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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"They are evil .... "

- a quote from a past editorial at The Tablet (see below).

As mentioned at dotCommonweal, the Vatican says traditionalists' response marks 'step forward' in talks, and conservatives are so very happy. This drama of the Vatican's rapprochement with the SSPX has been going on for some time, and I thought it might be a good idea to take a look back to remind ourselves of who and what the SSPX really are.

* This from a Tablet editorial of 2009 ....

Not yet back in the fold

[...] But not far below the surface of the Lefebvrist movement have lurked some rather more disturbing views, not only its commitment to an ancien-régime style of Counter-Reformation Catholicism, but also to a virulent brand of Catholic anti-Semitism which has a long and disgraceful history, particularly in France (where the movement is strongest).

Bishop Williamson's recent remarks [denying the Holocaust] have to be read in that context. The Lefebvrists reject, for instance, the teaching of the Vatican II decree Nostra Aetate, including its key repudiation of the charge of "deicide" (literally god-killing, because of the supposed Jewish role in the death of Jesus). Lifting the excommunication of someone like Williamson, while he is still publicly propagating his bigoted opinions, sends an appalling signal to the world in general and to Jews in particular. To say of these opinions that they are "totally unacceptable", as the Bishops of England and Wales did in a statement this week, hardly does justice to them. They are evil ....

* Thomas Reese SJ had a past post on Benedict reconciling with the SSPX at On Faith - Benedict Undermining His Own Legacy. Fr. Reese makes some points, one of which is the idea that the Pope is a smart guy surrounded by intellectually intimidated advisers who hesitate to critique his decisions. I find that a weak excuse, if it is indeed even true, but still it's a little more believable than the assertion in a statement released by the Vatican that maintains Benedict was unaware of Williamson's stance on the Holocaust at the time of the remission of the excommunication. As someone pointed out at dotCommonweal, Williamson has been all over YouTube with his anti-Semitic rants for at least a year - another person speculated that the Pope might not know about YouTube, but of course Benedict has his own YouTube page.

* There was a past post too at NCR detailing the history of the SSPX and noting that there's really no way the pope could be unaware of this history - Lefebvre movement: long, troubled history with Judaism

* There was also a past post by James Martin SJ on the subject - SSPX Update - in which he wrote ...

While some have argued that the comments by Bishop Williamson--who has denied that 6 million Jews could have died in Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust--are unrelated to the theological import of the removal of the ban of excommunication, there is an obvious link. One of the Second Vatican Council’s most important documents, "Nostra Aetate," marked the beginning of a new age of friendly relations between the church and the Jewish people, and ushered in an era of greater understanding. It is not surprising that the bishop who made such scandalous statements about the Holocaust belongs to a group that has rejected Vatican II, because this necessarily means rejection of "Nostra Aetate."

* There was an interesting article in the NYT about the US Bishops and their lack of interest in the Vatican's decision to re-embrace the SSPX - The Holocaust Furor and the U.S. Bishops

* And finally I'll mention one of my past posts about the SSPX's past and a book I was reading, The Statement by Brian Moore, a fictional mystery based on the the real-life case of Paul Touvier, A French Vichy era war criminal who was long protected by government officials and the Catholic Church. He was found guilty of treason and collusion with the Nazis, and was also later charged with crimes against humanity for the deportation of Jews and the murder of seven Jewish hostages at Rillieux-la-Pape, near Lyon, on 29 June 1944. He was sentenced to death in absentia because he was on the run and never caught until 1989 when he was found hiding with the SSPX. As wikipedia writes of him ...

It was not until 1989 that Touvier was found hiding in the Society of Saint Pius X Priory in Nice. The SSPX stated at the time that Touvier had been allowed to live in the Priory as "an act of charity to a homeless man."

After his arrest, further allegations appeared in print, stating that he had been aided for years by the Catholic Church hierarchy in Lyon and later by members of the Traditionalist Catholic movement. He was defended by the monarchist lawyer Jacques Tremollet de Villers, who later became president of the Traditionalist Catholic organization La Cité Catholique ....

Paul Touvier was granted provisional release in July 1991 and his trial for complicity in crimes against humanity only began on March 17, 1994. He expressed remorse for his actions, saying that he thought of the seven Jewish victims of Rillieux-la-Pape every day. A Traditionalist Catholic priest of the Society of Saint Pius X sat beside him at the defense table, acting as his spiritual advisor. On April 20, a nine-person jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to life imprisonment .... On July 17, 1996, Paul Touvier died of prostate cancer in Fresnes prison near Paris. A Tridentine Requiem Mass was offered for the repose of his soul at St Nicolas du Chardonnet, the Society of St. Pius X chapel in Paris.


Blogger William D. Lindsey said...

A valuable run-down, Crystal. Thanks for putting it together.

A sad day for Catholicism, as Colleen is just now saying at her Enlightened Catholicism blog.

5:59 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks, William. I'll have to visit her blog and see what she's written.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Dina said...

Good reading for today, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Thanks, Crystal.

10:42 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Dina - thanks. We must not ever forget.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Catholic Mission said...

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8:39 AM  
Blogger Isabella-Kaatrina said...

thanks for pulling this all together

11:01 PM  

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