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Reading through my Blogs I Follow list, I noticed quite a few posts pertaining to the Benedict Option (BO) of late. Therefore, I will jump into this fray with some insights, while tying them into themes that I have been addressing on this blog recently.
I see the issues surrounding the BO as twofold.
On the one hand, for any strategy that will be employed by the Catholic Faithful, like for any strategy for that matter, that strategy needs to be defined with a high degree of precision. When speaking about the BO, the idea is that small groups of Faithful will “band” together and form pockets in which the Catholic Faith and wider Western Civilization can survive. Hence the references and analogies to the monastic orders of post antiquity.
On this front, the news is quite good. Reading through the Catholic blog-o-sphere, one can notice that Faithful Catholics are organizing themselves around the Latin Mass. Specifically, these lay organizations are requesting local pastors to introduce a Latin Mass in the local parish. Now some of these efforts are more effective, some less, but the general trend is that there are more of them. And your humble blogger has been picking up this trend through the increase in the numbers of Latin Masses being reported on those same blogs and websites.
As to the “problematic” Latin Mass communities, there is a lesson to be learned here. I see the solution to many problems that might arise with the local
Episcopalians NUCatholics as providing the answer to how the BO should be instituted and implemented. What I mean by this is that if the BO is to mirror our monastic forebears, and our monastic forbearers isolated themselves inside the walls of monasteries, then we should copy this very successful strategy and isolate ourselves within the “walls” of our Latin Mass communities inside the churches and chapels.
What I mean by this is something along the lines of a comment I wrote at the Liturgy Guy’s blog post. Here is the relevant part:
(…) you can assemble a stable group and priest and schedule the TLM at a time when no one else is in the church. Try not to come into contact with these folks. They are not nice people. They are for the most part post-modernists, so they don’t believe in dialogue. All they understand is “power”. And now they have it. So there is no need to antagonize this remnant since these folks are very ideological. Actually, from what I have seen, if it wasn’t for the ideology, they wouldn’t even be in church. Currently, they are still managing to scrape enough money to pay the bills. So if the TLM community is not seen (non-threatening), and slips the pastor some cash for the use of the premises, it might be a win/win situation for both the TLM community and the pastor.
Aside, the pastors are open since most of them are under financial strain. They are not into “power” since the laity has neutered them a long time ago. The only downside for any new money that comes into the parish is the “hassle factor”. Minimization of that is actually the key.
I think the above summarizes the lay of the land in NUChurch-land. What I would add is that when selecting a parish for implementing the BO, I would select one that is worth saving. Here is why:
As to long term strategy, what we need to do is organize. The goal should be to get each TLM community to a size where they can finance their own parish. There are a lot of churches on the market at very reasonable prices. There are also crowd funding platforms that will allow a resourceful community to raise the purchase price. So the real issue then is covering the day to day operations.
So the long-term plan should be for that BO community to raise enough funds so that they will be in a position to purchase that church/chapel from the diocese/religious order at the optimal time. And being on good terms with the pastor no doubt help facilitate, if not expedite the eventual take-over. Here is a pretty accurate representation of the state of the post-conciliar church that I have discerned from following the Restoration:
And finally, what we all have to remember is that the post-conciliar church is an organization that is being liquidated. This does not mean that we will be able to acquire parishes from the dioceses since most of them (ordinaries highly ideological) would rather give them away to Muslims then sell them to Faithful Catholics. But there will come a time when that will change. So in the mean time, try to find some nice protestant facility if one is available in the vicinity. Otherwise, create a “church fund” and start raising funds. The opportunity will appear when you least expect it.
And now for the second and much trickier part, the part about getting and expanding your Latin Mass community. What your humble blogger has been noticing is what can be described as a CONVERGENCE PROCESS.
