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Desperate Williamson Denies Holocaust

Have you heard about the drama going on right now with the SSPX? Amazing. Rumor has it that Pope Benedict may have already lifted the decree of ex-Communication on the Bishops of the SSPX incurred after their illicit consecration in 1988. This action, following the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, is a major step toward bringing the SSPX back into the fold. There is one person who is apparently determined to throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing. Richard Williamson, one of those on whom the ex-communication would be lifted, will do anything to stop it.

First the skinny on what is happening. Rorate Caeli has been reporting (and now corroborated by other sources)

All signs now seem to indicate that the removal, withdrawal, or annulment of the excommunications of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (+ 1991), Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer (+ 1991), and of the four Bishops consecrated by them for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) in Ecône, Switzerland, on June 30, 1988 is imminent. The Papal act on the matter has almost certainly been signed, and it will be made public shortly:
This follows upon a secret visit of Bishop Fellay to the Pope delivering a bouquet of a million or more rosaries. If this rumor turns out to be true it would be a great occasion of joy for almost everyone. Almost everyone.

It seems that every time that a possible rapprochement between the SSPX and the Holy See draws nearer, "Bishop" Richard Williamson does everything he can to disrupt and destroy that possibility. Back in June of last year when the Pope, through Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, asked the leaders of the SSPX to agree to certain pre-conditions Williamson did his best to create confusion and distrust. In a series of statements then he poked his finger in the eye of the Pope and offered that he would rejoice if the SSPX were declared in formal schism. At the time it seemed clear to some observers that Williamson does not want reconciliation and would break from the SSPX if need be.

It seems, if the rumors are true, that Bishop Fellay and the Pope did not allow his antics to antagonize them or disrupt their plans. In October, the Society launched the rosary crusade that resulted in the bouquet of a million rosaries.

As disgusting and un-Christian as Williamson rhetoric was in the past, it seems that is nothing compared to what he is doing now in a last ditch effort to derail reconciliation. This comes from Ruth Gledhill at the Times Online.
Bishop Richard Williamson is a hardline ultra-conservative bishop of the Society of St Pius X. He faces possible prosecution for Holocaust denial in Germany after an interview with a reporter from Stockholm TV in which he claimed that six million Jews did not die in the Holocaust, merely a few thousand, and that the gas chambers did not exist. CathCon has the translation of the Der Spiegel report. In an earlier story in the Catholic Herald, Bishop Williamson, former Anglican and a Cambridge graduate, was exposed as endorsing the forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The timing of these monstrous statements is not coincidental. Williamson has a vested interest in maintaining his schismatic status. Inside the Church he is an unhinged nobody. Outside, he is a somebody or so he thinks. He is desperate to maintain the status quo because he has nowhere else to go.

In recognition of all the Pope has done and is trying to do and in the name of all the good people in the society and those who are aligned with it, the SSPX should immediately censure or even expel Richard Williamson. He is a very troubled man in need of our prayers, but he should not be a Bishop or in any leadership position.

Please Bishop Fellay, if you and the society truly seek reconciliation, expel Richard Williamson.

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Christopher Michael said...

He faces possible prosecution for Holocaust denial in Germany...

Prosecution? It is illegal to deny the Holocaust in Germany? Figures...

At any rate, unhinged or not, Williamson is a Bishop of the Catholic Church (now in perfectly good standing if the rumours are true) nonetheless. I'd rather we saved our condemnations for Bishops who actually deny doctrine or inculcate grave liturgical abuses than for one who is guilty of nothing more than silliness. There is no good reason to expel him from the SSPX, and certainly none to say that he ought not hold episcopal office, especially since, if the rumours are true (Rocco has even mentioned them: always a sure sign of the truth of ecclesiastical rumours) as mentioned earlier, he is a Bishop in as good standing with the Holy See as Archbishops Burke or Chaput. Being a poor historian or an ecclesiastical rabble-rouser does not forfeit the episcopal office or membership from any personal prelature of the Church. He's a Bishop who deserves the respect given to any person holding his exaulted office.


