(LifeSiteNews) – The apparently incorrupt body of a black Benedictine nun in Missouri who founded a community wholly dedicated to the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass and the traditional monastic Divine Office in Latin and Gregorian chant highlights the universal appeal of the Church’s ancient liturgy to people of all races, cultures, and times.
For American Catholics, the devotion to the traditional liturgy of Rome found at the convent of the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles – begun by African American Mother Wilhelmina of the Most Holy Rosary, whose body was found to be apparently incorrupt on April 28 – flies in the face of the egregious accusations of the infamous FBI memo issued by the Richmond field office, which slandered traditional Catholics as “racist,” “violent extremists,” and “white supremacists.”
As revealed by whistleblower Kyle Seraphin, “FBI Richmond relied on the key assumption that racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists will continue to find Radical Traditionalist Catholic (RTC) ideology attractive and will continue to attempt to connect with RTC adherents, both via social media and in-person at places of worship.”
The FBI report on the memo alleged that its real motivation was a concern that “Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology” possesses an “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, and white supremacy” outlook, and that this presents a threat to the U.S.’s domestic well-being. The report further claimed that adherents to Radical Traditionalist Catholic ideology “frequently share language and symbolism, such as crusader references or anti-Semitic discourses” online that pro-life white nationalists also support.
In response to the report on the memo, Catholic Family News editor-in-chief Brian McCall declared in a statement shared with LifeSiteNews:
The absurdity of the outrageous allegations of the FBI memo are blatant.
Although the author acknowledges that white supremacists are and have always been violently anti-Catholic (the KKK burn crosses specifically to show their hostility to Catholics), the author believes these white supremacist groups are now deeply attracted to strongly Catholic parishes and groups that they despise.
Traditional Catholicism has never had anything to do with racial bigotry or hatred. In fact the White Supremacist groups that have been active throughout US history (such as the Know Nothing Party) have targeted Catholics because Catholics have always sought the salvation and improvement in this world of the lot of those races and ethnicities despised by the white Protestant elitists.
Ironically every traditional Latin Mass parish I have ever attended is more ethnically diverse than liberal Catholic parishes that segregate attendees by linguistic, and hence ethnic, lines (i.e., Spanish Masses, Vietnamese Masses, etc.).
Traditional Catholics seek the conversion of everyone regardless of race, color, ethnicity, or any other attribute, to the Kingship of Christ. They seek to bring the love of Christ and His Church to all races and ethnicities.
The discovery of the apparently incorrupt body of a nun who founded a cloistered convent wholly dedicated to the traditional Mass and liturgy shows just how false the accusations of the FBI memo really are. Here you have an African-American woman who chose to start a community of religious women who lock themselves behind the cloister walls, embrace the traditional Benedictine habit and Rule of life, chant the Psalms in Latin day and night, and participate daily in the ancient Roman liturgy called the Traditional Latin Mass. It would be difficult indeed to get more traditional than that, or to contradict in a more manifest way the claims of the FBI memo regarding alleged racism and white supremacy among traditional Catholics.
As Mother Wilhelmina’s community itself notes, the nuns follow St. Benedict’s traditional monastic daily schedule, “chanting the traditional Divine Office in Latin as prescribed.” Accompanying this is the Church’s traditional liturgy, as known by saints for centuries:
We are privileged to daily partake of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (1962) in accord with Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum, the liturgy that the Church has jealously guarded for centuries. Bound up inextricably within this ancient liturgy is a great reverence for the sacredness of the holy priesthood, which is at the heart of our charism. The fitting worship rendered to Almighty God in the Holy Sacrifice spills over into the chanting of the Divine Office.
The universal appeal of the traditional Roman liturgy has been similarly manifested in France at the recent Chartres Pentecost Pilgrimage, which saw more than 20,000 pilgrims flood the Cathedral of Notre Dame du Chartres and its surrounding plaza and streets on Pentecost Monday for a solemn Mass offered for greater freedom to be granted in the Church for the celebration of the ancient liturgy of Rome.
Notably, the pilgrimage drew traditional Catholics from all over the world for a difficult three-day walk covering more than 60 miles in witness to their love for the Roman Tridentine Mass. Pilgrims came from at least four continents: Europe, North and South America, and Australia. And the pilgrimage spanned all ages: from older pilgrims in their 60s to youth and even little children. The Cathedral itself was filled with 3,000 children for the solemn high Latin Mass on Pentecost Monday. The thousands of joyful and devout youth were especially inspiring to those who hope to see the faith handed on in an authentic way to future generations.
The universal appeal of the Traditional Latin Mass is further evidenced by the fact that within the College of Cardinals, some of the most outspoken proponents of a return to a more traditional form of the liturgy, in particular the Tridentine Mass, have been high ranking cardinals from Africa, such as Cardinal Robert Sarah from French Guinea.
Priests from the Indian Syro-Malabar Catholic Rite have told LifeSiteNews that the traditional form of the Roman Rite of the Mass is closer to the liturgical form of the Mass for the Syro-Malabar Rite than is the Novus Ordo. Coptic Catholics have also said that Mass in Latin with Gregorian chant is closer to the Coptic Mass than the manner in which the Novus Ordo is ordinarily celebrated in most parishes.
In a day in which globalization in a totalitarian manner is being pushed by liberal western governments and international organizations, the global and universal attraction of the Catholic Traditional Latin Mass for people of all ages, cultures, and races serves as a kind of Christian antidote to the secular and all-controlling agenda of Left-leaning world powers. It is perhaps evidence that Christ the King, the Prince of Peace, is still drawing the hearts of men and women from all corners of the world.
The universal appeal of the old Roman Mass is a reminder that it is God alone who knows and draws the hearts of all, and that Traditional Catholics are not “racist” or “white supremacists,” but simply love God and wish to worship Him in the same way their fathers in faith have since the time of the Apostles down through the ages.