Category: Radical Traditionalists

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The New Americanism, Part Three: License and Liberty

In his late nineteenth-century letter to Catholics in the United States, Testem benevolentiae, Pope Leo XIII condemned the heresy of Americanism. Although few American Catholics know about this heresy, many of those who have heard of Americanism believe it is consigned to the Left alone. They believe Americanism is liberalism, progressivism, modernism and–for some Traditionalists–the spirit of Vatican II. When Leo wrote the letter in 1899, he was indeed concerned about an American form of...

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The New Americanism, Part One: Americanism and Traditionalism

In an effort to counter the anti-Catholicism of nativists in the 19th century, the Church hierarchy in the United States made great efforts to assimilate waves of Catholic immigrants into the culture. Organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Daughters of the Americas showcased the positive union of American and Catholic heritage. Through displays of patriotism and public charity, a Christian denomination once associated with immigrant ghettos gradually entered the mainstream.[1] The...

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Traditionalists look to politics for new sources of influence

ROME — The continuity between Saint John Paul II and Pope Francis is seen clearly by many, and examples of this have been discussed on this website many times (See here, here, and here). However, some seek to peg the legacy of John Paul II as somehow opposed to the pontificate of Francis. At a conference this week in Rome, religious traditionalists and political conservatives came together to discuss the legacy of John Paul II’s...

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The Forces of Evil Induce Us Not to Change

In a recent article for First Things, George Weigel makes a fundamental error when he criticizes the notion, recently repeated by Pope Francis (quoting the late Cardinal Martini), that the Catholic Church is “behind the times.” His analysis–based on the erroneous inference that being “behind” implies a desire for the Church to “play catch-up” with the most harmful ideologies and trends of the last two centuries–is a critique of a false premise. He correctly explains...

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Is It Time for US Bishops to Push Back Against TFP?

Over the last couple of months, the Brazilian-born group Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) has landed in the public eye, drawing attention for its hostility to Pope Francis and rejection of the Church’s stance towards those marginalized in society. Despite this attention, the Church in the United States has largely ignored the group. It is time for a response. TFP have proven to offer a seductive platform in the US, despite being largely ignored elsewhere....

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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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Such May Be Slain But Not Crowned

St. Cyprian was a bishop of Carthage. He died a martyr’s death in 258. His skill in Latin was so impressive that he was considered the Church’s best Latin writer until Augustine and Jerome. Cyprian was key to resolving the Novatianist schism. As such, he had quite a lot to say about the evils of schism. If you doubt whether this man has something to teach you about faithfulness, just look at his final conversation...

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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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National populist org behind traditionalist opposition to Pope Francis

Now that the dust has settled after the Vatican’s summit on the Amazon, one unlikely result has been the surfacing of the connection between Pope Francis’ most avid traditionalist opposers and a broader organized network that has the aim of disseminating a particular brand of national populism. Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), a group that originated during Brazil’s dictatorial regime and is known for its far-right attacks on “progressive” politics and nationalist defense of traditions,...

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The Bolsonaro influencer seeking to sway the synod

[UPDATED OCTOBER 30: More signs of an Anti-Francis alliance between Küster and TFP with English-speaking papal detractors emerge: On October 29, two days after the synod came to a close, Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register was seen having dinner with Küster on in a restaurant in Rome. This highlights the professional and social ties between the Brazilian social media influencer and portions of the Catholic media world, pointing to the involvement of nationalist...

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 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...

I Browsed the “Faithful Shepherds” Website So You Don’t Have To

In his most recent post, Mike Lewis mentioned a website called “Faithful Shepherds,” which is spun off from LifeSiteNews. Faithful Shepherds ostensibly exists to “hold bishops accountable.” Gallingly, given current events in the Church, what the site means by “accountable” is not “morally accountable” but “accountable to a certain set of Catholic political priorities.” For the people at LifeSiteNews, publicly taking pro-choice politicians to task is equally constitutive of orthodoxy as holding pro-life views oneself. ...

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,”...

“When JP2 did it, it was different”

On July 25, the Catholic Herald published a piece by the Canadian priest Raymond de Souza entitled, “The inexplicable transfer of St Peter’s relics to Constantinople,” in which the author offers a litany of objections to Pope Francis’s gift of a reliquary containing small bone fragments (believed to be St. Peter’s) to Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. I pointed out in a Twitter thread on July 3 that radical traditionalists’ objections to popes giving...

Why the Nichols Letter is different

Since the release of the open letter signed by Aidan Nichols and others, many of Pope Francis’s critics on social media are defending it with the same talking points they’ve used to defend their positions on the “dubia” and many other initiatives critical of the Holy Father. They are applying lines like, “we need clarity from the pope,” or “We love Francis but he needs to correct some things.” Apparently, they haven’t read it closely...

We cannot take our faithfulness for granted

Several years ago, I realized that I hadn’t seen a friend of mine for a few months. He and his family were active in my parish. He was a young man with a very lovely wife and a bunch of rambunctious little boys. They could always be found in the narthex during the 11:30 Sunday Mass, working hard to wrangle the kids and doing their best to participate in the Mass. He was active in...