Consider three data points.
- The Pew Research Study about the Eucharist
- Shifting Demographics
- From 2007 to 2017 locations for the TLM grew from 50 to over 500.
The editor of The Remnant, my friend Michael Matt, has begun to promote something called
Unite The Clans!
What he is asking for is that Catholics who are on the traditional side of things should set aside small differences and work together – intelligently, strategically – to accomplish goals.
I’ve been talking about this for years.
Libs, the left, progressivists, modernists, whatever, set aside small differences all the time to work together. Of course, that’s easy when you’re main objective is to tear something down, rather than to build or repair.
By contrast, conservatives and traditionalists tend to defend their own little wrinkle of turf to the point that they won’t unite and work with others. They couldn’t organize a bird-cage.
Remember the great Mel Gibson movie about William Wallace? Braveheart? He managed to bring together otherwise squabbling clans which, divided, remained weak in the face of the Sassanach enemy.
Benjamin Franklin, said, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
Find a stick. It breaks easily as you bend it. Bind it together with a dozen others like it and try again.
Mr. Matt brings up the fact that some on the traditionalist side of things blast away at others, who really are on the same side, for not being sufficiently pure, or trad or militant or in your face, etc. He points out that it is smart, strategic, prudent, in many cases not immediately to shoot every bit of ammo that you have all at once. Pick your targets, your hills, your battles. Figure out what you want to accomplish and then figure out how to attain your goal… rather than die trying.
Remember your Tennyson?
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Wasn’t Gen. Pickett’s march up the long slope magnificent?
Who can forget the legendary charge of Leroy Jenkins?
[For those of you who wrote: Yes, I know that those are examples of failure. That’s why I used them. It’s called irony.]
Here’s the bottom line.
Sometimes the best way to win the field or attain the hill or capture the flag, whatever, is to use a little stealth, or even to use some diplomacy.
There are time when we really do have to paint our faces blue and pick up the sword and move with purpose.
We don’t have to paint our faces blue every single day.
On those days when we really do have to paint our faces blue, we don’t have to charge without a plan.
I endorse what Michael Matt offered at The Remnant. We have to unite the clans.
For some this will require a careful examination of what our goals are. Without that, we can’t develop a plan to proceed.
This is precisely parallel with the spiritual life. In order to pursue perfection in our spiritual lives, in order to make a good confession, we have to examine our consciences and lives diligently and sort our what it is that we really love.
To unite the clans we have to:
- Clarify our objectives.
- Examine our consciences.
The ends of ancient Rhetoric, which informed the minds of the greatest Catholic thinkers and writers for centuries, were to move, to entertain, and to persuade. To do these things, the rhetor, the orator, had to know his audience and then choose carefully the style of speech. Elevated? Simple? He had to choose arguments that he knew would move this audience to his purpose. The orator has to figure out what is apt for this audience and this occasion in order to attain this goal.
Now, it could be that you are the sort of person who now has the opportunity to participate at Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form regularly. It may be that you are content and comfortable. It may be that you don’t think you have to do anything anymore.
I say that to stay in one place in comfort is to risk losing everything you have.
I also say that when you love other people, you want them to have the best. If you love the TLM, you want others to have it as well.
Are you caught in your little wrinkle in time, your comfort zone? Are you locked into a singular trench, unwilling to coordinate and work with others. Are you slapping away olive branches because the hand that holds them isn’t ideologically pure enough?
What’s your end game?
Frequent commentator here, and fellow ham – WB0YLE – who set up ZedNet, and who has been restoring St. Anne’s Shrine in Fall River, sent me a note with a link to the video Gettysburg. He was part of the vast group of Civil War enactors in the movie.
WB0YLE, a native of Fall River, engaged in a diplomatic process of diplomacy with the local bishop, who eventually gave the group what they wanted. Now this group has a chance to prove that they can get it done. Had they Pickett’s Charged the bishop, had they Light-Brigaded, had they Leeroy Jenkinsed the bishop, that glorious church would have been closed and its magnificent decorations disassembled and sold for massive profit like Planned Parenthood sells baby parts.
They didn’t charge blindly. They determined what they wanted and chose a realistic path to get it.