How (and Why) to Make Your Own Trad Men’s Conference

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The Canadian Men’s conference had a successful second year. The venue was moved from the former hotel to a new one with more space, and it sold out. The event began as every men’s gathering should: with bagpipes.

Fr. Rion, SSPX, key note speaker

Relics and other devotional pieces sacralised the space

I’ve been blessed to be a small part of this event since it first started, headed by my good friend and contributing editor Kennedy Hall and his Canadian brethren.

Kennedy Hall, OnePeterFive contributing editor

Kennedy Hall addressing a question about the SSPX

In between the first and second conference, I was reading this issue of Sword & Spade Magazine and it got me thinking:

Sword & Spade Catholics Men’s Magazine, published by Fraternus

The Fraternus issue (above, bottom left) discusses how the Fraternus organisation was founded and what were its founding principles. Jason Craig, founder of Fraternus, discusses how initiation into manhood is an initiation into the brotherhood.

I was struck by this because I had found in my own life that I needed the strength of the brotherhood in order to be a better man, learn the wisdom of men of God and carry on the fight of our forefathers. In my diocese we are blessed to have an organisation similar to Fraternus: the Troops of St. George. This brotherhood was founded by Taylor Marshall as a Catholic alternative to the Boy Scouts, after the latter “drank the kool-aid.”

As I reflected on the Fraternus issue of Sword & Spade, I began to realise how necessary were these institutions of brotherhood for Christendom. The knights of Christendom must be initiated into the brotherhood of Christian warriors if they hope to receive the strength of our forefathers. Too many men get lost in false manliness, whether this is the Neo-Puritanism we have critiqued on the podcast, or else they fall into hating their brothers through effeminacy facilitated by the internet.

Men go to war as a band of brothers. It is the brotherhood that forms the strength of the army. Men cannot fight long if they cannot rely on their brothers. Men will grow weary and faint if they expend their energy fighting their brethren rather than the enemy. Love the brotherhood (I Pet. ii. 17). As the Holy Ghost says, iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend (Prov. xxvii. 17).

This is the reason why I challenge you, dear reader, to build up the brotherhood in your parish community. The Canadian Men’s conference was created by a brotherhood: the Society of the Holy Name. The purpose of a men’s conference or retreat is to build up the brotherhood to go to war.

OnePeterFive promoting the crusade of Eucharistic Reparation

You may be an introvert who is suffocated by crowds. But every man needs brotherhood – even if that brotherhood is just a man and his own father. And if the brotherhood helps to make a man, and effeminate men are the ones who made this crisis, then it is to the brotherhood that we must turn in order to get out of this mess we are in. If we build up the brotherhood, the men of God will emerge who will raise pious sons to be the new generation of priests and religious to fight for Tradition. The men of Christendom will be the new noblemen and knights who govern souls and societies according to Tradition, and refuse to jump when the pope says “climate change.”

The ranks of demons fear the brotherhood, and that is why they have sought by every means to sow dissension and hatred among brethren. Thus the Holy Spirit says that the Lord hateth… him that soweth discord among brethren (Prov. vi. 16, 19).

In the face of a bad bishop who robs your children of the ancient Roman Rite, let us stand together as brethren for Tradition. Let us stand as brothers not to hate that Bishop, but to appeal to him as a father (I Tim. v. 1). There are many men’s conferences in many dioceses, but it seems that the Canadian Men’s Conference is the only men’s conference in North America with the Latin Mass.

So I issue the challenge to all our readers: let’s build up the brotherhood for Tradition. The Canadian Men’s Conference was designed and built as a model for new Trad conferences to be built across North America and the world. They do not want to continue growing and growing, but they want you to build your own brotherhood in your own community.

This is the Catholic way. This is the “organic society” of Christendom.

But How do I do this?

So here’s the steps to achieve this modest but potent goal for Tradition:

1. Form or join a brotherhood at your parish or chapel. There are many lay sodalities in existence already and I’ve mentioned three in this article already. If you don’t have one, form a new chapter of one of these, or create your own. Lay people do not need permission from clerics to form into brotherhoods.

2. Meet consistently with the brotherhood for prayer, penance and recreation. In Lent, a group of men in my brotherhood form a chapter of the Fellowship of St. Nicholas and we eat Lenten meals every Wednesday. This gives us strength to shoulder the fast joyfully together. And we have to have recreation: the “virtue of games” (II-II q168 a2). Men need to feel the joy of competition, just like they need to smoke and drink together.   

3. Organise and execute an annual men’s retreat or conference with the brotherhood. Pick a Saturday of the year with the Latin Mass in the morning. Ask your parish priest to give a talk. Have it at your parish hall, or something bigger like a hotel conference room. The logistical difficulties increase as the size increases. Figure in the cost and manpower for the food, drink and smokes. Invite all the men of your parish and/or your diocese.

Retreat or conference? The form of this gathering can take lots of different forms depending on your group, but the goal is the same: to build up the brotherhood for war. A retreat is more low-key with lots of self-directed prayer time and free time for men to form the brotherhood as they desire, whereas a conference has lots of things on the schedule: speakers, meals, book tables, raffles, and bagpipes.

The Trad movement has been fighting underground for some time, and by the strength of our forefathers we emerged victorious at the moment of Summorum Pontificum, which then helped us spread the Latin Mass everywhere. But the new war is upon us: the New Iconoclasm of Traditionis Custodes. Let us retreat to the brotherhood in order to form our ranks to bring the fight back to the enemy.

We will liberate Rome from Neo-Modernist occupation or die trying.

After two years of attending the Canadian Men’s Conference, I know what I need to do: build up the brotherhood in my own parish community. So I’m getting to work doing that. I challenge all men of Christendom to do the same for their parishes. Let’s prepare for war, then turn back toward the world, the flesh and the devil, and unsheathe our swords. Ave Maria.

T. S. Flanders
Saturday in the 3rd Week of the Great Fast

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