The Church was not born in Christendom…

…and does not need Christendom to survive and thrive. Here’s a little tweet the made the rounds last month:

People who despair over the loss of Christendom see things like this as the trump of doom. People who believe that Jesus is Lord of history see this as an opportunity. What matters is the truth of the statement, not the minor trivia that the person who wrote on the chalkboard does not yet know who said it. It’s something any Christian could correct with a word if he is not consumed with finding reasons for despair. Indeed, it could be the basis of a whole conversation and a beautiful friendship.

This is the basic difference between the living Tradition and mere Traditionalism.

Traditionalism is about endlessly mourning a mythical past and despairing of the present and the future.

The living Tradition is about the proclamation of a God who remains the living God and who has already fought and beaten death.

Traditionalism is about the vain attempt to shore up fading hegemonic earthly power.

The living Tradition is about the reality that any Tom, Dick, Harry, Jane, Sally, or Mary can cooperate with the grace of Jesus Christ and undergo theosis and, ultimately, glorious Resurrection in the New Heaven and the New Earth.

Traditionalism is not merely about the death of hope, but the active quest to kill it if things don’t go the Traditionalist’s way in the quest for earthly power.

The living Tradition is filled with hope because God is living. It says not, “All is lost!” but “Be it done to me according to your word.”


4 Responses

  1. Ha! If I were to put a quote from the Bible or from a saint on a chalkboard, I would sign it “Anonymous” as well, just to get people interested in finding the source.

    Way too many people think that the Bible is God commanding: “GO AND KILL THOSE PEOPLE!”, or: “IF YOU SINNED, YOU’RE STONED!”, or “IF SOMEBODY YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW SINNED, YOU GET STONED!”.

  2. Thanks Mark for a very uplifting reflection here. I see a lot of Janet Smith’s posts on Facebook. Some of them she writes and some of them are reposts of other Traditionalists. Regardless, they mostly seem to have one overriding theme: mourning for lost forms of worship which they think were the only means of having an authentic and deep relationship with God. Your article has summed them up so well. Then I look at my Baptist and/or Evangelical friends and I see the vibrancy of their faith. They seem to live to evangelize. They aren’t concerned about forms of worship, they celebrate the relationship they have with the Lord. As a Catholic I see both approaches to the faith and I know which will work better at attracting non-believers. I would love for more of that joy and vibrancy to shine forth from the Catholic Church. That was what the Council fathers wanted.

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