Growing up in the heart of Silicon Valley, California, where ethnic diversity was the norm and personal Jewish friends were numerous, under the influence of members of the SSPX, at age 13 I accepted the conspiracy theory that the world is financially, politically, and culturally controlled by “the Jews.” Along with spiritual goals of religion, a key preoccupation of many Traditionalists is the re-establishment of Catholic political structures. The historical explanation given to me of how Catholic Europe was “corrupted with modern democracy” was that Freemasons, particularly the Jewish Masons, undermined the Christian States.
As a young woman in the SSPX, seeing “the Jews” as the hidden cause of “modern society” was as much a part of what it meant to be a Traditionalist as refusing to wear pants or believe in the Trinity. Having accepted the spiritual orientation of the SSPX mentors who appeared to be otherwise animated by the desire to love God, I didn’t stop to question their geopolitics.
My experience with antisemitism in the organization was not subjective; concrete examples of this orientation abound. Particularly in France I never heard distinctions made between “Jewish leaders,” as the U.S. superior suggests, and the Jewish people taken as a whole. The conviction resulting from my formation was not that “the enemy” was a handful of anti-Christian leaders who happened to be Jewish, but rather that the Jews were a monolithic entity, communally preoccupied with subjecting the world to anti-Christian domination.
The irrefutable indication of the Society’s true orientation towards antisemitism is notorious Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson. The prelate was expelled three months ago, but only because of disagreements with the SSPX concerning its relationship with Rome. For nearly forty years, superiors of the SSPX ignored Williamson’s vilification of the Jewish people. It is true the SSPX “silenced” the bishop following his public denial of the Holocaust, but prior to this exposure, nothing was ever done to remove him from posts of influence. Williamson’s over-arching obsession with the Jews was never publicly refuted or considered an obstacle to his directing the formation of young priests and faithful.
The antisemitism of the SSPX is at times explicit, but more often part of the accepted intellectual framework in which the group “fights the modern world,” of which the Jews are considered the primary architects. There is a crucial lesson to be learned here, one that coincides with the alarm raised by Tenenbom.
There are people attached to the SSPX who wholeheartedly embrace hatred of the Jewish people. Of far more serious concern and number are the priests and faithful who disagree with the antisemitism. These members are ashamed and angered by this ideology. They appeal in vain to their pastors, asking that offensive literature be removed from book stores and lamenting the difficulty of drawing family and friends to the “Faith” because of sermons and conferences that touch on this geopolitical aspect of the SSPX’s core thinking.