Greg’s “Kung Fu” Traditionalism

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Greg’s “Kung Fu” Traditionalism

If you have ever frequented online Trad forums over the years, places like Suscipe Domine, Fish Eaters, Catholic Info, Ignes Ardens, etc, you likely have encountered a proliferative and entertaining figure named Greg.  He has one of the largest posting histories, since these forums became such a hub for Trads these last couple decades.  Often he is chatting away online in the wee hours, as he does work on his computer.

Greg is a traditionalist Catholic, husband, father of a large family, and very successful businessman, residing in England.  Often he travels on sales trips all over the world, and shares his adventures, and his personal perspective on Church topics.  He grew up attending the SSPX, which he still prefers, but now will attend other Latin Masses.

I appreciate Greg’s wit, pragmatic world view helpful for those who live outside of cloistered walls, and online reputation for reaching out to his fellow Trads around the world to help with all things related to work, business, and money.  He even called me once from England, with brilliant advise for my wife about her vestment business.

But what I find most helpful about Greg’s posts is his philosophical approach to being a traditionalist today.  And it rings true and sincere to me.

He satirically calls it “Kung Fu.”  Not a traditionalism that fights using martial arts, but a reference to that 1970’s TV show of a Kung Fu master who travels the Wild West from town to town, helping others.  The reference is to the fact the character, after helping others, realizes its better to move onto the next town because the scene is just too precarious.

So Greg advocates for Trads to not get too hung up on the “town,” i.e. their traditional parish or the Priestly Society that administers it (SSPX, FSSP, etc.).  When the nuttiness, weirdness, or contradictions prove too much for this sensible family man, he is known to move on to another Latin Mass parish or chapel.

And he advises we always be prepared, if necessary, to do the same.

At first, I disagreed with Greg’s “Kung Fu Traditionalism.”  I was able to endure the nuttiness enough to stay loyal to my local chapel.  But staying true to certain theoretical positions has to be balanced by other responsibilities related to one’s state in life, and the multi-varied personal needs of the individual and family.

In other words, where one ideally attends a traditional Mass is not dictated just by theological certainties or driving distance.  Many factors come into play when deciding what traditional Mass to attend, and community to join.

And the thing is, for as much as we Trads hold to our convictions, we almost always are ultimately choosing what Mass to attend based on those personal needs first, and loyalty to organizations and traditionalist specifics second.  We all want and need a traditional parish community they fit into, a pastor they can respect and follow, an experience with their fellow traditionalists that is civil and sociable, and an open environment relatively free of Jansenism.

So we choose where to go to Mass, what parish to belong to and support.  We give it as much time as prudence dictates, but in the end, if the Cons outweigh the Pros, and there are other options, then Greg’s “Kung Fu Traditionalism” to me makes perfect sense.

Yes, be loyal to your parish.  If, for example, you support the Society like I do, be loyal to its principles.  But in the end, the shifting sands of the post-modern universal Church sometimes indicate it is time to move onto another traditional Mass.  Yes, don’t react emotionally to a certain pastor or congregational annoyance, hopping from church to church.  But instead, be prepared to take slow, well-thought out steps.  For me myself, my own changes in church attendance over the years were slower than molasses; the steps I took more like that of an Ent in Lord of the Rings.

And especially when you are a family man, you have to weigh those circumstances carefully and choose wisely.  I think this really is the state of being a traditionalist today.  There is no dogmatic, absolute path to take within the Church, except for our total acceptance of the Deposit of the Faith and true submission to the Hierarchy.

Living through this Crisis in the Church is like living in a City hit by a hurricane.  We don’t want to abandon the City, but we all are faced with choosing different roads to take.  We look for the road that is closest, most safe, most free of debris, most removed from the hurricane, but also where there are others of sound mind gathering together to help one another.

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