Interesting post on the Society of St. Pius X

30 07 2008

A balanced and interesting post by an ex-supporter of the Lefebvrist movement, found here


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3 responses

31 07 2008
Leah

Well, there are about three million black Catholics in the US (out of 15 million or so), which is about the same number as the total number of Episcopalians and certainly much more than however many people the Nation of Islam is claiming to have. The thing is that black Catholics are generally found in certain places (e.g., Atlanta, Chicago, the Gulf region), and they are not the traditional areas that are associated with Catholic life like Boston, New York, and Milwaukee.

I think that the “Lost Cause” mythology is probably more prevalant among Protestants than Catholics simply for the obvious fact that the South is still a very Protestant region. This is why I don’t understand why some people say it was the region where traditional Catholicism could have flourished, especially since immigrants, particularly Catholics have always been targeted by the Klan. The Old South is probably attractive to some traditionalists because it didn’t industrialize until the 1930s or so, thus retaining a semi-feudal characteristic that could be reminscent of the Middle Ages; in fact, the mechanization of cotton facilitated the development of the Civil Rights Movement, since it rendered the economic justification for keeping blacks (and many whites) tied to the land superfluous.

Another reason I asked this question is because there used to be a French priest at my parish who had a Confederate flag on his car. I could never figure out why. It would have at least made sense if he was American, but as a Frenchman I couldn’t see why he was getting involved in this particular culture war battle. So eventually I decided well, maybe he just doesn’t know any better, which I found hard to believe, but I decided to go with it. For a going away present I gave him a coffee table book about the Civil Rights Movement. I wonder if he ever actually read it or just sold it on ebay…

31 07 2008
Arturo Vasquez

Leah,

I think the thinking behind it lies in being reactionary for the sake of being reactionary. Unfortunately, most Catholic pundits in this country are white and of European extraction, so they have no idea how warped and myopic their vision of history really is. So all of their imaginings of the glorious past almost always contain fantasies of Southern gentlemen and belles walking on their plantations and reading their Bibles or suburban lily-white neighborhoods a la Leave It to Beaver, and the like. Even though most Catholics in the world are not white Europeans, you would not get that feeling from reading Catholic discourse in this country.

It is a strange thing for me, for example, for conservative Catholics to be so anti-immigrant to the point of racism (Pat Buchanan, cough, cough) that they seem to forget that the biggest Catholic juggernaut in the world lies right on their souther border.

On your question in particular, I suppose it doesn’t help that there are not many black Catholics in this country, otherwise such idealized visions of slave society would be all but ridiculous. AG, for example, is a Louisiana Creole, and she can tell you tons of stories of what her parents and ancestors had to go through in Catholic southern Louisiana. It really is no small miracle that any of them stayed Catholic in those circumstances. So when conservative and traditional Catholics start discussing issues of Southern distributist thinkers, or Southern writers, or idolize Southern society as some sort of last bastion of conservatism, they leave the non-white people where they have always been: in the background.

Is it just an SSPX thing? I really don’t think so. But where other crazy ideas prevail, this one can also thrive.

30 07 2008
Leah

I have an SSPX-related question, which may or may not be appropriate for another topic. I was on the SSPX site last year or so, and I noticed on their “hot topics” or some similarly titled section was the issue of slavery and why it wasn’t really that bad and why the South was right in seceding. Is slavery still one of the burning issues of the day? I thought that had been more or less resolved? Why does the SSPX think that a rousing defense of slavery is integral to traditional Catholicism? It probably has something to do with Pius IX giving Jefferson Davis a crown of thorns, but I’m positive that there has to be more to that story.

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