Reflections on life, meaning and purpose

Trad Reckoning

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Church Militant has published numerous reports praising and promoting the Traditional Latin Mass. We’ve also been honest about serious problems in traditional communities. Church Militant senior producer Christine Niles reviews some cases that offer a warning to those idealizing traditionalism.

With the liturgical abuse of many parishes, some Catholics have sought refuge in the Traditional Latin Mass, with its reverent liturgy, orthodox sermons and sacred surroundings.

Many make the mistake, however, of idealizing traditional clergy, believing they’re holier than others simply because they offer the ancient liturgy. As many stories of clergy abuse reveal, the traditionalist community on this score is no better than the wider Church.

Father Jürgen Wegner, former U.S. district superior of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) was caught on audio admitting to far more abuse cases than he’ll let on publicly.

Fr. Jurgen Wegner: “There are hundreds of cases. … To me, of what I know, there are anywhere from five to 200 cases of abuse.”

Fr. John Fullerton: “My role is to serve the priests, to make sure that we’re using the priests properly.”

The current district superior, Fr. John Fullerton, has also been involved in abuse cover-up, ordering victims of notorious predator Fr. Benedict Van Der Putten not to report his assaults to police, and ordering whistleblowers to silence. Numerous other cases of SSPX cover-up abound. 

But even the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), in full communion with the Church, is not exempt from scandal. In October the former rector of its Nebraska seminary, Fr. James Jackson, was arrested for possession and distribution of child porn. Also Fr. Benoit Guichard, a professor at the seminary, sued last year for allegedly molesting a 12-year-old girl dozens of times.

With the pope placing new restrictions on the Ancient Mass, Catholics are flocking to traditional communities seeking safe haven. But too many are idealizing Tradition, falsely assuming it’s a guarantee against evil. As too many cases prove, it’s not.

Among the latest traditional communities to be exposed, the monks of Wyoming, known for their Mystic Monk coffee. A former novice is now blowing the whistle on disturbing things he experienced behind monastery walls, revealed in Spotlight: Counterfeit Carmel?

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