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11/13/2012 5:02:00 PM
US superior of SSPX denies group is anti-Semitic
SSPX photo
Father Arnaud Rostand
SSPX photo
Father Arnaud Rostand
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The traditionalist Society of St. Pius X "completely rejects the false claim that it teaches or practices anti-Semitism, which is a racial hatred of the Jewish people whether on account of their ethnicity, culture or religious beliefs," said the society's U.S. district superior.

Father Arnaud Rostand, the district superior, issued a statement to Catholic News Service Nov. 11 in response to comments by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, who said the Vatican's reconciliation talks with the SSPX did not signal the Vatican's willingness to accept priests or members who hold anti-Semitic positions.

"Cardinal Koch's false charge of anti-Semitism within our religious congregation casts the SSPX in a negative light and at a very sensitive time for the entire church," Father Rostand said. "Furthermore, our legal counsel has suggested that His Eminence's accusation is tantamount to defamation, since it insinuates that our society is a racist organization."

Cardinal Koch, who was addressing members of the commission that coordinates and promotes dialogue with Jewish groups, said many people involved in the dialogue -- and not just Jewish participants -- were worried that the Vatican's efforts to bring the SSPX back into full communion with the Catholic Church signaled a possible downplaying of the Second Vatican Council's declaration on relations with the Jews.

The cardinal said Pope Benedict XVI had directed him to make it clear that the Catholic Church continues to hold to the document's teachings: on the special spiritual bond between Judaism and Christianity; its rejection of claims that all Jews of Jesus' time and Jews today bear responsibility for Jesus' death; and its condemnation of any form of anti-Judaism or anti-Semitism.

In late October, the SSPX announced it had ousted British Bishop Richard Williamson, one of the four bishops ordained by SSPX founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre without papal approval in 1988. Bishop Williamson, who opposed the reconciliation talks with the Vatican, has publicly denied the extent of the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews.

In 2009, shortly after an interview with Bishop Williamson aired on television, the society's U.S. website (www.sspx.org) removed articles arguing that the "Jewish race brought upon themselves the curse that followed the crime of deicide," and that the "Jewish people, if it has not converted to Christianity, will, even if it does not wish to, seek to ruin Christianity."

In his statement to CNS, Father Rostand said hopes that the Jews would convert "to the one true faith are motivated by supernatural charity, not hatred."

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