The Society of St. Pius X: Mired in Anti-Semitism
Posted: January 26, 2009
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.”