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47of74

The Rise of Fundamentalist Catholicism

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47of74

Just saw this very interesting article about the ride of fundie Catholics, led by Lord High Ray

Quote

Pope Francis’ modest reform agenda has thus become anathema to them. “There’s a breakdown of the central teaching authority of the Roman pontiff,” Cardinal Raymond Burke, their foremost American figure, recently told New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. “The successor of St. Peter exercises an essential office of teaching and discipline, and Pope Francis, in many respects, has refused to exercise that office.”

In the just-concluded synod on the Amazon, the fundamentalists were scandalized by the call for married men to serve as priests in the Amazon region, as if Eastern Rite Catholic priests haven’t been married for centuries, and as if Pope Benedict this very decade didn’t authorize married Anglican priests who convert to serve as Catholic priests.

The fundamentalists were also scandalized by Francis’ reconvening a commission to study the history of women deacons in the church — a history well attested in the sources — presumably with an eye to authorizing the ordination of women as deacons sometime soon.

Most of all, the fundamentalists got their knickers in a twist over a two-foot-high indigenous carving of a naked pregnant woman, identified with an Incan figure called Pachamama, that was presented to the pope at the beginning of the synod and placed in a church in Rome (from which a young zealot removed it and threw it in the Tiber). In their view, it was a pagan idol, not an example of wholesome inculturation, as if portraying Pachamama as Our Lady of the Amazon was any more violative of Catholic belief than the assimilation of the Aztec Mother Goddess Tonantzin into the Virgin of Guadalupe.

These fundie Catholics have done more to create ex-Catholics than all the other religious faiths combined. 

Edited by Coconut Flan

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Hane

I was a cradle Catholic, born in 1952. I constantly shake my head over the fact that Roman Catholicism has become *more* conservative in outlook than it was when I was a kid in the post-Vatican-II, ecumenical ‘60s. Right-wing Catholics often seem more concerned about form than meaning, objecting to Pope Francis’s decisions to wear simple clothing, drive a Ford Focus, and live in humble accommodations, and using these things to “prove” that he “isn’t showing the proper dignity in his office.” People who prefer the Latin Mass think it’s “holier” than ones conducted in the local language. 

Last night, a fellow former Catholic a decade younger than I told me that she had been taught Old Testament Bible stories as dogma, while I’d learned about them as instructive fables.

Meanwhile, even formerly devoted Catholics are swarming to other churches or leaving religion altogether over real-life issues such as divorce/remarriage, contraception, abortion, LGBT+ rights, marriage equality, and the role of women in ministry. The remaining numbers consist in large part of people who attend Mass because “it’s what my family does” but who don’t actually believe in all the dogma and teachings, but don’t want to be vocal in their dissent out of fear of “making waves.” 

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NachosFlandersStyle

I've been especially disturbed by the uproar over the Pachamama statue. For one thing, you would expect Catholics to have enough self-awareness not to fear-monger about people "worshipping statues." But more importantly, Pachamama is a symbol of cultural heritage in a place that was brutally colonized and where indigenous people still are not equal. I've spent just a little time in this part of the world and have heard about her from Catholic folks who also want to preserve and celebrate that heritage. Frankly, there are genocidal overtones to the rhetoric about rooting out non-European elements in the church. And it's not just rhetoric. Members of the new right-wing administration in Bolivia have referenced this controversy in statements about purging indigenous influence from government. It's incredibly dangerous and American Catholics should be ashamed of taking part in it.

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nausicaa

I follow a couple hard-right Traditionalist Catholics on Twitter (mainly to enjoy the crazy "The Hapsburgs need to rule Europe again!" stuff) and only heard about the Pachamama statue through them (as they rejoiced about the destruction). So thank you for providing a bit of a more info. 

For anyone interested, there is a YouTube with the young man who threw the statue in the Tiber where he preens and brags about it.

Also, since it didn't belong to the young man, isn't he technically stealing by taking it and destroying it? Seems like a dangerous precedent to set for churches that are ostensibly open to the public, believers and non-believers alike. What if a hard line Protestant went in and destroyed the Virgin Mary artwork since it's "praying to a false God"? 

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47of74
I was a cradle Catholic, born in 1952. I constantly shake my head over the fact that Roman Catholicism has become *more* conservative in outlook than it was when I was a kid in the post-Vatican-II, ecumenical ‘60s. Right-wing Catholics often seem more concerned about form than meaning, objecting to Pope Francis’s decisions to wear simple clothing, drive a Ford Focus, and live in humble accommodations, and using these things to “prove” that he “isn’t showing the proper dignity in his office.” People who prefer the Latin Mass think it’s “holier” than ones conducted in the local language.  

