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(LifeSiteNews) — There are many strong opinions about Traditional Catholics. The most critical opinions always include how they behave and how they ought to behave. I think the reality of the situation can be summed up in the improbable words of wisdom delivered by the restaurant owner Pete in The Muppets Take Manhattan: “peoples is peoples.”

People are who they are, and before anyone engages in a disparaging interchange in an internet comment box, they really should count to ten before joining in on the mudslinging, keeping in mind the fact that traditionalists are ordinary people with common shortcomings. 

In my experience, people don’t attend Traditional Latin Mass parishes because they are looking for an opportunity to virtue signal or be part of an elite club. Rather, they desire to worship God the way He deserves to be worshipped. Traditional Catholics are sinners, too. They are the type of people you will find at any parish. Some are very good, some… well, not so much. But isn’t this true of all the people you know?

I am guilty of the naive assumption that traditional Catholics ought to be holier or better than mainstream Catholics. I laugh at the thought as I now remind myself, “peoples is peoples.” Traditional Catholics aren’t better than anyone else. They’re not smarter than anyone else. They aren’t more successful than anyone else. They aren’t less caddy than anyone else. As a whole they behave like every other group of people. Slamming rude comments that individuals make with some sort of smear against traditionalists as a whole is actually playing into the hands of those who would like to see all Catholic voices removed from public discourse.

In defense of traditionalists as a whole, I’d like to share my experience as a proud member of that crowd. I believe that those who embrace tradition do so because of their deep faith in Jesus Christ, and this desire is nourished through a detachment from the things of this earth and a love for the Church that Christ established.

Many Millennials who have embraced tradition were given a superficial faith due to decades of poor catechesis. When they find the Traditional Latin Mass, it’s as though they have found the pearl of great price. The Most Beautiful Thing This Side of Heaven becomes their treasure. They are often worldlings who must commit themselves to learning and practicing the faith of our fathers. As they begin detaching themselves from the things of this world – things to which they were so very much attached – they dedicate newfound time into immersing themselves in the treasure-trove of traditional Catholic customs and devotions. The Mass of the Ages inspires them to use their talent for the greater glory of God, imbibing everything they pursue with the graces God bestows on their faithfulness.

This process of detachment from the world leads to a great love for the Church and a desire to protect her from her enemies, enemies from within and without. The love for Holy Mother Church can be likened to a child’s love for his mother. Those who love the Church in this way want to defend her honor and see her presented in her most attractive arraignment. 

When tradition is witnessed for the first time, a Catholic who loves the Church is overwhelmed by the beauty taken in by all the senses. The sacred polyphony, the glorious vestments, the smell of incense, the sound of the bells, the masculinity of the priest and servers, and especially the joy of receiving Our Lord while kneeling and on the tongue at the Communion rail, all contribute to an often life changing experience.

The conversion to tradition is a love story motivated by the virtue of faith. All characters in a love story have shortcomings but all is forgiven for the sake of the beloved.

I think Our Lord knew “peoples is peoples” too. He chose the most ordinary of the ordinary to be His apostles, and on the eve of His death, they quarreled over their place at the table.

Please permit me a brief catechism lesson that serves as a good reminder to us all.

From the Baltimore Catechism, published in 1885 by the American bishops as commissioned by the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore:

The Catholic Church is one because all its members, according to the will of Christ, profess the same faith, have the same sacrifice and sacraments, and are united under one and the same visible head, the Pope.  

All of us who assist at the same sacrifice, receive the same sacraments, and hold the same faith will also quarrel for our place at the table. Let’s follow Jesus’ commandment to love one another and strive to be like John the Beloved who reclined on Our Lord’s chest and remained at the foot of the cross when all others fled.

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Kathleen Bowen is a wife and homeschooling mother of ten children. She began in 2013. As her children have grown, they’ve taken her down the path of Catholic moviemaking. Her family’s 5th film is currently in pre-production.