Growing up in the heart of Silicon Valley, California, where ethnic diversity was the norm and personal Jewish friends were numerous, under the influence of members of the SSPX, at age 13 I accepted the conspiracy theory that the world is financially, politically, and culturally controlled by “the Jews.” Along with spiritual goals of religion, a key preoccupation of many Traditionalists is the re-establishment of Catholic political structures. The historical explanation given to me of how Catholic Europe was “corrupted with modern democracy” was that Freemasons, particularly the Jewish Masons, undermined the Christian States.
As a young woman in the SSPX, seeing “the Jews” as the hidden cause of “modern society” was as much a part of what it meant to be a Traditionalist as refusing to wear pants or believe in the Trinity. Having accepted the spiritual orientation of the SSPX mentors who appeared to be otherwise animated by the desire to love God, I didn’t stop to question their geopolitics.
My experience with antisemitism in the organization was not subjective; concrete examples of this orientation abound. Particularly in France I never heard distinctions made between “Jewish leaders,” as the U.S. superior suggests, and the Jewish people taken as a whole. The conviction resulting from my formation was not that “the enemy” was a handful of anti-Christian leaders who happened to be Jewish, but rather that the Jews were a monolithic entity, communally preoccupied with subjecting the world to anti-Christian domination.
The irrefutable indication of the Society’s true orientation towards antisemitism is notorious Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson. The prelate was expelled three months ago, but only because of disagreements with the SSPX concerning its relationship with Rome. For nearly forty years, superiors of the SSPX ignored Williamson’s vilification of the Jewish people. It is true the SSPX “silenced” the bishop following his public denial of the Holocaust, but prior to this exposure, nothing was ever done to remove him from posts of influence. Williamson’s over-arching obsession with the Jews was never publicly refuted or considered an obstacle to his directing the formation of young priests and faithful.
The antisemitism of the SSPX is at times explicit, but more often part of the accepted intellectual framework in which the group “fights the modern world,” of which the Jews are considered the primary architects.
Questions and concerns have been raised following recent media reports about a statement that had been made in Canada by the Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X that “the Jews” are the “enemies of the Church”. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops notes that such remarks are not in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church. As the spokesperson for the Holy See, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., has said when commenting on the statement, “It is absolutely unacceptable, impossible, to define the Jews as enemies of the Church.”
The Second Vatican Council taught in Nostra Aetate, its Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (no. 4): “God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; he does not repent of the gifts he makes or of the calls he issues – such is the witness of the Apostle [Paul]…. [T]he Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.” This teaching has been reiterated time and time again by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops denounces all forms of anti-Semitism, and rejects assertions such as those reported to have been made by the Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X, which is a schismatic group not in communion with the Catholic Church.
January 17, 2013