Last night, a fellow former Catholic a decade younger than I told me that she had been taught Old Testament Bible stories as dogma, while I’d learned about them as instructive fables.

Meanwhile, even formerly devoted Catholics are swarming to other churches or leaving religion altogether over real-life issues such as divorce/remarriage, contraception, abortion, LGBT+ rights, marriage equality, and the role of women in ministry. The remaining numbers consist in large part of people who attend Mass because “it’s what my family does” but who don’t actually believe in all the dogma and teachings, but don’t want to be vocal in their dissent out of fear of “making waves.” 

 

 

Up until 2012 I was probably the last person who my family would’ve thought would leave the Roman church. I had been toying with the notion for years though and had decided if I moved I would not join a new Catholic parish but would look elsewhere. 2012 I just got sick of the leadership turning the church into a branch of the GOP and just got done. That’s when I finally left.

 

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hoipolloi
3 minutes ago, nausicaa said:

What if a hard line Protestant went in and destroyed the Virgin Mary artwork since it's "praying to a false God"? 

Surprised that Steve Anderson, the Pissing Preacher, or one of his current leghumpers haven't actually done this yet.

For that matter, it's beyond common for the wackaloon Protestant "missionaries" to view Catholicism as non-Christian -- therefore, Catholics are deemed in need of conversion to a "true faith," whatever it might be. IIRC, this was the whole premise of the Lockwood family's "missionary" work in Mexico.

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47of74
Surprised that Steve Anderson, the Pissing Preacher, or one of his current leghumpers haven't actually done this yet.

For that matter, it's beyond common for the wackaloon Protestant "missionaries" to view Catholicism as non-Christian -- therefore, Catholics are deemed in need of conversion to a "true faith," whatever it might be. IIRC, this was the whole premise of the Lockwood family's "missionary" work in Mexico.

 

Now that I think of it I’m kind of surprised PP hasn’t jumped up on an altar at a Catholic Church during Mass and gone nuts.

 

Isn’t converting the unwashed masses to the true faith the whole raison d'être of these fundies?

 

Edit. Fucking autocorrect

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smittykins

I’ve heard(anecdotal)reports of fundamentalists going into churches and placing anti-Catholic tracts in the missalettes.

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Glasgowghirl

I rarely go to mass but my Church is not overly fundamental, the priest is strict when it comes to allowing people who never or barely attend but then want him to Christen their children or let them make communions or confirmation just for the excuse to party, I agree with him though. 

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libgirl2
4 hours ago, Hane said:


Last night, a fellow former Catholic a decade younger than I told me that she had been taught Old Testament Bible stories as dogma, while I’d learned about them as instructive fables.

 

I listen to Catholic radio every so often and I remember one of the daily shows that is on, hosted by a priest, discussing the Catholic view of the OT stories being fables and not actual fact. 

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Hane

@47of74, I think my family was pretty surprised when I left around 2006. I had been one of those hoping to work towards change from within, and had been a lector, parish council officer, choir member, and religious ed teacher. What clinched my decision to leave was the day the assistant pastor announced his departure (to a parish literally a block away), and when the congregation groaned, he said, “This is just a fact of life. We aren’t getting as many vocations to the priesthood these days.” I had to fight not to stand up and shout, “If you let women in, you’d have priests coming out of your ears!” 
My niece and nephew felt bad that my departure to the UU meant that I couldn’t be their confirmation sponsor, and so did I, but I had to follow my conscience.

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anjulibai

Those traditionalist Catholics that are pissed at the Pachamama statue would be really incensed if they went to the Vatican - there's all sorts of pagan statuary all over the place. In one courtyard when I was there last summer, they had a bunch of statues of the Ancient Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. There was even a plaque commenting on how her imagery and the imagery of many ancient goddesses was reflected in how the Virgin Mary is depicted. 

 

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Caroline
21 hours ago, Hane said:

@47of74, I think my family was pretty surprised when I left around 2006. I had been one of those hoping to work towards change from within, and had been a lector, parish council officer, choir member, and religious ed teacher. What clinched my decision to leave was the day the assistant pastor announced his departure (to a parish literally a block away), and when the congregation groaned, he said, “This is just a fact of life. We aren’t getting as many vocations to the priesthood these days.” I had to fight not to stand up and shout, “If you let women in, you’d have priests coming out of your ears!” 
My niece and nephew felt bad that my departure to the UU meant that I couldn’t be their confirmation sponsor, and so did I, but I had to follow my conscience.

