Radical Catholics


Do you want to be a radical Catholic?
Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. After all, the word radical can be a good or bad depending on the context. Sometimes it carries connotations of passionate commitment or admirable zeal. Other times, it can mean fanatical, freakish, or even dangerous devotion to a cause.
But I would argue we should all be radical Catholics. That’s because radical, in its strictest and truest sense, simply means rooted. The word radical comes from the Latin word radix. Radix means the root or foundation of something.
Men understand rootedness. We desire and appreciate things of quality, things with a venerable history, things that are tested and established. We like old cars made of steel and not plastic, gifts passed down from father to son for generations, ancient ceremonies, weathered buildings. Things that have proven themselves strong and true.
As Catholics, we should be radical because we should be rooted. But rooted in what? The traditions of the Church. Not just the infallible Sacred Traditions, but also the small-t devotional traditions that sanctified our forefathers for generations.
We live in an age that glorifies, even worships autonomy and personal choice. “What do you want? Which do you prefer? What makes you happy?” These are the questions everyone wants to be asked. Yet, the Catholic and Apostolic Faith is not something we modify to suit our preferences. It is not a Faith made in our own image. The Catholic Faith is something we receive. We no more choose or make it than we choose our birthday or family lineage.
Tradition has become somewhat of a dirty word in some Catholic circles. It is used dismissively or even derisively. Yet, a Catholic without tradition makes no sense—like a man waking from a coma only to realize he has no memory of who he is. Tradition is the memory of the Church.


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