Fatima, Geopolitics, & Mass Media
The traditional Catholic movement is largely a product of the Red Scare and Cold War era, and it will forever be locked into a certain way of thinking popular among some American Catholics in the 1950s. People who have joined the movement since the end of the Cold War in 1991 really don’t understand the climate in which the movement was born. The traditional Catholic leaders in the late 1980s and early 1990s had to pivot away from their earlier ways, since their enemy (The Communists) had disappeared. Instead, the movement focused more on the aesthetics of the Mass & vestments, endlessly criticizing Vatican II, endlessly providing commentary, and endlessly quote mining and cherry picking to get new recruits. This became a heavily negative form of Catholicism, existed as simply a negative force against The Vatican machinery of the 1990s under John Paul II.
What the movement doesn’t want people to do is to look back in time to the period of 1965 to 1990 to see what people were talking about in these years. By 1980, problems had already begun to crop up in the movement, and by 1990 the movement had largely changed and begun to reinvent itself. This saw the birth of all of the Ecclesia Dei groups in the late 1980s and early 1990s (FSSP, Institute Christ the King, etc.) and the birth of the CMRI (the majority faction of the Schuckardt-Chicoine group), the SSPV, St. Gertrude the Great, and Sanborn’s group. Today they’re able to recruit ignorant and desperate people who have no idea of the movement’s origins in Cold War anti-communist propaganda.
Once people really understand the origins of the movement, I hope they will abandon and update their views, understanding how heavily shaped it is by a certain historic time period. What traditional Catholics hold to is a very specific moment in time. The Catholic Church was not like this before that moment, and nor was it like this after that moment. Scholarship since 1990 continues to be ignored by traditional Catholics. Rather, they tend to perpetually hold to a mythical 1950s Catholicism. This misreading of history is due to their isolation and distorted presentation of history & documents from their leaders. If all you’re shown are encyclicals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, you’ll think this is how Catholicism always was. This is misguided, ignorant, and foolish. The leaders of the movement don’t care, they’re happy to dupe people into their way of thinking, since these leaders often become quite comfortable and rich from running chapels, websites, and Youtube channels. They endlessly post cherry picked photographs and quotes to support 1950s Catholicism. It’s a nostalgic cosplay, no different than people dressing up as Elvis or wanting to do swing dancing and dress in the costume of a certain era.
Salazar: Dictator of Portugal
Salazar was dictator of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. The history of Portugal in the 20th century is a massive subject in itself and is better covered elsewhere. However, it’s enough to point out that Fatima propaganda was a huge part of Salazar’s plan. This heavily influenced the traditional Catholic movement, as the Blue Army & Fatima pilgrimages all took place during this time. Most traditional Catholics have no idea how much the Catholic dictator Salazar influenced the growth in the Fatima cult.
Traditional Catholic Consecrations & Political Elites
The traditional Catholics are unaware of their political connections to global elites.
- Schuckardt derived his authority from Arnold Harris Matthew, an Old Catholic consecrated in 1908, and connected to European nobility
- Archbishop Thuc, brother of the president of Vietnam, assassinated during the Cold War
- Marcel Lavabvre, connected to the black nobility of Rome, notably Princess Elvina Pallavicini
The other one to note is the SSPV, which is an unsavory connection (i.e. elder abuse) to Bishop Mendez. When Bishop Mendez died, his family refused to give his body to the SSPV, who wanted to use him as some kind of tool of propaganda to support their authority. Rather, the SSPV is out on its own and all connects to the Catholic Church are pretended; nobody likes the SSPV, they’re on their own.
Sister Lucia & Growth of The Cult
The Fatima cult really didn’t start to take off until the 1940s when sister Lucia wrote down the secrets of Fatima in 1941 to 1943. Prior to this, nobody really cared, but these secrets, alongside other anti-communist propaganda, started the grow the cult worldwide. Who knows how much The Vatican tampered with this stuff for political gain. The third secret especially made for incredible propaganda since conspiracy theorists & fear mongers exploited this for their own ends. Schuckardt especially used the third secret to instill fear & loyalty to himself, by proclaiming himself to be a leader of the movement.
Political Manipulation of the Fatima Cult
Portuguese politicians seized the opportunity of the Fatima cult. The Fatima Cult was used by Salazar to promote an ultraconservative agenda. Catholics today are largely ignorant of how important the Fatima cult was to the Portuguese dictators. Without Salazar, the Fatima cult is unlikely to have achieved the status it did. Others later got involved, as this made for excellent anti-communist propaganda. The traditional Catholic movement was largely an offshoot of this political manipulation and propaganda of the time.
Hollywood Movies & Novels
Much of the Fatima movement exists because of specific Hollywood movies coming out at the time, notably Warner Bros 1952 “The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima” and 20th Century Fox’s 1943 “The Song of Bernadette.” Hollywood had been producing a lot of Biblical Epics at the time, especially in the 1950s and 1960s. The general public was eating this stuff up, but conservative Catholics especially of a certain generation were heavily influenced by Hollywood movies & novels of the period. The Catholic Church was happy to capitalize on a public willing to eat this stuff up, as pilgrimages have always been huge money makers and recruitment tools for an uncritical public. Schuckardt and the entire traditional Catholic movement would make pilgrimages an enormous part of their movement later, duping all the idiot Catholics who didn’t know any better.
