On Ash Wednesday, 25 February, Mel Gibson’s controversial film of the Crucifixion, The Passion of Jesus Christ, opened in cinemas worldwide and is certain to fuel the roiling accusations of religious antisemitism that have dogged the Traditionalist Catholic actor/director over the past year. No surprise, considering that Gibson based his script on a feverish “vision” penned by the 19th century mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich, which lays the blame for Christ’s execution squarely on “the cruel Jews … the emissaries of Satan”. Despite all the reporting on this controversial movie, little light has been directed at the radical Traditionalist Catholic movement that formed Gibson’s reactionary beliefs.
With the internet and numerous conferences, seminars and pilgrimages around the world, Catholic ultra-Traditionalists – numbering as many as 100,000 in the United States alone – form a global network that is infested with religious antisemites, Holocaust deniers, Old School fascists, white nationalists, faith-based Third Positionists and anti-democratic clerics.
“We intend to pick up where the Distributist, the Solidarist, the Corporatist Catholics of all nations left off before the war, and, God willing, to deliver to the world once again the hope of a peaceful and fruitful existence, free from both the excessive power of the state and the ruthless injustice of an untamed market.”
So stated the Catholic IHS Press on its website launch two years ago. The man behind this enterprise and these words is John Sharpe, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, former submarine officer and media spokesman for the Atlantic Fleet. He is also a radical Catholic Third Position polemicist with ideological and business ties to Roberto Fiore’s International Third Position/Forza Nuova network.
Sharpe’s other, more radical enterprise, the Legion of St Louis (LSL), based in Norfolk, Virginia, serves as the US distributor for the St George Educational Trust (SGET) catalogue of antisemitic and British fascist classics. The Board of Directors for the Trust includes convicted terrorist Roberto Fiore, former National Front political solider Colin Todd and Society of St Pius X (SSPX) priest Fr. Michael Crowdy.
LSL offers an SGET booklist that includes works by the British Union of Fascists leader A K Chesterton, the Irish fascist and antisemite Fr. Denis Fahey and his American protégé “radio priest” Fr. Charles Coughlin along with Holocaust denier Michael Hoffman’s Strange Gods of Judaism and Henry Ford’s The International Jew.
Sharpe’s affiliation with the ITP is further illustrated by his promotion of back-to-land Catholic separatism: Distributism via Chesterton/Belloc – one of the ten planks of the ITP. Reciprocally, the ITP is now promoting IHS Press in its email newsletter, Final Conflict.
With IHS Press and its companion imprint, Gates of Vienna Press, Sharpe takes a more subversive tack. These ventures target a broader, more respectable range of conservative Catholics and have made Sharpe one of the leading Traditionalist Catholic publishers in America with an outreach into markets in the UK and Europe.
Sharpe is a very busy fellow. In addition to his speaking engagements, writing, publishing enterprises and directorship of the Legion, he has a subsidiary business, LSL Enterprises, that sells religious statues, prints and icons imported from Italy. Given his affiliation with SGET, it is suspected that Sharpe’s Italian import enterprise is fingerprinted by the hands of Fiore and fellow ITP leader Derek Holland, now ensconced in an apartment near the Vatican. Sharpe and Holland, who has recently adopted the surname O’Huallachain, jointly edited a collection of essays by writers of the 1930s and 1940s under the title Distributist Perspectives. They include writings by G K Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc.
Sharpe’s parents, John, Sr. and Judith, founded their own Trad Catholic effort, “In the Spirit of Chartres” Committee, in 1998, which sponsors two annual events in Phoenix: a “Spirit of Chartres” Pilgrimage modelled on the annual SSPX event in France and a Catholic Restoration Conference. These conferences have featured the most extreme of the Trad Catholic movement: John Vennari, Christopher Ferrara, Gerry Matatics, Marian Horvat, Atila Guimaraes, Fr. Paul Kramer and, of course, John Sharpe, Jr. These comprise a core team of conspiracy-mongering proselytisers on a speaking circuit backed by SSPX adherents, the St. Benedict’s Center in New Hampshire, the US headquarters for the followers of the late Fr. Francis Feeney, a notorious antisemite, and the multimillion dollar media outreach of Fr. Nicholas Gruner, a renegade Canadian priest who runs The Fatima Network. All sell an array of antisemitic, Judeo-Masonic Marxist conspiracy books plus the standard Distributist fare of Chesterton and Belloc.
Extremists Vennari, Ferrara, Horvat, the race-baiting E. Michael Jones and antisemitic conspiracist Robert Sungenis are also frequent contributors to the London Traditionalist Catholic monthly, Christian Order, founded by the late Fr. Paul Crane in 1960, that describes itself as “a militant antidote to the secular ‘live and let live’ attitude which has brought the Church low”.
The Sharpe family, like their ITP friends, are supporters of the Society of St Pius X, a schismatic sect of the Roman Catholic Church imbued with clerical fascism and theocratic antisemitism. SSPX was founded in Econe, Switzerland in September1970 by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a Vichyite integrist. Its clerical ranks are permeated with fascists, neo-fascists, Carlists, Nazi sympathizers and Holocaust deniers. Ranting against democracy, gay, lesbian and women’s rights, including, but not limited to, abortion, contraception, social position and attire, the SSPX is one of the most pernicious Traditionalist Catholic organisations in the world.
