July 2022: Traditionalism Before It Had a Name
In 1967 Emmett Culligan published a book, The Fatima Secret: A Layman's Recall to the Age of Faith. Towards the beginning is a picture of his extended family, including a priest with the caption: "In 1951 we went to the Rocky Mountains to escape Antichrist. In the summer of 1959, the Montana Earthquake destroyed our buildings." They would be the first of what later became doomsday preppers.
A question came into the Vatican in Exile asking if we knew of a Father Wish in Milwaukee. The name sounds familiar, but he comes from the second part of the formation of the Traditionalist Movement. Traditionalism began in reaction to the false doctrines coming from Vatican II and its perfidious spirit. What was bothering people was what was coming from some pulpits and the new catechisms being used.
Recall first of all that the Novus Ordo had not yet been instituted in the 1960's. Although promulgated in Latin in 1969 it took time to prepare the various vernacular translations, although the Mass was slowly being translated into the vernacular throughout the late 1960s. When I made my First Communion, the Canon was still in Latin. A few years later, when I began to serve the whole Mass was in English.
The first time period to consider is from Vatican II, 1965, until Black Palm Sunday, 1970, the day the Novus Ordo was instituted in English. Much was happening throughout the world in this time period, but I am going to limit myself to what we saw from Oklahoma City, which was unique.
As a reaction to the false doctrine and miserable catechisms a group of concerned parents got together and formed what was called the Mother's Catechism Class. We met on Sundays at the school at the cathedral parish as Tom Costello went to the Bishop and told him that he would rent us the school or he would go to the Baptists and rent from them and it would be on the front page of the Oklahoma City paper. These women taught from the Baltimore Catechism. They first were able to acquire the Kelly edition. This is in reprint now. By the time I reached seventh grade they had found the Deck edition.
I was a victim of the idea of First Communion before First Confession. I went to CCD at the local parish and duly made my First Communion. The next fall the parents of the First Communicants were gathered and told that Confession would not come until sixth grade. That is when Mom started looking for something better. She found the Mother's Catechism, which had been running for a year and a half already. She enrolled me and the next school year began teaching second grade, as I went into fourth grade.
The Oklahoma City school district was part of a racial bias court case. The first move was to open up all schools to anyone in the district and about six children moved to different schools. The court decided this was not good enough and forced busing on the whole school district to integrate it properly. As a reaction many parents pulled their children from government (public) school and enrolled them in private school. I was enrolled for fifth grade in Rosary School at Saint Francis Parish. Mom warned Father Walde, the pastor, who was receiving students coming in to Rosary from another parish where the school had been closed that many of these students may not have been to Confession yet. And he found this to be the case.
What began in the mid 1960's is what came to be known as parish shopping. Saint Patrick's where these new students were coming from was liberal, whereas Saint Francis under Father Walde and Father Walters was conservative. In fact three priests in a row were sent to Saint Patrick's and ended up leaving the priesthood to get married.
What Mom had noticed is that you would listen to a sermon and know where it should be going. Towards the end though, it would take a left turn away from the Faith. And so people looked for pulpits where this did not happen. It was not the changing Mass that concerned people, but the heresy coming from the pulpits. In fact the sermons had become so offensive to pious ears in the mid 1960's that my grandparents commented that they could not hear them anymore.
My aunt was asked to teach catechism at a parish she was in in the mid 1960's. They gave her a new catechism, which she could not make head nor tails of. She went home and dug her old Baltimore Catechism out and taught from that for the three years she lived in that parish.
On November 15, 1966, the Conciliar Church of Vatican II repealed the Index of Prohibited Books and Canon 1399, which forbade among other things, pornography, as well as heresy, thus giving license to all manner of evil. Yes Paul VI removed any Church prohibition of pornography.
Also in 1966 the Dutch Catechism came out, which was very liberal. In fact it was so liberal that eventually it got banned.
Many things happened in these times. In 1965 Father Gommar Depauw founded the Catholic Traditionalist Movement and established a private chapel in 1968. Walter Matt split from his family, which founded The Wanderer long before Vatican II to form the Remnant newspaper in 1967. In 1968 Francis Schuckardt with Denis Chicoine would found what would eventually become the CMRI. They were lay men and went around the country for several years criticizing Vatican II and promoting devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father Francis Fenton was speaking for the John Birch Society on Communism in the late 1960's and then eventually formed the ORCM. (Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement) He was joined by Father Daniel Jones of Colorado at the beginning. He was talking about doing this in the late 1960's although it was not founded until 1973 or so.
As we observed last month, it is not the Mass that was the problem, it was the doctrine. And you will notice many names are not mentioned here, because they were still in the Conciliar Church, which was forming in the Spirit of Vatican II.
There are a few important people from this time frame. The first is Hugo Maria Kellner, who criticized Antipope John XXIII-II in a book in 1964, A dogmatic analysis of the opening address of Pope John XXIII to Vatican II as a means of achieving doctrinal unity with Protestantism. He would later write a letter critical of Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of Saint Pius X. 1
A key player is Abbe George de Nantes from France, who criticized Paul VI as well as Vatican II in the 1960s. He is famous for his Liber Accusationis Paulum Sextum, accusing Paul VI of heresy and calling for a canonical trial of Paul VI. 2 (October 18, 1973)
In the late 1960's people would hear something so offensive to pious ears that they had to walk out of the church. Dad did so twice. Both times, because of our schedules, Dad had gone to a different Mass than Mom and I. Tom Costello had a large family, which took up a whole pew. The sermon became so offensive that he got up in the middle and looked at his wife at the other end of the pew and said: "Costellos out." He then proceeded to march his family down the center aisle.
Although the changes as we called them were happening transitioning the Mass from Latin to English, none took one thought about the liturgy with an exception we will consider next month. There is no real problem with the vernacular, provided the translation is good. Unfortunately the one being used was horrible.
Because the transition was done slowly, we did not realize all that was going on. We did not realize that Vatican II itself was the problem. In 1966 an English translation of the Documents of Vatican II came out and someone read it and went to a priest to complain about some of what he read. He was met with the reply: "This is not an official translation," which ended much study of Vatican II itself at the time. Our focus was shifted from Vatican II to what we were hearing from the pulpits and reading in publications from the Church, which had already ceased to be Catholic, although we did not yet realize it. (Apocalypse 3:9) This came to be known as the spirit of Vatican II. The Novus Ordo was just one of the many fruits, which sprang forth from Vatican II. Next month we will find that the Novus Ordo was what really got our attention and brought our thinking together. We did not leave because of the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI; it was just the last straw and helped us realize that the sect that gave us Vatican II had left the Catholic Church through heresy.