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.”