From The Remnant
By David L. Sonnier
Traditional Catholicism can be loosely defined as the prayers, customs and spirituality which existed universally in the Latin Rite prior to the Second Vatican Council. This term was not used at the time of the Council. It came into use subsequently, as these prayers, customs and the accompanying spirituality were being removed from modern life in every civilization throughout the world while a vigilant remnant protected it, considering it as having every right to exist and worth protecting.
To this date Traditional Catholicism has survived a prolonged period of unceasing effort to purge it, continuing to survive and even thrive as the spiritual life that millions of people throughout the world adhere to. Traditional Catholics are those Catholics who retain, practice, and protect the customs and traditions, and liturgical norms that existed throughout the world prior to 1965. Demographic surveys of this group vary, but it is commonly understood to be about 1% of all Catholics, along with another 11% who “consider themselves traditional.” 
The most straight-forward interpretation of these statistics is that 1% of Catholics have regular access to a church in which they can practice their Faith in the manner that was previously universal, and choose to do so. As for the other 11%, since the study  does not define what is meant for people to “consider themselves traditional” we can assume that either they do not have access to such a church, or that their access is limited but they nevertheless believe and practice as Catholics previously did, or that they simply identify with pre-conciliar practices and customs.
By a precise and commonly accepted definition, Cultural genocide is defined  as subjecting a people to:
(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;(c) Any form of population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;(d) Any form of assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures;(e) Any form of propaganda directed against them.
A crime, such as cultural genocide, requires both a perpetrator and a victim. In this case the victims are those who refuse to modify their prayer life, give up their spiritual patrimony, and abandon their customs. Obviously this does not apply to all who consider themselves Catholic, as some gladly yield and give up their prayer life, customs, culture, and even doctrine for the slightest material benefit. The perpetrator is anyone in any position of ecclesiastical or civil authority forcing those unwilling to do so to abandon their customs and practices, whether by deceit or through administrative manipulation (withholding permission for the traditional Mass, or transferring a priest to disrupt a community, for example). Only one of these conditions need be satisfied to conclude that the perpetrator is guilty of Cultural Genocide.
In this context, allegations of cultural genocide meet several common objections. First, it pertains to religious practice that they consider outdated. But common practice cannot be considered “outdated” solely for having been suppressed for some extensive period of time. “Suppressed” is not the same as “outdated.” This would be the equivalence of suppressing French culture and language for fifty years and then claiming that it is “outdated.” It is important to remember that the suppression of religious practice falls into the definition of Cultural Genocide.
Another common objection to the allegation of cultural genocide is that the suppression of these customs, prayers and the accompanying spiritual life came from within the Church – specifically the leadership: bishops and even popes. According to this logic, the term Cultural Suicide would be more appropriate. This argument loses validity when we recall that for many years following Vatican II those who continued to follow preconciliar practices were not considered to be Catholic by the vast majority of the perpetrators (including popes and bishops).
The protagonists, “traditional Catholics” in this case, clearly considered themselves as Catholics, but the antagonists considered such people to be outside the Church. One can argue that it was a case of Cultural Suicide for those who considered their own Catholic culture as worthy of destruction and elimination and not worthy of protecting. For others who sought to protect this same culture in a prolonged conflict against those who considered them to belong to another religion, the use of the term Cultural Genocide is entirely appropriate.
Yet another common objection to allegations of Cultural Genocide has to do with the status of what some consider to be a “movement.” Here we can see that failure to use accurate terminology has clouded the situation. Consider the following text from a definition found in Wikipedia:
Traditional Catholicism is commonly understood as “a movement of Catholics in favour of restoring many or all of the customs, traditions, liturgical forms, public and private devotions and presentations of the teaching of the Catholic Church before the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). They are commonly associated with an attachment to the Eucharistic liturgy often called the Tridentine, Traditional Latin or extraordinary form of the Mass.” 
The fact that this definition describes it as “a movement” instead of a set of religious beliefs and practices held by a group of people is illuminating. If we are speaking of 1% of all Catholics (or 11%, or anything in between) then there are millions of Catholics throughout the world who live their lives according to “all of the customs, traditions, liturgical forms, public and private devotions and presentations of the teaching of the Catholic Church before the Second Vatican Council.”
