Skip to comments.The 'Synagogue of Satan' (Are Traditionalist Catholics an anti-Semitic threat?
Posted on 01/18/2007 6:42:00 AM PST by NYer
From a makeshift pulpit inside an Indiana Quality Inn, a baby-faced priest angrily denounces the Jews, saying they mean to "destroy all Christian nations."
In offices in State Line, Pa., an intense, bespectacled man tirelessly recounts how the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia "predicts the anti-Christ will come from Jewry" and warns of the Jews' role in the coming "New World Order."
At a gathering near the Philadelphia airport, men in priests' collars and brown monk's robes rage against the "Judeo-Masonic" conspiracy to destroy the Catholic Church, the "Marxist-Jewish" scheme to wreck American schools, and even an elaborate 9/11 plot, "predicted by the Blessed Virgin Mary 84 years ago."
For most Americans, the world of "radical traditionalist Catholicism" is so remote and little-known -- it entered the nation's consciousness, just barely, with revelations about the strident anti-Semitism of actor Mel Gibson and his father, Hutton -- that it may seem wholly irrelevant to the modern world. Is it really important what a group of people, many excommunicated and most gathered behind the walls of their monasteries and other institutions, think about the Jews? That many believe there was no Holocaust? That some say every pope since 1958 has been illegitimate, and a few even insist the real pope has been kidnapped?
The fact is, it does matter. As explained in a remarkable and sweeping story by the Intelligence Report's Heidi Beirich, the best estimates suggest there are 100,000 radical traditionalists in America, a number that appears to be growing. And while the size of this movement is dwarfed by the 70 million mainstream Catholics in this country, these energetic men and women are having an influence.
For one thing, the open anti-Semitism that characterizes the movement is leaking into other subcultures, some of them especially dangerous.
Last September, Father Nicholas Gruner, leader of the International Fatima Rosary Crusade and a key player in the radical traditionalist milieu, celebrated a special morning Mass at the Washington, D.C., conference of The Barnes Review, a Holocaust denial journal, also attended by neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. In February 2006, John Sharpe, head of the Legion of St. Louis and another leading radical traditionalist, sold books at a conference of the racist magazine American Renaissance that also played host to neo-Nazi David Duke. (Last December, Duke spoke to a Holocaust denial conference hosted by the Iranian government.)
In one case, the simmering anti-Semitism of the radical traditionalists may even have affected the thinking of a serial-killing terrorist. A new book by Maryanne Vollers, Lone Wolf: Eric Rudolph: Murder, Myth, and the Pursuit of an American Outlaw, suggests that Rudolph may have been influenced by radical traditionalism, in addition to his known ties to the neo-Nazi theology of Christian Identity.
The movement also may be gaining influence on the larger political scene. A case in point is that of Christopher Ferrara, leader of the American Catholic Lawyers Association. Ferrara, who writes for the anti-Semitic, radical traditionalist journal The Remnant, was the lawyer for the family of Terri Schiavo and a key player, along with Republican and Christian Right leaders, in getting Congress to pass a law to keep the severely brain-damaged woman alive. It was later overturned.
In the United States, we are accustomed to thinking of race as the critical fault line splitting our society. But in the world at large, religion is just as divisive.
From Iraq to the former Yugoslavia to uncounted other regions, religiously based violence has recently torn apart societies that once included people of different faiths living together in peace. Even in the United States, with its strong tradition of religious pluralism, religious conflicts seem to be increasing almost yearly. One would think that radical traditionalists would understand this. After all, Catholics historically have been among the most despised minorities in America, with hatred of "papists" driving the Know Nothing party in the 1850s and swelling the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s to almost 4 million members. The same kind of demonization that Catholics were subjected to in the past is now being practiced by extremist Catholics who describe all Jews as the "synagogue of Satan."
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First Center president and member of the board
Remove me from your ping list please.
This almost explains everything...
