Brandsma Review on “Catholic” Extremist Infiltration

In 2005 the Irish journal The Brandsma Review published an insightful analysis of the new hybrid extremism which, among other things, is attempting to link up religious tradition with its own agenda. In particular, the UK neo-fascist International Third Position (ITP) and its affiliates have tried to subvert Catholic groups in Europe on many social issues. The article (offline), “Strange Bedfellows on the Ultra Right” is by Peadar Laighléis, a veteran Catholic journalist.

…[G]roups on the far right have always looked toward the East for inspiration rather than to Judaeo-Christianity and they distorted Indo-European studies to create a neo-paganism based on Hinduism, also drawing on Buddhism and other oriental belief-systems. This, among other aspects of Nazism, was condemned by Pius XI in Mit Brennender Sorge. However, this encyclical and other ecclesiastical critiques of Nazism and Fascism have not deterred some traditional Catholics from taking that road. Indeed the ultra-right has its own ecumenicism – traditional Catholics mix with neo-pagans, neo-gnostics, atheist/agnostics, some strains of Protestant fundamentalist and converts to Islam and other eastern religions….

Laighléis mentions the major British racial nationalist party, the National Front, out of which the ITP emerged. He also discusses their ideological roots in the New Age fascist thinking of Julius Evola.

The National Front might well have been a talking shop for a few proverbial dinosaurs had they not sold their message to skinheads. In 1989, the movement went two ways – Derek Holland and Nick Griffin founding the International Third Position (Griffin later left to join the British National Party) and Pat Harrington founding the Third Way….

At this time, Holland and [Italian ITP leader] Fiore rediscovered their Catholicism, though keeping faith with Evola’s ideas. The International Third Position differs remarkably from its predecessor in that it has a lot of issues on its platform which are distinctly Catholic, for example in regard to abortion, the family and homosexuality. It also uses a lot of Catholic symbolism and language. However, the movement goes much further and embraces a very racist form of nationalism that goes beyond what Catholics can accept. The International Third Position targeted a lot of pro-life and traditional Catholic movements in Ireland (including the Brandsma Review) from 1992…….

Fiore and Holland made a number of attempts to set up Catholic villages in France and Spain which would implement the Third Positionist vision. Third Positionists have particularly insinuated itself into traditionalist Catholic company…. The St. George Educational Trust has reprinted much of the Catholic material referred to above and disseminates it with new prefaces – British charity officials have denied this group charitable status because of its links with the International Third Position. In the United States, the Legion of St. Louis works in the same way. In 2002, the IHS Press, of which Holland is a board member, was set up to reprint Catholic books relating to social teaching and Catholic action.

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