You may have seen that in January Benedict XVI repealed the excommunication of the four "renegade" bishops consecrated by French arch-conservative Marcel Lefebvre in 1988. All are members of Lefebvre's Society of St. Pius X, a group which condemns the French Revolution (somewhat belatedly, methinks), upholds the principle of absolute monarch, support the Vichy regime ("Petain's Catholic order") and endorse Jean-Marie Le Pen. One of their number, Richard Williamson, has recently been attracting attention through his so-charming declarations on the Holocaust but his views on women also leave something to be desired.
However the leadership isn't the only part of the SSPX to monopolise the headlines. Loyal member Don Giulio Tam has occasioned some... comment, shall we say, for giving the fascist salute at the opening of a new Forza Nuova headquarters in Bergamo.
His views are no surprise - he stood for the neo-fascist Alternativa Sociale ticket in the last European Parliament elections; he has held public prayer meetings to pray that mosques will not be constructed, and said masses over Mussolini's grave. Should you desire to do so, you may read an interview with him here.
But to publicly give the fascist salute to an (unauthorised) march of armed fascists wearing helmets and wielding batons as they proceeded through the city is taking things one step further.
Pics here - worth looking at, though depressing. A couple of Atalanta scarves on show too - a once solidly far-left ultras scene now no longer united but officially apolitical, and witnessing a growing if still small invasion of Lega Nord sentiment.
Bergamo, a prosperous if insular town with a centre-left mayor, is understandably disconcerted. Tam turns out to have an eye for a catchy phrase: "The cassock is just an elongated black shirt". Perhaps most startling of all, though, is this: Mussolini was a martyr and I am in favour of his beatification." Words, for once, fail me.