On Traditions, Culture, and Counter-Culture

The Importance of Tradition

On Traditions, Culture, and Counter-Culture


Importance of Tradition

[00:00:00] Welcome,

[00:00:01] welcome, one and all. Welcome to the Catholic Experience. I am your host, the inimitable Catholic Adventurer, and I thank you very much for joining me. This is episode 27, The Importance of Tradition. Last episode I did was The Importance, I’m sorry, The Trouble with Tradition. Today we’re talking about The Importance of Tradition, part two of my series on culture, human culture, personal culture, identity.

[00:00:29] And why it comes to bear on Catholicity and expression of, I guess, expression of Catholicity. What does it mean for us as Catholics? It matters. It really matters. Gonna give you a little update today on my, these, the status of my apostolate and what I’m doing going forward. There will also be an after show to this episode, available exclusively on Locals, but for the time being, the stuff I’m doing exclusively on Locals, I’m going to also put on my website, CatholicAdventurer.

[00:00:59] com. Let’s fade that music out. Catholicadventurer. com anything I put on locals exclusively for paid members, I’m also, for the moment, for the time being, until I’ve completed my transition, I’ll be including that on my website for current paid subscribers to my website. Whether you’re subscribing to my website or locals, it’s 5 a month.

[00:01:22] Until I am able to give my current website subscribers Free access to my locals right now. I’m not able to do that yet [00:01:30] until I’m able to do that Current subscribers to my website will continue to get exclusive content at catholicadventurer. com Everybody else should sign up if you want exclusive stuff sign up for a paid membership five dollars a month to my locals the link is in my Bio everywhere.

[00:01:47] You see a bio on me. The link will be there I will also put a link to it in this episode’s description So first a little update and then we’re going to talk about culture. I’m going to start off with a little story It’s not going to be as funny as the karate club story I told But it’ll be interesting.

[00:02:03] So first a little update I’m going to try and make this really quick As god laughs because every time I say that I talk for an hour So i’ve been out of work several months I’ve been actively you wouldn’t know it but I have been very actively very aggressively looking for work Balancing with that, taking care of my family, and building this apostolate.

[00:02:27] I’m not, I’m no longer able to afford that balance. So, what I’m going to have to do is really cease operations of my apostolate. What does that mean in effect? Effectively, what does that mean? That means I’m not going to be working nearly as hard on fiat media. My little LLC, not nearly as hard on catholicadventurer.

[00:02:53] com, not nearly as hard on the podcast. Effectively, I’ll still be producing a podcast here and [00:03:00] there. The goal I’m shooting for is or the target I’m shooting for is to do about two episodes a month. And at least one of those will be uploaded to my podcast catalog. At least one of those. The majority of my work, I’m going to be putting on locals.

[00:03:20] So on locals, it’s a community. People who sign up for locals for a membership on locals, whether it’s free or paid, they’re expressing an interest in what I’m doing. Or in what a person is doing, whoever it is they’re following. They’re expressing an interest. The audience is already there. I don’t have to chase them.

[00:03:37] I don’t have to chase them down. There’s the audience in the community. Here’s the community engagement because you’re able to chat and stuff and here’s the content I have to offer They’re already there. I don’t have to chase them down But I also have an audience in the people who subscribe to my podcast on itunes and spotify and everywhere else they’re sold already.

[00:03:56] They’re sold on the product They’ll take it. It’s free and they’ll take it. So i’m going to provide some content on my podcast catalog as well So if you’d like bonus content, extra content, aftershows webinars when I start to produce them, and things like that. If you want more of what I have to offer, please consider signing up for my Locals Community at CatholicExperience.

[00:04:22] Locals. com Not Catholic Adventurer. It’s the name of the podcast. Catholic Experience. Dot locals [00:04:30] dot com. Please consider it. You can sign up for free or you can become a paid member for five dollars a month I know it’s not a small ask I’m asking you to if you’re doing it on your phone. I’m asking you to download another app Of course if you do it on a computer, there’s no app to download you just do the website, right?

[00:04:48] But I know i’m asking you to download another app I’m asking you to sign up for yet another thing. I know it’s pest. It’s a pest I know it’s not a small ask, but I hope that you please consider it again. My community there is Catholic experience locals comm my username there if you have to search for the user my username, I think is cath Adventurer because I can’t fit catholic cath Adventurer is my user but the community is called catholicexperience.

Culture: Some Are Optional

[00:05:18] locals. com Please do consider it even if you only become a paid a free member And I really hope you consider becoming a paid member Five bucks a month dirt cheap. Okay, let’s get on with it So I wanted to tell you a little story There are things that we do In the lived catholic experience that are required of us You And some things that we do, we just do, they become part of our personal culture and our personal identity.

[00:05:47] You remember in the last episode, the trouble with tradition, I talked about how culture goes to identity. It reminds us who we are, where we’re going, what we’re supposed to do, how we’re [00:06:00] supposed to be. You know, it’s sort of a guide rail culture, right? Or traditions and culture, right? Traditions go to culture goes to identity.

[00:06:10] And it guides us, reminds us who we are, where we’re going. There are things that we do in the Catholic experience, I don’t mean the podcast, there are things that we do in the Catholic experience that are cultural. They are traditional, but they aren’t capital T Tradition. Capital T Tradition is Apostolic Tradition, Sacred Tradition.