When our daughter was born (22 years ago) my husband and I, both raised Catholic but not practitioners at the time, thought we should 'try again'.   We found a church, attended it, had her christened, and she prepared for First Holy Communion and Confirmation (which took place at the same time where we live - at the age of 7 or 8).  We had not been happy with the priest or congregation for a while, but decided to keep trying.  After the FHC and Confirmation we switched to another RC church (long story about why that has to do with the church's switch to a more fundamentalist message), and were happy for a while.  The pastor of the new church was amazing and open-minded, and intellectual.  Unfortunately, he was sent someplace else  The Pope (Benedict, I think) at the time said something really horrible about Gay people, and an Arizona (?) nun/nurse was excommunicated  for recommending an abortion to a woman who would likely die without one.  That was the last straw, and we quit religion that day.  I told my daughter who was about 12 at the time that I couldn't live with the hypocrisy and didn't want her thinking we believed such nonsense, especially about Gay people because my dear sister is Gay.   I'm glad we did that for her sake, but I miss the pomp and circumstance of Catholicism and always will.   (My 92 year old extremely devout aunt quit too when the sex abuse scandal broke.  It was one of the toughest things she ever did.  We're Irish-American and feel really culturally connected to Catholicism. It's the reason I'll never choose another faith, as strange as that sounds.)

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Marmion

On the flip side , there have been Catholics leaving the Church , and becoming part of the Anglican Communion ,  more specifically I think in favor of Liberal Anglo-Catholicism  .  https://www.episcopalcafe.com/leaving-catholicism-for-anglicanism/  ,  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/15/why-i-quit-catholicism-become-episcopalian  ,  http://www.chicagonow.com/running-with-a-book-cart/2012/05/mass-exodus/ 

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Caroline
6 minutes ago, Marmion said:

On the flip side , there have been Catholics leaving the Church , and becoming part of the Anglican Communion ,  more specifically I think in favor of Liberal Anglo-Catholicism  .  https://www.episcopalcafe.com/leaving-catholicism-for-anglicanism/  ,  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/15/why-i-quit-catholicism-become-episcopalian  ,  http://www.chicagonow.com/running-with-a-book-cart/2012/05/mass-exodus/ 

The Episcopal churches where I live are amazing, and the closest thing to how I was raised in the RC church.  I'm too exhausted by religion at this point and don't have the energy or drive to try again.  If I were younger and less jaded Episcopal is what I would choose.

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Baba O'Riley

Like @47of74, I'm also a cradle Catholic born in 1952, and I'm  a product of 12 years of Catholic school.   When I was in the 8th grade, which was a couple of years after Vatican II, the nuns  taught us  two new  shocking things:  The Old Testament was composed of  fables and parables, as someone above said, and that evolution was a valid theory and we could choose to believe it or to believe the Six Day Creation story.  (A lot of non-Catholics are shocked to hear this last bit.)

As I am still an occasional churchgoer, I'm surprised to read in this thread that the Catholic Church is experiencing a surge in fundamentalism.  I hadn't noticed.  Maybe that's happening in a lot of the country but it's definitely not happening in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens. Not yet anyway.  I have noticed when traveling and attending Mass in places like Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky  and  Ohio  that the parishioners are much more conservatively dressed, whereas a lot of New Yorkers wear jeans and t shirts and even short shorts in the summer.  Also, the churches are full compared to ours in NYC, a lot of which are closing or merging with other parishes.    Some other  churches in Northeastern cities such as Boston and Philadelphia may also be faltering and are probably not going the conservative route; I think the dioceses in these cities have particularly been hard hit by the predator priest horrors.  A Boston church near where my kids went to college was particularly progressive.  They had outreach programs for gay Catholics and divorced and remarried Catholics. 

So I'm wondering if the Catholic fundie surge is happening mainly in areas where there is also a Protestant fundie surge. 

Edited by Baba O'Riley

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smittykins

In the late 80s, I took a clerical-skills course at a local vocational-technical school, and one of my fellow students was a lady (probably in her 50s)who had been raised Catholic and currently attended an evangelical church, but still made her “Easter duty”(Confession/Communion)every year.  She also said she would never officially join the evangelical church because one of the requirements was believers’ baptism, “and I believe in one baptism.”

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ViolaSebastian

I follow Kendra Tierney on Instagram, who is a member of Opus Dei. She and her husband are aggressively Catholic--they celebrate feast days, live by the liturgy, say the rosary as a family each night, etc. She and her husband just had a tenth baby, which as someone in her early forties is interesting enough. However, her husband has stage IV metastatic melanoma which has caused brain tumors. Kendra and her family are great examples of people who make it look easy and effortless...until you realize that Kendra's family is loaded and they live in a freakin' mansion in California. 

