Observing the Traditional Movement for 50 years, I learned that the courageous leaders of the Traditional Movement in the 1960s and ’70s were mostly alone. They worried about the future. Their pastors were against them. They had little or no support and their family and friends severely criticized them. What they did have was a great zeal for spreading and holding onto that traditional Faith.

In Roman times, martyrdom enlarged the Catholic Church and strengthened Faith and resolve. Somewhat similarly today, I believe that the tribulations suffered while fighting and working to keep and spread the traditional Faith builds resolve. In the early years after Vatican II, this writer and family heard the Tridentine Mass in seven different buildings before the SSPX first came to the U.S. This meant many long and sometimes hazardous miles. Furthermore, there was a time when we had no access to uncompromising Sacraments and thus, read our Mass prayers at home. But all of this instilled a love and zeal for the Faith as something worth fighting for.

To better explain the difference between the first and second generations, I believe an analogy will help. First, consider great wealth is like a strong faith in a certain respect. Someone worked hard to earn that wealth and used it wisely supporting a family and for charitable purposes. He probably also was very frugal and managed the wealth wisely. As life goes on and that person passes on, the wealth goes to the children, the second generation. No matter how well they were raised, the children seldom have the same respect for the wealth as the one who worked hard to accumulate it. An old saying goes: “Parents earn the wealth and the children spend it until poor.”

Let’s complete the analogy that great wealth is like a strong Catholic Faith which is given to the second generation. Note that it is given to the second generation, which may not have made any real effort or have any appreciation of the gift. Like wealth given to the second generation, Faith given is often treated with less appreciation and little personal commitment. The children often lack the zeal for the Faith because they received it without effort, hard work and the fight to obtain it and retain it. They are most likely to squander it like unearned wealth.

In the ‘60s and ‘70s when parishes became increasingly liberal as a result of Vatican II, the first generation was the first to leave. Today, as the “new” SSPX becomes increasingly liberalism, the second generation mostly tends to stay put. Most second-generation Traditionalists don’t question changes or new approaches started by their parishes or the N-SSPX leaders. Misguided trust is fatal without prudent questioning and investigating. I believe they don’t investigate change because they are afraid of what they will find, calling for action they are unwilling to take.

The future for the third and fourth generations is even bleaker.

What are we to do? Keep leading by example, pointing out where liberalism is corrupting the Faith. Keep resisting liberalism and holding on to the uncompromising Truth. The best way to preserve what you fought for or were given is to draw an immovable line in the sand, i.e., set the necessary benchmark to avoid gradualism.

Fighting for the Faith is really a blessing in disguise. Fighting for the Faith gives one an appreciation and zeal to keep it and spread it.

An example of a good first-generation Traditionalist is Archbishop Lefebvre, and of second-generation, Bishop Fellay, who was given the Faith. While in high school, he composed “eucharistic prayers” (i.e., Conciliar “canons”), making little or no effort to seek the Traditional Catholic Faith. He was given the Faith by Archbishop Lefebvre in Econe. But over time, Bishop Fellay has greatly weakened and is now delivering the N-SSPX to Modernist Rome.

Bishop Fellay’s efforts to convince the rest of the N-SSPX to join Modernist Rome is made easier because first generation Traditionalists have mostly died off or have already joined the Resistance, leaving the less committed second and third generation “tolerators” who are willing to go along to get along.

There is another example of second-generation Traditionalists weakening over time.

It is the three bishops identified with the Resistance. The first bishop to leave the N-SSPX was Bishop Williamson who has weakened greatly and promotes many religious errors and is causing great scandal. (See many past Candle issues.)

Any priest or seminary that criticizes Bishop Williamson for his great scandals will receive no help regarding Confirmations, Ordinations, holy oils (for Extreme Unction), etc.

Bishop Williamson consecrated two bishops, Bishop Faure and Bishop Aquinas. Both bishops are “scared loyal” to Bishop Williamson, as they refuse to criticize him for promoting error. These two other bishops will not fulfill their responsibilities as bishops, because of temporal considerations, viz., fearing retaliation from Bishop Williamson. In this they are like Judas (who was a bishop) who did not do his duty because of temporal considerations (viz., preferring thirty pieces of silver).

Bishops Faure and Aquinas are spiritual cowards. Loyalty is good in most cases, but not at the cost of one’s soul. Loyalty to a man does not trump loyalty to God and saving souls. Bishops receive special graces for their state in life and are leaders by the very nature of their Episcopacy. They are obliged to teach and govern souls, to lead them to God.

We must pray very hard that God will give courage to these timid second-generation bishops, so they fulfill their responsibilities as bishops and stop scandalizing the faithful.