STATEMENT ON TRIDENTINE LATIN RITE CHURCH (FATIMA CRUSADERS)
By Bishop Lawrence Welsh
After much consultation and prayer, I have given approval for the to publish the series of articles regarding the Fatima
Crusaders, which begins in this issue. In the history of the Catholic
Church, after almost every general Council there have been groups which
have broken away from the mainstream of the church. They have done this in
reaction to the restatement of the Christian tradition by the Fathers of
that particular Council.
It is a very sad phenomeon but also very human. In faith we grieve to see
the fabric of the church so divided. Our life as Christians is directed
toward the unity of all men and women in Christ. Whatever divides the
church is to be mourned because it divides Christ himself.
We are sure that the Catholics who have joined the Fatima Crusaders are
sincere in their belief. The series presents the
sorrows, the traumas, and the difficulties they have experienced for the
sake of their belief. They are seeking to do God's will as they understand
Yet, as Bishop of Spokane, I do not feel that I can stand by silently
while people from this group cause confusion in the minds of some of our
The Fatima Crusaders or the Tridentine Latin Rite Church cannot be
identified as a legitimate expression of the Roman Catholic faith. Their
denial of the papacy as incorporated in the lives of the last four popes
is a denial of the church itself. How can one believe in the presence of
Christ in the church and the power of his Spirit while denying the
concrete presence of the office of the Pope?
NOT LEGITIMATELY CATHOLICS
There is no such thing as a legitimate expression of the Catholic
tradition that is not in union with the Holy Father. The Fatima Crusaders
are therefore not legitimately Catholics. Their celebration of the
sacraments is not a legitimate part of the life of the church. Bishop
Schuckardt has received no mission from the church universal and does not
accept the unity of the apostolic office. Yet these are some of the very
elements which make the Church Roman Catholic.
The past 18 years have been very challenging for the church. Given the
direction by the bishops of the church in union with the Holy Father,
Catholics have been about the difficult task of reform and renewal. There
have been extreme reactions at times and clearly abuses at times, but
guided by the official teaching office of the church it has sought to live
by and to teach the mainstream of Catholic tradition as it has been known
for 2,000 years.
As your bishop, I must caution you, the faithful of this diocese, to
protect yourselves from any error including this effort by the Fatima
Crusaders. Their presentation of Catholic tradition distorts the
mainstream of Catholic faith by a certain selected historical perception
of Catholic life. They take a far too pessimistic view of world order.
TEACHING AUTHORITY DENIED
Furthermore, they deny the teaching authority of the Second Vatican
Council and the last four popes. Implicitly Bishop Schuckardt has set
himself up as the final and last arbiter of Catholic tradition. This
follows the pattern used by all so-called reformers of the past.
They are above the then current expression of Catholic tradition. History
over and over again has demonstrated that such movements are not from the
Holy Spirit. Whatever the admitted weaknesses and sinfulness of the Roman
Cathoic Church, the Fatima Crusaders stand opposed to the unity,
Catholicity, and apostolicity of the church. I truly believe the series
that begins this week helps to identify this more clearly. I am grateful
to Bob Cubbage and the staff for their very competent
and professional efforts to bring this story to the Catholic people of our
This document was taken from "Cults, Sects, and the New Age," by
Rev. James J. LeBar, available from Our Sunday Visitor Press,
200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750.