We Must Return to Tradition

Traditional Latin Mass, St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield, Missouri, circa 2014

A number of Catholics are starting to realise that we've entered into a new paradigm in history. The sexual revolution and culture wars in the West were not a passing fad. They were, in actuality, a permanent apostasy. Western Civilisation has rejected Christ, for the long-term foreseeable future.
We mustn't make the same mistake as our Evangelical brethren in the Christian faith. Their religion is new (less than a few hundred years old at best), and they've never seen anything like this before. Therefore, they assume that such a radical shift in society signals the end of the world and the impending Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
This is not the case. Catholics should know better. We've been in similar situations before. The first major apostasy came with the Arian Heresy (3rd - 6th centuries AD). At its height, there was a period of time when there were more Arians than Christians. The Mohammedan Heresy (Islam), which is just a rehash of militant Arianism, has dominated the East for over a thousand years now.
More recently the Marxist Heresy (Communism) had completely dominated large portions of the world, and is still a persistent problem in the East, as well as a few beachheads in the West. However, what the West is primarily dealing with right now is the Nietzsche Heresy (Moral Relativism), named after Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900) which holds that morality should be constructed actively, making it relative to people, places, time and culture. In other words, there are no moral absolutes. Like all great heresies, this too shall pass, but not until it runs its course and levels society. I think it's reasonable to assume that the Nietzsche Heresy in the West will run at least as long as the Marxist Heresy in the East. The Marxist Heresy is going on its 100th anniversary this year (2017), insofar as widespread acceptance. It's already seen its glory days, so its on a downward trend now. The Nietzsche Heresy will probably get a run close to that. It gained widespread popularity around 1960, so we can expect it to last well into 2060, and possibly a little beyond. Both the Marxist Heresy and the Nietzsche Heresy are destructive to society, each in its own way, but destructive nonetheless. Neither creates any kind of religious or moral structure to replace Christianity, so they inevitably result in the collapse of society. This means we need not worry about them lasting as long as the Arian or Mohammedan heresies. Still, 100 years is a long time. It's unlikely that I'll see the end of it in my lifetime.
Expecting a sudden change, and a return to sensibility, in Western society anytime in the near future, is delusional. Outside of divine intervention on a global level, it's simply not going to happen. In the past, God has simply allowed great heresies to run their course, intervening only in small ways to preserve his Church in the midst of them. We shouldn't expect any more than that. We can pray for more, but we shouldn't expect it. It is far more likely that God will simply carry on with his usual pattern of preserving his own people while the world goes to hell in an hand-basket. Christendom (AD 500 - 1500), for all of its flaws, was the greatest civilisation ever produced. It's no wonder the devil has sought to destroy it so aggressively.
So now what? We need to go back to tradition.
It's already happening. Catholics and Orthodox are returning to tradition, because you see, Christianity only withers and dies insomuch as it has embraced modernity. They say that many Catholic parishes and dioceses in the West have become "protestantised." I've had some time to think about that, and I've decided that as a former Protestant, I'm offended by that, and it's an offence to many Protestants in general. Many Protestants (especially Evangelicals) have rejected the moral relativism that now infects society and the Catholic Church. Catholic churches in the West have not been "protestantised." They've been MODERNISED! They've accepted many of the errors of Modernism, and one of them is the moral relativism of the Nietzsche Heresy, or what I call the "Heresy of Don't Judge -- Be Nice." Many Catholics, of all different backgrounds and traditions, are beginning to realise that some of these parishes and dioceses cannot be reformed. They, like the rest of society, are just going to have to be allowed to run their course. Many Catholic dioceses in the United States are already in a state of managed and orderly decline, with parishes merging, closing, then merging again. Properties are being sold off as a result. It's not going to get any better until our leadership radically changes, and we don't see that happening fast enough. So what are Catholics doing?
They're going back to tradition by attending more traditional parishes. By this I mean parishes that are rejecting modernity and embracing the historic traditions of the Catholic Church. Some of them are driving long distances to attend such parishes. Many more are just switching to the parish on the other side of town. That is what it's going to take to preserve our families, and our faith, in this new paradigm of Nietzsche apostasy in the West.
We Catholics now have three legitimate Patrimonies to choose from: Roman, Eastern and Anglican.
The Roman Patrimony is by far the largest. This is most clearly manifested in parishes that celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, (or Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite). Now the parish doesn't have to be an exclusively Latin Mass parish. It may celebrate the Latin Mass only once a week, in conjunction with a more reverent version of the regular Vernacular Mass (Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) more often. Some of these parishes are diocesan. Others are part of a fraternity or institute. There are LOTS of them. THIS WEBSITE will serve as a very effective tool for finding them, but I do recommend you call the listed parish first, to make sure the information is up to date. I also recommend checking the notes at the bottom of many of these pages for updates as well. Some parishes might not celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass at all, but the priest may still be staunchly orthodox and traditional in the way he celebrates the Vernacular Mass with no innovation or abuse. These parishes should be considered as viable alternatives.
The Eastern Patrimonies are also a legitimate options for Roman Catholics. Yes, there are more than one type. One doesn't need to change rites to be a participating member of an Eastern Catholic parish. Granted, these parishes are not part of the historic Western culture, but they are a legitimate Catholic expression of Eastern cultures. All of them are in full unity with the pope and the Roman Catholic Church. THIS WEBSITE will serve as a very effective tool for finding them. If no Roman Patrimony parish is nearby, one of these parishes might serve as a viable alternative.
The Anglican Patrimony is a relatively new option for Roman Catholics, because it was only recently reintegrated back into the Catholic Church after 500 years of heresy and schism. However, what was reintegrated was extremely traditional and based on a patrimony that is actually a bit older than the Traditional Latin Mass (Exraordinary Form). This is because the Anglican Patrimony is based on the Serum Use, which was used in England, and throughout the British Isles from AD 1000 to 1535. It's very medieval in character, even though it is technically more closely related to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Anglican Patrimony is part of the Western tradition, so it shares many features with the Roman Patrimony. The name of this Form of the Roman Rite is called Divine Worship, and it is a legitimate option for any Roman Catholic to attend. Though this form of liturgy is exclusive to Personal Ordinariate parishes, one does not need to be a member of the Ordinariate to attend. A Roman Catholic doesn't even need to become a member of the Ordinariate to become an active member of such parishes.
  • THIS MAP shows the official Ordinariate parishes in North America.
  • THIS MAP shows them in the British Isles.
  • THIS WEBSITE shows them in Oceania.
  • While THIS MAP (available soon) will show all of them, along with additional startup groups in various areas.
Whatever Patrimony a Catholic chooses to preserve his faith and family in, it's not nearly as important as getting involved in some kind of traditional parish. That's the main thing. When society takes a turn like this, the way people survive is they hunker down in tradition. We get back to what you know works. We return to the faith of our forefathers. That's what many Catholics are already doing. That's where the majority of Catholic youth is heading. If you haven't already done so, it's time for you do the same.


Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books and a columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'CatholicInTheOzarks.com.' Your support is what makes essays like this possible. This essay and all of Shane's Internet resources come to you (ad-free) thanks to the generosity of benefactors. Please consider becoming a benefactor.

Read Shane's Books

Become a Benefactor of this Internet Apostolate


Shane: not to start a controversy, but many Evangelical Churches have become quite secular in their political, economic, and social teachings. Three examples: 1. Israel can NEVER do anything immoral or ill-advised; 2. Jesus was a capitalist, and economic libertarianism is the most moral system for allocating wealth; 3. Jesus is against labor unions(it is right there in the Bible...somewhere); 4. The "just war" theory does NOT apply to the U.S. when we want to engage in hostilities against another country, especially if said attack can somehow be shoehorned into some bizarre "last days" prophecy.5. Jesus loves sport utility vehicles, and anyone who believes in climate change is a "socialist." I just want you to consider that when we say "secularism," the ASSUMPTION by most Catholics is that it is LIBERAL secularism. Several days ago, a member of the LGBTQ+ community BRAGGED (in a large regional newspaper) about the role of HUNDREDS of Corporations in intimidating state legislatures in regards to gay and transgender legislation. There is not, and never was, strictly speaking, a connection between Christianity, conservatism, and "economic liberalism"(i.e. market capitalism).
Shane Schaetzel said…
Agreed on all points Fulton.
Peter Aiello said…
The Marxist Heresy and the Nietzsche Heresy appear to have blended together in today's world.
How could we know that it is not the case that we are close to the second coming of Christ? It will happen at some point in time. The false alarms of the past do not ensure that they will continue.
There is no guarantee that tradition is going to improve anything. It didn't when there was a lot more of it.
Unknown said…
I'm am catholic who belongs to the roman patrimony. Would I'll be able to atten in eastern catholic service and still received the euchachrist even though I belong to the latin rite?
Shane Schaetzel said…

The answer is "yes". So long as it's a Catholic Church, it doesn't matter what Rite or Form you normally practice. All Catholics can receive communion at any Catholic Church.