chacun son goût, as they say in the Highlands. Speaking of which, and returning to our earlier tête-à-tête vis-à-vis your thistle-arsed kiltie friends north of the border, what do you think of the 4 month sentence recently handed down to the Glaswegian Rangers fan for singing that anti-Catholic ballad The Billy Boys on his way to a match against Celtic F.C.?
    You’ve made it clear (on another thread) that you’ve no problem with pastry chefs being punished for thought crimes against gays. What do you think about Proddies being banged up for song crimes against Catholics?


  22. kathleen says:

    @ Mike Carroll

    Apologies for taking so long to get back to you, and thank you for your very honest and interesting comment at 14:35 yesterday, explaining why you say: “As far as I am concerned the word TRADITIONALIST equates to Latin Mass, and Latin Mass only.”

    I would certainly say I agree with you (as I believe would most Traditional Catholics) and also with all the reasons you give for having arrived at this conclusion, but I do have one small dilemma with this statement… I personally know some extremely good, faithful and totally ‘Traditional’ Catholics, who actually prefer the Holy Mass celebrated in the vernacular!! They are well aware of the abuses that abound in many N.O. parishes; they are not anti-Latin; but they want to hear the words of the Liturgy in their own language.
    One could surmise that these people are perhaps rather simple folk who have never studied Latin, but curiously enough that is not always the case.

    So it goes to follow that if most Traditional Catholics hope and pray for a complete return of the magnificent and holy Traditional Latin Mass one day, we should not expect that the N.O. Mass should eventually be abrogated at the same time. The two forms of Mass will probably have to continue along together – if that would be at all possible.

    In the meantime, with the scarcity of TLMs in most parts of the world, the other scenario (of a widespread accessibility to the TLM taking over) is something we can only dream about.


  23. kathleen says:

    The Hapsburg Restorationist @ 15:32 & 15:36 yesterday

    You are very observant; these are things I have to admit to never having noticed before! 😳
    I have a beautiful old Missal in my possession, printed long before the reforms of the 60s.
    Do you really think these points are that important? I shall have to think about this and look into it a bit more first.


  24. toadspittle says:

    “One could surmise that these people are perhaps rather simple folk who have never studied Latin, but curiously enough that is not always the case.”

    No, indeed.
    But if Latin was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us rather simple folk.


  25. kathleen says:

    Nothing wrong with the “virtue of simplicity” Toad old chum; in fact it is something we should strive to nurture in ourselves.
    According to Fr. Hardon’s “Modern Catholic Dictionary”, it is defined thus:
    “As a character trait, the quality of not being affected; therefore, unassuming and unpretentious. A simple person is honest, sincere, and straightforward. Simplicity is single-mindedness. As a supernatural virtue it seeks only to do the will of God without regard to self-sacrifice or self-advantage.”

    Our Blessed Lord Jesus spoke Aramaic (as I know you know 😉 ) but Latin was the language spoken by the first Vicar of Christ on Earth, St. Peter, when he first said Holy Mass in Rome and where his bones lie. Latin is the ecclesiastic language of the Church since it is spoken as a native language by no modern community and is therefore considered “a universal, internally consistent means of communication without regional bias.”


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