[00:06:29] It is indispensable. We cannot dispense with those Capital T Traditions. We must maintain them. But then there are lowercase T Traditions, which are basically Customs. Customs. I’m going to continue to call them Traditions, but really what they are is, they are Customs. And these are things that we don’t have to do.

[00:06:49] We just develop a habit of doing them. Either by choice, Or, as I said, by habit. It’s just what we were taught to do. We just think that we have to do them, but they’re actually optional. One example, I wouldn’t call it a it might be a custom, but one example is blessing yourself with holy water when you enter a church or when you leave a church.

[00:07:10] Now, I very strongly recommend everybody do that, but you’re not committing a sin by skipping it. That is not capital T tradition. That is lowercase t tradition. It’s a custom. It’s part of our Catholic culture. And that’s a cultural item that pretty much every Catholic across the globe [00:07:30]does.

[00:07:31] Whether you’re in Zimbabwe, or Montana, or Kenya, or Dublin, Ireland. Everywhere you go, pretty much every Catholic, with very few exceptions, every Catholic does that. But it’s a cultural item. It’s not sacred tradition, right? That’s part of our culture. Things that we don’t have to do, but we do them for a reason and purpose.

[00:07:55] And that one, again, I strongly recommend everybody does, even though it’s optional. Depending on where you are and where you go to Mass, people sometimes bless themselves or bow when they don’t need to. They just think that they have to. They think that they ought to, but they actually don’t need to.

[00:08:16] Sometimes they do things or say things that they shouldn’t say. They should not, for instance, they should not be reciting the words of institution during the consecration and things like that. The extension of hands during the Our Father, that’s a muddy one, but you really should not be doing that. That is becoming a cultural item, and you really should not be doing that.

[00:08:41] At mass, and I mean at mass when we say the Our Father, really you ought to be folding your hands. If you’re praying privately, at home, you can extend your hands all day long. But at mass, you really ought to be folding your hands. Anyway, cultural item, that. I want to tell you about one cultural item that has become part of my [00:09:00] Catholic life, that never was, which never was before.

Sign of the Cross – A Personal Story

[00:09:05] I grew up at a very good parish. Or in a very good parish. That parish is in my heart to this day. And that parish made me the man that I am. And for years I taught religion to the teenagers there. I did one or two retreats there because I wanted to give back to that parish what I received from that parish.

[00:09:27] That the parish today remains close, closest to my heart of all of the parishes I’ve attended and I’ve attended very many parishes. Not just for mass, you know, here or there, but I mean, you know, I’ve set up shop at various parishes throughout my life. It was a rather, it was somewhat of a diverse parish.

[00:09:47] There were Irish people, Irish Catholics, their Italian Catholics, their German Catholics, their Polish Catholics. There, there were Spanish Catholics. They’re pretty diverse. If I had to, if I had to. Say it’s this kind of parish, it’s an ex parish. I would probably say it’s an Anglo Saxon parish. It’s probably predominantly Irish Catholics there.

[00:10:14] Irish Catholic families there. But really, it’s hard to claim that because it really was pretty diverse. But I’d say at it’s roots, it’s probably closer to, it’s probably more accurate to say it’s an Irish Catholic parish. You may not [00:10:30] have that where you’re from. You know, especially like if you’re in the west coast or if you’re in the south You may not have that where this is like traditionally this is like a german parish This is where the germans of the town all go to church This is where the polish people all go to church This is where the spanish people you might not have that where you’re from but on the east coast that’s more common right So definitely kind of a white anglo saxon kind of atmosphere, I guess traditionally I guess you would say it’s kind of like the irish parish of the town We did all the traditional things there, the smells and the bells.

[00:11:03] It was, you know, growing up it was Novus Ordo, but it was, we did all the smells and bells. It was very solid liturgy. Very solid liturgy there. But you know something I never did? I never blessed myself, or crossed myself, that might be how you refer to it. I never blessed myself during the opening procession.

[00:11:22] Never. Ever. And I’d never in my life seen anyone do that. Ever. And that was true for most of my life, my childhood and most of my adulthood. And, I mean, into my adulthood, well into my adulthood, by that time I had been to Mass at literally countless parishes. Not just parishes where I lived or where I had set up shop.

[00:11:47] But parishes where I attended mass, you know, here or there because I was doing a retreat or whatever, or there was a period of a few years where I intentionally bounced around from parish to parish across two, sometimes three [00:12:00] diocese. Long story short, I just didn’t want to plant roots anywhere. I just wanted to be a stranger.

[00:12:06] Did that for a few years. Actually I did that and I only recently passed I don’t know. I don’t know. The past several years, I only recently started planting roots at parishes again. Now, Along the way, I started attending Mass. I guess, I guess this is when I started to plant roots at a parish again.

[00:12:31] This is, again, several years ago. And this is a predominantly Irish, I’m sorry, a predominantly Italian parish. Some of the people only spoke Italian, didn’t speak a lick of English, if you can believe that in this day and age. And, but many of them were born here. They were Italian families, but usually second generation Italian and so on.

[00:12:53] So this was like the Italian parish. It was an Italian American culture there. They did a lot of the Italian Italiany things, which are usually very beautiful, sometimes overdone, but Hey, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s just a difference in culture. Sometimes overdone in my opinion. One of the things that they did, which I, as I said, I had never seen before, is during the opening procession, as the cross bearer passes the pews, the people in the pews who are being passed by the cross bearer bless themselves and bow.

