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Breakaway Catholic society inducts priests

Eight Catholic ultra-traditionalist priests were ordained on Monday into the rebel Society of Saint Pius X during a ceremony that the Vatican called "illegitimate".

This content was published on June 29, 2009 - 14:31

The order, based in canton Valais, has been marginalised for challenging the decisions of the Vatican II Council that sought to modernise the Catholic Church. Despite Vatican objections, the order still ordains priests each year on June 29.

In a solemn ceremony attended by 2,500 faithful, Bishop Bernard Fellay said he was "astonished at the uproar" surrounding the ordinations while the Roman Catholic Church faces a shortage of priests.

"It is like [the Vatican] only sees a stain on a soldier's uniform while in the midst of a battle," he said.

In total 27 priests have been ordained this year at ceremonies in Germany, Switzerland and the United States.

In January Pope Benedict XVI opened the door to reconciliation by lifting the excommunication of four bishops who ordained priests into the society in 1988 without Vatican approval. One of them has argued that fewer Jews were killed during the Holocaust than believed.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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