The traditional Catholics generally accept documents written until 1960, and then they ignore everything written after this. What traditional Catholics don’t understand, is that at the beginning of the movement, only certain documents were really available for widespread reading, generally documents from the 19th century until 1960.
Widespread availability of documents had only become common in recent decades. This gives an extraordinarily limited view of Catholic church presentation of information, but this is what the movement is based on. So even today, Trad Cats mostly rely on documents written from about 1870 to 1960. However, they will quote mine from the vast libraries of the past, if something helps to prop up their conclusions, notably, digging out “Quo Primum” in order to justify their use of the Mass of Pope Pius V. The leadership hopes that the laity are so ignorant that they never question such as selective reading of history.
Many Catholics refuse to listen to alternative perspectives in the Catholic Church, dismissing anything that doesn’t fit their views as “Modernism” and constantly attacking long dead opponents of the conservative view. Catholic history is always presented through a traditional Catholic filter, so that the laity don’t come to their own conclusions about what was happening in the 19th and 20th centuries. The traditional Catholic leaders have created their own opinions and views of all of Catholic church history, and the laity are too ignorant or afraid to look into things for themselves, listen to secular scholars, or listen to other voices in the Catholic church.
Scholarship has especially taken off since 1990 exposing huge amounts of Catholic church history that had been unknown, including new translations. However, Catholics just put their heads in the sand and refuse to listen to any of it. Instead, they turn to their leaders who feed them only what they want to hear. Schuckardt was especially bad about this, severely restricting reading material. However, the traditional Catholic movement since still has an extremely selective reading of history, either ignoring certain documents, or dismissing them with whatever spurious reasoning they need to use (e.g. dismissing it as antiquarian or as Modernism).
While the rest of the world has accepted this scholarship, traditional Catholics bury their head in the sand. You’ll notice most traditional Catholics have a very narrow reading range, and they tend to repeat and quote the same material, just absolutely ignoring the vast bulk of Catholic writing prior to 1960, since most of it doesn’t support their ways of viewing the world.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, there was a huge rise in the guru movement, and Francis Schuckardt fit right into this. It became popular for anyone to join a movement, even if they were wildly different. In another time, nobody would’ve followed a cult leader like they did, but the public was ripe for the picking at the time, and many gullible idiots would follow whatever cult leader popped up. Schuckardt was attracting people to his own cult in direct opposition to the cults popping up in California in the 1960s. Schuckardt especially focused his efforts on recruitment in Southern California, where the guru movement was in full swing. Without the guru and New Age movements, Schuckardt would not have been as successful.
Religious Showmen & Mass Media
With the 20th century came a wave of religious showmen, from evangelicals (Billy Graham) to radio personalities such as Fulton J. Sheen (Life is Worth Living, 1952 to 1957). The Trads capitalized on this, and to this day the movement has a large online and media presence. Generally throughout time, people joined the church through word-of-mouth, and you didn’t have these traveling showmen advertising & getting recruits. However, the 20th century gave these egomaniacs an outlet, copying the popular Hollywood & radio shows of the time.
It's fair to put the whole Trad movement in with the televangelists, Hollywood, and traveling showmen of the day, as this is still what they do. Without mass media and propaganda, these people wouldn’t exist.
Worldwide air travel had only become common by 1957, and Schuckardt immediately exploited this for his purposes, becoming a globe trotting showman by the early 1960s. This was to continue to be a primary mode of fund raising and recruitment, as priests learned they could become traveling showmen and global sacramental dispensers in hotel rooms, basements, and tiny chapels anywhere. No longer was someone limited to a diocese, they could claim epikeia and travel wherever they pleased, “due to the situation in the church.” Most Trads never question this, and are happy to receive the sacraments from a basement chapel or hotel room. Most are so broken, ignorant, and desperate, that they’re willing to be scammed by any traveling priest that comes along, never really questioning their origins and how they justify themselves as Catholic. Without air travel, the traditional movement wouldn’t exist.
Beginning in the early 2000s, traditional Catholic websites & influencers have taken on an enormous role in the movement, both for recruiting and fundraising. They fit right into the misinformation, conspiracy theory, and influencer movement of the wider culture. You see random quotes and pictures endlessly posted on Twitter and Youtube, and endless websites and quote mining. People like the Dimond Bros. have especially done well for themselves, where they will hand you enormous amounts of cherry picked information and commentary in order to prop up their views. People like Taylor Marshall have become extraordinarily popular and rich after the 2018 scandals. They tend to post daily, finding new materials worldwide to criticize and comment on. If a priest somewhere does something silly, the Trads make a new Youtube video in order to exploit this for their own purposes. The traditional Catholic movement is heavily involved in misinformation and disinformation, and it’s widely spread on Youtube, Twitter, and message boards.