Son of Trypho said...

Very sad and unfortunate for the SSPX (Williamson's views), and I think it goes without saying that it was a particularly imprudent choice on the part of Abp who consecrated him.

The SSPX should deal with him immediately with strictest discipline - IMHO call him out in the open by repudiating his views and demand that he recant and apologise - if he refuses and splits from them, let him go and become a sedevacantist who will be as the author notes, irrelevant.

The Church does not need this sort of antics and disreputable behaviour which is extremely damaging for its credibility (and I'm not talking about ecumenism, just generally).

Son of Trypho said...


Its more than just "silliness" or being a "poor historian" - Williamson is denying objective historical facts motivated through religious prejudice and racism and hatred.

There is no excuse for any intelligent person to peddle this sort of trash, let alone a Catholic bishop. His credibility has been tarnished by his own actions and he is an embarrasment to the Church and its faithful.

Anonymous said...

It isn't just Williamson. SSPX bookstores sell antisemitic garbage, including commentaries on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I've purchased them in Dickinson, TX. This is mainstream SSPX thinking -- and that makes it all the more shocking that the Vatican would consider reconciliation without requiring repudiation of this hate.

Son of Trypho said...

I hope that is not the case - there are a whole range of genocide denial laws in European states, particularly Germany, Poland, France - it would be tragic were Williamson's comments to lead to the authorities raiding SSPX religious houses looking for hate material and charging members with various denial and hate crime offences. This is one of the risks that Williamson may be putting the SSPX in by his antics - the organisation is not clearly under the Vatican's umbrella and he would be classified as one of the leaders of the organisation in such a situation.

Christopher Michael said...

Son of Trypho,
If by "religious prejudice" you mean the conviction that the Catholic Church is the sole Ark of Salvation and that Jews (or anybody else) who deliberately and knowing refuse to convert and be saved through Her are justly condemned by Almighty God, please mark me among the "religiously prejudiced."
Honestly, I have no idea why Williamson would deny the Holocaust. I would venture the guess that he is just wont to make such bold assertions about subjects receiving otherwise universal consent from intelligent people. He probably just likes the attention. That does not necessarily make him a racist or a hater of Jews, although he certainly likes to give the impression that he does, in fact, strongly dislike them. But like I said: he's a Bishop. Now it seems he is a bishop in perfectly good standing. Think twice before you speak ill of him. Let the Vatican handle it if he is as egregious as you say. I assume you are a layman: act like it.
Also, could you please define "objective historical fact" for me? I'm a little fuzzy on that and I'd love to know exactly what you mean by such a turn of phrase.


TonyP said...

Um, before we start kicking Bishop Williamson out of anything, shouldn't we first see what he actually DID say?

As an attendee at SSPX chapels and churches for many years, I know that anti-semitism is not rife or mainstream, as someone suggested. That doesn't mean none of the attendees are anti-semitic, but it would be a very small minority.

Bishop Williamson, is a bit "out there" from what little ive seen of his stuff, but he still deserves the benefit of the doubt until we know for sure what has happened.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine the late Pope John Paul II turning at his grave because of this.

Anonymous said...

If true -- I say "if" -- then purported Bishop Williamson is indeed a man of our times, not a man for eternity. Anti-Semitism is again fashionable in this country, and that is an abomination.

-- Mack

Andy said...

At first I agreed with your comments in this post, but then I started to think (always a dangerous activity) and I'm not so sure now. There are many layers to this.

First, let's consider when this news surfaces - exactly when there is widespread talk that excommunications might be lifted and SSPX might be once again in full communion with the Church. That would hurt many liberals and modernists in the Church and many outside of the Church. There have been cases in the past of "press facts" procured to exert a pressure on the Holly See. Maybe this is the case too?

So maybe before condemning Williamson someone would take the trouble to dig to the source, ask someone who actually speaks Swedish to check what was in the Swedish paper and maybe also contact bp. Williamson for comment? I mean, that is what a real journalist would do - did Ruth Gledhill of Times Online do this?

