Conservative Catholic families are searching for tradition and orthodoxy. Many land in the SSPX, Society of St. Pius the Tenth Chapels, Opus Dei, or Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) among others. While there is much reverence and piety on display, there is a darker side to the traditional and conservative movements. Unfortunately, some of these groups have become known for some un-American and non-Catholic ideologies.
With the internet and numerous conferences, seminars and pilgrimages around the world, Catholic ultra-Traditionalists – numbering as many as 100,000 in the United States alone – form a global network that is infested with religious anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, Old School fascists, white nationalists, faith-based Third Positionists and anti-democratic clerics.
For greater details Click Here to read an article by Mike Reynolds, "Faith-based fascists bridging the waters."
BACKGROUND and DETAILS
Anti-Semitism and Racism
Here's what Richard Williamson, a bishop of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) wrote last November in response to the Muslim riots in France:
At the risk of being called a racist, a Nazi, an anti-Semite and Heaven knows what else, let me try to talk a bit of Catholic uncommon sense concerning the troubles that have broken out in the last few weeks in several cities in France.... The will of God for men on earth is that Catholic save Jew, that the man free look after the bondsman and that the man be head of the woman. So when the white men give up on saving Jews, looking after other races and leading their womenfolk, it is altogether normal for them to be punished respectively by the domination of Jewish finance, by the refusal to follow of the non-white races and by rampant feminism… In chronological order, before Christ, nobody in their senses would have dreamt of denying the inequality of different races, classes and sexes.
For greater details Click Here to read Williamson's essay, "Denial of Christ Creates Chaos"
The SSPX affinity for fascism has led its followers to harbor fugitive a Nazi war criminal - as mainstream churchmen had also done.Paul Touvier the convicted Nazi was discovered hiding in an SSPX monastery in Nice, France. It was revealed that until his arrest, he received a monthly stipend from the Secours Catholique, a French Catholic charity.A writer for an SSPX magazine in Canada offered this excuse for the movement's aid to the fugitive:
"Despite the fact that most newspapers made a link between Mr. Touvier and the Society, there was in fact no connection. It is true he was taken prisoner at our priory, but he was merely let in by the prior as an act of charity to a homeless man. Since Archbishop Lefebvre's father died at the hands of the Nazis in a prison camp, that should be evidence enough that the Society does not and has not ever condoned the practices of the Nazis.
On the other side of the question, I for one am tired of this Jewish conspiracy to wipe every living former Nazi off the face of the earth. Why don't they just leave them to die in peace? It's been about 45 years since World War II and still they hunt them down, as if they were guilty of ongoing crimes for all those years."To read the article, go to this site: The Angelus - News Briefs (Arrest in Priory Reopens Debate on Catholic Aid to Nazis)
For more details on this particular issue review:
(a) This 1992 International Herald Tribune article: Archbishop's Panel Finds Churchmen Hid War Criminal : French Clergy Aided Fugitive.
(b) An Answers.com article about Touvier, by Clicking Here.
(c) A French-language on-line encyclopedia which ties the Chevaliers de Notre Dame, a French integrist group, to Touvier at Ordre des chevaliers de Notre-Dame - Wikipédia; and
(d) The Order's own web page Ordre des Chevaliers de Notre Dame.
A Dominican writer confirms the ties of Lefebvre and the SSPX to the extreme right:
Congar has shown Lefebvre's links with Action Française.(54) Prominent among his supporters and founders have been members of Europe's old families who feel betrayed by a democratizing Church. Lefebvre had offered as models of the Catholic Church and state Franco's Spain, Salazar's Portugal, Galtieri's Argentina and Pinochet's Chile. (55) The last hiding place of Paul Touvier, who was quite recently arrested (circa 1990) and committed to trial for crimes against humanity, was a Lefebvrist monastery at Nice.
For greater details Click Here to read the article by Anthony Fisher, OP.
The Institute for Historical Review (IHR) - whose stock in trade is Holocaust denial - praised SSPX bishop Williamson in its 1989 newsletter It claimed that that after he spoke at an IHR conference in Quebec in the late 1980s, Williamson was harassed by the Canadian authorities and...
"Jewish groups, abetted by 'interfaith groups' and the local Catholic hierarchy (Bishop Williamson [Sic] movement is considered schismatic by the current Catholic hierarchy), [who] not merely denounced the bishop but set the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on his trail, since the interfaith posse deemed the bishop to have violated Canada's 'hate laws' which have already been applied against James Keegstra and others to good effect."