There are, in fact, traditional orders of sisters and brothers, traditional seminaries, traditional orders of clergy scattered throughout the world. Yet, by this definition, it is considered a “movement” instead of the remnants of a distinct culture that has existed throughout the world for centuries. The use of the word “movement” is misleading. If it is only a “movement,” then legitimately there may be a “counter-movement” in opposition.
Furthermore, that “movement” can be accused of engaging in “culture wars.” To clarify, it is a distinct set of “customs, traditions, liturgical forms, public and private devotions” that some sought to preserve and others sought to eliminate. This is not the same thing as a “movement.” The perpetrators have defined the boundaries of the discussion specifically to avoid any culpability. Suppression of a “movement” or harshness with “schismatics” can be considered acceptable in certain circumstances; the attempted suppression of venerable cultural, religious, and spiritual practices is, on the other hand, nothing short of Cultural Genocide.
Components of the Definition of Cultural Genocide
We can apply components of the definition above to demonstrate that the use of this term is appropriate. Only the first component is addressed, with the remaining four to be addressed in a subsequent article.
“Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities”
- Forced prohibition of Catholic prayer language
- Forced modification of Catholic prayer customs
- Denying the faithful their right to their cultural heritage and identity by denying their petitions for the traditional Mass
Examples of cultural genocide typically cited involve suppression of linguistic practice.  A unique Catholic identity existed until the time of the Second Vatican Council, which concluded in 1965. The use of a common language for prayer, throughout the world, prior to 1965, is an historical fact. Outside of the Eastern rites, wherever one would travel in the world, one could attend Mass with no linguistic barrier other than whatever may have been presented by lack of knowledge of the common prayer language.
This common language provides a Catholic identity in the same sense that Hebrew does so among the Jewish. Since the traditional Mass is offered everywhere in Latin, one only needed a Missal to be able to attend Mass in any church, follow the actions and words of the priest and fellow Catholics, pray and even sing with people from another land who speak a different living language. This is the practice among Traditional Catholics, but it is no longer universally true in the Roman Rite.
When it was revealed internationally that the “Roman Catholic Mass” was to be suppressed in 1970, a well-publicized outcry was led by intellectuals, many of them English and most of whom were not even Catholic. It is worth repeating:
If some senseless decree were to order the total or partial destruction of basilicas or cathedrals, then obviously it would be the educated -- whatever their personal beliefs -- who would rise up in horror to oppose such a possibility.Now the fact is that basilicas and cathedrals were built so as to celebrate a rite which, until a few months ago, constituted a living tradition. We are referring to the Roman Catholic Mass. Yet, according to the latest information in Rome, there is a plan to obliterate that Mass by the end of the current year.One of the axioms of contemporary publicity, religious as well as secular, is that modern man in general, and intellectuals in particular, have become intolerant of all forms of tradition and are anxious to suppress them and put something else in their place.But, like many other affirmations of our publicity machines, this axiom is false. Today, as in times gone by, educated people are in the vanguard where recognition of the value of tradition is concerned, and are the first to raise the alarm when it is threatened.We are not at this moment considering the religious or spiritual experience of millions of individuals. The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts -- not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs. Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians.In the materialistic and technocratic civilisation that is increasingly threatening the life of mind and spirit in its original creative expression -- the word -- it seems particularly inhuman to deprive man of word-forms in one of their most grandiose manifestations.The signatories of this appeal, which is entirely ecumenical and nonpolitical, have been drawn from every branch of modern culture in Europe and elsewhere. They wish to call to the attention of the Holy See, the appalling responsibility it would incur in the history of the human spirit were it to refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to survive, even though this survival took place side by side with other liturgical forms. 
The “obliteration” did take place at the designated time. The Mass was replaced, not at all gradually and not even in accordance with the guidelines put forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC) by the fathers of Vatican II. . Most notably, the new Mass was to be exclusively in the vernacular even though the SC had demanded no such thing. On the contrary, SC specified that Latin and Gregorian Chant were to remain in the liturgy; it had simply called for a wider allowance of vernacular. Through well-documented manipulation, SC was used for outright prohibition of any use of Latin in the liturgy at all, with very few exceptions .
