Andrew (“The Pilgrimage”) wants to draw our attention to something: the Swedish film that interviewed Bishop Williamson of the SSPX. The point of the film was to show the links between the SSPX in Sweden and reactionary antisemitic groups.
The film follows Sten Sandmark, formerly vicar of Oskarshamn, who left the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) when it approved gay partnerships. He joined the SSPX, and went to Germany to study to be a priest. His reasons include the historic teaching authority of Catholicism, and its adherence to Catholic truth without regard to public opinion.
The SSPX is “virtually unknown in Sweden,” the film notes. Sandmark, whose diaconate ordination is shown, will be the first Swedish SSPX priest. The Catholic church won’t let them use its churches, of course, but parishes of the Church of Sweden have let them rent facilities for masses, using the services of priests flown in from elsewhere. In the mass filmed, a small crowd is present–maybe a dozen or so. There are, Sandmark supposes, 100-200 in the whole country. But Sandmark has set himself an audacious goal: “to make Sweden Catholic again.”
The film starts hearing from attendees at that mass as they describe “the battle” or “conflict” before them. They don’t feel at home in the Catholic church, because of its “modernism,” says one woman. “The Pope allies with Muslims and Jews and others but we’re not welcome in our own church.”
After the mass, the reporter is given a book against Jews and Muslims, and how they are destroying European Society–Time Bombs of the Second Vatican Council, by Fr. Franz Schmidberger, SSPX.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre is shown in a 1989 French TV interview:
It is your wives, your daughters, your children, who will be kidnapped and dragged off to a certain kind of places … as they exist in Casablanca, Mekness and other places. And you can’t get them back. Even the police are afraid to enter the mosques. … Urge the government to stop Islam! Religions cannot coexist. They should stay where they belong.
It says Lefebvre faced imprisonment for these remarks, but escaped with a fine.
Then it first mentions Williamson’s holocaust denial.
Sandmark’s ordination to the diaconate on Nov. 1, 2008, is shown, and it is mentioned that because of the need in Sweden, his seminary training has been reduced from six years to three.
Sandmark says the SSPX isn’t extremist or antisemitic.
But he has a challenge ahead of him in his Swedish mission field, the film notes. The producers did some research into the key leaders for each of the groups. Many are involved in extremist and Neo-Nazi movements.
What will Sandmark do? He will be neutral. The church must be indifferent to politics, he says. Are they welcome? Of course, he says, as long as they don’t discuss politics. What attracts them to the SSPX? Oh, they’re everywhere, both the left and the right. Are there extreme leftists in the seminary there? Well, he hasn’t met any, but he doesn’t think it impossible. Maybe, he concedes, the right wingers are more traditional and conservative.
These linkages between extremist groups and the SSPX go back to Lefebvre himself, who encouraged membership in the National Front in France, saying it was closest to the Catholic ideal.
It’s only at the 33 minute mark that the discussion returns to Bishop Williamson–who ordained Sandmark a deacon. Williamson agrees to an interview. It takes up only a couple of minutes in the film. He’s asked about his remarks in Canada 30 years before. He doesn’t hesitate. “I believe there were no gas chambers.” He cites “the most serious” “revisionists” who say maybe 200,000 to 300,000 Jews died in concentration camps, but none of them in gas chambers. Williamson notes that what he was saying was illegal in Germany–he hopes it isn’t the interviewer’s intention to ambush him and bring in the police.
Then the narrator says, “”It’s now clear what kind of organization Sten Sandmark has converted to and the Church of Sweden has opened its doors to.”
He shows the Williamson interview to the Lutheran pastors who have let the SSPX use their churches. “Abominable.” “Shocking.” “Foolish.” The pastors, of historic churches that welcome many groups of pilgrims, give excuses, though, noting that they can hardly do investigations of every group. But in they end they all agree they will revise their rental guidelines and keep the SSPX out.
That doesn’t deter the SSPX, which will be going forward with its “Swedish crusade” once Sandmark becomes a priest this summer.
Watch the film here in English until Feb. 21.
BTW, here‘s a reaction from Tom Droleskey of “Christ or Chaos.”