SSPX Disrupts Kristallnacht Ceremony

A Woman attending the Kristallnacht ceremony tries to remonstrate with the protesting SSPX members

Each year in Buenos Aires, before he assumed the papacy, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio joined his good friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka to lead the annual gathering of Catholics, Jews and Protestants in the Metropolitan Cathedral which commemorates Kristallnacht; the  pogrom of Nazi-led mob violence in 1938 when at least 91 Jews were killed and 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers. Over 1,000 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone) and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged. It was the event that launched the genocide that killed 6 million Jews. The name Kristallnacht comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues had their windows smashed.

This year's gathering took place last Tuesday, and a small group of SSPX attempted to disrupt it by shouting the rosary and the "Our Father", and spreading pamphlets saying that "followers of false gods must be kept out of the sacred temple."

Archbishop Mario Poli
Buenos Aires Archbishop Mario Poli, named by Francis to replace him as Argentina's top church official, appealed for calm as others in the audience rose up to repudiate the protesters, who were quickly thrown out by police.
"Let there be peace. Shalom," Poli then said, urging everyone to take their seats.
"Dear Jewish brothers, please feel at home, because that's the way Christians want it, despite these signs of intolerance," Poli said. "Your presence here doesn't desecrate a temple of God. We will continue in peace this encounter that Pope Francis always promoted, valued and appreciated so much."
Although SSPX members concerns about hosting an interfaith service in a cathedral/consecrated space are perhaps understandable, or at least theologically arguable, the fact that they stormed the Cathedral, behaved in a horrendous manner and made ridiculous remarks (i.e. that Jews worship a different God...a statement that contradicts the Catechism) is the real issue here. 

Far from bringing to light any possibly legitimate concerns regarding non-Catholic use of consecrated Catholic space, the behavior of the involved SSPX membership can only serves to alienate themselves from the rest of the Church and sow dissent, strife and anger on all sides.

Rabbi Skorka, who co-wrote a book of dialogues with Bergoglio seeking common ground between Judaism and Catholicism, described the incident in an interview with Radio 10 on Wednesday:

Rabbi Skorka with Jose Bergoglio
"The cathedral was full, with people standing, prepared for a profound act of introspection, when a group of about 40 people began to recite from the Christian liturgy, the 'Our Father,' and began to hand out little pieces of paper saying that Jews were blaspheming the place," 
Skorka said protesters made cutting comments like "the Jews killed Jesus." He said one Jew confronted them, saying, "My grandmother died in Auschwitz," to which an activist replied, "Do you believe that lie?"

For the record, Catholic doctrine explicitly states that the Jews are not collectively responsible for Jesus' death, see CCC 597, f.

The Rev. Christian Bouchacourt, the South America leader of the Society of Saint Pius X, said on Wednesday that the protesters belong to his organisation and that they have a right to feel outraged when rabbis preside over a ceremony in a cathedral.
"I recognise the authority of the pope, but he is not infallible and in this case does things we cannot accept," Bouchacourt said in an interview with Radio La Red.
"This wasn't a desire to make a rebellion, but to show our love to the Catholic Church, which was made for the Catholic faith," Bouchacourt said. "A Mass isn't celebrated in a synagogue, nor in a mosque. The Muslims don't accept it. In the same way, we who are Catholics cannot accept the presence of another faith in our church."
*A huge CRINGE at that comment*. Seriously, Catholics should do intolerant things because Muslims do them? This is your justification? I've been to Muslim Mosques before and met Imams and worshippers; friends and people willing to welcome us into their prayer community. I have been at a Mosque for prayer as well. I have also been to the Synagogue in Southend on many occasions. I consider I have made some excellent friends there who have taught me much about my own faith. I have documented here some of my understanding of this, and the realisation that the mere existence of Jewish people today constitutes a powerful proof of the reality of the Covenant.

Whilst I admire orthodoxy and commitment to Jesus and his Church, and often articulate my concern for the lack of orthodoxy amongst Catholics today, this story clearly hi-lights the line where dedication becomes dangerous. Where single-mindedness becomes closed-mindedness. The SSPX people who did this stuff are a disgrace and an embarrassment and nothing, no amount of mitigating evidence can contextualise that fact away. I repudiate them completely and feel sad that they felt what they were doing here was Catholic and that it was justified somehow.

What happens when we, the laity, start ignoring bishops and popes? What happens when we ignore the hierarchical structure handed down from the Apostles? Surely when we think we know better than Holy Mother Church, we become simply another faction, screaming for attention, and ignoring the action of the Holy Spirit? It's not always easy, but obedience is part of being Catholic.

How much damage has been done to the cause of sane Traditionalism by this madness? Consider that Pope Benedict XVI entered into a dialogue with the SSPX, indulged them even, giving them Summorum Pontificum and tried to bring them into the fold and these anti-Semitic ingrates responded with contempt because it wasn't perfect enough for them. Think seriously, why would any bishop, confronted with an embittered nucleus of isolationists like this possibly conclude that wasting a lot of time on mollifying them should be at the top of his 'to do' list? These are the people who are screaming about Pope Francis and being listened to by Rorate Caeli and company, and unsettling solid Catholics, and I won't have any truck with it. I'll make up my own mind thanks very much, and events like this are the evidence I will use to evaluate who deserves to be listened to and who does not. My allegiance will always be to Jesus Christ and His body-- The Church.



  1. This is very shocking and so saddening because I wouldn't be surprised if it has set back relations between Catholics and Jews, which is awful. How will they ever come to respect the Church (and,we hope, convert) if we cannot 'meet them where they are'.

    I do agree that anything 'inter-faith' has no place in a Catholic Church unless what is taking place is thoroughly Catholic, but you're right that this a complete embarrassment and a disgrace. This is no way to disagree. Like St. Josemaria said, what is the point of losing your temper when you only have to find it again afterwards?

    Having said that, I know people who attend SSPX masses who are wonderful and would NEVER do anything like this. They are bastions of faith and the SSPX should definitely not be dismissed because of this.

    Let's not forget that many solid traditionalists (like the Transalpine Redemptorists and of course lots of lay people) were SSPX and look at how amazing they are. I stayed with one SSPX family for 3 or 4 days and they were just normal, faithful, loving Catholics and so were other people at the parish. The SSPX should not be demonised.

  2. SSPX ought to repudiate its holocaust deniers before it can be regarded as any branch of Christianity. I've met a number of really delightful people who attend its liturgies and I'm utterly baffled by the blind spot they seem to have.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Pope Francis: Dismantling Marriage

Establishing a New Object of Worship

Cardinal Nichol’s Checklist for Priestly Formation