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Fruits of Traditionalism from Childhood On

JMJ This very honest and thought-provoking account was shared with me by one of our site members and I reproduce it here with his permission:

"When I was 6 or 7 my dad sat us down and told us that God is going to destroy this world and send everyone to hell. We have 2 weeks left. But don’t worry, our group of chosen ones will be saved. Then he tells me if I pray hard enough I can save my friends and non believing family from hell.

I knew I had to pray straight for 2 weeks to save as many as I can. For I was one of a few chosen to know the truth; I had a responsibility. One less prayer means a soul goes to hell because of my selfish laziness. I started off strong, but quickly realized it was impossible to pray as much. I got discouraged and gave up. I hated myself for it.

2 weeks went by; the world was still here! What happened? My dad explained to me that because we prayed, God's wrath was appeased. I knew it must have been the prayers of others because I gave up. My 7 year old mind concluded: the salvation of the world depends on me. A burden that I continually failed to live up to the rest of my life.

So what if I I prayed 3 rosaries today? I could have prayed 10. Nothing was ever enough. Only prayer and suffering can make God happy. I got no business doing anything else. I got a paper cut? Pass the salt. I got a tooth ache? Leave it in!! Surgery? Leave me awake, and don’t be gentle!! Sleep at night? Not until I train my self to hypnotically pray the rosary in my sleep. I was conditioned almost every day of my life to think this way. The standard of a good man? It was a standard I could never live up to. Scrupulosity even to this day haunts me and steals my peace. No wonder it takes me 2 to 3 weeks to prepare for confession, LOL.

I know I haven’t had a clear mortal sin in the last 25 - 30 years, yet I’m terrified every time I go to confession, or receive communion. There must be some hidden sin, or at least more good I could have done if I really loved God... It’s got to be sacrilege to receive communion... I only prayed one rosary this week... And so on the thinking goes.

People have no idea how DANGEROUS this rad trad mindset can be for young kids. Most trad communities aren’t as extreme as the one I was raised in. But they definitely have a similar culture that breeds this kind of distortion.

People are attracted by the appearance of piety, but when you really get to know trads better (at least the radical types), their lives are filled with the exact opposite fruits that are listed in the Bible (joy, peace, love, etc). A culture that produces the exact opposite fruits of the Holy Spirit isn’t from God. We are told never to judge by appearance of piety; we are warned against that as a possible deception (the Pharisees).

We judge the fruits. That means the fruits of the Holy Spirit manifested in the daily lives of individuals, not subjective fruits based on outward appearance or a check list of works.

Well mannered kids? Check!

Graceful genuflect? Check.

Head-covering? Check.

Well-mannered kids? Check!

Must be from God then..."

Exactly the wrong fruits to look for are the ones constantly pointed to by trads to legitimize their position. Apply the fruits of the Holy Spirit and see how trads measure up."

Galatians 5:22-23: "...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."

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Very Informative video about incultration.

This was a great introduction to Native American Incultration in the Catholic Church in case anyone is interested.


Sep 24, 2023

After we joined the SSPX when I was nine years old, this kind of thinking intensified in my life. Fueled by intense Fatima studies in our homeschool programs, the sermons of the SSPX, the persecution we felt having to drive an hour on sundays to attend the one true mass in the state of Tennessee in a hotel conference room, the Angelus Press magazine, and of course, Fr. Gruner. At age eleven I developed severe anxiety; by age twelve I was convinced that the prevention of nuclear war rested squarely on my shoulders. I would struggle to force my c-ptsd/adhd brain to chant at least fifteen decades a day, alone in my misery and sense of despair. It seemed like…

Sep 25, 2023
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I am so very sorry for all the trauma and anxiety you endured on account of these messages! Wow. Thank you for stepping up and sharing your experience. It's just terrible to put those kinds of burdens on anyone, but especially a child. :'(


The fruits of the Holy Spirit can’t be quantified, and the trads’ fruits are primarily measured in the external forum. How many kids, how many new members in their parish, etc. There’s a reason it is a stereotype that trads are angry and bitter all the time. (A woman at one of my old trad parishes ran a blog called “Angry Catholic Mom.”) I totally get where this author is coming from. It took a very long time for me to shed the anxiety and scrupulosity left over from trad land.


Clelia M
Clelia M
Jul 01, 2023

We weren’t this extreme but so much of this resonates with me. I still have to fight the “but I can do so much more, I’m not doing enough,” as well as the scruples and fear at confession and communion. God can heal all wounds thankfully and it does take time, but wounds of childhood like to put themselves at the forefront. Thank you for sharing this Laura and I hope he can find healing. Would love to have discussions on these things with people attracted to trad communities, but it seems futile.

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