Catholic fundamentalism is growing today because of the internet allowing radical fringe groups. The other day I learned of a far right Catholic website that allows people to report on church leadership while pushing for the Catholic culture wars, Biblical manhood, Latin mass, and denying communion to those who are divorced. This post looks at the this website and shows how Catholic fundamentalists are similar to evangelical Protestant fundamentalists.
“I regard Christian and Jewish fundamentalism, and all other forms of fundamentalism, as the enemies of God – and I hope you’ll quote me on that.”
“In times of conflict, war, poverty or religious fundamentalism, women and children are the first and most numerous victims. Women need all their courage today.”
Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you for your own good,
who leads you in the way you should go.
Isiah 48:17 NRSVACE
USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia
This blog in writing about religion likes to keep the big picture in mind. Yes, it focuses on the issues in evangelicalism but in order to understand a movement sometimes you need to look at it from different angles. And sometimes its necessary to look at movements apart from it. Many of the systems that I write about Evangelical Christianity, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox and Mainstream Protestantism as well as atheism and secular humanism are all linked. When people process out of evangelicalism some go the Catholic route and some can go the atheist or secular humanist perspective. Recently I learned of a new website from a Catholic fundamentalist perspective that I wanted to analyze and write about.
What is Fathifulshepherds.com?
Faithful Shepherds is a website that allows for conservative Catholics to report unorthodox Catholic clergy. It has a sharp fundamentalist bent and its organized by all the Catholic dioceses in the United States. It claims it that it is connected to Lifesite News, which is a website that has deep issues in itself. Faithful Shepherds is focused around several key areas that they want people to report. Those areas are as following in regards to Catholic leadership in your diocese.
- Viganò testimony which claims that the Catholic church including Pope Francis is covering up child sex abuse.
- Stands on Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans-gendered theology which is a threat to Catholicism.
- Orthodox Catholic education.
- The sanctity of marriage and the support of Biblical manhood.
- The issue of abortion politics.
- The issue of contraception.
- Traditional liturgy which includes Gregorian chant, kneeling for communion and more Latin masses.
- Pro-Life leadership activism, and defunding Planned Parenthood.
- Homosexual acts are disordered.
Amoris Laetitia or the enforcement of preventing divorced or separated Catholics from taking communion.
Who Set Up this Website? Was it Established by the Russia’s Internet Research Agency?
This website claims that it was established by Lifesite News which is a fundamentalist Catholic website. It is not far from where Britbart is in many ways. You can see some of the links here. But here is the problem as I analyze the situation as well. There is no name, no real clue as to who is publishing this website. Yes it claims that its linked to Lifesite News but honestly any website on the internet can be linked to it. I post links daily in each post that I do.
For all I know this website could be established by the Internet Research Agency in Russia. After all as we know Russia is trying to use social media to divide people and pit people against each other. Faithful Shepherds could just be a part of that effort. One major strike that exists against this website is that it has no author, name or group of people. For me that raises questions in many ways. When I write this blog I do so in name for all to see. When I write about Acts 29, Sovereign Grace, Center for Inquiry, Evangelical Free Church of America, Sojourn, etc.. I do so in name. People know who I am. The fact that such a website won’t show that kind of transparency is suspect and raises a lot of issues. All of this should raise concerns about Faithful Shepherds.
What is Catholic Fundamentalism?
When I grew up Catholic, fundamentalism was rare. You just didn’t see it as much. There were pockets of it in organizations like Franciscan University of Stuebenville and other locations. But Catholic fundamentalism was not as rampant. With the growth of the internet Catholic fundamentalism has grown in organizations like LifeSiteNews, Church Militant, EWTN and other fringe outlets. Catholic fundamentalism is largely focused on sexual issues, rejection of Vatican II and an embrace of the Latin mass. One of the challenges with Catholic fundamentalism is a trend to deify Pope Benedict and treat him as their Lord and Savior. In Catholic fundamentalism it can be so far to the right that they would call Pope John Paul II a liberal. This blog has written a number of articles about Catholic fundamentalism which you can read below.
- “A Look at the Alt-Right Movement Targeting the Roman Catholic Church. Michael Voris and Church Militant.”
- “How Populism is a Threat to Roman Catholicism.”
- “Mother Angelica, The Catholic Culture Wars as Waged by Traditionalists and an Expose by National Catholic Reporter on EWTN.”
- “Michael Sean Winters in the National Catholic Reporter Warns of a Schism in the Roman Catholic Church.”
One additional observation is that fundamentalist can also be wrapped up in nationalism in a lot of ways. And when you look at the list of what the website cares about no where do you see helping or taking care of the poor. That is a tragedy in many ways.
If You’re Going to be a Catholic Fundamentalist You Might as Well be Evangelical Christian
The problem with fundamentalism is that you lose the big picture. I choosing to declare war over small issues you became frozen and unable to talk or discuss things. Fundamentalism is based on irrationality and causes so much harm. When I see what some Catholics are pushing with a narrow agenda it makes me ask the question, why would anyone want to leave evangelicalism and go to Catholicism? Especially if fundamentalism is how some want it. For those in Catholicism who embrace fundamentalism I ask this question. Why are you Catholic? Really you are no different than some of the fundamentalists I write about in evangelicalism. There is really no difference. I was disappointed to see Faithful Shepherds because that website has an agenda and its not about Catholicism.