People of the book – part 19 ( St Pius X society 2)

In 1989 it was revealed that for some 16 years his followers had been harbouring Paul Touvier French Nazi collaborator and war criminal , indicted for his central role in the deportation of the Jews of Lyons to German death camps. Touvier was finally arrested, aged 74, at the Lefebvrist St Francis Priory in nice

The following year Lefebvre was convicted of fostering race hatred when he declared that, as a result of Muslim immigration, “it is your wives, your daughters, your children who will be kidnapped and dragged off to certain kinds of places as … exist in Casablanca”.

The Lefebvre influence extends well beyond the francophone world. There are Lefebvrist seminaries in the US, Germany, Australia and several countries in Latin America (thus Williamson’s congregation in Argentina). Marcel Lefebvre’s antisemitism and anti-Islamism lie firmly in a modern French tradition, from the coarse racism of Gyp’s fin-de-siècle novels to the shrill attacks on Dreyfus in the French press and to the more contemporary pronouncements on the threats to civilisation posed by Jews and Muslims.

At issue is not just monarchism, the Latin Tridentine mass, or even schism within the Catholic church, but the exploitation of religious faith for inhumane social and political policies.

On 16 October 2013, the Society offered to perform a funeral for Nazi war-criminal Erich Priebke. Priebke, had been baptized in a Protestant denomination however, in post-war years, he converted to a form of Catholicism with his wife and had his children baptized.[66] On the occasion of the public audience in front of the Military Tribunal of Rome held on April 3, 1996, he read a letter in the presence of the families of the victims, in which he manifested his grief, deploring the horrible act of obedience that he had had to perform in those circumstances:

“From the depths of my heart I feel the need to express my condolences for the sorrow of the relatives of the victims of the Ardeatine Caves…. As a believer I have never denied this tragic fact; for me the order to participate in the action was a great personal tragedy…. I think of the dead with reverence and I feel united with the living in their sorrow.”

People of the book – part 18 ( St Pius X society 1)

Marcel Lefebvre (29 November 1905 – 25 March 1991) was a French Roman Catholic archbishop. Ordained a diocesan priest in 1929, he joined the Holy Ghost Fathers for missionary work, first as a professor at a seminary in Gabon, then as the Archbishop of Dakar, Lefebvre spent most of the period from the 1930s to the early 1960s in colonial west Africa. Even at a distance from Europe, he enthusiastically endorsed Marshall Pétain’s Vichy regime for what he termed its “Catholic order”. Indeed, until his death, Lefebvre offered his support to Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front Nationale, and voiced approval of the repressive military dictatorship of General Franco in Spain, António Salazar in Portugal, Jorge Videla in Argentina and Augusto Pinochet in Chile. In 1970, in reaction against Pope John XXIII’s Vatican II reforms, Lefebvre established the SSPX order and its seminary in Ecône, Switzerland. He was especially angered by the Pope’s conciliatory gestures towards Judaism, which he saw as a violation of Catholicism’s unique relationship with God.

In 1975, after a flare of tensions with the Holy See, Lefebvre was ordered to disband the society, but ignored the decision. In 1988, against the expressed prohibition of Pope John Paul II, he consecrated four bishops to continue his work with the SSPX. The Holy See immediately declared that he and the other bishops who had participated in the ceremony had incurred automatic excommunication under Catholic canon law, a status Lefebvre refused to acknowledge to his death three years later.

The Society is known for rejecting many of the ecclesiastical reforms both influenced or institutionalized by the Second Vatican Council, and maintaining the Tridentine Mass among its followers.