For greater details Click Here to read a June 1995 article from Fidelity Magazine, "No Ordinary Bishop."
Opus Dei appears to foster - or tolerate - racism, as well A college student reported what he saw when he visited an Opus Dei house on campus:
“The group was made up of upper middle class to affluent students who were generally conservative in their politics. What we found sinister (especially since I am Oriental) was that the group included not a single minority student. Several of the group's student leaders were closet white-supremacists (several of us managed to get a good look at their book shelves and were quite shocked to find books with titles like "The White Man's Way" and other racist literature right next to The Way).”
For greater details Click Here to read the student's account.
Other Catholic rightist movements are resurrecting Catholic-tinged corporatist and authoritarian ideologies from the pre-World War II era.Searchlight magazine reported in 2004:
“We intend to pick up where the Distributist, the Solidarist, the Corporatist Catholics of all nations left off before the war, and, God willing, to deliver to the world once again the hope of a peaceful and fruitful existence, free from both the excessive power of the state and the ruthless injustice of an untamed market.”
So stated the Catholic IHS Press on its website launch two years ago. The man behind this enterprise and these words is John Sharpe, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, former submarine officer and media spokesman for the Atlantic Fleet. He is also a radical Catholic Third Position polemicist with ideological and business ties to Roberto Fiore’s International Third Position/Forza Nuova network. ...
Sharpe’s parents, John, Sr. and Judith, founded in 1998 their own Traditional Catholic effort: “In the Spirit of Chartres” Committee, which sponsors two annual events in Phoenix: (a) a “Spirit of Chartres” Pilgrimage, modeled on the annual SSPX event in France; and (b) a Catholic Restoration Conference.
These conferences have featured the most extreme of the Traditional Catholic movement: John Vennari, Christopher Ferrara, Gerry Matatics, Marian Horvat, Atila Guimarães, Fr. Paul Kramer and, of course, John Sharpe, Jr.
These individuals comprise a core team of conspiracy-mongering proselytizers on a speaking circuit backed by: (a) SSPX adherents; (b) the St. Benedict’s Center in New Hampshire; (c) the US headquarters for the followers of the late Fr. Francis Feeney, a notorious anti-Semite; and (d) the multimillion-dollar media outreach of Fr. Nicholas Gruner, a renegade Canadian priest who runs The Fatima Network.
All sell an array of anti-Semitic, Judeo-Masonic Marxist conspiracy books plus the standard Distributist fare of Chesterton and Belloc.
Extremists Vennari, Ferrara, Horvat, the race-baiting E. Michael Jones and anti-Semitic conspiracist Robert Sungenis are also frequent contributors to the London Traditionalist Catholic monthly, Christian Order, founded by the late Fr. Paul Crane in 1960, a self described “militant antidote to the secular ‘live and let live’ attitude which has brought the Church low”.
For greater details Click Here to read the rest of the Searchlight story.
[ (*) Distributism: According to distributism, the ownership of the means of production should be spread as widely as possible among the populace, rather than being centralized under the control of a few state bureaucrats (some forms of socialism) or a minority of resource-commanding individuals (capitalism). A summary of distributism is found in Chesterton's statement: "Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists" ("The Uses of Diversity", 1921).]
The following speaker's list confirms the just mentioned network of mutual support among Catholic far right activists:
John Vennari is regularly speaking at the "St. Joseph's Forum", a kind of traveling conference group advertised by 'Catholic Family News' of which he is editor and owned by Fr. Nicholas Gruner. Do note that the list of speakers includes Fr. Gruner and John Sharpe.
For greater details Click Here to see the list of speakers for the March 2006 "St. Joseph's Forum."
Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) is another extreme right Catholic group that is active worldwide. A critic of TFP's collaboration with the pre 1990 apartheid regime in South Africa says:
"It is in this light that the "tradition" to which TFP pays homage should be viewed… Above all, it is opposed to any form of egalitarianism or democracy. It is a ‘tradition’ which is threatened not only by critiques to the inequitable distribution of wealth, but also by movements within the present day Church which seek to adapt evangelical work to the modern world."
For greater details Click Here to read a 1988 critique of TFP by researchers from the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa.
