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Monday, February 23, 2009

Paul Touvier and the SSPX

I've just begun reading a new audio book I got by chance at the library yesterday. I only picked it out because there was a picture of Michael Cain on the cover :) but it's weird how the story it tells turned out to relate to recent events - the furor over the Pope de-excommunicating the SSPX bishops.

The book is The Statement by Brian Moore and is a fictional mystery but is 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. Here's some of what Wikipedia has on this ....

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 Jeff said...

So that's what The Statement is about. Interesting. I'd like to look into that. I really like Brian Moore, from what little I've read of him. I loved his novel Black Robe. The film adaptation was pretty good too, although the book was much, much better. Have you ever seen it?

6:32 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Jeff,

I haven;t read any of his books. I didn't realize the Black Robe movie was made from a book of his. Just seen bits of it on tv but never watched the whole movie. One of those times when I just picked a book by its cover :)

10:33 AM  
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