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SassyPants
On 11/14/2019 at 4:25 PM, Hane said:

@47of74, I think my family was pretty surprised when I left around 2006. I had been one of those hoping to work towards change from within, and had been a lector, parish council officer, choir member, and religious ed teacher. What clinched my decision to leave was the day the assistant pastor announced his departure (to a parish literally a block away), and when the congregation groaned, he said, “This is just a fact of life. We aren’t getting as many vocations to the priesthood these days.” I had to fight not to stand up and shout, “If you let women in, you’d have priests coming out of your ears!” 
My niece and nephew felt bad that my departure to the UU meant that I couldn’t be their confirmation sponsor, and so did I, but I had to follow my conscience.

I’m also in your age bracket, a cradle Catholic and I also fled Catholicism for the UU. My husband, also our age and a cradle Catholic moved as well. In fact, most the the people in our Fellowship are former Catholics.

18 minutes ago, ViolaSebastian said:

I follow Kendra Tierney on Instagram, who is a member of Opus Dei. She and her husband are aggressively Catholic--they celebrate feast days, live by the liturgy, say the rosary as a family each night, etc. She and her husband just had a tenth baby, which as someone in her early forties is interesting enough. However, her husband has stage IV metastatic melanoma which has caused brain tumors. Kendra and her family are great examples of people who make it look easy and effortless...until you realize that Kendra's family is loaded and they live in a freakin' mansion in California. 

Yes, she is the exception, and not the rule. Didn’t one of her kids receive his First Holy Communion from the last Pope? And even though she is very financially secure, her life would be very, very different if her husband passed away. IMO, when you’re 45 YO, already have 9 children and a seriously ill husband and main, if not sole family provider, it is irresponsible to add more children.

Edited by SassyPants

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Aoife

Has anyone heard of the Palmarian Catholic Church?

They are a fundamentalist cult who claim to be the true Catholic church. They believe that Pope Paul VI was held hostage in the Vatican and forced to sign up to the changes introduced in Vatican 2. (Not sure, but I think they say the communists were behind it.) Anyway, that's when the church in Rome went astray. Then, some time in the seventies, a Spanish con man - my interpretation - had the truth revealed to him, and he founded the "true" church in Palmar de Troya in Spain, becoming its first pope. 

Palmarians have much in common with the fundies we snark on. Strict dress codes, isolation, no birth control, for instance. Scandals aplenty, too. All overlaid with old fashioned pomp and pagentry inherited from the Roman Catholic Church and then exaggerated. They would be laughable if they weren't splitting up families.

They have adherents in the US and in various parts of Europe that I know of, but I don't know about elsewhere. I think they are a very small group.

 

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47of74
6 minutes ago, Aoife said:

Has anyone heard of the Palmarian Catholic Church?

They are a fundamentalist cult who claim to be the true Catholic church. They believe that Pope Paul VI was held hostage in the Vatican and forced to sign up to the changes introduced in Vatican 2. (Not sure, but I think they say the communists were behind it.) Anyway, that's when the church in Rome went astray. Then, some time in the seventies, a Spanish con man - my interpretation - had the truth revealed to him, and he founded the "true" church in Palmar de Troya in Spain, becoming its first pope. 

Palmarians have much in common with the fundies we snark on. Strict dress codes, isolation, no birth control, for instance. Scandals aplenty, too. All overlaid with old fashioned pomp and pagentry inherited from the Roman Catholic Church and then exaggerated. They would be laughable if they weren't splitting up families.

They have adherents in the US and in various parts of Europe that I know of, but I don't know about elsewhere. I think they are a very small group.

 

Yeah I heard of them before.  They are way out there.  They're not the only group of far reich wing Catholics who broke off from the main church after Vatican II.  For example there was Jean-Gaston Tremblay up in Quebec who claimed he was Pope Gregory XVII.

4 hours ago, Caroline said:

When our daughter was born (22 years ago) my husband and I, both raised Catholic but not practitioners at the time, thought we should 'try again'.   We found a church, attended it, had her christened, and she prepared for First Holy Communion and Confirmation (which took place at the same time where we live - at the age of 7 or 8).  We had not been happy with the priest or congregation for a while, but decided to keep trying.  After the FHC and Confirmation we switched to another RC church (long story about why that has to do with the church's switch to a more fundamentalist message), and were happy for a while.  The pastor of the new church was amazing and open-minded, and intellectual.  Unfortunately, he was sent someplace else  The Pope (Benedict, I think) at the time said something really horrible about Gay people, and an Arizona (?) nun/nurse was excommunicated  for recommending an abortion to a woman who would likely die without one.  That was the last straw, and we quit religion that day.  I told my daughter who was about 12 at the time that I couldn't live with the hypocrisy and didn't want her thinking we believed such nonsense, especially about Gay people because my dear sister is Gay.   I'm glad we did that for her sake, but I miss the pomp and circumstance of Catholicism and always will.   (My 92 year old extremely devout aunt quit too when the sex abuse scandal broke.  It was one of the toughest things she ever did.  We're Irish-American and feel really culturally connected to Catholicism. It's the reason I'll never choose another faith, as strange as that sounds.)