[00:13:28] They bless themselves and bow, [00:13:30] or the ladies do like a little curtsy as they bless themselves. Even the younger ladies. I had never seen that before. Ever. Do you do that? Listen, i’m not trying to con you to engage When I say please leave a comment, I mean it Please leave a comment because I want to know if that’s customary in your experience blessing yourself as the crucifix in the opening procession passes you is that something you’ve done you grew up doing?

[00:13:54] I have never seen that before now. I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb So I bless myself and I bow which is for me. That’s kind of normal Anyway, when I bless myself, I usually bow So, I had never blessed myself during the opening procession, now I started doing it. One fine day, this was early in my time at that parish, I was attending, I think it was the Holy Thursday Mass.

[00:14:19] It was one of those important Masses, you know, like during Holy Week or something. And the church is, obviously you might guess, the church is packed. Packed, packed. Packed, totally packed, there was, it was standing room only. Luckily I had a seat, because I don’t go to mass on time, I get there early.

[00:14:35] Thank you very much. And now, I’m sort of in the middle, right? I’m sort of in the middle of the row, and my pew is in, , the middle of the church. Not too far to the front, not too far to the back, sort of in the middle. So I’m seeing this ocean of people all around me. Thank you. You know, usually I sit in the front, this time I couldn’t because all of those pews are taken.

[00:14:58] So this is one of the very [00:15:00] few times in my life that I’m actually in the middle of the church. And there’s an ocean of people around me, and as the crucifix, as the opening procession comes down, you know, I look back and there’s the cross, and I’m seeing, it was almost like a wave at a baseball game.

[00:15:17] I’m seeing a wave of people. Blessing themselves and curtsying or bowing as the cross passes. And then now the cross is passing me and I’m blessing myself and bowing and the people in my row are doing the same. And then the cross is now ahead of me and the pew’s ahead of me and they’re doing the same thing.

[00:15:34] This whole church, every soul in this church was doing the same thing. And I, for the first time in years, felt like I was a part of it. For the first time in years, because I was bouncing around from parish to parish on purpose. For the first time in years, I felt like I was part of the parish community.

[00:15:57] More than that, I was reminded that I am one in a family of many. I am one person in a huge family. Because look at us, we’re all doing the exact same thing. Not just the exact same required thing we’re doing the exact same I’ll call it a habit You know how every family kind of has their habits their routines We’re doing the exact same habit not the exact same thing that we’re required to do because that’s something different [00:16:30] We’re doing something.

[00:16:30] We’re not required to do we’re doing the exact same habit of culture and tradition and for the first time in years, I Felt again like a member of a parish community You And I was reminded that I am a member of a huge family. It was a beautiful moment for me. And I said, wow, look how cool this is.

[00:16:51] This is so cool. You know, and then the priest does the opening blessing. And of course now that’s required. So we all do the opening blessing, even though that was required. It kind of echoed what I had just felt when we blessed ourselves during the opening procession. And I said, damn, it’s so cool to be Catholic.

[00:17:10] This is just so so beautiful You know, we’re all saying the same things doing the same things Yes, some of the some of it is required and some of it is not required You know Just so beautiful I’m not at that parish anymore, but I still do that to this day and I still see that there’s a lot of people who do that And long and short of it is, I feel very confident that it’s kind of an Italian tradition.

[00:17:36] Because wherever I go to church, where it’s largely an Italian culture, which right now, I guess you could say it’s largely an Italian culture, and most of the people do that. They bless themselves during the opening procession. So it must be an Italian Catholic thing. Then there are cult, there are cultural traditions that Polish Catholics do, that Irish Catholics do, that [00:18:00] Nigerian and other African Catholics do.

Tradition is Important to Culture

[00:18:04] For this reason, tradition is important. Tradition is important because from tradition comes culture. And culture proceeds from human persons and God made human persons, as I said in the last episode. So, at the end of the day, culture Which proceeds from human persons, not just from human behavior, because animals have behavior too, but from human persons.

[00:18:28] Culture, coming from human persons, finds the hand of God in it. Because culture comes from persons, and God made persons, in his own image and likeness. In the last episode was titled, The Trouble with Tradition. And if you didn’t listen to it yet, please stop this and go back and listen to it.

[00:18:49] I don’t pick on traditionalists in that episode. In that episode, I explain why tradition, lowercase t tradition, can become a problem. Because sometimes, I go through a number, a few different reasons. But one of the reasons I point out is, traditions can sometimes become a religion unto themselves.

[00:19:07] Traditions, which give and sustain identity. When traditions are misused or ill informed, The identities that come from them are synthetic, not genuine. That’s true whether we’re talking about traditions as Catholics, or traditions as Americans, or traditions as Europeans, traditions as Brits, [00:19:30] whatever.

[00:19:31] When what is in your tradition is good, but its utiliz its use and its application is flawed. Then the personality, or rather the identity that comes from it, is inauthentic. It is necessarily inauthentic. Again, it’s not just Catholic traditions, it’s any tradition that goes to any identity. Even if it’s a personal tradition, just something you yourself personally do.

[00:20:03] If it’s a good thing, but it’s misused, it results In an errant identity. So, that’s the trouble with tradition. Today we’re talking about the importance of tradition. Here’s why. At the top of the last episode, I talked about how I’m finally starting to understand traditionalists. And that’s true. I’m starting to finally understand traditionalism in the Catholic Church, or in the Catholic experience.

