Traditionalist Catholicism

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Traditionalist Catholicism is essentially Catholic fundamentalism, generally based on the idea that the Catholic Church lost its way with the results of Vatican II, and looking for a return to those earlier halcyon days, some remain within the Church. Others have formed their own splinter groups on the assumption that the current papacy is illegitimate, this is known as Sedevacantism. Some groups have even appointed their own popes.

Many are merely sentimental conservatives who long for a return to the Latin Mass and the Douay-Rheims or Confraternity translations of the Bible because that is the Catholicism they remembered as a child.

In the long tradition of crank magnetism, many others are complete wingnuts who also promote anti-Semitism, conspiracy theories about the Illuminati, Masons, and New World Order, a "Douay-Rheims only" movement (similar to the fundamentalist Protestant KJV-only movement), the equation of Christendom with Europe ("Europe is the Faith and the Faith is Europe", at best a defense of colonialism and at worst a Catholic parallel to Christian Identity), old recordings of Father Coughlin, the restoration of feudalism and monarchism, Holocaust denial, and apologetics for the fascist dictatorships of Francisco Franco, Benito Mussolini, and Vichy France. Some of them seem to want to undo not just Vatican II but also the Enlightenment. They also tend to be rabidly anti-Protestant and to stake out an opposition to abortion so extreme it makes other pro-lifers look liberal by comparison.

Contents

[edit] Notable adherents and groups

  • Mel Gibson is a member of a Traditionalist Catholic church,[1] and we all know what a wonderful, inclusive Christian he turned out to be.
  • The Society of St. Pius X.
  • Richard Williamson, independent bishop, expelled from the society above. Holocaust denier.
  • Most Holy Family Monastery, and its current leader Michael Dimond. Known for incessant self-promotion and the prolific distribution of really insightful DVDs on such subjects as "Abortion, Rock Music, and Freemasonry Exposed" and "The Communist and Masonic Infiltration of the Catholic Church".
  • Veronica Leuken, who claimed to have a series of visions of the Virgin Mary in Bayside, New York. Widely promoted with billboards, junk mail, and a toll-free recorded phone message, "Mary"'s messages for the world included New World Order conspiracy theories, a warning that the current Pope was illegitimate and the Church had better restore the Latin Mass, and warnings of impending disasters and God's judgement coming soon upon the United States.
  • Judge Andrew Napolitano, a libertarian activist and frequent Fox News analyst, self identifies as a Traditionalist Catholic.

[edit] The enemy of their enemy

In a fascinating illustration of the horseshoe theory, crank booksellers are likely to stock books from both Omni Christian Book Club (traditionalist Catholic) and Emissary Publications (rabidly anti-Catholic) that both promote the exact same drivel about an international Jewish conspiracy.

Further, while Anti-Catholic conspiracy theorists may hold up the most extreme wingnut Traditionalist Catholics (especially the pro-fascist ones) as representative of all Catholics, both groups tend to promote similar conspiracy theories about the current Catholic Church, particularly as regards alleged Communist influence and the ecumenical movement.

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Radical Traditionalist Catholics Spew Anti-Semitic Hate, Commit Violence Against Jews. Intelligence Report, Issue 124. Southern Poverty Law Center. Winter 2006.
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