What really did it for me was how the Bishops were out and out campaigning for the GOP in 2012 and using their positions to make priests read GOP talking points from the pulpits of churches.  In February of 2012 I lost any desire to attend further Masses and decided one Sunday to go to the local Episcopal church instead. 

Your story is kind of similar - we had been blessed by an all around great guy as rector at our church.  He was more concerned about taking care of people then rules and regulations - especially those parishioners he knew were having a hard time - and always wanted to do right by them.  Then he retired.  His replacement was OK but we just didn't gel as much.

Then there was the change to the "new and improved" translation of the liturgy in late 2011 and it didn't feel like Mass anymore.  They wanted to have all the pomp and circumstance but didn't want to take care of the people by giving them a liturgy that would be meaningful to attendees.  When I went to the Episcopal Church I was happy because it was largely the liturgy I had grown up with.  The order is slightly different but I felt so much at home.

 

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Marmion
14 hours ago, ViolaSebastian said:

I follow Kendra Tierney on Instagram, who is a member of Opus Dei. She and her husband are aggressively Catholic--they celebrate feast days, live by the liturgy, say the rosary as a family each night, etc. She and her husband just had a tenth baby, which as someone in her early forties is interesting enough. However, her husband has stage IV metastatic melanoma which has caused brain tumors. Kendra and her family are great examples of people who make it look easy and effortless...until you realize that Kendra's family is loaded and they live in a freakin' mansion in California. 

I have heard of Opus Dei , and from what I gather , and I don't like to use this term lightly , they are like a cult .  

  https://odan.org    And while I am at it , I will just mention that beyond just these strict conservative Catholics , there are also an entire category of Radical Traditionalist Catholics    .   https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/radical-traditional-catholicism   ,  https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Traditionalist_Catholicism 

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Caroline
7 minutes ago, Marmion said:

I have heard of Opus Dei , and from what I gather , and I don't like to use this term lightly , they are like a cult .  

  https://odan.org    And while I am at it , I will just mention that beyond just these strict conservative Catholics , there are also an entire category of Radical Traditionalist Catholics    .   https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/radical-traditional-catholicism   ,  https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Traditionalist_Catholicism 

I've actually visited the Opus Dei center in Spain.  Definitely got cult vibes.

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Glasgowghirl
On 11/14/2019 at 9:45 PM, libgirl2 said:

I listen to Catholic radio every so often and I remember one of the daily shows that is on, hosted by a priest, discussing the Catholic view of the OT stories being fables and not actual fact. 

At the Catholic School's I went to that was how we were pretty much told to view a lot of the stories. They were not telling us god created the world in 6 day's, RE at high school had stuff about other religions and covered a lot of Christian, not just Catholic hero's, like Martin Luther King. Even though I wasn't that religious I enjoyed some of the classes especially if the teacher we got was good, I wasn't just RE department teacher's that taught it and some of the teacher's liked to use any excuse to put films or TV shows that may have had loose link to what ever moral they were trying to teach. 

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Katzchen24
On 11/16/2019 at 12:30 PM, Aoife said:

Has anyone heard of the Palmarian Catholic Church?

They are a fundamentalist cult who claim to be the true Catholic church. They believe that Pope Paul VI was held hostage in the Vatican and forced to sign up to the changes introduced in Vatican 2. (Not sure, but I think they say the communists were behind it.) Anyway, that's when the church in Rome went astray. Then, some time in the seventies, a Spanish con man - my interpretation - had the truth revealed to him, and he founded the "true" church in Palmar de Troya in Spain, becoming its first pope. 

Not the Palmarian, but something like it. I went to a service at a full-on fundie Catholic Church with my ex. He was a practising Catholic (I was Anglican at the time) and we both wanted to experience a Latin Mass. We went to a local Society of St Pius X church. They've schismed from the Roman Catholic Church because they also think everything that happened from Vatican II onwards was BAAAAD. The service and the sermon was out there.

Actually, I was just browsing SSPX's website and found this gem from Genesis prominently displayed amongst their info....

 

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