The Society of St. Pius X: Mired in Anti-Semitism

  • March 20, 2009

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The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is an international traditionalist Catholic organization which defines its mission as opposing innovation and modernity within the Catholic Church. 

Although its main focus has always been the preservation of the Latin Mass as a viable form of worship, SSPX has promoted theological and conspiratorial anti-Semitism among its adherents. 

In sermons, writings, Web sites and publications, SSPX representatives have charged contemporary Jews with deicide, have endorsed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and have claimed that there is factual basis for the Blood Libel.  One of its bishops has also denied the Holocaust.

The Society of St. Pius X was founded in 1970 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905-1991) in reaction to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.  These reforms included the substitution of a vernacular Mass for the traditional Latin Mass and a new emphasis on interfaith dialogue.  Most important to the priests of SSPX was the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass, but SSPX also stood against other "modernist" trends, including the Church's ecumenical dialogue with non-Catholic groups, and specifically efforts to improve relations with the Jewish community.

In 1988 SSPX's founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, consecrated four priests as bishops without Vatican approval; he and the priests were consequently excommunicated by the Church.  When Lefebvre died in 1991 the four priests, Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, continued to champion SSPX positions, along with a constellation of like-minded organizations and independent traditionalist Catholics.  Bishop Bernard Fellay currently runs SSPX from its headquarters in Switzerland.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued a directive that allowed the Latin (Tridentine) Mass to be celebrated in certain circumstances, thereby narrowing the theological distance between SSPX and the Vatican.  In January 2009 the Vatican lifted the excommunication of the four SSPX bishops.

In the United States, SSPX claims about 100 chapels and 24 schools.  Its U.S. monthly periodical, The Angelus, has about 3,000 subscribers.  It also maintains a Web site.

The Society of St. Pius X is mired in anti-Semitism, which it disseminates through its Web sites and publications.  Jews are described in SSPX documents as being cursed by God for the sin of deicide.  Jews are accused of being in control of world financial and cultural institutions and of plotting to create a "world empire" or obtain "world dominion."  SSPX has justified the burning of Jewish holy books and the segregation of Jews into ghettos.

One article on SSPX's U.S. Web site goes so far as to accuse Jews of ritual murder of Christians and charges that "International Judaism" engineered usury and capitalism in order to bilk Christians of their money. 

SSPX writers also encourage their adherents to avoid "enter[ing] into commercial, social, [or] political relations" with Jews and argue that Jews should not be granted the same civic rights as Christians.

One of the more controversial SSPX members has been Bishop Richard Williamson, the British-born head of the SSPX seminary in La Reja, Argentina.  Williamson is a conspiracy theorist who has charged the United States government with engineering the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. 

For decades, Williamson has also promoted anti-Semitic beliefs and Holocaust denial.  He champions the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, argues that Jews seek "world dominion," and claims that Jews have promoted "changes and corruption" in the post-Vatican II Catholic Church.

Williamson has issued several high profile endorsements of Holocaust denial, most recently in an interview on Swedish television aired in January 2009 in which he claimed that "there were no gas chambers" during the Holocaust.  In a 1989 speech at a Canadian church, he declared that "there was not one Jew killed in the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies. The Jews created the Holocaust so we would prostrate ourselves on our knees before them and approve of their new State of Israel." 

Williamson has also made statements in support of Ernst Zundel, a white supremacist and Holocaust denier who has been jailed in Canada and Germany for Holocaust denial and inciting racial hatred.  Williamson also appears to be an associate of Holocaust denier David Irving, having attended a reception at his home in October 2008, according to a post on Irving's Web site.

Following the international outcry over the Vatican’s rehabilitation of Holocaust denying Bishop Williamson, SSPX head Bishop Fellay issued a press release on January 27, 2009 distancing the SSPX from Williamson’s “inappropriate” Holocaust denial.  He also forbade Williamson from speaking on the “historical question” of the Holocaust.  In communications to SSPX adherents and sympathizers, Fellay has not offered a strong denunciation of Williamson’s remarks, labeling them “unhappy” and “unhoped-for.”  He has instead criticized “progressivists” and the media for calling attention to Williamson’s Holocaust denial, claiming their objective has been to harm the Pope, the Catholic Church, and the SSPX’s mission.