[00:20:36] Traditionalists. Seeking out tradition and customs because they feel, now, this is my opinion based on a lot of observation, but it really is my opinion. So if this doesn’t apply to you and you consider yourself a traditionalist, but this doesn’t apply to you, please forgive me. But I feel like traditionalists have felt left out in the cold.[00:21:00]

[00:21:00] Traditionalists feel they’ve been de denied or deprived of the lowercase T traditional Catholic experience which provides or sustains Catholic identity without tradition, you have no culture. You have no identity. I feel like traditionalists feel like they’ve been denied that or deprived that, or robbed of it, but they need this.

[00:21:26] And that’s, there’s nothing flawed about this, what I’m about to say. They need these things in order to sustain their Catholic identity, to remind them of who they are and where they’re going. That’s totally human. There’s nothing wrong with that. I get it. I get it. And there’s no but to this. I get it.

The Crutch of Traditions

[00:21:47] Period. Traditionalists seek out tradition Almost as, I don’t want to say a crutch but it kind of is. Almost as a crutch. And that doesn’t mean that they’re flawed. It may not even mean that they’re handicapped. Sometimes we need a crutch. Sometimes we need that. Sometimes we’re weak in certain areas, or not weak, but not as strong.

[00:22:16] We’re not as strong in certain areas of our being. And so we need a crutch to help us along to get stronger, right? We need that crutch to help us to get stronger. That is totally human. It is. It does not mean that I think [00:22:30] traditionalists are flawed or dumb or anything like that. Total. That’s a human thing.

[00:22:34] So I get it. I do get it. I get it. I get it. I get it. I get it. And most people who call themselves traditionalists, maybe they didn’t grow up in very tight parishes. Maybe they don’t live. Or worship at very tight parishes. And so the need for this cultural guide rail is even greater. I get it. I get it.

[00:22:59] I get it. It’s not just an adornment to their faith experience. It’s a necessity to their faith expression and to their Catholic identity. I get that. I really do. I truly do. But the thing is That can become a problem, and it has become a problem. There are traditionalists, there are some, no, not some. There are many traditionalists.

[00:23:25] My friends, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been around this block. And I can tell you with informed authority, there are many traditionalists who have turned tradition into a religion of its own. And I know that isn’t all traditionalists. In my personal life, I don’t mean online. I mean, my actual life, I know traditionalists who are just Catholic.

[00:23:52] They seek out tradition and so on. If you observe them, you would say, Oh, he looks like, or she looks like a traditionalist and they are. [00:24:00] And I also know traditionalists in my life who are way to the right. They’ve turned tradition into another religion. And I know traditionalists who are so far, right.

[00:24:08] That they’re practical. Sedevacantists. So I know this is not all traditionalists, but there are many traditionalists who have turned tradition into another religion. Did it start out that way for them? Likely it did not start that way for them, but that’s what it has become. Tradition can become a problem depending on how, what we do with it.

[00:24:27] But I want to point out that tradition is also important, and I understand better, probably than I ever have, I understand where traditionalists are coming from. So, I want to address all Catholics, traditionalists, and just ordinary all Catholics, and talk a little bit, very briefly at this point because I’m going now almost a half an hour.

[00:24:50] I want to talk a little bit about the importance of tradition, specifically Catholic traditions, lowercase t traditions. We tend to look to tradition. As I said, to remind us of who we are, where we’re going, tradition supports and sustains identity. Keeps, keeps a person from going off the rails. , and tradition is a very important part of that.

Personal Traditions

[00:25:15] It starts with personal traditions. When you pray, for instance, do you pray as soon as you get out of bed? Do you only pray once a day? That’s very dangerous. If you’re only praying once a day very dangerous. Please, please up your game, okay? But, do you pray when you just get out of [00:25:30] bed?

[00:25:30] Or maybe you just bless yourself, you do the sign of the cross when you get out of bed. Do you say grace before meals? And so on. Your prayer life is part of your personal tradition. It’s part of your personal tradition. It reminds you of who you are. How to be. Where you’re going. And so on. When I started, now I’ve been wearing a scapula for many years, but when I started wearing a scapula, when it was still foreign, the feeling of it was still foreign to my skin, I liked now I, now I have to literally, you know, feel around my shirt and make sure that I have my scapula on, I have to make sure the patch is there, because now my brain has turned it off.

[00:26:10] But when I started wearing the scapula, I was aware that it was there. Right? The brown wool touching my skin. I was aware that it was there. And I liked that. I really liked that. Because it literally reminded me of who I am. And in being reminded who I am, I had to remind myself how to be. For quite a while, maybe two years, I was wearing rosary beads on my belt loop.

[00:26:40] And I liked doing that because it, again, it was a personal tradition that reminded me of who I am and how to be. It made it easier to just, it was a constant reminder of the rosary being there. So it made it easier to say another decade, say another rosary. All I have to do is reach down and [00:27:00] grab it. It’s right there.

[00:27:01] It’s dangling from my belt, you know, almost like a monk It’s dangling from my belt. So I was, I mean, I was praying rosary all day long. All day long. At the time, I was not praying the Luminous Mysteries. But I was doing the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious. So I was doing three rosaries a day, every day.

