Lefebrvrian order says Priebke received last rites
Convicted war criminal received funeral Mass17 October, 15:31
"The liturgy was celebrated, Priebke died as a repentant Catholic," said Pierpaolo Petrucci of the Lefebrvrian order, a breakaway ultra-traditionalist order. Priebke died Friday aged 100 while under Rome house arrest for his part in the massacre of 335 men and boys, including 75 Jews, at the Ardeatine caves outside Rome in 1944. Police were called in to break up a melee on Tuesday when the Lefebrvrian order - formally, the Society of Saint Pius X - last attempted to hold a public funeral for Priebke in Albano Laziale, a community south of Rome.
That funeral was suspended after public protests.
Petrucci said Priebke, who was staunchly unrepentent of his war crimes, repented of other sins "before God and man," died a Christian, and was entitled to a proper funeral.
Priebke's remains were still being held in an Italian air base Pratica di Mare as authorities squabbled over where he should be buried.
Authorities in the German province where he was born have suggested he could only be buried there in an unmarked grave to avoid it becoming a shrine for neo-Nazi sympathizers. At the attempted funeral on Tuesday, far-right extremists gave Fascist salutes outside St. Pius X church in Albano Laziale as protesters shouted "murderer" and demonstrated against the funeral of the Second World War criminal.
One woman collapsed as community members, upset at their town being the site of the controversial service, jostled a Lefebvrian priest and clashed with right-wing supporters of Priebke. Founded in 1969, the Lefebvrian order is itself no stranger to controversy as it disagrees with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.
A Lefebvrian bishop famously denied the Holocaust before being ejected. The involvement of the Lefebvrians in Priebke's case came as no surprise to the leader of Rome's Jewish community, who said the order has a history of anti-Semitism.
"This is nothing new. They are a hostile sect, throwbacks to pre-Vatican Council theology that reduced Jews to the accusation of being Jesus killers," Riccardo Pacifici said Tuesday.