But there is more - where it says that a catholic, even a bishop can't have a different opinion on historic events than is generally accepted by historians? There is a plethora of opinions about various events in history - and for various reasons too. Why is the story of Holocaust protected more than others? Because of the number of victims? Well, this wasn't the biggest genocide in modern history, Stalin did kill millions more than Hitler, so did Mao, but their victims don't get that much attention and no one saying Gulag killed less persons that is generally thought is called a criminal because of this!

Would you want him banned if he denied Dzengiz Khan atrocities took place? Come one, he didn't say "kill the Jews" or anything like it - he just said (if he did say it!) that he thinks there were less victims than is generally thought. And that he thinks a 19th century booklet done by Russian secret police of the time is in fact genuine. This might be stupid, but since when this is a crime?

Finally, aren't we getting dangerously close to Orwell's "thought-crimes"? That is you can think something, but you can't say it or write it or research trying to find evidence supporting your view because this is criminal! Such notion is and should be an outrage in a free society! I too well remember communist days, when you could think Marks and Lenin were frauds and criminals, but saying it aloud could get you jail time. Do we want to get back to same type of society?

I'm not SSPX btw, never been to one of their chapels etc. so I'm not "politically" motivated in my comments. And I live now mere 50 miles from Auschwitz, the infamous German concentration camp where gas chambers operated and where millions perished (not only Jews, btw). However, I think criminalizing people who don't believe this is dangerous and potentially can lead to more widespread persecution of those that dare to think differently.

Oh, and BTW, you write "Bishop" Williamson but Bishop Felay. Be logical. Either both are "bishops" or both are bishops without quotes, their canonical standing is exactly the same.

Deusdonat said...

TONYP - go to the link. The video of Williams is right there for you to watch. He really does look like a scoundrel.

The SSPX could bring so much to the church. But ALL of them, their leaders included, need to do some HARD PENANCE for all the evil and suffering they have inflicted through their words and actions over the years if they are going to be of any use to God's church.

Chironomo said...

Many of the above posts point to deplorable behavior, written materials, viewpoints expressed, etc...of the SSPX. Is it not possible that the purpose of lifting the excommunication, at least in part, might be to "take the wind out of the sails" of the purveyors of such things? Those who are hardline "Anti-Vatican II" will continue to believe what they believe, but those who wish to be Catholic, but who believe they have been deprived of this right for the past 40 years, will now have a home that is in communion with the church.

Theoketos said...

I can't believe that you all did not bring up his past statements about the SSPX possibly failing. Maybe he will go his own way again.

Anonymous said...

Bishop Williamson is a Bishop, and he deserves to be referred to as such. When men like Cardinal Mahoney remain in good standing with the Holy See, as well as countless other priests and Bishops who blatantly contradict the faith, it's about time that the SSPX had their credibility restored. I do not agree with the man, but I cannot presume to know his heart or the motives of his actions. Some people just have a habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time through no fault of their own. (On a side note, I think it's ridiculous that one can be prosecuted for denying the Holocaust in Germany, although I disagree with His Excellency's statements).

Neo-con Catholics are so quick to judge the SSPX based on the excommunications, yet they forget that St. Athanasius was excommunicated multiple times for his stance against heresy.

Deusdonat said...

BWB - as one who is frequently referred to as a Trad/Traddie/Trad-Cath (among many other things unrepeatable in mixed company) I deplore and denounce the behaviour of the SSPX. They have done so much harm and evil to the church. To deny this is to be either blind or simply dishonest. As I said, they have the power to do good, but only after some serious penance. You bring up Mahoney, and this raises a VERY good point: would the likes of Mahoney have gotten this far within the church had the SSPX remained faithful to the magesterium instead of thumbing their nose, picking up their toys and leaving?

David L Alexander said...

I should think there would be a difference between lifting of the excommunication, and being "in perfectly good standing." A priest whose faculties are suspended, for example, is not necessarily excommunicated. Shall we say his "standing" is good? I will defer to the judgment of the Apostolic See on this one, not to mention hedge my bets until I see the wording of the decree itself.