While its influence among neo-fascists and ultranationalists is most evident and deeply embedded in France – Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National, in Poland – the Liga Polskich Rodzin (League of Polish Families), Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski (National Rebirth of Poland) and in Italy – Forza Nuova, Allianza Cattolica, Militia Christi, the SSPX has grown to become a significant presence in the United States. Its relationship with convicted anti-abortion terrorist James Kopp and the militia and common law court of St Marys, Kansas and the Republic of Texas are two extreme examples.
In Kansas City, Missouri the official SSPX magazine, The Angelus, publishes antisemitic and anti-democratic screeds from Archbishop Lefebvre, Fr. Fahey, defender of Ernst Zündel Bishop Richard Williamson, E. Michael Jones, Vennari, Sungenis along with Fiore and Holland’s old padre, Fr. Crowdy, Like Sharpe’s Legion of St. Louis, the SSPX book imprint, Angelus Press in Kansas City, offers all of Fahey’s antisemitic conspiracy books plus Hilaire Belloc’s The Jews.
In addition to publishing financial appeals from SSPX in his Legion of St. Louis Bulletin, Sharpe has contributed several articles for The Angelus, including a two-part series, Judaism and the Vatican, in which he wrote:
“Now insofar as the Jews reject the Divine Sonship of Our Lord, they remain unable to recognize as a positive development the culture which flowed from an uncompromising adherence to Him. They are opponents of Christian civilization insofar as they are unable to confess adherence to a Faith Objective Moral Law of God which was incarnated in that civilization. They are, however, a tenacious race, and their own commitment to pluralism does not countenance the socio-political supremacy of a creed founded on a Man whom their theologians consider to be a common blasphemer. Hence their commitment to revolution and their support of the progressive tendencies embodied in the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Revolution.”
In the June 2003 issue of The Angelus, Sharpe wrote, “… let us not fear the epithet anti-Semite. … the Christian anti-Semite has for his dream the restoration of that state which had its foundations in theological principles. If such is the case (as both history and logic prove, even to this very day) may we all then have the courage to respond with the words of Fr. Fahey: In that sense, every sane thinker must be an anti-Semite.”
The above remarks seem relatively measured when contrasted with Sharpe’s poisonous fulmination in his Legion of St. Louis Bulletin, a “Jews killed Jesus” product featuring articles from the Zundeliste and Willis Carto’s American Free Press. In his enormous three-part series on 9/11, Sharpe proffers a tour-de-force Third Positionist polemic, a rather bizarre and troubling mindset for a lieutenant in the United States Navy.
“Bin Laden’s call to attack the West lacks a supernatural geo-political perspective because it is concerned ONLY with defending the rights, albeit in some cases legitimate, of Muslim states. The media perspective is faulty because it equates the West with the Enlightenment, secularism, and materialism. And the analysis put forward by some Catholic parties is flawed not so much in itself as in what it leaves out of consideration – Judeo-Masonry.
“Commentary on the geopolitical situation of 2001 can be neither complete nor sufficient if it fails to take into account the Jewish Nation. The temporal power that the Jews have achieved since, picking a somewhat arbitrary date, 1789, is both pervasive and relatively unchallenged. Some readers will doubtless call this extremism, anti-Semitism, and, God-forbid, some strange brand of Nazi fanaticism. On the contrary. It is simply a fact. The forces of high finance, government, and the media have been in largely Jewish hands for some time now; we should therefore expect that the direction in which the world is guided by those forces (or at least in which those forces attempt to guide the world) largely corresponds to a generally Jewish aim.”
And this: “… there is an inconvenient coincidence that the spin-masters continue to try to avoid, disavow, or ‘interpret’ out of existence. That fact is this: with the exception of the Legion Bulletin and a few other independent Crusaders, the only publicly-identifiable religious group in the world which routinely denounces Zionist oppression, at the hands of either the US or Israel, is the Islamic world, whether it be the ‘radical’ fringe or the ‘moderate’ Arab states.”
At closing, smoking with centuries-old religious antisemitism, Sharpe wraps it all up in Inquisition black by declaring that “the current and historical mortal enemy of Christian civilization is Judeo-Masonry. There can be no doubt about this fact from an analysis of history, both recent, and that which dates from the time of Our Lord. Islam is a sideshow, albeit a powerful and vigorous one, to the main drama. It has been a tool of Jewry and may in fact be so in this case.”
With hatred like this widely disseminated by the SSPX and other US based Traditionalist Catholic organisations, Sharpe and his numerous cohorts in the US have become vital helpmates to Catholic neo-fascists in Europe, Ireland and South America. As they solidify and expand their ties with clerical fascists in Europe and the UK within the SSPX network, these American Rad Trads are forming a faith-based bridge between the American extremist Right and their counterparts around the world more roadworthy than anything attempted by the likes of pagan Nazis such as William Pierce.
© Searchlight Magazine 2004
Blood and Politics
by Leonard Zeskind