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Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Soldier of Christ the King Lays Down His Sword: Anthony Fraser, RIP

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A Soldier of Christ the King Lays Down His Sword: Anthony Fraser, RIP
We are devastated by the news of the sudden passing of our old friend and ally, Anthony S. Fraser, who died yesterday morning, August 28 (Feast of St. Augustine), of apparent heart failure.

Readers of The Remnant will immediately recognize the name Anthony Fraser as the indefatigable editor of Apropos—the UK’s premier traditional Catholic magazine. Of course, Tony is also the son of the late, great Hamish Fraser—an early pioneer of the traditional Catholic movement as well as a close friend and collaborator of the founder of The Remnant, Walter L. Matt (RIP). His Approaches magazine is generally considered Europe’s traditionalist magazine of record during the turbulent years following Vatican II.


Hamish’s biography, Fatal Star, published by Neumann Press, tells the story of the former communist turned Catholic warrior for Christ the King and ardent devotee to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Along with Michael Davies, Archbishop Lefebvre, Arnaud de Lassus, John Senior and Walter Matt, Hamish was with the first Catholic traditionalists to make the famous stand against the new orientation of Catholic Church spawned by the infamous ‘spirit of Vatican II’.

When it comes to Tony the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. When Hamish died quite suddenly in 1986 Tony not only picked up his father’s standard but would make it his own and carry it into battle for Christ the King for the next 30 years.

His characteristic humility induced Tony to wince at the thought of placing himself at the same level as his revered father, and so he changed the name of the family magazine to Apropos and carried on from then until now in the spirit of his father’s Approaches.

Like Hamish, Tony was a loyal son of the Church with a proper Scottish refusal to abandon Catholic Tradition and the Social Rights of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King under the regime of novelty. Instead, he became a champion of Tradition and the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church promulgated by the great popes of the latter half of the 19th and early half of the 20th centuries.

Tony wrote only occasionally for The Remnant but was always an enthusiastic promoter of The Remnant, regularly publishing unsolicited ads for us in his magazine. Quite recently, in fact, he simply gave us the rights to our book on Freemasonry by Arnaud de Lassus (most of which had originated in Apropos). But that’s the way he was. It was the cause, the truth, that mattered most to Tony. I was honored to walk the pilgrimage to Chartres with Tony and his sons, Simon and Seamus, several times years ago and will never forget the camaraderie, the brilliant sense of humor and the unflappable sensus Catholicus of the Fraser clan.

Tony was realistic but I never found him to be pessimistic, and his sense of humor maintained a balance that always provided welcome relief when the chips were really down. And so a few months after Francis was elected Pope, for example, Tony quipped to me in an email: “We can only hope and pray that Francis is the Pope we Catholics did not deserve rather than the one we do.  But as my dad used to say it is Ecclesiam Suam and He knows best – perhaps as Fr Thwaites observed – we have a bit of winnowing to suffer yet.”

Perhaps there is something apropos in the fact that the very last message I received from Tony, in an email dated August 9, 2014, included the following bit of lighthearted encouragement:  

"As my Dad said – Keep punching!
Yours aye in Christo Rege, Tony"

In other words, don't ever give up the fight for the old Faith. Indeed, Tony never did.

There is so much more to say about Anthony Fraser, but it will have to wait until the next issue of The Remnant. Still reeling from the shock of his passing, let it suffice to say that Tony was the quiet but formidable soldier of Christ we are proud to boast of as ‘one of ours’. Tony, son of Hamish, was an ally and brother to those of us privileged to call him friend. We will miss him more than we can say, and we extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Janice, and the entire Fraser family.

Requiescat in Pace.

Last modified on Friday, August 29, 2014
Michael J. Matt | Editor

Michael J. Matt has been an editor of The Remnant since 1990. Since 1994, he has been the newspaper's editor. A graduate of Christendom College, Michael Matt has written hundreds of articles on the state of the Church and the modern world. He is the host of The Remnant Underground and Remnant TV's The Remnant Forum. He's been U.S. Coordinator for Notre Dame de Chrétienté in Paris--the organization responsible for the Pentecost Pilgrimage to Chartres, France--since 2000.  Mr. Matt has led the U.S. contingent on the Pilgrimage to Chartres for the last 24 years. He is a lecturer for the Roman Forum's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. He is the author of Christian Fables, Legends of Christmas and Gods of Wasteland (Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll) and regularly delivers addresses and conferences to Catholic groups about the Mass, home-schooling, and the culture question. Together with his wife, Carol Lynn and their seven children, Mr. Matt currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.