By the way, none of this gives a pass to the previous behavior of the SSPX leadership. Why bother to reconcile when you've done nothing wrong?

James H said...

Your a hit In London!!


Maybe one day when my "reckonings" will be in the Telegraph :)

Andy said...

The more I see this story picked up by liberal press the more I doubt he really said so. I think this is a desperate attempt to prevent excommunications from being lifted. I just hope the Holy Father won't fall for it.

David L Alexander said...

"I think this is a desperate attempt to prevent excommunications from being lifted."

I forget where I saw it, but they've got him on video.

Son of Trypho said...

Couple of points;

Christopher - re. religious prejudice - I personally agree with your views on this however you would need to provide some evidence that Williamson's comments re. Protocols/Holocaust are motivated by this sentiment. I sincerely doubt this and I'd be curious to see how they are related.

As to racism or generally religious prejudice - if he is supporting the Protocols then he falls under these categories - he is peddling a document which posits a universal Jewish conspiracy to take over the world and control it. This is clearly false. Either the Jews are an ethnicity/race which would make this racist, or he is referring to Judaism which would be religiously prejudiced. Either way it is hateful and would seem to contravene the 8th Commandment.

re. objective historical fact - i see these as facts which can be proved by evidence impartially. There is more written and researched about the Holocaust and WW2 than just about most other historical subjects. If he didn't do his research on this topic, he shouldn't be talking about it because it is an embarrassing display of ignorance.

Andy -
As to why Holocaust denial is covered by legislation - primarily because those who are denying the event are either -
i. trying to rehabilitate the Nazi regime of Germany (one of the most atrocious regimes of the 20th C) with a view to suggesting that such a political regime is acceptable generally - which is particularly dangerous for obvious reasons, or
ii. are motivated by hostility towards the victims, not necessarily only (but usually) Jews, and are seeking to diminish their experience for a wide variety of reasons - none of which I have yet seen to be plausible and/or acceptable. Certainly it isn't daring to think differently or trying to do independent research etc - there is a massive amount of material and information which can (and has been) done on this topic.

And if you are Polish you should be especially aware of why the Holocaust is awarded greater significance than other genocides -the event itself is not measured by numbers but by the fact that it was an modern industrial process which is unparalleled in history in scope and scale.

Similarly, you should be aware that Poland itself has legislation against denial of the crimes of the war primarily because it suffered so much during the war.

bwbusdi89- I do hope your not trying to draw a comparison between St Athanasius and Bp Williamson are you? Oh dear.

Son of Trypho said...

As to liberal media highlighting this event - it is reasonable to infer that they would intensely dislike the SSPX being reunified with the Church and would look to put impediments in its way.

Similarly, it is also reasonable to infer that they find Bp Williamson's views repugnant and embarrassing and are bringing them to attention of the public and are reasonably questioning why the Church would be dealing with this sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

I am a Swede and I saw and heard the imprudent statement of His Lordship on Swedish TV yesterday - it can be seen and heard on this link:


It must be stated clearly, that this interview was done on All Saints Day 2008, and His Lordship did'nt have ANYTHING to do with the timing of the broadcast - that decision was taken solely by the SVT (and the devil).

May God protect Msgr Williamson and heal this wound.

(Personally I am also tired of the Holocauts-Industry, as Norman Finkelstein calls this geschäft)

Pax et bonum/ Adrian

meg said...

First of all, he didn't say "only a few thousand", he said between 2 and 3 HUNDRED thousand died in the holocaust. That is not holocaust denial, merely very poor reporting. His big issue is whether or not they were killed in gas chambers. Watch the tape please.

Deusdonat - please explain your claim that the SSPX has done "so much harm and evil" to the Church; most Catholics have never even heard of them. I attend an FSSP chapel and am no expert, but I do know that the FSSP was created in answer to the SSPX. So, no SSPX, no FSSP. The traditional Mass was presented as an extreme rarity that must be approved by a bishop, which wasn't true, and most of them said no anyway. Ask Pope Benedict. WHO caused harm and evil!?

meg said...