[00:27:19] Almost, without exception. Oh, man. Anyway, for a while. I don’t remember how long I was doing it. But, it was for a while. Because it was always there. Constant reminder. Pray another one. Pray another one. Pray another one. I stopped doing that because I had lost so many good rosaries. I was always having to buy another rosary because it would get caught or snagged on something and break.

[00:27:43] And I lost a lot of really nice rosary beads that way, so I stopped doing that. Now I just put them in my pocket. It doesn’t have the same effect, But it’s handy. But anyway, so personal traditions are important. Then there are wider traditions. Things that we do in our family. Things that we do in our household.

Counter Culture

[00:28:00] There are parish traditions, lowercase T traditions. There are church traditions and so forth. And tradition is important, as I said, not just because it reminds us of who we are, not just because it sustains identity, not just because it’s the material of human culture. It’s also important because in the, with the presence of tradition, there’s little room left [00:28:30] for counterculture.

[00:28:34] There is little room left for counterculture in the presence of tradition. If it is, for instance, a tradition, And I really wish we would bring this back. You know, when I was young, we were taught, you do not raise your voice in a church. When you’re speaking in a church, you have to speak quietly. And you shouldn’t be speaking before mass.

[00:28:56] And when you do speak inside of a church, speak quietly. And girls were taught, when you’re wearing shoes that clickety clack, if they’re a hard heeled shoe or a high heeled shoe, you should step on your toes. You should walk on your toes, not on your heels. For Well, these, I’ll call them traditions, but really, I guess they’re customs, right?

[00:29:19] Or, anyway, these things are no longer taught. And so a counterculture has set in where the church has become an auditorium. It’s become social hour before mass. People are raising their voices all of the time in church, which as far as I’m concerned is disrespectful. Is it making God weep? No. I mean, God can take it, but it is disrespectful or it’s at least rude.

[00:29:46] We can at least say that it’s rude against God. Makes it harder to pray when you wanna go in there and pray before mass. But also now remember I said culture goes to identity, right? So cult counterculture also ruins identity. [00:30:00] It and identity is the expression of our personal being. Identity is the expression of a personal being.

[00:30:06] Here’s what I mean by that. Lemme give you this example and you’ll understand. When the church has become an auditorium, or a cafeteria, or a social club, what effect does that have on us? We begin to take God off of His throne, and we make Him sit on the floor. The church is less serious to us interiorly.

[00:30:31] We regard it as a lower thing. The church is less serious. We don’t regard it as a holy place, which is why we run in mass. Or, I’m sorry, in church. Like, children shouldn’t run in church. And I don’t care how old your child is, or how young your child is, your child should be taught do not run in church. We chew gum, we eat, there are people who bring coffee to church, which I cannot believe.

[00:30:55] Why? Because the church now is an auditorium, and now we have ordered our behavior toward that false reality. Because the church is an auditorium. Now it’s also a cafe. Now it’s also a social club. How long is it going to be before people start smoking cigars, you know, 10 minutes before mass in the, inside the church?

[00:31:17] And because we’ve reduced the church itself, the church building, the parish church, we have also necessarily reduced God. We’ve reduced God, too. We’ve reduced the [00:31:30] liturgy. We’ve reduced the Eucharist. These things fall like dominoes. And where does it start? The presence and development of counterculture and how did that happen?

[00:31:43] The absence of true culture and how did that happen? The diminishment and negation of traditions, good traditions, the diminishment and negation of good traditions, and now counterculture has set in and children today who are playing games during mass on their phones. Or they’re socializing with their friends who they didn’t see since last Sunday because this is the only place they see that particular friend.

[00:32:12] Well, these children are going to grow up with this counterculture, this false culture where they teach their children it’s okay to play games during mass. It’s okay to socialize before church, before mass. And also, it’s okay to see the mass or the church building as something lower than it is. It’s not really a holy place.

[00:32:32] It’s just a place where praying goes on. It’s okay to diminish God, take him off his throne, make him sit on the floor. It’s okay to diminish the Eucharist. It’s okay to diminish the liturgy. After all, that’s how I grew up, so it must be the truth. You see? In the absence of tradition, we do not sustain a culture.

[00:32:52] And so, in the absence, or in the atrophy of culture, a counterculture sets in. [00:33:00] A counterculture sets in. 

Traditions Make us Think

[00:33:02] And ultimately, and finally, tradition is important because it makes us think about what we’re doing. Hopefully, ideally, it’s supposed to make you think about what you’re doing. You know, when younger people, I don’t just mean children, but younger people, say, 18 to 20 some, at the reading of the gospel, at the proclamation of the gospel, when we do the sign of the cross on our heads, lips, and heart, do any of them know why we do that?

[00:33:31] Do any of them think to ask? They’re not thinking about what they’re doing. Well, that happens sometimes. Sometimes traditions and customs just become so ordinary that we don’t even think about them. That’s true. But it is also true that most people get to a point where they wonder, Why do we do this? They wonder why we do this.

[00:33:56] Because some things are just obvious. That’s true. Someone is going to think about why we bless ourselves when the crucifix passes us. And they’re going to think about the reverence due to the cross. And maybe they’ll start to think about why. A lot of this is up to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has to get them there.

[00:34:17] But culture and tradition provides the material with which the Holy Spirit can weave a new tapestry of piety, wisdom, knowledge, understanding. For We have to give the Holy Spirit something to work with. The Holy [00:34:30] Spirit doesn’t need it. But the Holy Spirit desires it. The Holy Spirit didn’t need the Blessed Virgin Mary to bring Jesus into the human world.

