The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union, the United States has elected Donald J. Trump, and a number of nationalist parties are poised to continue this positive trend throughout Europe. The global Marxist forces are reeling, which is demonstrated by the American media’s panicked barrage of silly attacks against the Trump transition team and everyone he has nominated for a position in his administration. The international political right has achieved some stunning victories in 2016, but the question now is how the traditionalist right can harness this momentum to bring about something real and tangible. The Marxists have foisted immense social change upon Christendom in the last few decades, and traditionalists cannot rely on politics alone to correct all the evil that has been done. After all, the United States will see congressional mid-term elections in 2018, and President Trump will face reelection in 2020. If the liberal justices on the Supreme Court can last until 2021, we may not see the drastic change for which the political right longs. Battles have been won, but the war continues with an enemy that is still very dangerous.
For traditionalist Christians, there needs to be far more than temporary political change, and even controlling the Supreme Court for a generation cannot somehow guarantee that broader society will abandon the progressivism that they have been fooled into endorsing. For example, according to Pew Research polling, 73% of Democrats and 39% of Republicans support “gay marriage” (Source). Similarly, 74% of Democrats and 39% of Republicans think that “abortion should be legal in all or most cases.” To put these numbers in context, in 2001, 57% of Americans generally opposed “gay marriage” while only 35% supported it, but those numbers have since entirely reversed themselves (Source). If we are truly to make America great again, it is not enough to hopefully reverse some of the laws and judicial rulings. The way in which we think has to be restored so traditional values are promoted while degeneracy is confronted with extreme prejudice.
This is easier said than done, however, as the very institutions that should be providing the moral compass for the nation have also been subverted. For example, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church first allowed women to join the House of Deputies in 1970, and those women then immediately moved to push two resolutions: namely, one allowing female deacons, and the other going further to allow female priests and bishops. The first resolution passed while the second failed then and again in 1973. By the next General Convention in 1976, however, more than a dozen women had already been ordained as priests by four retired bishops, and the battle was lost with both houses of the convention voting in favor of the resolution. Still, the first female bishop—Barbara Harris, a black civil rights activist—would not be consecrated until 1989. The Episcopal Church would continue down this heretical path with the first openly gay bishop consecrated in 2003, and the first female presiding bishop elected in 2006. As a consequence of continued liberalization, from 2006-2014, the Episcopal Church lost 15.7% of the active membership with a total loss of 542 dioceses.
While the Catholic Church has better resisted the urge to liberalize, we must recognize that the trend has been against traditionalism since at least Vatican II (1962-1965) with recent events being rather disconcerting. For example, Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum in 2007 to encourage traditional Latin Mass, but Pope Francis has instead opposed the traditional rite, going so far as to target the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate for being too attached to Latin Mass (Source). This and other liberal positions have led to what some call “The Francis Effect” as dioceses liberalize to fit with the Vatican (Source). Thankfully, some efforts by Pope Francis to liberalize or ignore doctrine have resulted in conflicts with the clergy (Source). A handful of cardinals have gone so far as to openly challenge a recent exhortation by Francis, Amoris Laetitia (Source). It is certainly a positive sign that Francis’s liberal agenda is being challenged from within the Church hierarchy, and his most likely future replacement—Christoph Cardinal Schönborn—has openly warned of the Islamic conquest of Europe despite Francis encouraging nations to take in “refugees” (Source). Excitement over Schönborn’s possible ascendancy have been somewhat dampened, however, as he has advocated for unrepentant homosexuals living in civil unions to have a role in local church life (Source).
History shows us that the Church can weather a great storm before eventually righting the proverbial ship, but traditionalists must recognize that the Church is unlikely to correct the error of liberalization any time soon, at least not from a top-down approach. Western societies have become increasingly liberal as have most Protestant denominations, and the Church has fallen down the same trap as liberals have infiltrated the pews and priesthood. The sheer vastness of the Church and the apostolic priesthood has prevented the mass liberalization as seen elsewhere, but there are movements pushing female ordination, embracing gays, and on, and on. Will the traditionalists right the ship, or will the Church eventually succumb to the same evil forces which have claimed so many? The answer to this question likely hinges on the future of our culture.
The political left has achieved many great victories in the West during the last few decades because they worked to infiltrate and dominate news and entertainment media, academia, and such. They are able to exert immense influence over the general population by controlling what people are allowed to say, do, and even think through social pressure in all aspects of our daily lives. The question then for traditionalists is, how can we bring about substantive, tangible results moving forward? Should new institutions be formed to cater to traditionalists, or are there any that could be turned to such purposes? Can new religious and/or secular organizations implement change in the Church by changing social norms as the leftists have done?