A critic of Opus Dei says that the founder of Opus Dei was sympathetic to fascism - including the Third Reich:
"Given all the Fascist ideology in "The Way'', it will not come as a surprise to you to hear that he even had sympathy for Hitler: Wladimir Felzmann, an ex-Opus Dei member tells about a talk with Escriva: after he (Escriva) insisted that with Hitler's help the Franco Government has saved Christianity from Communism he added: "Hitler against the Jews, Hitler against the Slavs, this means Hitler against communism''
For greater details Click Here to read "The Unofficial Opus Dei FAQ."
The founders of IHS Press, a new Catholic publisher that reprints the works of G. K. Chesterton are -- according to other Catholics -- tied to far right organizations. An article by Christopher Blosser, reprinted on the Spero News forum, alleges:Sharpe is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, a former submarine officer and media spokesman for the Atlantic Fleet, and has ties to Legion of St. Louis. The Legion of St. Louis is a traditionalist website which peddles anti-Semitic/anti-Judaic literature such as Henry Ford's International Jew, A.K. Chesterton's The New Unhappy Lords (what Anger describes as "the Mein Kampf of British neo-fascism by A. K. Chesterton, founder the racialist National Front") and Judaism's Strange Gods by Holocaust-revisionist and "white-separatist" Michael Hoffman II.
In September 2001, John Sharpe and Derek Holland founded IHS Press, its stated mission "to bring back into print the classics of last century on the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church." The founders have been interviewed by by Zenit News, and have been commended by the New Oxford for their publication of out-of-print books. In addition to its promotion of traditional Catholic works, IHS Press has, through its "Sheffield Hallam University Press" imprint, published several books on economic socialism, including study of the controversial publisher Alfred Richard Orange and Gary Taylor's Socialism and Christianity: The Politics of the Church Socialist League -- a study of late 19th, early 20th century Christian socialism in England which challenges the notion that "socialism is anti-Christian". ...In December 2005, journalist Matthew Anger launched a blog called Fringe Watch, its primary aim "a study on the Third Positionist neo-fascist infiltration of conservative/traditional Catholic circles." Anger recorded his investigations on his blog into such controversial figures as Bishop Williamson (SSPX), Fr. Leonard Feeney (1897-1978), and IHS Press founders Sharpe and Holland. ...
Sharpe's IHS Press co-founder is Derek Holland, who appears to be presently going by the name of Deric O'Huallachain. Holland is a former International Third Position (ITP) leader with a sympathy for anti-American Arab governments, having traveled to Libya in 1988 in a field trip....
[A Wikipedia entry reports that... ] Holland has received considerable treatment in works on European extremist nationalism, including Fascism: A History by Roger Eatwell (1997) and Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (2002). Holland’s writings on the Political Soldier are also featured in Fascism: A Reader published by Oxford University Press (1995).
[SSPX bishop] Richard Williamson also has a history of extremist views that mirror those of Sharpe and Derek Holland. While it appears that the publishers' description of Williamson, Chojnowski and McCann could be construed as a willful attempt to conceal their controversial membership in the SSPX, we should also note that, according to Matt Anger, “whether one agrees with the SSPX or not, it is clear that Bishop Williamson has been an extremist and divisive force in Catholic tradition,” and that many within the SSPX remain severely critical of Richard Williamson’s relationship with Sharpe, Holland, and their involvement in neo-fascism.
For greater detail Click Here to read Blosser's entire article about the founders of IHS Press. Also, go Here to read Blosser's findings about the neo-fascist politics of SSPX bishop Richard Williamson.
In conclusion, while a façade of holiness may last momentarily, further investigation should always be undertaken when dealing with non-mainstream Catholic organizations. A label of “Traditional or Conservative Catholic” is no guarantee of a community that holds true values, beliefs, and practices. Politics have been intertwined with the Faith as taught by Christ as far back as Constantine. Sadly, few of this generation understand this. Worse yet, many have been victims of revisionist history both within and outside of the church. Few understand what fascism means - and it is even being touted by those who desire a "Catholic" monarchy. These days due diligence is necessary before joining any group especially those making claims for the state and final disposition of your soul.
Is Catholic social teaching leading to revolution?