Also, if it hasn't been mentioned already, this interview was conducted in November, so the accusations that he was sabotaging the lifting of the excommunications are unfounded.

So two major false assumptions have been made here - that he denied the holocaust by saying that only a few thousand people died (he said 2-3 HUNDRED THOUSAND - not holocaust denial) - and that he was responsible for the timing of the release.

Call him a wacko if you will, but do it with your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to watch the video, but I would like to give you few facts:

a) be very, very careful of what is being reported by "Der Spiegel", that German magazine quoted in Ruth Gledhill's piece. This magazine has always been leaning heavily left. Esp. the Catholic Church is being picked on every opportunity they get. They habitually distort facts, esp. as far as the Catholic Church is concerned. I know; I am from there.

b)It is very, very striking that the FSSP called on their website for a rosary crusade to lift he excommunication. Starting on Christ the King end of October during a pilgrimage to Lourdes they called on the faithful to pray the rosary to lift the ban. 1.7 million rosaries were counted..... now there are reports of an alledged lift of that ban.

c) Archbishop Lefebvre did sign all the Vatican II documents and then ended up criticizing them.

And finally here is what Fr. Franz Schmidberger, District Superior of the FSSPX Germany is saying: ”Our Lord Jesus Christ is in His human nature a Jew, His Holy Mother is a Jewess and all the Apostles are Jews. Therefore, no true Christian can be an Anti-Semite.

”We do not know the interview done by Bishop Williamson with Swedish television. As soon as we get it, we will submit it to scrutiny and get the advice of lawyers. It is clear that the only one responsible for the statements made by the Bishop, is the Bishop himself as well as that the statements do not reflect the views held by the Society of St. Pius X. In addition, Pope Pius XI in his encyclica ”Mit Brennender Sorge” warned about the godless Nazi regime and it’s crimes.

”...Our concern is the salvation of souls, quite contrary to what the article in Der Spiegel in an unjust and misleading manner is suggesting.”

Let us continue to pray for unity, true unity. There are so many attacks against our Mother Church that we can surely do with some serious, solid and true unity.

Blessings, Mum26

Brian Kopp said...

"this interview was conducted in November, so the accusations that he was sabotaging the lifting of the excommunications are unfounded."

The first rumor of the decree lifting the excommunications was posted on RorateCaeli on November 3, 2008, based on a Spanish language blog post dated November 2, 2008.

It is inconceivable that Bp. Williamson was not aware of the impending move on the part of Rome to "lift" the "excommunications" when he granted this interview.

crankycon said...

Call him a wacko if you will, but do it with your facts straight

Oh. sorry. he only underreported the deaths of Jews by 5.7 million, not 5.97 million. How careless of all of us.


Roman Catholic 2009 said...

Sweden tv intervieuw


Sweden's news in English:
Church furor over 'racist' religious group
Published: 22 Jan 09 16:01 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.se/17096/20090122/

when they tell you
that I am
completely absolutely definitely
don't believe them,
don't believe them,
don't believe them.

Ariel Dorfman Testament

Anonymous said...

Son of Trypho - I am not comparing His Excellency (he is a Bishop after all) to Athanasius; I'm merely reminding neocons that just because a person or a group is excommunicated does not mean write them off before you get the whole story.

Deusdonat - The same Pope that dealt with the SSPX in the '80's also elevated His Eminence Mahoney to the cardinalate a few years later. I doubt that the SSPX could have done anything to prevent that.

I want to make it clear that I do not agree with all of the actions of the SSPX, but one should at least attempt to understand where they are coming from. I've been in the Church since last Easter, and in less than a year almost became Orthodox because of the things I've witnessed done in the name of Vatican II. The SSPX not only have to deal with hatred from progressives in the Church but from neocons as well. In the Diocese of Lincoln they are referred to as a "non-Catholic sect," which is extremely harsh, since Ecclesia Dei has even said no formal schism exists between the SSPX and Rome.

And I know this has been said before, but just because Bishop Williamson has problems with tact and historical fact does not make him unfit to be a Bishop in the Catholic Church.

