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A movement without momentum is meaningless


By J. Basil Dannebohm


Though few Catholics had heard it, much less experienced it, the “recognize and resist” catchphrase is nothing new. It was in essence coined by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre more than a half century ago. Archbishop Lefebvre took a decisive "recognize and resist" action in response to what he considered to be a crisis in the Church, resulting largely from the Second Vatican Council.


Since Traditionis Custodes, the anointed experts of the trad-nouveau movement who fancy themselves as social media “influencers” have dusted off "recognize and resist" and beat it like a dead horse as a means to grow their audience and generate some income. I’m not singling anybody out. There are many to choose from. Suffice to say that the hot air is plentiful right now.


According to the movement and the influencers, there exists a crisis in the Church.


We get it. They’ve said it a hundred different ways in a multitude of articles, speaking engagements, video recordings, podcasts, and books.


But talk is cheap. Eventually the audience will grow numb from hearing the same message ad nauseam. Thus, now is the time for these influencers to offer a tangible solution. In other words: put up or shut up. Unless, of course, the anointed experts are merely leveraging a crisis to generate some capital.


The lackluster solution to the apparent crisis being offered by most of the anointed ones is that the faithful should "prepare to take the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass underground."


Underground?


Give me a break. How absurdly dramatic.


That’s what's known as fear mongering — and it's perhaps the lowest and most pathetic means by which to retain an audience.


Think about this: these influencers who are warning against some sort of totalitarian, one-world reset are leveraging the very same gaslighting tactic that most dictators use against their people: control through fear.


More than once I’ve spoken about the cult of personality that is prevalent among Catholics. In this visual age, there are those among the faithful who require a celebrity like quasi-god in human form whom they can admire. Somebody who possesses a larger than life persona, who in essence serves as an infallible guide between the faithful and the unseen God. I'm reminded of a line from a classic Leonard Cohen song: “Your faith was strong but you needed proof.”


These influencers, who are in essence gurus, are often narcissists. For sheeple needing the wool pulled from in front of their eyes, I recommend readers dust off a psychological mainstay: "People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil" by Dr. M. Scott Peck.


Indeed, Cardinal Robert Sarah tells us, “Our world no longer hears God because it is constantly speaking, at a devastating speed and volume, in order to say nothing. Modern civilization does not know how to be quiet. It holds forth in an unending monologue.”


Such is the way of the influencer.


Thus the best response they can offer is not action, but rather, instilling fear through "an unending monologue."


Underground?


Come on. Perhaps in the early post-conciliar days. Not anymore. If that’s the best these influencers have got, perhaps it’s time they spare their dignity and find a less pathetic means by which to make a quick buck.


Why?


Because more than a half century ago, a leader emerged who offered more than empty words. He took action to ensure that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would never be forced underground again. He didn't require fame or fawning. He was in the authentic and noble business of saving souls. He was called all sorts of names and faced all sorts of threats -- still he persisted.


The name Marcel Lefebvre stirs up spite for many in the trad-nouveau movement -- which, if we're being honest, was precisely what the late Pope John Paul II desired when he supposedly "saved the Traditional Latin Mass."


The reality, however, is that neither the trad-nouveau movement, nor the other opponents of the Society of St. Pius X, can rewrite history. Decade after decade their attacks have been futile. Pope John Paul II did not save the Latin Mass. History will always prove that it was Marcel Lefebvre who preserved the Mass of the Ages. As for his spiritual descendants? They are doing just fine. For them, the only problem traditionis custodes has caused is a parking problem.


The SSPX has been operating in plain sight just fine and the numbers are growing. All over the world, the spiritual descendants of the late Archbishop are building larger churches and schools.


In one small Kansas town, roughly 4,000 members of the faithful receive Holy Communion every single Sunday.


There’s nothing “underground” about it because there’s no need to do anything underground. It’s not as if they're hiding from the Nazis -- not yet, anyway. When that day comes, perhaps then we can all go underground. Until that time, "recognize and resist" only becomes more than a useless catchphrase when the faithful have no problem committing an act of defiance. Especially if that act is in the best interest of their soul.


Indeed, the act of "recognize and resist" would serve the Institute of Christ the King quite well with concern to their ongoing situation in Chicago. It’s not rocket science, it’s Catholicism: Open the damn doors, go in, and offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.


Recognize and resist in action means you can’t serve two masters. Either serve God and His faithful, or play nice with a prelate. Courage is required. After all, the business of being in the Church Militant is not for the faint of heart. Just ask the Coalition for Canceled Priests.


I've been told, "If we offer the Mass then the police will come in and arrest us."


And? If you believe in something -- act.


Perhaps a group of harmless faithful being loaded up in the paddywagon is precisly the optics needed for the Church to awaken from the slumber of what the influencers attest is blind obedience. There isn’t a scripture nor a saint that said being Catholic would be easy.


Quite the contrary.


Perhaps we’ve been far too comfortable for so long that we’ve forgotten what it means to fight for our faith.


Granted, there have been a handful of admirable leaders in the movement who have organized peaceful marches and protests. While serving as superb occasions for the faithful to assemble in prayer, the efforts neither instill fear nor persuade the decisions of prelates or the pontiff. Besides occasions for prayer and networking, the only benefit of these peaceful protests is for the anointed influencers, who are presented with yet another speaking venue and are given yet another opportunity to make a quick buck off the same message: recognize and resist.


The trad-nouveau movement must stop existing in a state of denial. Nobody is going to restore their right to offer the Traditional Latin Mass. Neither this pontificate, nor the next, will take pity on their cries.


Thus the time for lamenting and self-pity is over. The catchphrase "recognize and resist" is tired. It's time for authentic leaders to arise. It’s time for the rubber to meet the road. It's time to act.


Indeed, the Bergoglio pontificate has drawn a very bold line in the sand. Yet the trad-nouveau movement is being done a terrible disservice by their anointed influencers who offer nothing more than empty words. While they might cringe at the notion, they need an individual like Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to help them navigate through their storm. An individual of decisive action who embraces the very definition of "recognize and resist."


Without such a leader, the movement is doomed to rest in the catacombs.