In recent decades the Catholic culture has felt a strong disorienting presence by the progressive and modernist world. There was a time when Catholic culture meant something extraordinary, and was filled with tradition.
Catholics have encountered those who believe we should get with “modern times.” The culture of the Church has never needed to be rebuilt, but to be restored with the beauty and tradition that has been around for over a millennium.
“The Church alone, being the Bride of Christ and having all things in common with her Divine Spouse, is the depository of the truth.” –Pope St. Pius X
To better understand the idea of restoring the Church’s tradition and culture we first have to look at how this happened in the first place. The world, the devil, and the flesh. The modernist worldview says we must change with the times. They insist that we must see the faith in relative terms, focusing on how we feel. Satan uses similar tactics. The devil would love nothing more than for the Mass to look like a theatrical show, with as little beauty and reverence as possible, because the evil one knows how important a sacred Mass is to us. Then there’s the flesh. The flesh says “I want to be entertained,” even at Mass. Catholics can overcome these attacks and see to it the Church is restored to its rightful beauty.
The family is the nucleus of our culture. You don’t have to look very far to see how much the culture has changed in the past few generations. And not necessarily for the better. The decline of Catholic tradition has created more lukewarm or “cafeteria” Catholics. Jesus said we are not to be lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). We are not to conform to this world, but to be transformed (Romans 2:12). Everything we do in our daily routines can and should point toward God. A traditional liturgy helps sharpen our senses to recognize God’s presence in our day-to-day lives.
Liturgy and Catholic family culture are cyclical. Attending a traditional Mass regularly (at least once a week) can have a tremendous impact on the family, providing virtues that will propel them to a more devout life. This action brings them right back to the Mass again, hungry for Christ in the Eucharist. Liturgy should be transforming, not entertaining. Christ also deserves the best liturgy we can offer Him. The progressive culture causes the Liturgy to be diluted. More Catholics are responding to this by attending a traditional Mass.
Modernism has tried to rebuild Catholic tradition by “breaking away with the past.” Pope Saint Pius X condemned the heresy of Modernism in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis. Modernists view doctrines and dogmas as “evolving” over time that best fits the contemporary culture. Modernists also tend to reduce the supernatural down to the natural level. They believe that since human reason cannot comprehend the existence of God, that we must reduce God, the Church, and the faith to mere feelings. Today this ideology has led to fewer Catholics who believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. When the supernatural is deemphasized in the Mass, the Eucharist looks more like a symbol rather than Jesus in the Flesh.
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel and rebuild the Catholic Church’s traditions and culture, we can restore the beauty of Catholic culture, which means a liturgy rich with tradition. We already have a Sacred Liturgy with Latin and chant, beauty and reverence. Catholics can respond to this need for a restoration of beautiful Catholic tradition and culture, which will then strengthen the family. This provides a strong supernatural presence of Christ both in the Church and resonates in the home. Together we can restore Catholic culture.
by John Connor