Christopher Michael said...

Viva la SSPX! ;-)

Andy said...

Son of Trypho:

You wrote:

And if you are Polish you should be especially aware of why the Holocaust is awarded greater significance than other genocides -the event itself is not measured by numbers but by the fact that it was an modern industrial process which is unparalleled in history in scope and scale.

I seriously dispute that claim. It wasn't unparalleled in scope and scale. In fact, it was inferior in scope and scale to what was being done before WWII and during WWII in the Soviet Union. The only important differences are: a) soviets had different selection criteria for victims, b) killed by cold, hunger and exhaustion or bullets, not gas and c) didn't have IBM tabulation machines to track their progress (though they were very good at keeping track of it nevertheless). Somehow denying this is not a crime anywhere. Why?

So the fact that Germans used gas to kill some of their victims (many were murdered with more traditional methods) doesn't warrant any special protection to the history of these killings. And before jumping to conclusions: read what I'm writing, not what you think I'm implying. I'm just saying I don't see any reason why one historical genocidal act should enjoy some special protection against people claiming it didn't happen or happened differently over other genocidal acts, much bigger in scope and scale.

Also, assumptions that people who say German genocides during WW-II were smaller in scale or conducted with different methods are either neo-nazi or anti-semites have no logical basis, they are just this: assumptions. They might have had some validity in Germany itself just after the war, but not now, almost 70+ years after. However, all this borders very much with notion of Orwellian thought-crimes, that is things you are not allowed to think. I think free speech and freedom in general are worth allowing few nutjobs to say Stalin was a cool guy and great leader or Hitler didn't kill Jews.

Andy said...

By the way, I just listened to the interview. Guy is simply politically incorrect and not wise, but he sounds perfectly rational. And pick up one part of it - he wants to know the truth on the matter and carefully says that his statements are what he believes based on evidence and expert's opinion. I respect the pursuit of truth against general wisdom or consensus. Journalist saying this is anti-semitism is completely irrational - there is nothing about Jews in those statements - it is just that he doesn't think it was technologically possible to kill this many people in those chambers. How can saying this be criminal? Or anti-semitism? This is madness..

He is just not wise in saying anything like this in public, also because in his capacity as a bishop he should be concerned with salvation of souls, not whether Germany was ripped off by the Holocaust industry or not. This part is utterly stupid.

Commander Craig said...

Here is a link to a parody I did a couple of years ago of the traditionalist fringe.

Deusdonat said...

Meg - the SSPX as an organization have done harm and evil to the church in that ANY schism which presents itself at a legitimate alternative to the true church, confuses the faithful and leads Catholics away from the magesterium is a grave evil. Their leadership has been both cowardly and morally bankrupt for persisting in their willful and blatant disregard and taunting of church authority. What is the difference between illicitely consecrating a bishop and ilicitly ordaining a woman "priestess"? Two sides of the exact same coin: disregard for authority.

I am VERY aware of the origins of the FSSP AND the SSPX. The SSPX was founded under the VERY beet of intentions. Were it not for the sin of pride of its founder, it might have become a beacon and bastion for the traditional church. Instead, it went the way of the crussades, inquisition etc, letting greed, personal agrandizement and pride corrupt an ideal and brought (yet more) scandal to the church.

BWB - I am no fan of the predecessor of Pope Benedict (may God grant him 100 years!) I know he elevated the likes of Mahoney. Which is why the SSPX should have worked WITHIN, rather than from outside. Cowards the lot.

meg said...

Well, then, Deusdonat, it begs the question: Why does B16 want anything to do with them?

Aside from that, the level of hyperbole you use in your posts makes me reluctant to engage - words like "scoundrel" and "taunting" don't promise healthy debate. I think I'll pass. I will say this in all charity, you are very poorly informed on this subject and you would truly benefit from hearing both sides, not just the one you obviously support.

Additionally, your views on the Crusades and the Inquisition are not particularly Catholic. Please read this current piece on InsideCatholic for better information.

David L Alexander said...

Alright, who let the trolls out?

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