Who the hell is Marcel Lefebvre?
Demanarchie, Vol. 3, no. 2, February 1997
Right-wing Catholics continue to play an important role in the Quebec fascist milieu. In fact, along with "French Canadian" nationalism, traditional Roman Catholicism is one of the defining features of the far-right in this province.
Some reactionary Catholics in Quebec have even split from the Vatican, which they view as being too moderate. These schismatics - the term literally means "splitter" - work within international networks that include racists and fascists from Europe and the United States.
TO THE RIGHT OF JOHN PAUL II?
Pope John Paul II, president-for-life of the Roman Catholic Church, is widely viewed as being favourable to that faith's right-wing. He has made a point of publicly re-affirming his church's opposition to women's rights, queer rights and the rights of the dispossessed. Yet to some Catholics, the pope is being manipulated by the enemies of the church; to his less charitable critics on the right, he is a conscious minion of the Antichrist, who has overseen the continuing takeover the Christianity by an evil cabal of Jews, Freemasons and Communists.
These Catholics believe that the church was taken over by pro-communist, Jewish, Protestant, Zionist, Satanic, and/or Freemason forces at a series of meetings of all the world's bishops known as the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, that ran from 1962 to 1965. It was at these meetings that Roman Catholicism toned down its age-old war of attrition against the world's other religions and attempted to bring several of its own rites up to date. Among other things, the mass that had been elaborated at the Council of Trent between 1545 and 1563, known as the Tridentine Mass, was changed and the use of languages other than Latin was approved.
In the 1970s and early eighties, those Catholic hardliners who looked back fondly on the days of the inquisition were active in a variety of organizations, the most prominent of them all being the Society of St Pius X.
The history of the Society is inseparable from that of its late founder, Bishop Marcel Lefebvre. Active in the theocratic organization Cite Catholique in the 1960s, Lefebvre felt called upon to denounce and resist the changes brought about by Vatican II. Most hated were decrees that grudgingly accepted people's freedom of conscience and that raised bishops' status, mandating the creation of national bishops' organizations which brought about a degree of decentralization within the church and reduced the power of a clique of conservative Italian mandarins who had become dominant within the Vatican.
Pope Paul VI, blamed by Lefebvre for the changes in the church, was eager to appease the reactionary cleric, so in 1970 he was granted permission to found his Society in Econe, Switzerland. Rather than calming him down though, this seemed to encourage Lefebvre in his attacks against what he called "modernist" errors coming out of Rome. Things escalated in 1976 when Lefebvre accused the Catholic hierarchy of heresy. His Society was officially banned, and he was forbidden from ordaining students studying at its seminary. When he ignored this ban and ordained them anyway, the Pope hit him with a suspens a divinis - a punishment that meant he could no longer give sacraments or celebrate mass.
Around the world Lefebvre's supporters rallied around him, often refusing to say the mass as it was elaborated during Vatican II but rather hearkening back to the old Tridentine rite. Priests who celebrated the old mass were often kicked out of their churches by the local bishop.
When John Paul II became pope he tried to bring the traditionalists back into the fold. He passed a special rule allowing mass to be said according to the old custom as long as the local bishop gave his permission. This did tempt many Catholics back to the church but Lefebvre remained independent. The mass was just a symbol for him: he didn't want the church to tolerate him, he wanted the church to return to its old burn- them-at-the-stake intolerant self.
In 1987 the Vatican appointed Canadian Cardinal Edouard Gagnon as a mediator - a decision that thrilled the Lefebvrists, who claimed that of all the cardinals Gagnon was the most sympathetic to their cause. But while he did come close, Gagnon was finally unable to broker an agreement between Lefebvre and the pope. The former was convinced that the Freemason-Satanist- Pinko-Jews had taken over, and he was not willing to surrender his Society's autonomy. In 1988 he took four of the Society's priests and turned them into bishops - despite having been warned to do no such thing by John Paul. He was excommunicated almost immediately.
OUTSIDE OF THE CHURCH
By this point Lefebvre had already acquired a large following among right-wing Catholics who cared little what the Vatican might say. His organization controlled hundreds of churches, residences, and schools in several dozen countries, and had acquired financial support from remnants of Europe's old aristocracy.
