The “Dangerous Memory” of Traditional Roman Catholicism

John Monaco
18 min readAug 9, 2020

Book Review: Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright: The Genius & Timeliness of the Traditional Latin Mass. Peter Kwasniewski. Brooklyn, NY:
Angelico Press. 2020. 388 pp. $19.95.

As someone who absolutely hates the summer months for their heat and humidity, reading (indoors) was always a cool, relaxing escape from the blaring sun and nonstop sweat. I may not have gone to Disney or Denmark, but my summers since childhood featured a number of great adventures contained within the pages of various books I nabbed from Barnes and Noble. One of these books was the young adult novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry. I first read it when I was 10, and, to this day, it remains one of my favorite novels.

The Giver follows the story of a 12-year-old boy, Jonas, who lives in a utopian society characterized by “Sameness”. In this society, there are no strong emotions, and everything from language to climate is carefully controlled. War has long since ceased, as have any forms of strife and conflict. Parents have a cool and detached relationship with their children; in fact, even birth-mothers are separated from their biological children to prevent emotional attachment. Everything in society is conditioned so that everyone and everything is pleasant and convenient. At the age of 12, every child is considered an adult and is assigned his or her life’s work. Jonas’ father works with newborns, his mother works in the court system, his best friend Asher is made the assistant director of recreation, and his other close friend, Fiona, is tasked with taking care of the elderly. Jonas, however, is given a special assignment. He is to become “The Receiver”, the apprentice for “The Giver” — the man who holds all of society’s memories and history, that which they traded for a life of comfortable Sameness.

The Giver is described as an old man, whose wrinkles and weariness are due, in part, to holding in all of humanity’s memories and emotions. Jonas, young and held in blissful ignorance all throughout his life, is completely unaware of the long past — all he knows is the present and what he had experienced in his twelve years of Sameness. The Giver trains Jonas, imparting the world’s memories through a mere touch on Jonas’ back. Jonas experiences breathtaking sleigh rides in the snowy…

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John Monaco

Doctoral student in theology, seeking the true, good, and beautiful.