Trad Godmothers Against the World

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In the year of the reign of Jesus Christ 2021, way back in July when “Jailers of Tradition” first came out – almost three years ago at this point – the Holy Father summed up the lies he had imbibed against Trads when he said falsely that the desire for the ancient Roman Rite was “tied more to the desire and wishes of individual priests than to the real need of the ‘holy People of God’” (Letter Accompanying Traditionis Custodes).

It is amazing how this lie works. The Holy Father accuses the Trad movement of clericalism, and then uses the full force of his own clerical power to dictate to the laity what are their “needs” in terms of liturgy. This of course assumes that the laity have no rational knowledge of their own needs and cannot express them to their clerical pastors. The laity are irrational and ignorant, and must be treated that way by clerics who know better about the liturgy. This is the very definition of clericalism.

(In fairness to Pope Francis, however, that’s exactly what Pius XII did with his 1955 Holy Week reform. But we’ll get to that in another forthcoming treatment.)

When I first met Cameron O’Hearn in person, he came over to my house and shot the footage that ended up in Episode II of the Mass of the Ages trilogy. The camera crew spent an hour setting up the camera and audio. Then Cameron sat in a chair to interview me and said, “Ok, let’s pray.” Then he prayed a prayer to St. Joseph the Worker to bless the work. It seemed this was their routine with all their production work.

Cameron was a layman with a group of laymen invoking the greatest layman saint, St. Joseph, human father of Our Lord.

Indeed, the whole Mass of the Ages trilogy and its organisation, is entirely “crowd funded” by lay patrons in order to support priests. This is just a manifestation of the entire Trad movement which has been from its beginnings a lay-led movement. This is because before the SSPX was organised, Una Voce was leading the charge in defence of the Latin Mass. Lay leaders arose to defend the Latin Mass – Dietrich von Hildebrand and even Jacques Maritain – the Agatha Christie Indult was filled with non-Catholics and thus laity! The work of the SSPX – and thus the clerics – came later and worked independently of the Trad lay movement, but not in opposition thereto. The lay-led movement supported the priests who then led the movement.

The history of the Trad movement gives the lie to the clericalist saying of Pope Francis, and the history of the Novus Ordo – and indeed, the destruction of the Roman Rite since St. Pius X! – shows that it is a clericalist liturgical Iconoclasm from top to bottom.

Just as Joseph was the protector of the high priest – Jesus Himself – Trad laity have protected and provided for Trad priests from the SSPX or elsewhere who were willing to stand with the laity against the clericalist New Iconoclasm. And so Cameron invoking St. Joseph was very fitting indeed. But last weekend at the premier of Episode III I was struck by something else even more powerful.

The Triumph of the Little Ones

For St. Joseph is the great layman saint, but we all know there is one greater lay saint – the saint of saints – Our Lady. Here I recall the awesome words of St. Louis de Montfort:

[Satan] fears her not only more than all Angels and men, but in some sense more than God Himself … because Satan, being proud, suffers infinitely more from being beaten and punished by a little and humble handmaid of God, and her humility humbles him more than the Divine power (True Devotion to Mary, 52).

This is why heretics hate Mary: she will ever check their pride with her humility. Mary is the mother of priests because she checks a priest’s temptation to pride over the laity. She makes a priest conform to Our Lord Jesus Christ Who gave up his life for his sheep. Therefore she is the enemy of the clericalist regime and will triumph over it with her Immaculate Heart.

And this is what struck me about the Mass of the Ages trilogy: its Marian element. For the main characters in every episode are women of God who enter into the mystery of Mary in some way.

