Josef Jung: You have known the traditional movement since its beginnings. Can you give us a brief recap of why "The Remnant" was founded and what it was like to be a traditional Catholic back then, in the 60s and 70s?
Michael Matt: Simply put, The Remnant was founded because my father, Walter L. Matt, recognized in the revolution of Vatican II the very thing against which Pope Pius X had been warning fifty years before – the heresy of Modernism at the heart and bosom of the Church, preparing to “update” (READ: destroy) the old order of Christendom.
At that time – November of 1967 – my father was the Editor of The Wanderer, the oldest weekly Catholic newspaper in America. Even though he was father of seven children, he left The Wanderer two years after the close of Vatican II to found The Remnant because he saw it as his duty to resist the Modernist infiltration of the Vatican.
What was it like back then? Lonely and uncertain. The Church was in full revolution, from the Vatican to the parish level, and the disastrous fallout had not yet fully materialized.
Even his own brother did not recognize what was going on in Rome as the establishment of a new order in the Church. My father’s brother elected to obey everything coming out of the Vatican, including the suppression of the Latin Mass, whereas my father argued that faithful Catholics were called to resist the novelties of the revolution. In other words, Vatican II succeeded in dividing the two brothers just as it has the entire Church.
Rather than stay on and be at loggerheads with his own brother, my father quietly sold his half of the family newspaper, and he went off to found The Remnant. I was one year old at the time.
What was it like back then? Lonely and uncertain. The Church was in full revolution, from the Vatican to the parish level, and the disastrous fallout had not yet fully materialized. So, the Mass was radically changed, the altars hacked up, the sanctuaries bulldozed, the nuns left the convents, the priests ran off to get married, and everyone was “free at last” …or so they thought.
And so, our family resisted. We left the little parish church where we’d all been baptized, but from which our good pastor had been viciously thrown out. We went from church to church, looking for orthodoxy, always in vain. We became “roamin'” Catholics, i.e., roaming from church to church, pillar to post, out in the cold.
In 1976, my father invited Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to come to the United States for his first public reception. The archbishop came to St. Paul to introduce his fledgling Society to American traditionalists.
Although I was only 10 years old, I was confirmed by the archbishop in 1976, more or less in secret. You must remember, at this point there was no indult, no functioning SSPX, no FSSP, no ICK, nothing. For ten years, in fact, my father and mother and their nine children had become refugees in a Ukrainian Catholic Church, where we were happy to fall in love with the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.
Also, during those years, our family home had become a stop on a priestly circuit where the priests who’d refused to go along with the revolution would come from all over the world to say the Traditional Latin Mass in the basement chapels of the burgeoning traditional Catholic movement. I learned to serve the Latin Mass in the basement chapel my father had built in our home.
It was something like living in Mexico during the Revolution, I suppose, though not a bloody persecution, obviously. Still, we were similarly cast out, and treated like bandits and rebels by our own, even though all we were doing was trying to keep the Faith of our fathers.
But they were good years because they taught us all what it means to be Catholic, what it means to face persecution for Christ’s sake, and what an honor it is to stand on the shoulders of giants such as Archbishop Lefebvre, Michael Davies, and Walter Matt who gave up everything for the cause of holy Tradition.
During those years, my father instilled in us the sense of the crusade, and that was our salvation. We had been born during a time of revolution for a reason. My father did not tolerate anyone suggesting he was a hero, but he did believe Catholics were called to heroic resistance when the Church was under attack. And he was right. Growing up like one of the Cristeros or the Vendeans in France helped us to realize that the Faith of our fathers was worth fighting for.
It was not a sacrifice for us as children. It was an adventure. We gladly followed our fathers onto a battlefield of sorts, where the pioneer traditional Catholics were taking a principled, Catholic, and glorious stand for Tradition and for the Old Latin Mass. And their sacrifice was not vain, as they eventually won their freedom. The Mass was restored, and we knew very well that our fathers had never left the Church during those dark days of the 1960s and 70s. They stayed, and they fought…until the Church and the Mass came back to them. God bless every one of them!
So, yes, those were lonely years but they were good years because they taught us all what it means to be Catholic, what it means to face persecution for Christ’s sake, and what an honor it is to stand on the shoulders of giants such as Archbishop Lefebvre, Michael Davies, and Walter Matt who gave up everything for the cause of holy Tradition.
Josef Jung: What are the fruits of the Catholic tradition? And why is it not enough to simply be a "conservative Catholic"?
Michael Matt: The fruits of Catholic Tradition are the preservation of our birthright, the safeguarding of the Mass of history – the “most beautiful thing this side of Heaven” – and the salvation of souls, our own included. A recent study shows that eighty percent of baptized Catholics in America have rejected the New Mass by simply dropping out of the Church altogether. Contrast that with the fact that one hundred percent of Traditional Catholics attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day, and it is not difficult to understand what I mean when I say that the fruits of Catholic tradition include the salvation of souls.
The problem with the so-called “conservative” Catholic movement is that it never actually conserved anything. Under their watch, for example, the “conservatives” lost everything they’d initially said they wanted to conserve: communion on the tongue, male altar servers, Latin in the liturgy, the sacred music patrimony, etc. You tell me: What, exactly, did they conserve over the past 50 years?
The Revolution is all about the cancelation of the entire body of Catholic Tradition, whether doctrinally, liturgically, or spiritually.
The pattern was always the same: The novelty was pitched by the Vatican or this or that bishops’ conference, the “conservatives” whimpered a little protest just before they complied, went along with it, and went silent. I see no conservation here. Do you?
