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Reactionary Civil War Heating Up Over Taylor Marshall?

Reactionary Civil War Heating Up Over Taylor Marshall? September 9, 2021

Joseph Shaw, chairman of The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, himself a radical Catholic reactionary, has dissed the even more extreme Taylor Marshall. He did so in defense of a joint letter about the pope’s Motu proprio, Traditionis Custodes, from The Superiors General of the Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP), the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP), the Institute of the Good Shepherd, and a number of other Superiors General of priestly institutes and religious communities attached to the Traditional Mass (including three communities of women).

This statement is posted on the FSSP website, and on Shaw’s own website. Shaw’s statement excoriating Taylor Marshall on the same page, was cross-posted, along with the joint letter, at reactionary venue Rorate Caeli, in apparent agreement. The Twitter page for the latter (I’m banned there but have seen a screenshot), proclaimed on 8 September: “Marshall is a grifter with nothing to lose.”

Such heated rhetoric between ostensible allies and fellow reactionaries has huge implications for the internal unity of the reactionary movement, which appears to be significantly fracturing (an almost inevitable occurrence with all heretical, schismatic, and quasi-schismatic movements; I classify reactionaries as in the latter group).

I’m delighted to see the recognition of Marshall’s wacko conspiratorial extremism (better late than never). I have been sounding the alarm on him since my article, Reactionary Infiltration of Taylor Marshall’s Book, Infiltration (5-30-19), and many critiques since that time. Of course I have sounded the alarm on Joseph Shaw, too. The errors are only a matter of degree here.

On 15 April 2020 I documented the fracas when Marshall abruptly terminated the contract of his associate in many videos, Timothy Gordon. The current dust-up has far more potentially serious consequences, as I will show. Timothy Gordon has come down on the critical side:

I stand with FSSP and ICKSP. God bless our most holy, ardent, bold, yet obedient priests of the TLM! Pray for these devoted priests to remain steadfast against the summer soldiers and sunshine patriots in their congregations (who turn on them at a moment’s notice). (9-7-21)

LIVE: Defending FSSP/ICK from Taylor Marshall (9-8-21)

On 8 September 2021, Shaw wrote on his Twitter page:

It is high time that everyone realised that Taylor Marshall has no understanding of any of the issues he talks about. I’m sorry to say it but he is an ignorant fool. Now he is attacking people whose sandals he is unworthy to untie.

His critical statement on his web page was even more scathing:

Taylor Marshall, a man I usually ignore, has insulted the signatories of this statement, as lacking the “brave and bold” spirit which, he claims, animated the late Archbishop Lefebvre. He is, in a video far too tedious to link to, claiming that they are cowards.
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This is a contemptible accusation, which reveals Marshall to be, as I expressed it on Twitter, an ignorant fool. I stand by that judgement, and I call on Marshall to apologise to these good men and women, who have a fearful responsibility both to their professed members, and also, in most cases, to the lay faithful for whom they have pastoral care.
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Marshall appears to imagine that the Superiors General should react to their complex situation with the subtlety of some Hollywood action-hero: an attitude, in fact, completely at odds with the historical reality of Archbishop Lefebvre himself. What, Marshall seems to be asking, would Rambo do? What would be the reaction of some knuckle-headed character played by Mel Gibson? Well, if he wants to base his understanding of ecclesial politics on Braveheart, he should remember the advice given by the Duke of Argyle (in the 1995 film) to the young William Wallace: “First learn to use this” (pointing to his head), “and then I will teach you to use this” (lifting his sword).
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It is an interesting fact about social media that some people who witnessed Marshall’s insult of the Superiors General, and my own criticism of Marshall for making this insult, concluded that I was the one to be blamed for dividing Traditional Catholics. This is an attitude completely detached from reality. The restoration of the Church is carried out through the sacraments offered by Traditional priests, and through the lives of prayer and sacrifice represented by the Traditional Institutes and communities, not by monetised social-media clicks. We need to show solidarity, in this moment of crisis, with the Superiors General, not with the man who likes to remind his viewers “I’m just a dad with a webcam”.
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To the Superiors General, I say: genuine Traditional Catholics have your back. If this separates me from Taylor Marshall and his more deranged fans, so much the better.
Oh my! Eric Sammons replied to Shaw on Twitter (9-8-21):
I think it’s unfortunate that you used such over-the-top language about a fellow trad. You can disagree with Taylor, but to attack him by saying “he has no understanding of any of the issues he talks about” is just ridiculous. He has helped countless people find tradition.
Shaw responded:
What if it’s true, Eric? Anyway, if it is blue-on-blue attacks you are worried about, that is exactly what I’m criticizing TM for. (9-8-21)
And Sammons counter-replied:
You know it’s not true – I can’t believe you think “he has no understanding of any of the issues he talks about”. So he doesn’t understand the Rosary, or the Latin Mass, or St. Thomas? At all? Your over-the-top language overshadows any legitimate criticism you may have. (9-8-21)
This bodes very ill for the future unity of the reactionary revolt, seeing that both Shaw and Sammons are part of the editorial board at One Peter Five: the highly influential reactionary website. Sammons is the editor of Crisis Magazine: yet another reactionary rag.
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Steve Skojec, founder and former editor at One Peter Five, has been quite critical of Marshall also in his recent tweets, and noted that Marshall had blocked him on Twitter (welcome to the club, Steve!). He chimed in on Sammons’ Twitter thread:
The entire trad movement has become a chorus of barking dogs. Sometimes they bark at perceived threats, sometimes they bark at each other, but the howling never ceases. I’m of the opinion that TM is an opportunist who does more harm than good bc he keeps the barking going. (9-8-21)
“Brownson Review” took a somewhat intermediate position:
Joe’s tweet was harsh; it was ad hominem; maybe he should have reached out to TM privately first (maybe he did; I don’t know). But perhaps it’s also time to admit that TM’s social media is more problematic for us than we like to admit. He’s clearly using rage, fear for clicks. (9-8-21)
Dr. Maike Hickson, a reactionary writer active at Lifesite News, One Peter Five, and Catholic Family News, took Marshall’s side in the thread:
As if this is what we need right now at this moment in history. Very sad. We are grateful to Taylor Marshall and his work. I know so many people here in town who have been touched by him and drawn to Tradition. (9-8-21)
Sammons later wrote (perhaps toning it down a bit, and giving himself some wiggle room):
I’ve never claimed Taylor is immune from criticism. I haven’t watched his video on the matter – I might very well have the same criticism of him that I do of Joseph. But I saw Joseph’s tweet and found it disappointing. (9-8-21)
This situation is one to watch. We’ll have to wait and see what side other big shots in the reactionary world (e.g., The Remnant, Lifesite News, Peter Kwasniewski, Voris, etc.) come down on. I will be observing closely (as one who has kept track of reactionary shenanigans for over 25 years).
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So far the sides are:
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Fer Taylor Marshall:
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Eric Sammons
Dr. Maike Hickson
Many lesser-known Marshall fans & followers
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Agin Taylor Marshall:
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Joseph Shaw
Rorate Caeli
Timothy Gordon
Steve Skojec
FSSP
ICKSP (which now runs the parish I attended in Detroit for 25 years)
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Photo credit: Paul Philippoteaux’s painting of Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. Photographed by Ron Zanoni (6-20-09) [Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license]
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Summary: Prominent radical Catholic reactionary Joseph Shaw offered a blistering critique against Taylor Marshall: an even more extreme reactionary. Civil war may be in the works. Stay tuned!
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