St. Mary’s Academy, a K-12 school and college run by the “radical traditionalist Catholic” group known as the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and located in St. Marys, Kan., barred a female referee from officiating a boys’ basketball game held on its campus on Feb. 2. According to a Feb. 13 article in Sports Illustrated, the referee, retired police officer Michelle Campbell of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, was told that “as a woman, [she] could not be put in a position of authority over boys because of the academy’s beliefs.”
In a Feb. 15 press release, SSPX stood by its decision to ban females from involvement in male sporting events: “Sports for boys are seen as training for the battlefield of life where the boys will need to fight at times through great difficulties. As such, it is more appropriate that it be men who train and direct the boys in these sports programs for only men can teach the boys to be men, just as only women can truly teach girls to be women.” The release disputed the Sports Illustrated story, saying, “It is not a question of women having no authority over boys as the quote in the paper (if it was accurate) seem [sic] to indicate. It is a question in athletics of men training boys to be men.”
After Campbell was barred from officiating, her fellow referees also walked off the court. Fred Shockey, an Army vet who became a ref about three years ago, told Sports Illustrated: “I have been led by some of the finest women this nation has to offer, and there was no way I was going to go along with that.” The Kansas State High School Activities Association is currently considering whether to take action against St. Mary’s.
The SSPX was founded in 1970 by the late French archbishop, Marcel-François Lefebvre (right), who was excommunicated by Pope John Paul II in the late 1980s. During World War II, Lefebvre supported the pro-Nazi Vichy regime, a puppet government in the part of France not occupied by the Germans. He lamented the eventual liberation of the country, describing it as “the victory of Freemasonry against the Catholic order of Petain. It was the invasion of the barbarians without faith or law!”
Besides the group’s obvious sexism, SSPX, like many radical traditionalist Catholic outfits, also preaches anti-Semitism, which is most evident in The Angelus, a monthly magazine published by the SSPX press, and on the SSPX website. One example now on the website is a 1997 Angelus article by SSPX priests Michael Crowdy and Kenneth Novak that calls for locking Jews into ghettos because “Jews are known to kill Christians.” It also blames Jews for the French Revolution, communism and capitalism; suggests a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy has destroyed the Catholic Church; and describes Judaism as “inimical to all nations.” (For more on the group’s extremism, read here and here).