Breakaway Catholic sect ordains eight new priests in Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland - Eight priests were ordained Monday into the conservative Society of Saint Pius X in Switzerland, in a direct snub to the Vatican. The society was founded in 1970 by Catholics upset over the liberal reforms in the church following the Second Vatican Council. The Vatican considers ordination into the grouping as "illegitimate."

Monday's ordination in the canton of Valais came on the day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and is the traditional time for inductions into the sect.

Over the weekend, three other priests were ordained in Germany by the breakaway sect. In total, 27 priests have been ordained this year and there are over 500 in the sect in dozens of countries around the world.

The sect is based in Econe, a town in Valais.

Five months ago Pope Benedict XVI lifted excommunications, instituted by his predecessor Pope John Paul II in 1988, of four bishops in the sect, including one who made controversial remarks dowgrading the Holocaust.

The move was part of a reconciliation process, though the Vatican still insists the rebel priests do not carry official roles within the church.