The Society had also earned a good reputation amongst butchers and fascists around the world. Always the man of principle, Lefebvre had spoken out in favour of military dictatorships in Africa and South America. Way back in 1976, during a fiery mass in Lille, France, Lefebvre identified the enemy: "The Council (Vatican II) consummated the marriage between Church and Revolution... only bastards will be born of the adulterous union ... We cannot dialogue with freemasons and communists, because you don't dialogue with the Devil!" There is plenty of evidence of what the bishop would like to do with communists and freemasons though; at Lille that day he also shared his views on the Argentinian dictatorship which was at that very moment torturing and executing anyone even suspected of being a "subversive". Lefebvre said that this bloodthirsty regime was a "principled government of order, an authority that is tidying things up, that stops cutthroats from killing people. Suddenly the economy is getting better and the workers have work and they can go home knowing that they won't be attacked by someone who wanted them to go on strike when they didn't want to go on strike." 
Lefebvre not only supported fascism in the Third World, but actively promoted it in Europe, too. The Spanish translation of his book "I Accuse the Council," was launched at the headquarters of the New Forces Party - a Francoist fascist party. At this event Lefebvre was accompanied by Blas Pinar, the NFP's president.  During the 1985 French election campaign Lefebvre publicly encouraged Catholics to vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen, explaining that his ideal was "a government that applies real Catholic principles, like Franco and Salazar did." Need it be added that these statements were made in an interview he gave to the Italian magazine Secolo - the organ of the MSI, Italy's oldest fascist party. 
At no point did Lefebvre tone down the rhetoric. He merely became more and more explicit. In 1986 he criticized the pope's meeting at Assise with leaders from the world's other religions, which he said "encourages the false religions to pray to their false gods."  In 1989 he warned a gathering of traditionalists about Moslem immigrants, saying that "It is your wives, your daughters, your children who will kidnapped and brought to those secret places like in Casablanca."  In 1990, less than a year before his death, he claimed in an interview with the official magazine of the National Front that any Catholic opposition to the maintenance of a nun's residence at the former Auschwitz concentration camp was being instigated by Jews. 
While the Society of St Pius X is most active in Europe, it maintains residences and churches in over 40 non-European countries, including most of the Americas. The headquarters of the Society's Canadian branch have been located in Shawinigan since the 1970s. There are 26 Lefebvrist churches in Canada, eight of which are in Quebec. There are roughly a dozen priests active within the Society in Quebec. The Society also runs a primary and high school, l'ecole Saint-Famille.  According to Fr. Jacques Emily, the Lefebvrist's Canadian leader since 1983, roughly 1000 people regularly attend mass at the Society's churches, and the group receives donations from three or four times as many people across the country.
While these small numbers show that the Society has little direct impact on the official Roman Catholic church, and they certainly have little effect on the larger body politic, the Lefebvrists nevertheless remain wed to the far-right. And in Quebec, where the far-right tends to be unanimous in its Catholicism and hostility to Vatican II, the Society has been able to maintain some presence outside of its own small circles.
Furthermore, the Society has occasionally made headlines with its public declarations so much out of sync with Quebec society in general and mainstream Catholicism in particular that they are difficult to ignore. In 1989, for instance, one of the Society's four bishops, Richard Williamson, delivered a virulently racist sermon while touring Quebec. Williamson, who runs a Lefebvrist seminary in Winona, Minnesota, was speaking at Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes church in Sherbrooke when he stated that "Not one Jew was killed in the gas chambers. It's a lie... the Jews invented the Holocaust so that we would kneel before them and accept their state of Israel... the governments don't touch the Jews but they persecute the Zundels who fight for the truth."  When a complaint was lodged under the hate laws, the RCMP found that there was no basis to charge Williamson because he "wasn't inciting violence". The bishop himself was unapologetic, claiming that "The church is going badly because of the Protestants, the Freemasons, the Communists, the media and the Jews.... I don't believe that 6 million Jews were killed (in the Holocaust), it's a physical impossibility." 
THE CERCLE D'ETUDES DES JEUNES CATHOLIQUES TRADITIONALISTES
The Lefebvrists do not simply stew in their own theological juices, but engage in a certain degree of outreach amongst other Catholics. Probably towards this end, in June 1993 the Society set up a study group at Laval University in Ste-Foy, the Cercle d'etudes des jeunes catholiques traditionalistes. The CEJCT organized lectures by far-right luminaries from Canada, Europe and the United States, many of which took place on the university campus, until its pastor, Fr. Roscoe, left for Switzerland in 1995. While it was functioning, the Cercle benefited from a degree of aid from the university's chaplaincy services, i.e. free meeting space, photocopies, typing plus the prestige of being able to use University symbols on its propaganda.
For your personal edification, what follows is a partial list of people who spoke at CEJCT events between 1993 and 1995 (an asterisk indicates that the individual is also the author of one or more articles in the CEJCT's newsletter Carillon Catholique):
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