Williamson apologized to Pope Benedict XVI for his “imprudent remarks” on January 30, but did not retract his denials of the Holocaust as the Vatican Secretariat of State had demanded.  In a February 9 interview, Williamson said he would reexamine historical evidence about the Holocaust but that it “will take time” before he can correct himself if he finds the new sources to be convincing.  He also refused to visit the site of the Auschwitz extermination camp.  Williamson was removed as head of the SSPX seminary in La Reja, Argentina.  He was also expelled from Argentina by the Interior Ministry.           

On February 6, 2009, the Society of Saint Pius X in Italy expelled Father Floriano Abrahamowicz, a member who had defended Williamson’s remarks and denied that gas chambers were employed in Nazi extermination camps during the Holocaust. 

In early February 2009, several articles that articulated positions about Jews were removed from SSPX US website.  Bishop Williamson’s articles were also removed from the SSPX Canadian website.  It is too early to say whether the removal of these articles reflects merely a cosmetic change in response to outside inquiry or a fundamental shift in SSPX teachings about Judaism. 

In remarks to visiting Jewish leaders on February 12, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI denounced Holocaust denial, stating that “It is beyond question that any denial or minimization of this terrible crime is intolerable and altogether unacceptable.”  He also said that “the hatred and contempt for men, women and children that was manifested in the Shoah was a crime against God and against humanity.”

"This curse [suffered by Jews throughout history for killing Jesus] is the punishment of blindness to the things of God and eternity, of deafness to the call of conscience and to the love of good and hatred of evil which is the basis of all moral life, of spiritual paralysis, of total preoccupation with an earthly kingdom."
-- The Angelus, March 2004 (Reposted on SSPX USA Web site)

"[T]he Antichrist will be Jewish….The devil will not fail to make use of their blindness to foist the Antichrist upon them. Christ, whom they have rejected, is the Truth. Thus the curse of St. Paul will apply to the Jews…"
-- From "Is Anti-Christ Coming?" by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Herkel, SSPX

"The Jewish people, once a mystery of goodness, is now changed into a mystery of iniquity. It is no longer Isaac, but Ishmael. No longer Jacob, but Esau. No longer Abel, but Cain."
-- "The Mystery of the Jewish People in History" By Rev. Frs. Michael Crowdy & Kenneth Novak (originally printed in the April 1997 issue of The Angelus magazine).

"Judaism is inimical to all nations in general, and in a special manner to Christian nations…. The Jewish people, if it has not converted to Christianity, will, even if it does not wish to, seek to ruin Christianity… Christendom and Jewry are destined inevitably to meet everywhere without reconciliation or mixing. It represents in history the eternal struggle of Lucifer against God, of darkness against the Light, of the flesh against the spirit."
-- "The Mystery of the Jewish People in History" by Rev. Frs. Michael Crowdy & Kenneth Novak (originally printed in the April 1997 issue of The Angelus magazine).

"As once they treated Christ, ever since, to persecute Christianity is their theological preoccupation.  This theological law is stronger than all human plans and expedients. The Jewish people realizes this law. The law contained in the Talmud, which governs Jews, orders enmity with Christians….The Talmud got particularly virulent after Christianity appeared. Insolent and sacrilegious infamies against Christ and Christians were written into it, which is why copies were burnt by order of Christian rulers and popes."
-- "The Mystery of the Jewish People in History" by Rev. Frs. Michael Crowdy & Kenneth Novak (originally printed in the April 1997 issue of The Angelus magaine).

"A Catholic prelate who visits and prays at a synagogue betrays Jesus Christ, as the visit grants public legitimacy to a religion that holds Jesus Christ in disdain, believing Him to be a liar and deceiver."
-- Ecumenical Archbishop Levada to Head Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by John Vennari

"As early as 200 the Church author Tertullian remarked that as Catholic faith goes up, so Jewish power goes down, while as Catholic faith goes down, so Jewish power goes up. In the Catholic Middle Ages the Jews were relatively impotent to harm Christendom, but as Catholics have grown over the centuries since then weaker and weaker in the faith, especially since Vatican II, so the Jews have come closer and closer to fulfilling their substitute-Messianic drive towards world dominion."
-- "WTC – The Scourge of Sin" by Bishop Richard Williamson,
October 1, 2001

"Unquestionably one main grievance of Arabs against the United States, provoking their terrorists to lash out as we have seen, is the United States' one-sided favoring of Israel over the Arabs for the last forty years. But each time the United States attempts to act even-handedly towards the Arabs, Jewish power inside the United States - e.g. virtual control of finance and the media - blocks the attempt, and the United States returns to oppressing the Arabs."
-- "WTC – The Scourge of Sin" by Bishop Richard Williamson,
October 1, 2001

