Being a traditionalist in the modern world can be exceedingly difficult as we are pushed and pulled in every direction, pressured to conform to progressive ideals. In the absence of traditional safe havens such as churches and social clubs, traditionalists are left to do the best they can in their day-to-day lives. To this end, here are excerpts from the Rule of the Order of Santiago, which was formed in the 12th century to protect pilgrims and hospices en route to the shrine of St. James in the modern city of Santiago de Compostela. The knights were recognized as religious by Pope Alexander III in 1175, and, uniquely, the order was allowed to admit married members from the beginning whereas other such orders took standard monastic vows. By looking to how those men lived their devotion to the Lord and to the defense of Christendom, traditionalists can perhaps gain insight into how they can live their own lives.
I. On the Reverence that Should be Observed for All the Faithful of Christ
They will revere and honor the bishops and the prelates of the Church, and all the faithful of Christ, monks and canons of whatever order they may be… and they will also protect with all their strength all those under any order of holy religion, and succor them in their need according to their means.
III. On the Poor
Likewise the poor of Christ should be received fraternally every day… and be given what they need with all reverence and according to the means of the house.
IV. On Universal Prayer
Three paternosters should be said each day for the Lord Pope and for the Roman Church… one paternoster for all the faithful dead; one paternoster for peace in the Holy Church; one paternoster for his king; one paternoster for the bishop; one paternoster for the patriarch and the [Christian] defenders of Jerusalem; one paternoster for all those in holy religion, whatever their order may be, dedicated to God; one paternoster for benefactors and malefactors so that the benefactors may be rewarded by God; one paternoster for the fruits of the land.
IX. They Do Not Leave off Defending their Christian Brethren because of Fasting
Because it is everyone’s intention to defend the faith of Christ and His faithful, and all of them will have promised that, and because obedience more than sacrifice pleases God, if some of the brethren want to abstain from food or to observe abstinences other than those mentioned previously, let them perform them according to the Master’s dispositions, for they should not, on that account, abandon the defense and service of Christianity. For, just as our Redeemer Jesus Christ advised us and taught with His example when He had to lay down His life for his brethren, saying to them: “Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends,” it is more difficult to expose oneself to great and many dangers than to remain at home idle and tormenting oneself in tranquility.
X. Exhortation to Encourage the Brethren to Overcome the Infidels
Therefore, Knights of Christ, awake and “lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light,” that the enemy, your old foe, might not lead you astray, he who “goes about seeking someone to devour” and strives by all means to divert you from the road of justice and from the path of truth and uprightness. Indeed, never cease defending your brothers, your neighbors, and the Catholic Mother Church. For there is nothing more glorious and more pleasing to God that to choose to end one’s life in the defense and preservation of the law of God by means of the word, fire or water, captivity, and other numerous and indescribable dangers, which neither the tongue can name, nor the heart of man can think of… For it is better to defend than to fast. It follows that if anyone weakens his body by frugality or by a continuous fasting, and his strength fails in the defense of the law of God and his brethren, let him know that he has done wrong and made himself guilty before God… For the defender performs all works of mercy.
A brother is he who arises as a defender and tries to accomplish all things that the Lord will tell the just at the time of the fateful judgment. He will say to them: “For I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and… etc. When the defender frees someone from the captivity of the pagans, or by defending him prevents him from being taken into captivity, is he not feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, covering the naked, and visiting the sick and the imprisoned? For who can be hungrier or thirstier, more naked or more ill or who can suffer more cruel imprisonment than he who is a captive of the Saracens?
**XI. On the Pusillanimous and the Fearful
If someone is so timorous as not to be fit for war, let him keep busy with other labors… that he may not be idle… as the Blessed Jerome says: “Do something so that the Devil may find you always busy.”
XII. How they Should Behave with Their Wives
The brethren should not approach their wives when they are feasting, nor on the feast days of St. Mary, St. John the Baptist, and the Apostles, nor on the major holy days and their eves, for an impetuous lover of his own wife is an adulterer.
XVIII. Everyone Must Strive for the Growth of the Order and of His House
Let every one of the brethren care faithfully for everything that belongs to the house so as not to cause in any manner any damage in it, and what is more let all strive honestly for the growth of the house.
XX. On how Gossip Must Be Avoided
Let none of the brethren dare to gossip in any way among themselves… Let the one who sees or might know in some way something that should be corrected… not gossip on that account with another… but rather let him reprimand the one he believes to be guilty, and let him try to bring back to the right path by any means he can according to God, even with the intervention of others if their help is needed for his improvement.
XXI. On how Insult Must be Avoided
Let no one of the brethren dare to dishonor or insult his brother; let everyone of the brethren honor each other with all diligence and good will.
XXII. They Should not Give an Uncivil Response
Let them not give a bad or offensive answer to any man, nor to their brother, nor to anyone else, even if it is deserve; on the contrary, let them answer to all men with humility and mildness. Let them guard themselves against lying.
XXIV. On Life and Honesty
Let them show moderation in the way they talk and walk, in their every action and in every movement of their bodies.
XXV. On Chastity
Let those who have wives observe conjugal chastity; let those with no wives live in chastity.
XXX. The Intention of the Brethren Should Be One: Defense of Christians, and not Cruelty and Pillage
Though the special intention of all is one: to defend the Church of God with all their strength, lay down their lives for the exaltation of the Name of Christ, and prevent continuously the cruelty of the Saracens, they, however, should not plunder their land for the sake of robbery and cruelty, but whatever they do, let them do it for the exaltation of the Name of Christ, or to defend Christians against their attacks, or in order to be able to attract them to the knowledge of the Christian faith.