Society of St. Pius X at Center of Radical Traditionalist Catholic, Anti-Semitic Movement
Traditionalist Catholic groups are scattered around America and the world. But only a handful preach anti-Semitic hatred.
There are hundreds of traditionalist Catholic chapels around the United States that celebrate the Latin Tridentine Mass and dislike many of the liberalizing reforms enacted by the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. But only a handful of these organizations qualify as part of the "radical traditionalist Catholic" movement that is characterized by open anti-Semitism and blames Jews for conspiring to destroy the Catholic Church and a number of other iniquities. The movement is far from unified, with these groups engaging in seemingly endless infighting and now splintered into an array of very small groups. The exception is the Society of St. Pius X, which has scores of chapels in the United States and many more elsewhere. What follows are profiles of 12 radical traditionalist groups in the U.S. that exhibit varying degrees of anti-Semitism, typically focusing in on conspiracy theories that accuse the Jews of corrupting the church and society. Because of that ideology, they are being added to the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups.
CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS INTERNATIONAL
State Line, Pa.
Catholic Apologetics International (CAI) was founded in 1993 by Robert Sungenis, a man who would develop into one of the most rabid and open anti-Semites in the entire radical traditionalist movement. Sungenis, who was born into a Catholic family but became a Protestant before returning to the Catholic Church in 1992, was taken seriously in mainstream Catholic circles for many years, even producing two religious series for EWTN, a Catholic television station. That ended in 2002, when Sungenis published a 33,000-word, anti-Semitic attack on a joint statement by the National Council of Synagogues and the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs that criticized the Catholic Church's history of attempting to convert Jews. The article repeated a series of ancient anti-Semitic canards, relied on anti-Semites like Father Denis Fahey as authorities, and even praised Fahey and Father Charles Coughlin (the viciously anti-Semitic "radio priest" of the 1930s) as "dedicated Catholic priests who lived impeccable lives and defended Holy Mother Church from every sort of Satanic deception." As a result, EWTN pulled Sungenis' TV series and removed all mention of him from its Web site; in a similar way, Envoy magazine also removed Sungenis from its website. Since then, Sungenis has gone even further into anti-Semitic conspiracy-mongering, frequently reminding people that the 1911 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia "predicts the anti-Christ will come from Jewry." His CAI Web site has several articles attacking Jewish "power," including one by the Rev. Ted Pike, head of the National Prayer Network, that blames Jews for establishing a "New World Order" and refers to the alleged "Jewish origins of bolshevism, Jewish dominance of Hollywood and the media, [and] Jewish control of Congress." Sungenis is also a columnist for The Remnant, where, in a piece entitled "The New World Order and the Zionist Connection," he detailed a massive conspiracy aimed at Satan ruling the earth. "Among the major forces in the ascent of the New World Order," he explained, "are the Jews, Judaism and the land of Israel." Sungenis is also familiar with the world of non-Catholic anti-Semitism, as shown by his citations of Michael Collins Piper, a "journalist" who has worked for years for Willis Carto, a leading anti-Semite and Holocaust denier.