Thursday, January 20, 2011

A former student of SSPX Bishop Williamson speaks about anti-Semitism in the Traditionalist Catholic far-right

The schismatic Catholic order SSPX (Society of St. Pius X), the largest organized group within the so-called traditionalist Catholic movement, has a long record of promoting anti-Semitism and extreme far-right politics while portraying itself as merely restoring traditional theology and values.  The SSPX, while formed in reaction to the religious reforms of the Second Vatican Council,  has for many years played a significant role in the far-right politics of a number of predominantly Catholic nations in South America and Europe. The connections between the SSPX leadership and the far-right is longstanding and significant, going back (in the pre-Vatican II era) to ideological roots in Charles Maurras'  Action Française, and its founder's support for the Vichy regime.  The SSPX aided and abetted the fugitive Nazi war criminal Paul Touvier, whom they hid from justice within their priory in Nice.  They have close associations with the leadership of the French National Front Party and the International Third Position, among other neo-fascist parties.  Their support for the Argentine junta during the Dirty War included providing theological justification for torturing those deemed by the regime to be subversive.  Works by Marcel Lefebvre, the founder of SSPX, were taught in Argentine military academies and distributed by the military and church hierarchy to indoctrinate those operating the torture chambers of the Dirty War.  (Read here and here and here.) In a nutshell, the SSPX's connections to the far-right and anti-Semitism comprise a very long and sordid history which has never been fully told.

Kansas Attorney J. Christopher Pryor used to belong to the SSPX.  Pryor, who was raised in a conservative Catholic home in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge neighborhood and on Long Island, became affiliated with the traditionalist Catholic movement under the impression that it merely promoted a conservative brand of Catholicism including the traditional Latin Mass.  His experiences studying for the priesthood within a SSPX seminary gave him an intimate view of the organization and led him to believe that it represents something more sinister.  In fact, Mr. Pryor studied at the largest American seminary of the SSPX, located in Winona, Minnesota, a school which was at that time run by the infamous Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson.  (Williamson was given the title of Bishop by the order after it broke away from the Vatican so the legitimacy of that title may be questioned.)  Williamson gained notoriety after his November, 2008 interview on Swedish TV, during which he denied the Holocaust.  The ensuing uproar led to the SSPX firing him from his position as the leader of their Latin American operation, which, not coincidentally, is headquartered in Buenos Aires.  Williamson fled Argentina for London, where he received assistance from his ideological comrades Michelle Renouf and David Irving.  (More here.)  Although Williamson has become a lightning rod, embarrassing the order by drawing public attention to his outrageously bigoted statements and associations, the attention given him has not done enough to bring to to light the anti-Semitism, paranoia and political extremism at the ideological core of the traditionalist Catholic movement.

Christopher Pryor has, in recent years, made an effort to inform the public about Williamson and the SSPX in particular, and the traditionalist Catholic movement in general.  In October, 2010, he participated in the annual conference of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism (JSA), where he gave a brief talk on the subject.  Nine minutes isn't nearly enough time to hear all he has to say about this, but it's a good start.  I strongly recommend that those interested in this subject read Pryor's article, "Traditional Catholicism and the Teachings of Bishop Richard Williamson", in Vol. 1, Issue #2 of the JSA.  It can be downloaded in pdf here.  I also recommend reading the blog Fringe Watch, which covers this subject on an ongoing basis.

(More video of the conference is available here.)

The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a number of useful articles about the traditionalist Catholic movement. Check them out here and here and here and here.  More here.

Here's video of Williamson's infamous interview:

Bishop Richard Williamson (left, background) with David Irving (foreground)

No comments:


adamhollandblog [AT] gmail [DOT] com