I wouldn't get too wrapped around the axle becasue of these guys... Fringe effects at best...IMHO
No question there are certain anti-Semitic tendencies within traditionalism. I think that "gathering near the Philadelphia airport" may be the Catholic Family News conference which I once attended. I was REALLY put off by some of the comments of the speakers, and in particular, the fact that the table next to ours was proudly selling "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", that piece of crap fakery that keeps rearing its ugly head despite the fact that it is a known and proven fraud.
And the Remnant....well, IMHO that paper is closing in on itself and its owns self-delusions.
But I have to stick up for Ferrara here, in that I've never heard such nonsense from him--and I think the author of this piece is trying to tag him with guilt by association.
This article is inflammatory distortion. There have always been wackos in any religion, but in the Church they usually end up getting excommunicated or silenced (ala Fr. Coughlin, Fr. Feeney, etc.).
"Traditionalists" is a pretty broad category, and the author is making some real leaps in assigning guilt by association. Furthermore, some of the groups he is talking about are not even part of the Catholic Church, having gone their own way long ago.
His purpose is clearly to defame orthodox ("traditionalist") Catholics in general and also to imply that the pro-life movement is a hotbed of anti-Semitism and racism. Nothing could be further from the truth, but truth matters little to leftists like the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Know your enemies ;-)
So, if I understand this correctly, these guys are to the right of David Duke.
Too bad catholicism isn't premillennial. It would end a lot of this nonsense.
I have a question, which I do not ask rhetorically, since I really don't know the answer. Does the "mainstream" of the traditionalist movement openly and clearly condemn antisemitism? For example, have the bishops of the SSPX issued statements or pastoral letters plainly condemning antisemitism? And have they taken steps to purge whatever antisemites may be in leadership positions? have they attacked the "Jews and freemasons" talk that is popular at tha radical fringe?
We often make the point that Muslims, if they are sincere about Islam being a "religion of peace", should be louder in denouncing jihadism and Islamofascism. By the same token, the traditionalists should take the lead in denouncing antisemitism.
Ummm, I think we'll stick with the Divine Comedy over the Left Behind series, but thanks for the offer. ;)
On the contrary, they're often in the vanguard of those stoking these fires. Take for instance this quote from Bishop Richard Williamson of the SSPX:
"God puts in men's hands the "Protocols of the Sages of Sion" and the "Rakovsky Interview", if men want to know the truth, but few do."
Taken from Bishop Williamson's Letter Archive, May 2000
It's clear that this SSPX bishop considers the Protocols to be an excellent and reliable text. It's also seems quite likely that he has promoted this view, at least to some extent, within the Society.
Left Behind isn't exactly theology.
Whasisname LaHay had much more interest in dollars than in accuracy.
Gotcha. Lot of that going around in Christianity, unfortunately.
Marshmallow's right...unfortunately some of the bishops in the SSPX haven't exactly been encouraging in this area. My wife almost walked out of a Williamson homily once for just this reason.
That having been said, I'd say that the way things are shaping up, the "mainstream" of traditionalism is fast becoming indults rather than the SSPX. So it behooves us "indult" traditionalists (and even SSPXers) to speak out a bit more against the wackos so that we're not all painted with the same brush.
I've got no beef with honest folks who differ with certain aspects of Jewish-Catholic relations. I know Ferrara for one is very critical of the Association of Hebrew Catholics. But it's way beyond that in some circles. When you start seeing the Protocols bandied about, you know you're in trouble.
I don't see why the SSPX would have to - these other people, such as Gruner, etc. aren't members of it. To my knowledge, some of them aren't even "traditionalists" in the sense that this word is used in the Catholic Church, usually to refer to liturgical traditionalists. The claim of "antisemitism," based on the words of verious individuals, is being used as a very wide brush to tar a group that is hated by the leftists in (and outside of) the Church.
I'd be equally interested in seeing some of the pro-Palestinian leftist clergy in the ME apologize for some of the anti-Semitic remarks that occasionally make it into the press, but they'll never do that. Furthermore, you'll never hear the left (which is anti-Semitic itself) asking them to do so.