The letter above led to the 1971 “Agatha Christie Indult,”  named for one of the signatories, allowing that “…certain groups of the faithful may on special occasions be allowed to participate in the Mass celebrated according to the Rites and texts of the former Roman Missal.” Permission was rarely given, however, and it would still be another 36 years before Summorum Pontificum  would be promulgated after a series of intermediate steps. Meanwhile, the prolonged, and forced, absence of the “Roman Mass” was sufficient to deprive Catholics of their integrity as a distinct people.
At this point, the former sense of unity, or Catholic identity, no longer exists in the universal sense, and has been replaced by divisions in which various linguistic groups compete for Mass times, parish council positions, and other resources. With the suppression of the Catholic liturgical language, the Catholic identity has given way to linguistic splintering. Any sense of unity only continues to exist within linguistic groups, including among Traditional Catholics, who are now seen as just another (albeit very impractical) linguistic group.
Culpability for suppressing the Mass in the old rite has increased over time as the status of the pre-conciliar rite has been made increasingly clear. The status of the old rite was initially considered either “forbidden” or “undetermined,” with successive waves of clarity following several intermediate steps:
- The “Agatha Christie Indult” (1971, England and Wales only) 
- Quattuor Abhinc Annos (1984) 
- Ecclesia Dei (1988) 
- Summorum Pontificum (2007) 
Note that each of the above refers to the ancient Mass; there were also sporadic attempts throughout the years to ensure that the norms put forth in SC were adhered to with respect to the revised liturgy. However, the actual implementation of each of these landmark documents always depended entirely on the local ordinary who was always at liberty to proclaim that, in the case of his diocese, it did not apply for some very important reason or another, and all he had to do was come up with that very important reason for which he was exempt. Any complaints to Rome would be merely directed back to him to ignore at his leisure.
In retrospect one can see that each of these last three successive documents caused a grudging consent to the previous; for example, Ecclesia Dei seemed to have been necessary in order to obtain the very limited access described in Quattuor Abhinc Annos, and now that Summorum Pontificum is the law of the Church most bishops will willingly (or grudgingly) act in accordance with the norms described in Ecclesia Dei. The culpability of a bishop who still, after Summorum Pontificum, disallows any priest or group of petitioners to organize the restoration of the old rite in their home parish is grave; such a bishop is guilty of participation in cultural genocide on this point.
Given the current well-publicized state of the Church, the question of appropriateness of accusations of Cultural Genocide, as well as the question of “Genocide vs. Suicide” takes an increased importance. The essential question is whether the near elimination of Catholic culture been forced or involuntary, and if so, who is at fault? This question should be repeated frequently and those responsible should be called out so that they may come to understand the grave judgement they will undergo.
Points 2 (“dispossession of lands and resources”), 3 (“population transfer”), 4 (“forced assimilation”) and 5 (“propaganda”) of the definition of Cultural Genocide will be addressed in a subsequent instalment.
 Article 7, United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (26 August 1994).
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_genocide Examples cited in literature include the suppression of native languages during the Japanese occupation of Korea and the German occupation of Poland.
 Letter to Pope Paul VI appearing in The Times on 6 July, 1971 The letter, found at Appendix 1, had been sent from the UK to the Vatican. http://www.institute-christ-king.org/uploads/main/pdf/england-statement.pdf See Appendix 1.
 See Second Vatican Council, Document on liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 4 December, 1963.
 Liturgical Shipwreck, by Michael Davies, Tan Books, 1997.
 Sacra Congregatio pro Cultu Divino E Civitate Vaticana, die 5 Novembre 1971 Prot. N. 1897/71
 Quattuor Abhinc Annos, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, sent on 3 October 1984 to the Presidents of the Conferences of Bishops.
 Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, issued motu proprio on 2 July 1988 by Pope John Paul II.
 Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, issued motu propio by Pope Benedict XVI on July 7, 2007.