The latest example of this CONVERGENCE PROCESS can be extracted from the above Dr. Jordan Peterson video. If one comes to the substance (subject matter) of what Dr. Peterson is conveying through the LEX ARMATICUS framework, one notices the convergence between clinical psychology (Dr. Peterson’s field) with philosophy with Catholic dogma. Here is an example. In the 00:41 second mark, Dr. Peterson makes the following statement:
It’s Derrida that I have the most problem with. And I also know that he put his finger on a very complex problem, … the central post-modernist claim is that every situation allows for a potentially infinite number of interpretations, which is true. And therefore, it’s difficult to determine which interpretation should be held up as paramount. Now that’s true.
Now the reason the post-modernists were wrong is because there aren’t an indefinite number of interpretations of the world that don’t kill you. Or make others kill you. There is a very constrained number of interpretations that allow you to continue to exist and equally importantly to allow you to exist in the presence of other people. So although there are many interpretations that you can ferret out of the Shakespeare text, your job is to ferret out one that helps you live properly.
What is of note in the above text is that we see a process of discerning Truth. We start out with an entire universe of “interpretations”, we then “ferret” out the true ones. True in this case means those that will allow us to not only live but exist in the presence of other people. And if we take this process to its logical and natural end, we see that if our goal is not only live, exist in presence of others but the ultimate goal of eternal salvation, through a process of elimination, we reach capital “T” Truth. I.e. Catholicism.
Where I would part with Dr. Jordan’s analysis is where he says the following:
And so I think the post-modernists radically overplayed their hand, and that’s particularly true of Derrida, and I think that the people who follow Derrida are in many cases doing so because it’s a hell of a lot easier than actually doing the difficult job of extracting out useful tools from the literature of the world. Which is what you do when you read. You extract out useful tools.
Now, the above might be true. I think that sloth plays a large part in the “academic” research and literary criticism. But what I also think stands behind the radical relativization of language and meaning that the post-modernists introduced into the academy and culture is that they didn’t like where that academic road led. In other words, they didn’t like the fact that if they used a “scientific methodology”, they would end up in the same place as the Catholic theologians of St. Augustine’s day. And then how would they “earn” a living?
So in the name of a “pursuit of novelty”, not to mention earn a living on the public’s dime, the post-modernists took an “anti-intellectual” approach. And where did that road lead them? Here is Dr. Jordan with a prescient explanation:
The alternative to creating value systems and dealing with the exclusion that comes along with it is to drown in nihilistic chaos. And worse, and while you are drowning in nihilistic chaos, you will call out forces of totalitarian order. So it’s no solution. It’s no solution.
What I see post-modernism doing to students generally speaking is demoralizing them completely. You know, they come to university looking to catalyze their identity. Often clinging to the last remaining shreds of their culture. That’s what just keeping them afloat. And all the post-modernist professors do is take those remaining fragments that are allowing them to stay above the water, tell them that they are illusionary and take them away. It’s like, now you are free. It’s like I’ve dropped you in the middle of the ocean. You can swim in any direction you want. You’re free. And I think that’s rooted in large part in hatred of youth. I really believe that. Because why would you cripple people if you didn’t hate them.
And so there’s hatred of humanity lurking at the bottom of the worst accesses of ideologues in general. You know, you hear this from environmentalists sometimes. I’ve heard this many times: ‘The planet would be better off if there were no people on it’. Well, it’s like, let’s keep you away from the thermonuclear weapons shall we.
Yes, an this process is not only apparent at the universities but also inside the post-conciliar church.
Concluding, what is important to understand is that there is a way in which to organize oneself under a Benedict Option scenario. What is key is to organize around a Latin Mass community. The end goal should be to take over the
Furthermore, there is also a very ripe environment for a proselytization effort. This environment is being created by individuals in the behavioral sciences and philosophy academic fields. These individuals, like Dr. Peterson appear to be brining their thought process in line with the objective reality. And they are allowing themselves to be driven (guided) by logic, evidence and reason. And this road leads to ONE and ONLY ONE end: the ONE TRUE FAITH.
It would be wise of members of these Benedict Option communities to become familiar with this knowledge and trend, extend it to the supernatural realm of human existence and try to help these lost sheep that Dr. Jordan Peterson describes above.
It won’t be easy, but I am sure it can work.
And the reason is that there is a CONVERGENCE PROCESS between secular knowledge and Catholic doctrine taking place.