The Formation and Maintenance of Traditionalist Catholicism A Preliminary Sociological Appraisal of the Society of St. Pius X

Manuel Victor J. Sapitula


This paper discusses the rise of Traditionalist Catholicism as a movement within contemporary Catholicism. Traditionalist Catholicism is a recent worldwide movement of bishops, priests and laypeople characterized by their attachment to traditional forms of Catholic worship and doctrine, and therefore reject, in varying degrees, the reforms of Vatican II Council in 1962-1965. To date, the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has been, since 1970, the largest and most organized Traditionalist Catholic organization. Using qualitative and quantitative data generated from sociological research in Our Lady of Victories Church (OLVC) in Quezon City, Metro Manila in the Philippines, this paper investigates the means by which the SSPX espouses its Traditionalist Catholic stance in the Philippine context. The findings show that the SSPX engage with the “Catholic identity” of the Philippines by offering an alternative view of Philippine history that is positively disposed to Catholic interests before and after the Spanish colonial period. In the local context, the SSPX is able to organize a core base of committed members that espouse Traditionalist Catholicism through active recruitment using interpersonal networks. The local presence of the SSPX in the Philippines, however, assumes its place in the larger advocacy of the SSPX for a “return to Tradition” within mainstream Catholicism.



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