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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 group’s superior general, Bishop Bernard Fellay. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring) 

Yet other SSPX members have a history of statements and publications expressing hostility and suspicion toward Jews.

The group’s founder, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, named “the Jews, the Communists and the Freemasons” as “declared enemies of the church” in a 1985 letter to Blessed John Paul II. Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, who also opposes Bishop Fellay’s efforts at reconciliation with Rome, said in 1997 that “the Jews are the most active artisans for the coming of Antichrist.”

And in 2009, shortly after the outbreak of the Williamson controversy, the society’s U.S. website ( removed articles arguing that the “Jewish race brought upon themselves the curse that followed the crime of deicide,” and that the “Jewish people, if it has not converted to Christianity, will, even if it does not wish to, seek to ruin Christianity.”

The society may still be exposing its members and supporters to such ideas today.

In early May, journalists visiting the society’s international seminary in Econe, Switzerland, the burial place of Archbishop Lefebvre, saw copies of a French edition of “The Jew in the Mystery of History” on display near the entrance to a small bookshop attached to the chapel, where members of the local community also attend Sunday Mass.

The book, by Father Julio Meinvielle, an Argentine priest who died in 1973, describes the Jews as historic “enemies of the Gospel,” moved by a “satanic hatred” of Christians, whom they have systematically killed and robbed over the centuries, and whose “corruption and ruin” they continue to seek through their “domination” of world economics, politics and culture.

Justifying the “discipline of the ghetto,” which the church imposed on Jews until the “de-Christianized” modern age, the book calls for a kind of apartheid between the religions to permit the restoration of Christian civilization.

Does the book express mainstream views in the society today? CNS asked Bishop Fellay.

“Not that I would know,” he replied.

Would he endorse such views himself?

“Not like that, no,” he said.

“The topic (of the Jews) is very, very delicate, very delicate, and should be handled with the greatest care,“ the bishop added. “We don’t want at all to provoke and to make unnecessary turmoil in the world.”

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Tags: Jews Catholic-Jewish relations anti-Semitism Society of St. Pius X