"On the political level, we can be virtually certain that the vile media will not tell us the full story. There is serious reason to believe--that in 1898, it was not the Spaniards who sank the "USS Maine"; that in 1917, it was not the Germans who set up the "Lusitania" as a target; that in 1941 it was not the Japanese who set up Pearl Harbor for attack; that in 1963 it was not Lee Harvey Oswald who killed President Kennedy. In 1990 it was certainly not Saddam Hussein who promised not to react if he invaded Kuwait. In 1994 it was certainly not Timothy McVeigh's van exploding outside the Alfred Murrah building in Oklahoma City which brought the front of the building down. In 2001...? Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, now Osama bin Laden, from CIA-assets to personal enemies of the American people --how many more times will the trick work?

"Politically, behind the Arab terrorists are most likely the would-be architects of the New World Order, who have long been using the United States as an instrument to achieve their control of the world. Long ago they planned three World Wars to achieve their aim. It is they who provoked the sinking of the "Lusitania" and the attack on Pearl Harbor to bring the USA into the first two. Now they seem to be using the Arabs also. Humanly, they are clever. They are even diabolically clever."
-- "WTC – The Scourge of Sin" by Bishop Richard Williamson, October 1, 2001

"[Jews are] unable to perpetrate evil except also in a great, a terrible way. We will discuss four of these ways….
1. The Jewish people persecute Christendom….
2. The Jewish people conspire against the Christian State….
3. The Jewish people win control of property by usury….
4. Jews are known to kill Christians….
As grisly as they are, these four accusations can be documented in every period and country where Jews live with Christians."
-- From "The Mystery of the Jewish People in History" by Rev. Frs. Michael Crowdy & Kenneth Novak (Originally printed in the April 1997 issue of The Angelus magazine).

"[T]hough the Jewish people must be protected, it was recognized [by the Church that] it was dangerous enough to be isolated into its own neighborhoods. Was this an offense against its natural human rights? —No, for this people refuses to assimilate itself into the country that gives it hospitality, and lives by Talmudic laws contrary to the common good."
-- From "The Mystery of the Jewish People in History" by Rev. Frs. Michael Crowdy & Kenneth Novak (Originally printed in the April 1997 issue of The Angelus magazine).

"[T]he Jewish people hope to exercise their astuteness to realize their ancient dream of a world empire."
-- From "The Mystery of the Jewish People in History" by Rev. Frs. Michael Crowdy & Kenneth Novak (Originally printed in the April 1997 issue of The Angelus magazine).

"Judaism has created international capitalism to gain international wealth…. Beyond its financial influence, Judaic thinking comes to dominate the cultural and educational fields. The pattern repeats: Jews get into posts of influence, and submit society to a high degree of corruption in ways of thinking and acting, which leads to a reaction of public opinion against them."

-- From "The Mystery of the Jewish People in History" by Rev. Frs. Michael Crowdy & Kenneth Novak (Originally printed in the April 1997 issue of The Angelus magazine).

"God puts in men's hands the 'Protocols of the Sages of Sion' and the 'Rakovsky Interview,' if men want to know the truth, but few do."
-- Bishop Richard Williamson, May 1, 2000

"[Jews are] a wild solitary people, rebellious against all law, hostile to all fraternity, shut against every beautiful, noble and generous ideal; a miserable little nation made bitter by isolation, made brutish by a narrow education, demoralized and corrupted by an unjustifiable pride."
"The Mystery of the Jewish People in History" by Rev. Frs. Michael Crowdy & Kenneth Novak (quoting from l'Antisemitisme by Bernard Lazare, 1894. Originally printed in the April 1997 issue of The Angelus magazine).

"I believe there were no gas chambers. I think that two to three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers."
-- Bishop Richard Williamson, interview aired on SVT Sveriges Television (Swedish Television), 2009.

"There was not one Jew killed in the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies. The Jews created the Holocaust so we would prostrate ourselves on our knees before them and approve of their new State of Israel.... Jews made up the Holocaust, Protestants get their orders from the devil, and the Vatican has sold its soul to liberalism."
-- Bishop Richard Williamson, Speech at Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes church in Sherbrooke, Canada, 1989

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