Photo: Holocaust denier and far-right Catholic rebel Bishop Richard Williamson
Far-Right supporters of the disgraced rebel Catholic bishop Richard Williamson are planning a takeover of the ultra-traditionalist Society of St Pius X (SSPX), according to the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight.
Williamson, a convicted Holocaust denier, had his excommunication lifted by Pope Benedict XVI along with that of the SSPX's three other bishops as a prelude to possible reconciliation with Rome. But the unity plans fell apart after Williamson was exposed as a Holocaust denier – and after Bishop Bernard Fellay, the "moderate" leader of the SSPX, failed to grasp Pope Benedict's olive branch.
Williamson was eventually expelled from the SPPX – but now, according to Searchlight, his supporters are trying to wrest control of the body, alienated from Rome since the 1970s, from Fellay.
The following is from a Searchlight document which provides detailed claims of links between allies of the English-born Williamson and former supporters of the British National Front and the BNP:
A coup within Catholicism is imminent. The target is The Society of Pius X (SSPX), an ultra-traditionalist group founded in 1970 out of opposition to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). The plotters intend to make a major step towards their takeover at a conference on the weekend of 1 and 2 June, which we can reveal will be held at Earlsfield Library Hall, 276 Magdalen Road, Earlsfield London SW18 from 9am to 5pm. The key players in this plot are a bunch of neo-Nazis, fascists and others with disreputable backgrounds. Their objective is to replace SSPX’s current Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, with the convicted Holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson. This plot is a very worrying turn of events.
SSPX is no stranger to controversy. Its members have supported the French Front National and given sanctuary to a Nazi collaborator and war criminal. A previous District Superior… removed Nazi sympathisers from the Society, but our sources inform us that they have re-infiltrated it … This has left many decent members shocked and fearful for its future. They do not want to see it fall into the hands of neo-Nazis.
The SSPX is, in my opinion, more trouble than it's worth: mainstream Catholic bishops use its extreme stance as an excuse to persecute traditionalists within the official Church and deny them their canonical right to celebrate the traditional Latin liturgy. That said, far-Right views have hitherto been confined to a (fairly significant) anti-Semitic fringe within the SSPX. But now that hardliners in the Society have set their face against reunion with Rome, the dynamics of sectarianism are taking over and the fringe risks becoming the SSPX mainstream.