Vatican and Traditionalists Differ on Anti-Semitism
Copies in French of The Jews in the Mystery of History, by the late Father Julio Meinvielle, are pictured among other titles in the bookshop of the Society of St. Pius X seminary in Econe, Switzerland, 9 May. The book, which describes Jews as enemies of the Gospel, who seek the corruption and ruin of Christians, does not reflect mainstream thinking in the SSPX, said the groups superior general, Bishop Bernard Fellay. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
16 May 2012 by Francis X. Rocca
MENZINGEN, Switzerland (CNS) — Of all the
controversies associated with the traditionalist Society of
St. Pius X, no topic provokes stronger reactions inside or
outside the church than the question of the societys
attitude toward Jews.
In 2009, after Pope Benedict XVI lifted the
excommunications of all four of the societys bishops,
there was widespread outrage at revelations that one of the
four, Bishop Richard Williamson, had denied the gassing
of Jews in Nazi concentration camps and endorsed the
notorious anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the
Elders of Zion.
The societys superior general, Bishop Bernard
Fellay, repudiated those statements at the time, saying that anti-Semitism has no place in our ranks and that the position of Bishop Williamson is clearly not the position of our society.
More than three years later, the society, a
breakaway group that rejects the modernizing changes that
followed the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65, may
now be on the verge of reconciliation with Rome under
the leadership of Bishop Fellay and over the objections of
other members, including Bishop Williamson.
A prerequisite for such reconciliation is the
societys assent to certain church teachings stipulated by the Vatican in a doctrinal preamble, which has not yet been published but which presumably includes elements of the teaching of Vatican II. In April, the director of the Vatican press office described the societys recent response to the preamble as a step forward in the process.
Yet it remains unclear whether the societys
attitude toward Jews is fully in harmony with that adopted
by the church at Vatican II, specifically in the 1965
declaration Nostra Aetate, which said the Jewish people
could not be blamed for the death of Jesus Christ and
taught that they should not be presented as rejected or
accursed by God.
Nostra Aetate remains the charter and guide in
our efforts to promote greater understanding, respect and
cooperation between our two communities, Pope
Benedict told a delegation from the Latin American
Jewish Congress at the Vatican May 10.
Tags: Jews Catholic-Jewish relations anti-Semitism Society of St. Pius X