The Revolution is all about the cancelation of the entire body of Catholic Tradition, whether doctrinally, liturgically, or spiritually. And if there was ever any doubt of that before, we need only take a cursory glance at Pope Francis’s Synod on Synodality to be sure of it. The gameplan is obvious: Ask an intentionally dumbed down cross section of Catholics what they think the modern Church needs to do in order to become relevant to the modern world, and then do whatever they tell you: Gay unions need to be blessed and approved by the Church, first of all. After that, divorce, contraception, maybe even abortion eventually. Radically trash what’s left of the Church, and then tell the world: “Well, we asked the people what they want, and they told us.” So much for doing what Christ ORDERED the Church to do!
This is why it is not enough to simply be a “conservative” Catholic. Nancy Pelosi was a “conservative” Catholic not that long ago. But after a little while and a lot of compromise, the “conservative” Catholic very soon finds himself on a dangerous trajectory towards apostasy. Catholics have no right to comply with that which is offensive to God, injurious to Tradition, and destructive to souls. We must resist, which means we must be Traditional Catholics from now until God raises up His saint. It will happen, in God’s good time. The Church is His to save, not ours, however, so our job is to keep the old Faith until God restores His Church. Period!
Josef Jung:Times are tough for the Church and tradition. More and more TLMs are being banned. In Chicago, the Christ the King Institute was "suspended". In Germany, the Synodal Way is raging. What else should we traditional Catholics prepare for?
Michael Matt: We should first prepare for total vindication. That the Vatican should determine to attack the Latin Mass community – with so many young families with children, so much hope, so much faith — that the Vatican should try to attack that community now, in the middle of a global pandemic, economic collapse, and even threats of world war, really says all we need to know about the pivotal role of the Traditional Catholic restoration.
The Modernist Vatican, teeming with Globalists and Progressives, has figured out that, statistically speaking, the future of the Catholic Church is the traditional Catholic movement. The Novus Ordo is dying. Their churches are closing by the hundreds, as are their seminaries, while Traditional Catholic churches and seminaries are booming.
There is no other explanation for why these aging revolutionaries would be trying to cancel so many young Catholic families and children. They have no answer for Tradition, no way of competing with it (or with us), which is why they are becoming obsessed with crushing and canceling the Tradition Latin Mass.
What should we prepare for today? Clarity such as our fathers didn’t have, and hope that comes with doing the right thing. We are not heroes, but we remember the heroes, and we are trying to honor them by handing down the Faith to our sons exactly as it was handed down to us from our fathers.
And what does this tell us? That our fathers and mothers were right to resist, that it is the Latin Mass that matters, that we are right to resist today, and that our children must be taught to resist tomorrow.
What should we prepare for today? Clarity such as our fathers didn’t have, and hope that comes with doing the right thing. We are not heroes, but we remember the heroes, and we are trying to honor them by handing down the Faith to our sons exactly as it was handed down to us from our fathers. Those inside the Vatican and the chancery offices who have lost the Faith will attempt to outlaw the Mass of history just as they tried to do France during the Revolution, and in Ireland, England, Spain, Mexico, China, etc. This kind of persecution is nothing new to the faithful Catholic. We’ve seen it before and down through the annals of history, all the way back to little Agnes and Barbara, Saints Lucy, Lawrence, and Tarcisius – the martyrs of the coliseum.
What should we prepare to do? Obey God first, which means disobey those who would crucify His Mystical Body. Never let them take the Mass of our Fathers away from us again. Yes, we will be persecuted, but it will be short lived, and it will be the greatest honor of our lives. Why? Because in persecuting us, the revolutionaries are raising the white flag of surrender because their precious Revolution has failed. They failed to seduce or bully us, and the only recourse left to them now is to unchain the lions. . . and we all know what happened the last time they did that – little murdered martyrs inspired the greatest warriors and kings to take up swords and scepters, to build the most magnificent civilization the world has ever seen, where Christ the King ruled for a thousand years and the terrible instrument of Roman execution was transformed into the greatest sign of hope the world has ever known.
Josef Jung: A big concern of yours, as I see on your YouTube channel and your website, is the motto "Unite the Clans". What do you understand by this? Why is it so important today?
Michael Matt: From the very beginning, the Revolution was all about division. The Latin Mass united the entire Catholic world in a common tongue, ritual, and liturgy, which is why the Modernists had to cancel it first. If there was ever to be a new order of man, the Christocentric order of Christendom had to first be torn down.
Unite the Clans is nothing more than the Catholic duty and the right thing to do.
It started in the Catholic Church, and today we see it move all throughout what was once mighty Christendom: Lock them down, mask them up, keep them six feet away from each other, divide and conquer them all. That’s how you build a New World Order!
But traditional Catholics have been at war against that Revolution all of our lives, which is why we were in the parking lots celebrating Mass outside during the Covid lockdowns.
Unite the Clans is just our way of reminding the Christian brotherhood throughout the world that, though our shepherds have been struck, we the sheep must not scatter. We have work to do. We have a war fight. Do not let the hirelings come between us. Unite in Christian charity and let the Latin Mass – the touchstone of our Faith – hold us together now as it held our fathers together for a thousand years.
Unite the Clans is nothing more than the Catholic duty and the right thing to do. It has nothing to do with uniting this Society with that Fraternity; in fact, it has little to do with uniting any priests at all. Unite the Clans has everything to do with fathers and mothers and children and families all throughout the world, uniting around the old Mass, confirming each other in the old faith and resolving to stay together on this battlefield no matter how long it takes.
We are united against the enemies of Christ the King, under His royal standard, and there is no force on earth that can divide us now or in the future, so long as we keep the Faith.
So, Unite the clans? Absolutely!
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