[00:34:40] But that’s the way God operates. Right? God works through nature. That’s the way He operates. The Holy Spirit can infuse knowledge in anybody. The Holy Spirit can take a Satan worshipper and turn them into the next Saint Augustine without anyone’s help. That’s But it’s not how God operates. Culture and tradition provide material that the Holy Spirit uses to build and develop piety in a soul.

[00:35:07] Through inspiration, through thought, through wonder, and wondering, right? Tradition is important for reasons like that. There are some traditions that traditionalists do that are beautiful, Sometimes, though, they can go too far. Celebrating the fact that you’ve gotten this family. I don’t remember if I mentioned this in the last episode.

[00:35:31] Sometimes, folks, I trim a lot of things out of an episode that are not necessary or they’re just extra or extraneous or confusing. So I trim out. Sometimes I’ll reference something that I said in another episode and I discover, oh, I took that part out. But I think this one I said, I think this is one that I left in, where.

The “TLM Church”

[00:35:51] There was someone who was, I don’t want to say bragging, but they were very proud of themselves because they got the family next door to them to go [00:36:00] to a TLM. And I said, Oh, that’s great. And then I thought, wait, were they going to church before? Were they going to mass before? Oh yeah, but they were going to a Novus Ordo.

[00:36:10] So this person was selling, so you would think the person converted these, this family to Catholicism because they got them to go to a Novus Ordo, I’m sorry, to a traditional Latin mass. So, if people go to a traditional Latin Mass, let me first say this, I don’t need a traditional Latin Mass to feel like I’ve gone to Mass.

[00:36:28] And I feel very sad that there are people who literally need, not desire, but need to go to a traditional Latin Mass to feel like they’ve gone to Mass. They may need it because their nearest ordinary form Masses are Flat crazy. I think that’s rare, but I know that it happens. And I feel very sad for people who need to get out of those parishes and go to a traditional Latin mass parish.

[00:36:53] I feel bad that they need to flee their nearest parish, is my point. It’s not that I feel bad that they’re going to a TLM. I feel bad that they’re going to a TLM because they need to flee their local parish. There are also people who probably have access to a perfectly valid and Not badly celebrated mass, but in their hearts and minds, they just feel more Catholic y.

[00:37:18] That sounds like ridicule, but I don’t mean it that way. They just feel more Catholic y by going to a traditional Latin mass. They might have an assortment of reasons in their hearts and in their minds and their psyche why going to a traditional [00:37:30] Latin mass leaves them feeling more grounded. That can be a bad thing, and it can be a healthy thing.

[00:37:37] It depends on the individual and their motives. But I also feel bad that there are people who, for whatever reason, maybe it’s because they didn’t have the upbringing that I had, or they didn’t have access to the mass that I had growing up. They feel like unless they go to traditional Latin mass, they haven’t done something Catholic that week.

[00:37:56] I feel sad for those people. I don’t need a tradition. I’ve been to TLM masses. Honestly, I didn’t like them. I didn’t like them. I just didn’t like them. They were too involved. There was too Let me try and make this simple. I am not a liturgist, but I’ve learned a lot about liturgy over the many years of my reading and studying and stuff.

[00:38:20] I’ve, and again, I am not a liturgist, but I know a lot about the liturgy. And I found that at the traditional Latin Mass, it was definitely, obviously, of course, it’s the real Mass. It’s the real liturgy, of course. But I find there are things in there that don’t need to be there. There are certain things that really don’t need to be there, they’re just overdone.

[00:38:43] And for me, they served not as an anchor, but as a distraction. Very beautiful to behold, but a distraction in the process. The process of me connecting to God through the liturgy. Really did not [00:39:00] enjoy the TLM Masses I went to. I really did not enjoy them. And then I went to one Mass. It was a very strange Mass, but it was really cool because it was a Novus Ordo, but it was the Novus Ordo of Vatican II.

[00:39:14] So, it was Latin. It was Ad Orientum, celebrated Ad Orientum. If you don’t know what that is, so that’s when the priest faces the tabernacle. Which, I forget which direction that’s supposed to be, east or west, I’m sorry, I’m not a traditionalist. I forget which direction that’s supposed to be, but anyway, the priest, rather than facing the people, is facing the tabernacle.

[00:39:36] Most people would have looked at that and said, oh, this is a TLM, but it was not. It was the Novus Ordo Mass, but was the way, it was a way The Novus Ordo was designed, or constructed from Vatican II. It was a Novus Ordo Mass, but it was just very traditionally executed. All valid, all licit.

[00:39:58] Rubrics rubrics, and so on. You were required to kneel to receive communion. Not a problem for me, because I’ve been doing that, it’s gotta be half my life or more I’ve been kneeling to receive communion. But at this Mass, you were required to kneel for communion. It was just all super, super solid.

[00:40:15] Super, super solid. Super solid. It wasn’t the ordinary Novus Ordo, and it was not a traditional Latin mass. It was something in between. Very cool. I still didn’t like that mass. I still didn’t, I didn’t prefer it because I still [00:40:30] felt there’s a lot of distraction going on here. I don’t mean distraction in terms of like an error.

[00:40:37] Like this shouldn’t be here. I don’t mean that. I just mean it was so layered. That for me it served as the layers served as distractions rather than conduits. So I prefer the Novus Ordo, the ordinary four mass, I prefer it. But in fairness, you know, I don’t want to say that, you know, Catholics who need something more layered, there’s something wrong with them.