Could the quest for Catholic order and the restoration of "Christendom" lead to - or justify - a revolution against the present international order of political and economic liberalism? Such might be the implication of Catholic Social Ethics, a recently publicized series of lectures supposedly written in 1953-1954 by Karol Wojtyla, almost 25 years before he became Pope John Paul II. As the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) summarized the document:
[From unpublished work by John Paul II we read that:] “In line with patristic traditions and the centuries-old practice of monastic life, the church itself acknowledges the ideal of communism. But it believes, given the current state of human nature, that the general implementation of this ideal -- while protecting the human person's complete freedom -- faces insurmountable difficulties.”
This does not, however, invalidate the use of struggle to change the social and economic order, he writes. Since human beings are endowed with free will, they are able to “choose spiritual goodness.” Yet violent upheavals can be ethically justified as a means of resisting unjust rulers, and as “the supreme penalty for concrete guilt and crimes in the sphere of socioeconomic life.”
Catholicism cannot “agree with materialism” or the “primacy of economics,” Wojtyla writes. But it recognizes that “various facts and historical processes” are economically determined. “In a well organized society, orientated to the common good, class conflicts are solved peacefully through reforms. But states that base their order on individualistic liberalism are not such societies. So when an exploited class fails to receive in a peaceful way the share of the common good to which it has a right, it has to follow a different path.”“Class struggle should gain strength in proportion to the resistance it faces from economically privileged classes, so the systemic social situation will mature under this pressure to the appropriate forms and transitions,” Wojtyla continues.
“Guided by a just evaluation of historical events, the church should view the cause of revolution with an awareness of the ethical evil in factors of the economic and social regime, and in the political system, that generates the need for a radical reaction. It can be accepted that the majority of people who took part in revolutions -- even bloody ones -- were acting on the basis of internal convictions, and thus in accordance with conscience.”
For greater detail Click Here to read the National Catholic Reporter article.
EDITOR'S REMARKS on EPILOGUE
This above analysis could be used as a Catholic basis for anti-capitalist uprisings. Such risings could be communist - or they could be fascist, given fascists' hatred of individualism, political liberalism, and unrestricted capitalism.The Opus Dei priest Fr. John McCloskey provided a view of why a Catholic-inspired revolution might occur, in his futuristic look back from 2030:
In retrospect, the great battles over the last 30 years over the fundamental issues of the sanctity of marriage, the rights of parents, and the sacredness of human life have been of enormous help in renewing the Church and to some extent, society. We finally received as a gift from God what had been missing from our ecclesial experience these 250 years in North America -- a strong persecution that was a true purification for our "sick society." The tens of thousands of martyrs and confessors for the Faith in North America were indeed the "seed of the Church" as they were in pre-Edict of Milan Christianity. The final short and relatively bloodless conflict produced our Regional States of North America. The outcome was by no means an ideal solution but it does allow Christians to live in states that recognize the natural law and divine Revelation, the right of free practice of religion, and laws on marriage, family, and life that reflect the primacy of our Faith. With time and the reality of the ever-decreasing population of the states that worship at the altar of "the culture of death," perhaps we will be able to reunite and fulfill the Founding Fathers of the old United States dream to be "a shining city on a hill."Read McCloskey's entire story at this site: 2030: Looking Backwards. And note that as McCloskey explained to the Boston Globe in 2003, he thinks that violence may be inevitable to put America back on the right track. As the Globe's writer Charles Pierce reported:[McCloskey] is talking about a futuristic essay he wrote that rosily describes the aftermath of a "relatively bloodless" civil war that resulted in a Catholic Church purified of all dissent and the religious dismemberment of the United States of America.
"There's two questions there," says the Rev. C. John McCloskey 3d, smiling. He's something of a ringer for Howard Dean -- a comparison he resists, also with a smile -- a little more slender than the presidential candidate, perhaps, but no less fervent. "One is, Do I think it would be better that way? No. Do I think it's possible? Do I think it's possible for someone who believes in the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of life, the sanctity of family, over a period of time to choose to survive with people who think it's OK to kill women and children or for -- quote -- homosexual couples to exist and be recognized?
"No, I don't think that's possible," he says. "I don't know how it's going to work itself out, but I know it's not possible, and my hope and prayer is that it does not end in violence. But, unfortunately, in the past, these types of things have tended to end this way.
"If American Catholics feel that's troubling, let them. I don't feel it's troubling at all."Such is the polite face of Catholic neo-fascism in the 21st century.
May God have Mercy on His Elect - we pray!
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