Kristine Mauss and her children

In the first two episodes, we see that unsung and sublime mystery of Mary’s widowhood. Trad godmother Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, herself a widow, writes in a powerful article called “Mary, Queen of Widows,” that

God had decided that Mary – the one who suffered most after the Holy One – should also experience the pains of widowhood to give comfort to widows who, like her, carry the cross of loneliness.[1]

The Trad godmothers in episodes I and II are widows. They enter into this Marian element of widowhood which suffers for the Church. If we consider St. Joseph to be the model layman of the Church, we might consider the fact that the laity, despite having great laymen of St. Joseph to lead them, also suffer after the loss of lay nobility in governing the Church. This goes back to the clericalist takeover led by Bl. Pius IX and Leo XIII (and later Pius X) which paved the way for what Paul VI did. There are almost no lay nobility out there with armies to defend the laity from the attack of the clericalists.

To defend the Church from the hammer of the Iconoclasts.

To defend the ancient Roman rite from the New Springtime priests ushering in the ugliness of modern filth (“art”) against the sacred.

In terms of lay nobility with armies, the laity – like Mary – are stripped of a husband protector against bad priests. This is powerfully symbolised in the Trad godmothers who are widows in the first two episodes. Yet we are faithful to the Church nevertheless. We do not leave the Church to seek a loophole out of our sufferings – like the fantasyland of Eastern Orthodoxy or some Sede sect.


Like Mary, Queen of Widows, we will suffer on Calvary until the last drop of Precious Blood is poured out, trusting that Jesus Christ will provide for us in the Person of St. John.

And He has. For all the priests of the Trad movement who have fearlessly braved the regime of Clerical Iconoclasm and stood up for the sheep – just as St. John bravely defied the Jews and Romans who crucified Our Lord.

Yet episode II also introduces two other Trad godmothers: Judy Fradl and Mary Popp. These arose to do what all mothers do – all the necessary work of the household which goes unseen and unsung.

Judy Fradl and Mary Popp

In this they show the glory of Mary’s hidden motherhood. How many hours did Our Lady spend doing all the hard and dirty work of managing the household of the Holy Family? The sacred work of the feminine genius that Feminists falsely despise – this work is the glory of Mary and all mothers. These Trad godmothers – like so many of their sisters in Christ in the Trad movement since the beginning – toiled and worked with all the logistics of providing for and maintaining the Trad movement against the clericalist regime through the passing of generations until the liberation of 2007.

There is this Marian, fearless determination of the mother which is able to do what is necessary no matter what the personal cost. In this these mothers – and all Trad godmothers – have laboured without rest for decades, hoping against hope for the triumph of Tradition. And it is their unbreakable faith that has passed to their sons – the Trad priests who take up the divine mantle of Jesus Christ Himself. And this brings us to Episode III.

For here in the climax of the trilogy, we see the next generation of Trad godmothers entering into the new era of Iconoclasm since that year 2021 (pictured above). The latest episode shows with pure light the glory of Mary in these mothers, who tirelessly walk to Rome on foot to speak to the Holy Father. What a powerful destruction of the clericalist lie that the Holy Father uttered as quoted above! How insane to maintain, in the face of these Trad godmothers, that this movement is a clericalist enterprise!

As long as the Trad movement has these women who enter into the spirit of Mary, the Trad movement will never be destroyed. Rather, it will rise after every new suffering to conquer again the clericalist regime until Tradition is restored for all souls of the Roman rite. This is the most powerful message to me in the Mass of the Ages trilogy: the Marian element. It shows the heart of our movement from the beginning. If we cleave in our hearts to Mary and never lose hope, we can endure the crucifixion of the Church until the glorious resurrection. Therefore as we pray the Angelus, let us remember that this is a militant prayer, instituted by the Popes for the sake of the crusades. Let us join our Trad godmothers in surrendering to Mary, and thus surrendering to His Providence, no matter what Passion comes next, begging His grace to remain faithful against the world, the flesh, and the Devil:

Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts; that we to whom the incarnation of Christ thy son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by his passion and cross be brought to the glory of his resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord, amen.

T. S. Flanders
Wednesday in the 4th week of Lent

[1] Alice von Hildebrand, “Mary, Queen of Widows,” in Remnant of Paradise (Hildebrand Project, 2023), 25.

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