[00:41:01] I think I have sometimes made it seem that way in the past, but I didn’t really feel that. And even more today. I want to make clear that I am not saying that. That if you need something more layered and more involved, more TLME, then there’s something wrong with you. I am not saying that. Because I think that because I grew up with such an amazing and beautiful Novus Ordo, and I’ve attended many extremely solid Novus Ordo masses in my adult life, and the ordinary experience of my adult life is the Novus Ordo has always been the Novus Ordo.

[00:41:38] Valid, licit, fairly consistent, some a little too bare, but mostly pretty solidly celebrated. But I think one of the reasons why I don’t need a TLM or a lot of layers or a lot of this, the reason why I don’t need that is because I grew up in a solid liturgy. [00:42:00] I grew up surrounded by fairly serious Catholicism.

[00:42:03] I mean, the women didn’t wear. Chapel veils or mantillas, I think that’s the same thing, but very serious Catholicism, pretty reasonable amount of Catholic traditions, like traditional things, you know, and so as an adult I’ve developed my faith, my Catholicity, my spirit has developed to where you can celebrate the barest mass.

[00:42:31] Totally bare, but everything that needs to be there is there, but it ever, otherwise it’s totally bare, there’s no incense, there’s no bells, there’s no music, no nothing. In a barn, a beat up old barn, you, I can go to Mass there, and still feel like I’ve been to Mass, and have the same connection. To God, as I would have if I went to, you know, a cathedral at the local diocese celebrating a Novus Ordo Mass, but with all the smells and bells and whistles and lights and whatever.

[00:43:01] And I would still feel like I’ve been to the same Mass. But maybe that’s because of how I developed as a Catholic, because of traditions and cultures that were part of my life through and during my formative years. And again, this is why tradition is important. This is why tradition has an importance.

[00:43:24] I feel bad for Catholics who who need the crutch. And again, I’m not saying that means you’re flawed. I feel sad that there are [00:43:30] Catholics who need the crutch. Sometimes I need the occasional crutch. I, you know, I can go to mass to the barest mass and feel like I’ve been to mass, but I would like for there to be some smells and bells.

[00:43:42] You know, I prefer that. I prefer the smells and bells because I still benefit from customs and traditions. The reminders of who I am. You know, a remind, sometimes, I don’t need reminding, it’s in my head, I think about it everyday. But sometimes you need the reminder to be manifested in your presence. You need to see it, to smell it, to hear it.

[00:44:04] For the reminder to be real. Sometimes I need that.

A Mass Encounter, and a Reminder 

[00:44:09] I’ll never forget, I told this story in a past episode. I went to a Novus Ordo Mass, just happened upon a parish where Father George Rutler was, I guess he was the pastor there, and, you know, I just passed through, you know, in my travels, and I stopped into the church, and it just so happened that Mass was about to start.

[00:44:26] He had just gotten done hearing confessions. He knelt down in front of, I think it was a statue of St. John Vianney, if memory serves, He knelt down on both knees, this old man on both knees, head bowed, saying a prayer to St. John Biani before he vested and prepared for Mass. That Mass was the Mass of my youth.

[00:44:49] The Mass that was celebrated there was just like the Mass that I grew up with. It was Novus Ordo Mass, but you know, smells and bells, a couple of the traditional [00:45:00] prayers that are optional. We’re present in that mass. I mean, it was like I’d stepped into a time machine and went back to my youth. The mass was just so good, you know.

[00:45:12] And I didn’t need the reminder in my head, but I’ll tell you I felt the reminder in my heart. You know, the importance of the faith. The dignity and seriousness of the faith. Not just in a vacuum. But what we experience in the faith, what we experience through the church, orients and directs us to the seriousness and beauty of God.

[00:45:42] When we take the faith experience seriously, we take the faith, the Catholic faith seriously, we take the church seriously, we take God seriously. We take His commandments seriously. We take the commandment to love more seriously. We take gospel principles more seriously. We take the cross more seriously.

[00:45:59] It just, it’s just true. That is just true. And so I walked out of that church, man, I was like, man, this was just, I need, I didn’t need it, but I needed it, you know? The reminder. And I said to Father Ruttler, I said, father, I just wanted to, and the thing is too, I didn’t even know he was like practically a celebrity.

[00:46:22] I know, I knew he had been on EWTN but also he had written books, but I didn’t know he had the reputation that [00:46:30] he had at the time. And I didn’t even know that was his parish. That was a total coincidence. You know, I didn’t even know mass was about to start. That was a total coincidence.

[00:46:37] Anyway, I walked out and said, father, I just want to thank you. for reminding me why I love being Catholic. Thank you for reminding me why I love being Catholic.

[00:46:47] And for my final point, I want to say this, I want to build on that statement. I was grateful for the reminder of why it’s so awesome to be Catholic. Traditions remind us of that, customs remind us of that because culture reminds us of that and culture finds the hand of God in it. But, here’s the risk, and here’s what I want you to be careful to avoid.

[00:47:12] Definitely bring more customs and tradition, either cultural traditions, like, you know, blessing yourself when the cross passes you or personal traditions. But definitely bring more traditions to bear. But be careful. Be careful. Because, 

Why It’s Great to be Catholic

[00:47:29] I wasn’t grateful for the reminder of why it’s great to be Catholic.

