“Restorationism,” broadly speaking, is a protestant movement that seeks to “restore” to Christianity a mythical non-denominational purity, such as it is imagined to have existed in Apostolic times, apart from the Holy Catholic Church established by Our Blessed Lord.
Lately, however, the “restorationist” label has been applied to certain individuals within the Catholic Church, people who are also alternately branded as Pelagian, Ideological and Legalist. By any and all of these names, the “restorationist” is said to have a rather serious illness that one should avoid at all costs.
While regular readers of this blog know precisely to whom these labels are meant to apply, many others presumably have no idea who these restorationists are and how they might be recognized; the only thing that is clear is that they must be condemned.
With this in mind, drawing from time well spent in the presence of many a restorationist – not to mention personally suffering from the condition myself – I’d like to offer a decidedly abbreviated, but hopefully useful, Portrait of a Restorationist.
So, just who are these people?
- Single men and women of various ages, who take very seriously the challenges associated with living a chaste life, some with a prayerful ear inclined toward the Lord who never ceases to call men to the priesthood, and men and women to consecrated religious life
- Husbands and wives, married in the Catholic Church, who consider their covenant bond one that cannot be broken by anything short of death, and who consider contraception a grave sin
- Fathers and mothers who are willing to gratefully accept the blessing of a large family, often with five or more children
- Some are homeschoolers, others enroll their children in Catholic schools, most would never even consider sending their child into the lion’s den of the public school system, and all of them make great sacrifices to form their children in the one true Faith
- Families that pray together often and who embrace the liturgical seasons as that which establishes the ordinary rhythm of life in the home
- People of all ages who live Sacramentally, including frequent Confession
- Ordinary workers who offer their daily labors up to the Lord, often through the intercession of St. Joseph
- Business owners who consider their enterprise a work of the apostolate, and who see the welfare of their employees and the good of their families as a sacred obligation, seeking to do not what is most profitable according to the laws of economics; but rather what is most in conformity with the law of love
- Citizens who apply the guiding light of sacred doctrine to all of their civic duties, and who would never cast a vote in favor of a politician who promises to undermine the Divine Law of Christ the King, be it through such evils as abortion, contraception, and same-sex “marriage” or otherwise
- People who recognize the infinite goodness and enduring efficaciousness of the traditional liturgy and who take their Holy Day obligation very seriously, making the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass a priority, some even traveling great distances just to assist in a liturgy that fittingly glorifies Our Blessed Lord
- Students of the Faith who recognize as untenable the mere suggestion that the Church, after more than 1900 years, suddenly began to see herself and her mission in an “utterly new way,” studying and praying over the sacred treasury contained in the papal magisterium of the centuries leading up to today
- People who repeat after the Psalmist, “O’ Lord, how I love your law!” recognizing in the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine a sure guide that leads to an ever more fruitful relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ and likewise with our fellow men
- Willing subjects of Christ the King who both recognize and boldly proclaim His Sovereignty over all things in Heaven and on Earth, inviting those who as yet do not know or understand this Good News to accept His “sweet and saving yoke”
- Children of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a deep devotion to her Immaculate Heart, consecrated to her, and who recognize her as the Mediatrix of all Graces, Co-Redemptrix and Queen Mother
- Prayerful souls who treasure the same traditional devotions that nurtured the souls of the Saints, and who treat them not as ends unto themselves but as aids along the pathway that leads to more intimate union with Christ
- Missionary spirits in all states of life, who realize that charity alone demands of us nothing less than a deep desire to invite and welcome others into the Holy Catholic Church, the solitary community of salvation that the Lord has given us, unafraid to risk rejection in proclaiming the enduring truth, in love, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus
I will resist the temptation to continue and will instead conclude by saying that each and every brushstroke that contributed to the “Portrait of a Restorationist” above, refers to real people that I have been privileged to know; goodhearted, joyful, vibrant Catholics who love their Faith for the gift that it is.
As for the “restorationists” so often diagnosed as if a disease in the Body of Christ, those rigid, ivory tower disciplinarians who pine away for bygone days, treating knowledge of the doctrine of the Faith as an academic enterprise and prayer as an item on a checklist, unconcerned with the well being of the spiritually starving masses, of these I can honestly say that I know not even one.
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