In late 2006 the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued "The Dirty Dozen," its expose of alleged political extremism in Catholic circles. As noted previously on this blog, "the Southern Poverty Law Center—being inexperienced in the doctrinal nuances of Catholicism... really does more harm than good in addressing these matters, in that they tar 'traditionalist Catholics' with a wide brush."
Still, there is a sad irony in that some of the SPLC's charges are sticking. One example is Michael Matt's Remnant newspaper, which is nothing if not idiosyncratic. The Remnant has seen fit to maintain neo-fascist and anti-Semitic connections despite growing criticism. And the odd thing is that just a few years ago Michael Matt was denouncing these same trends. What changed his mind? He'll have to answer that himself.
Certain points made about The Remnant by the SPLC are impossible to explain away, like articles which endorse Holocaust revisionism or indulge in paranoid Jewish conspiracy theories (see bottom of this page of the SPLC site). Now, if it had been a one-off thing, a mere journalistic eccentricity, it could be overlooked. But there's a real trend here which has only hardened in recent weeks with Michael Matt's endorsement of a website called Tradizione, Cattolicesimo & Politica, which is in league with the neo-fascist Forza Nuova of Roberto Fiore. For more details, see the May 24 report by The Chambers Initiative.
As much as one might dislike leftists rummaging in the dirty laundry of fellow Catholics, until we see fit to clean it ourselves, we can expect outsiders to complain about the mess. Nor should the SPLC reportage become a red herring. After all, how can Michael Matt's paper treat the SPLC reports as paranoia but do nothing to distance itself from the political lunatics?
To sum up, it was Fringe Watch and other Catholic commentators (conservative and traditional) who warned about this problem long before the professional purveyors of leftwing "tolerance" got hold of it. But people didn't listen. Perhaps they thought it was a nuisance that would just go away. Maybe... but at the offices of The Remnant it hasn't.