more on the Pope and anti-Semitism

I’ve written a longer (and more thought through) version of the post below for today’s Crikey. It’s free, I think — you can read it here. The guts of it are this: though the media attention has been about the Pope rescinding the excommunication of a single Holocaust-denying bishop from the Society of St Pius X, the  bigger story is that the Vatican is openly courting an organisation that is more-or-less overtly anti-Semitic.

Time magazine explains that the Pope wants to make the SSPX into “a personal prelature of the papacy, the same special status that conservative lay group Opus Dei was granted by John Paul II”.

But there’s an obvious question, isn’t there! Given Williamson’s long history of anti-Semitism, what kind of organisation would maintain him as a bishop? What’s the SSPX attitude to bigotry?

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, an organisation monitoring American hate groups, puts it bluntly: “The Society of St. Pius X, which has chapels and schools across the United States, remains a font of anti-Semitic propaganda.”

It’s not difficult to find examples.

The Angelus Press, the SSPX’s publishing house, distributes, for instance, Hilaire Beloc’s anti-Semitic text The Jews (“If this isn’t pertinent reading for today, then we don’t know what is!”), alongside a tract entitled Mystery Of Freemasonry Unveiled which “covers all aspects of Masonry, Satanic societies [and] the use of Masonry as an Instrument of Judaism.” The press also advertises Neo-Conned by one J. Forrest Sharpe, a notorious anti-Semite whose news bulleting, according to the SPLCbrims with anti-Semitic materials from the likes of Ernst Zundel, the neo-Nazi author of The Hitler We Loved and Why”.

But the SSPX goes beyond disseminating the anti-Semitism of others. You’ll recall that Michael Backman’s Age piece contained the line: The historical persecutors of the Jews have been Christians — their punishment for the death of Jesus”. In that case, the phrasing left the question ambiguous as to whether Backman himself endorsed that ancient canard.

The SSPX is more straightforward. On its website, its ‘Catholic FAQ’ sectionexplains:

The Jews were consequently directly responsible for the crucifixion. Deicide is the name given to the crime of killing the person who is God, namely the Son of God in His human nature. It is those persons who brought about the crucifixion who are guilty of deicide, namely the Jews.


That’s about as clearcut as hate speech gets – and yet it’s presented as a FAQ on the SSPX’s core tenets.

But wait — there’s more. The SSPX home site also features this document, a piece by Rev. Frs. Michael Crowdy & Kenneth Novak entitled “The Mystery of the Jews”. The long article — again, freely available to anyone with Google — methodically repeats every slur of medieval anti-Semitism:

Judaism is inimical to all nations in general, and in a special manner to Christian nations. […]

[T]he adversarial relationship of the Jewish people is not a local enmity, or one based on blood, or on conflicting interests. It is an enmity disposed by God. […] Christendom and Jewry are destinedinevitably to meet everywhere without reconciliation or mixing.


It goes on to explain that “the Jewish people win control of property by usury”, that ‘Jews are known to kill Christians”, that “Jews get into posts of influence, and submit society to a high degree of corruption in ways of thinking and acting, which leads to a reaction of public opinion against them” and that “Communism was financed by Jewish money”.

This is straightforward, old school anti-Semitism.

Why, then, is the Pope palling around with such people?

Anyway, as I said, the full article is here

Jeff Sparrow

Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland.

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