Author: D.W. Lafferty

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A New Year’s Resolution for Catholics: Be Critical

2019 was a turbulent year in the Church, but amid all the controversy, much was revealed. Some prominent critics of the pope, spurred on by the example of the now-discredited Archbishop Viganò, expressed themselves with rare frankness, allowing us to further discern the contours of the anti-Francis resistance, the depths of which we have still not fathomed. There is much lurking in the darkness that will come to light in the months and years to...

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Reporting on the ‘Synodal Way’

There are good reasons to be concerned about the German ‘Synodal Way.’ Many in the Vatican, including Pope Francis himself, are concerned about it. But since it is our duty as Catholics to cleave to the truth, we have to concern ourselves with what is really happening, and what is really being said, and not with an ideological distortion of the situation. The plan for the ‘Synodal Way’ promises unfiltered discussion of some hot-button issues....

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TFP Ideology, Part Three: The Bagarre and the Reign of Mary

Part one is here, part two here. In her book Waiting for the Apocalypse: A Memoir of Faith and Family (2009), Veronica Chater provides a moving account of what it was like to grow up in a traditionalist Catholic family during the 1970s. Her father, Lyle J. Arnold, Jr. (who was a regular contributor to the TFP-inspired Tradition in Action website until his death in 2014) brought his family first into the world of the...

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TFP Ideology, Part Two: The Counter-Revolution

In my last post I looked at Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s concept of the Revolution as outlined in Revolution and Counter-Revolution, which is a defining text of the Tradition, Family and Property movement. In this post I will examine the complementary concept of the Counter-Revolution and provide examples of some of its implications. Much of what makes TFP so controversial, and almost a religion unto itself, are the practices attached to the concept of the...

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TFP Ideology, Part One: The Revolution

You may have heard of an ultra-conservative Catholic group called Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), which has been involved in various efforts to oppose the initiatives of the Francis papacy. As Christopher White from Crux recently reported, Alexander Tschugguel, the man who stole the famous “Pachamama” statues from the Roman Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina during the Amazon synod, credits the ideas of TFP for changing his life when he was a teenager, most...

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Truth and Myth

In my post on “Tribalist Catholicism,” I mentioned, in passing, the French political theorist Georges Sorel (1847-1922). As a follow-up, I’d like to say something more about Sorel, whose thought is particularly useful for understanding this moment in the Church when social media and popular resentments have formed a particularly toxic mix. Georges Sorel was a retired engineer who, at around the beginning of the twentieth century, became a political analyst, polemicist, and proponent of...

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Tribalist Catholicism

Most Catholics, if they take their faith seriously, harbor some critique of modernity, even if they cannot articulate it in detail. This almost goes without saying, since there is much in modern culture that conflicts with Catholic teaching and the Catholic way of life. Many Catholic converts can trace the path of their conversion back to a period of dissatisfaction with modern culture and with the tenets of liberalism. That’s certainly where I started from...

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Still Worried About Pachamama? Read Laudato Si’

I know that papal documents are not easy reading. I also know we all have lots on the go, and it is hard to find the time to sit down and read and think for a couple hours. But this is crucial: if you are Catholic and worried about paganism having infiltrated the Church through the Amazon synod, but have not yet read Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, please read it as soon as...

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After Benedict, the Deluge

[…] in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. These shocking...

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The Power of the Half-Truth: Cardinal Müller’s Latest Statement

As much as I try to dismiss and ignore it, I must admit that Cardinal Müller’s endless pontificating often causes me pain. While it never undermines my trust in the Holy Father, it hurts me to think that it may be having that effect on others. Some, I know, actually find the sheer force of his absolutist rhetoric convincing, at least on an emotional level. In his latest statement, published on LifeSite News on October...

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The Synthesis of All Catholic Conspiracy Theory (Part 3)

A major part of Taylor Marshall’s argument in Infiltration rests upon highly dubious traditionalist interpretations of the ‘secrets’ associated with two famous Marian apparitions, thus providing another link between Infiltration and fringe Catholic conspiracy theory and apocalypticism. In this third part of my look at Infiltration (see parts one and two), I will compare Marshall’s interpretations of the secrets of Our Lady of La Salette and Our Lady of Fatima with interpretations that are more...

The Synodal Way of the Pilgrim Church

Where Peter Is received some criticism last week in the wake of breaking news regarding the wrangling in the Vatican that took place over the proposed ‘synodal way’ of the Church in Germany. Some asked why we weren’t issuing breathless condemnations over this allegedly real schism in the Church. I don’t know if our accusers realize that Where Peter Is is not a news agency. It publishes work by normal folks who research and write...

The Synthesis of All Catholic Conspiracy Theory (Part 2)

In my last post I summarized part of the grand conspiracy laid out in Taylor Marshall’s Infiltration, in order to refute his claim that his book puts forward no such thing and to give the reader an idea of its key features. It’s actually difficult to say that it is his theory, since he covers some very well-trodden ground. Many of its parts, including those I have not outlined so far, can be found in...

The Synthesis of All Catholic Conspiracy Theory (Part 1)

Dan Burke, the President and Chief Operating Officer of EWTN News, Inc., along with his wife Stephanie, recently interviewed Dr. Taylor Marshall, popular Catholic podcaster and author, about his book Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within. The interview took place on the August 23, 2019 episode of Divine Intimacy Radio—Resources Edition, which is produced by spiritualdirection.com and Sophia Institute Press, the latter of which is the publisher of Infiltration (under their Crisis...

The Pope-less Church of Tradition

It seems that hardly a week goes by without another bold intervention into the affairs of the Church by one of the disaffected members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, usually delivered via channels like the National Catholic Register or LifeSite and then spread throughout social media. By now, the gallery of personalities is well-established: Cardinals Müller, Burke, and Brandmüller; Bishop Athanasius Schneider and of course the elusive Archbishop Viganó. Although not all of them are “traditionalists,”...

A Contradiction of Faith and Life

“As I have often repeated, a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite; we share the same roots. It would be a contradiction of faith and life. Rather, we are called to commit ourselves to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from the human community.” – Pope Francis, “Greetings of His Holiness Pope Francis to a Delegation of the World Congress of Mountain Jews,” Hall of Popes, 5 November 2018   Recently, while surveying the Catholic social media landscape,...

The Anti-Francis Vortex

Most of us have at least a passing familiarity with the oft-quoted opening stanza of William Butler Yeats’ apocalyptic poem, “The Second Coming“: Turning and turning in the widening gyreThe falcon cannot hear the falconer;Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity. Yeats‘ imagery entered the realm of...