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Integrism (French: Intégrisme) is a term coined in early 20th century polemics within the Catholic Church, especially in France, as an epithet to describe those who opposed the "modernists", who sought to create a synthesis between Christian theology and the liberal philosophy of secular modernity.

"Integrism" is increasingly used to qualify religious extremism or to depict any narrow system of thought which claims to represent the integrality of the world from a few axioms.

The term was originally used by dissidents during the time of Pope St. Pius X, whose papacy lasted from 1903 to 1914, in attacks on Catholics who upheld his encyclicals such as Pascendi dominici gregis and most significantly Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors, which specifically condemned the modernist position.

Those who were called "integrists", or regarded themselves as defenders of Sacred Tradition, contrary to the modernists sought the continuation of traditional Catholic truths, which they claim, have always been taught. Some critics have framed this within a sociopolitical context of a general opposition to the secular modernity of the Western world. As represented chiefly by the Revolution in France of 1789 and the ascent in society of a secular bourgeoise leadership caste, who were often cosmopolitan, republican and anti-clerical in worldview. By the late 20th century, these elements were strong critics of the "spirit of Vatican II", emerging from the Second Vatican Council, including the suppression of the Tridentine Rite and some of the Council itself.[citation needed]

The Southern Poverty Law Center uses the term "integrism" to refer to traditional Catholics who disagree with Rome, many of them having been excommunicated by Rome. The SPLC identifies two groups “’traditionalists’ — people who prefer the old Latin Mass to the mass now typically said in vernacular languages” and ”’Radical traditionalist’ Catholics, who may make up the largest single group of serious anti-Semites in America”. It is only the second group that the SPLC views as a hate group.[1]

The term "integrism" is largely used in French philosophical and sociopolitical parlance, particularly to label any religious extremism.

The term may also refer to the Spanish formation (1888-1932) led by Ramon Nocedal and Juan Olazábal.

The term Traditionalist Catholic has become more prominent in recent times and is generally the most common term used in the Anglosphere to describe anti-modernist elements. These political implications are apparent in the Basque-Navarrese context of Spain, where that Integrism or Traditionalist Catholicism refers to a 19 and 20th century anti-Liberal movement advocating for the re-establisment of not only clerical but also native institutions lost in the context of the First Carlist War (1839, 1841). One of its branches evolved by the turn of the 20th century into Basque nationalism.

The term has also been borrowed in some cultures to describe elements within non-Catholic religious movements who are also opposed to the radical end of Western liberalism, such as Protestant fundamentalism or Islamism.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Active Radical Traditional Catholicism Groups". Southern Poverty Law Center.