Robert Bellah used to say: “Nothing is ever lost.” That dictum came to mind recently when I was contacted by a group of American college students, who call themselves Tradistae. The name is meant to be reminiscent of the Tradinistas, and the group does try to revive some of the better aspects of that project. They refer to the work on integralism that we have done at The Josias, and attempt a thoroughly integralist approach to Catholic action. Their main focus is the practice of the works of mercy.
There is something remarkable about how small groups such as this one are re-discovering elements of Catholic Tradition that many, especially of their parents’ generation, consider passé. Dan Hitchens has recently written an interesting essay about converts to Catholicism who were led thither by what the found on the internet. “God can use anything, even the internet,” he writes, “and if this is a terrible age for distraction and vanity, it is also an era of internet conversions.” The same is true mutatis mutandis of young Catholics re-discovering neglected aspects of their tradition.
An example in the past few days was a video letter to Bishop Robert Barron posted online by senior students of Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia:
The students talk with real enthusiasm about how learning the Third Way of proving the existence of God; the sort of philosophical proof of one of the preambles of the faith, that the self-proclaimed theological avant-garde of their parents generation would have groaned at. The students made video-clips for their senior projects, and they appeal to various Catholic Twitter users whose work is of relevance to their projects to re-tweet their video. One of them appeals to Chad Pecknold, whom he praises for bringing The City of God to Twitter through the #civdei discussions. Two others, who did their video on “the resurgence of the Tridentine Mass among young Catholics” appeal to Matthew Walther.
But the most remarkable recent example of “nothing is ever lost” is the new book published by Scott Hahn, perhaps the greatest living Catholic apologist. Billy Borman of Incudi Reddere sent me an extract from the book, and I immediately got permission from Dr. Hahn to post it at The Josias. Hahn has long been doing splendid work explaining the central mysteries of the Faith in a manner intelligible to the many. In this book he seems to be showing how certain forgotten truths about the relation of the Church to temporal power follow from those truths. He is uniquely positioned to help so-called “ordinary Catholics in the pews” see how the Kingship of Christ extends to their social and political lives.