[00:47:32] Not just because, you know, I’m a member of the church. Not just because I’m part of a social club. I was grateful, it reminded me of how awesome it is to be Catholic because of how awesome it is to be on the road to holiness, the path to holiness, the path to heaven. It’s great to be Catholic, not because it’s great to be Catholic.

[00:47:56] It’s great to be Catholic because it’s great to be united to God and to be on [00:48:00] a course and path and trajectory to be with Him forever. For many Catholics, whether they are traditionalists or not, for many Catholics, sometimes the faith experience is the endgame, and that is wrong. It is incorrect, it is wrong as in incorrect, and it is wrong as in immoral.

[00:48:23] For many Catholics, traditionalists or not, orthodoxy has become enough, and that is wrong. Orthodoxy is indispensable. But holiness is the goal. Holiness is the goal. Sacred tradition is indispensable. But if you’re a good and practicing Catholic, you’re already following sacred tradition.

[00:48:44] You don’t have to chase more of it down. You don’t have to chase down lowercase t traditions. But lowercase t traditions can be important. They’re not as important as some people make them to be though. Because, as I said, some people turn lowercase T traditions and uppercase T traditions into another religion.

[00:49:04] The temptation is very great for Catholics to turn either uppercase T or lowercase T traditions into another religion. It’s not just traditionalists who risk that. It’s every Catholic who runs the risk of doing that. Tradition is important because culture is important. And culture is important. Because it keeps us on the path, on the way.

[00:49:26] And what’s the destination? Orthodoxy? No. [00:49:30] It is not orthodoxy. That it’s in, that orthodoxy is indispensable. But that is not where we’re going. Because if that’s where we’re going, then many Catholics are already there. Mission accomplished, right? Wrong. Holiness is the point. Holiness is the point. The sacraments get us there.

[00:49:49] The lived faith experience gets us there. Culture gets us there. Traditions can get us there because again it’s sort of that same domino effect. Traditions go to cost, go to traditions and customs, go to culture, traditions and customs, go to identity and identity goes to culture. Reminds us of who we are and where we’re supposed to be, where we’re supposed to be going and how we’re supposed to get there.

[00:50:21] So tradition is important, but sometimes it can, the temptation is great to do something with it that it wasn’t meant to be. The devil can distort everything that’s good, my friends, including the Catholic faith. The devil can distort everything that’s good, including the lived experience of the faith. The devil can distort everything that’s good, including sacred tradition, including Catholic customs.

[00:50:46] I always say, where God builds a church, the devil builds a chapel right across the road, or right next door. The devil can distort everything that’s good, including Catholicism. Not the faith itself, but the faith experience, [00:51:00] the Catholic culture, Catholic uppercase T traditions, and Catholic lowercase T traditions.

[00:51:08] He doesn’t have to turn you into Hitler to undo you. To keep you from holiness, he does not have to turn you into a Satan worshiper. The devil only has to disable your catholicity. And there are many disabled Catholics, I don’t mean physically disabled, I mean spiritually disabled Catholics who are at mass every day and are saying three and four rosaries every day.

[00:51:33] Don’t let that be you. Tradition is important. Let it get you to the goal. Don’t allow it you. To get you to see the wrong goal or to get you off the path to the right goal I’m going to be doing an after show a little extended version of this show on my locals channel Oh, I’m sorry, on my Locals community, catholicexperience.

[00:51:56] locals. com. I may do that for, I may make that available to every member, free or paid, because it’s kind of early in it’s early on in my community there. And I want to try and give people a taste of what they’re going to get. For their paid membership. So I’ll probably if you’re listening to this go to catholicexperience.

[00:52:16] locals. com sign up for my community Even if you want to become a free member and you’ll see this little after show there by the time you hear this That will be there future after shows and exclusive stuff And [00:52:30] as I said, most of my work i’m going it’s going to be available only for paid members my friends It’s five dollars a month Would you like to help out a Catholic communicator with a family to feed?

[00:52:40] I mean i’ve worked very hard for you. Would you like to help me out five bucks a month? We’ll get you there. I am the Catholic adventure. Follow me on Twitter at for the queen BVM follows the show’s feed on Twitter. If you will. The show on Twitter is calf experience. There goes the music calf experience on X.

[00:53:00] God bless you. God be with you all. Bye bye.

Why are traditions important, and how do they build identity, a culture, and a people? I also talk about what happens in the absence of traditions, and how a counter-culture can grow like a cancer that kills Catholicity, Catholic identity, and the Catholic Culture.

This is a follow up to Episode #26, “The Trouble with Tradition”. After-show, “When Culture Lives and Dies” is available on my Locals community for free and paid members (Future after-shows are for paid members only). Chapter timecodes are below


Join Me on Locals

Twitter@forthequeenbvm and @cathexperience

Episode: “The Trouble with Tradition”


Culture: Some Are Optional5:22
Sign of the Cross – A Personal Story9:09
Tradition is Important to Culture18:08
The Crutch of Traditions21:51
Personal Traditions25:19
Counter Culture28:04
Traditions Make us Think33:06
The ‘TLM  Church’35:55
A Mass Encounter, and a Reminder44:13
Why It’s Great to be Catholic47:33
The absence of traditions causes atrophy to a culture, leaving room for counter-culture to develop and choke the life out of Catholic culture. This clip is an example of how that happens

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