Bishop Williamson Apologizes for Holocaust Comments

LONDON, FEB. 26, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Bishop Richard Williamson, formerly excommunicated member of the Society of St. Pius X, apologized today for statements in which he denied the extent of the Holocaust.

In a statement published on his return to London on Wednesday after being expelled by the government of Argentina, the prelate explained that “the Holy Father and my superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy.”

The bishop, along with three other Lefebvrite prelates, had their 20-year excommunication lifted at the end of January, in the framework of Benedict XVI’s continuing efforts to heal the schism between the society and the Church. Around the same time, the bishop appeared on public television and made reductionist statements about the Jewish Holocaust that gave rise to extensive controversy.

Bishop Williamson continued, “Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.”

zenit.org/article-25207?l=english

Bishop Williamson Apologizes for Holocaust Comments

Expresses Regret for Harm to Church and Victims

LONDON, FEB. 26, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Bishop Richard Williamson, formerly excommunicated member of the Society of St. Pius X, apologized today for statements in which he denied the extent of the Holocaust.

In a statement published on his return to London on Wednesday after being expelled by the government of Argentina, the prelate explained that “the Holy Father and my superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy.”

The bishop, along with three other Lefebvrite prelates, had their 20-year excommunication lifted at the end of January, in the framework of Benedict XVI’s continuing efforts to heal the schism between the society and the Church. Around the same time, the bishop appeared on public television and made reductionist statements about the Jewish Holocaust that gave rise to extensive controversy.

Bishop Williamson continued, “Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.”

The prelate said that on Swedish television he only gave the “opinion …] of a non-historian,” a perspective “formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available, and rarely expressed in public since.”

However, he recognized, “the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St. Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused.”

He added, “To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologize.”

Bishop Williamson concluded, “As the Holy Father has said, every act of unjust violence against one man hurts all mankind.”

On Feb. 12 Benedict XVI, reiterating again the Church’s view of the Holocaust, affirmed that “it is clear that every negation or minimization of this terrible crime is intolerable and at the same time unacceptable.”

He added, “To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologize.” -sounds pretty sincere to me-I wonder if this apology will receive as much prominence in the secular media as his prior remarks(commencing holding my breath)I wonder how our elder brothers the Jews will react.With compassionate forgiveness I hope and pray…

Getting a little blue(gasp)can’t be long now.

Getting blue AND dizzy-what could be keeping them?

Can’t hold on much longer…

Any second now…gasp…THUD

It is a sincere apology for offending people, but you will notice that he still hasn’t said that he has changed his mind. (At least not in the quotes in that article). I suspect he will eventually change his mind. This is pretty good for now. He is very sincere and wouldn’t pretend to change his mind until he had time to study it fully.

Soutane, what do you mean?

[Amused].

Later: Oh, I figured it out.

I don’t see what more can be expected on this from Bishop Williamson. He is a good man, with a certain amount of intellectual curiosity, which, to a certain extent, may have distracted him from his primary mission as a Traditional Catholic Bishop. He has perhaps spent too much time on conspiracy theories and attempted to make sense of what he has read in that area. Unfortunately, there are many writers who give the impression of knowing what they are talking about, but oftentimes this turns out to be a false impression. In many cases, wartime reports and statistics are inaccurate, and it is up to the historians to correct them. I don’t see this as the job of a Catholic bishop. He apologised and recognised that his statements may have caused hurt to relatives and victims of the Third Reich.

Fortunately, he has agreed to reexamine his own opinion for the possibility that he is wrong. This is in perfect keeping with the Church’s teachin of formation of conscience.

Oh, don’t be so sure. I’m expecting him to come back in a few months and say that he has done more researched and realizes that millions of Jews really did die in gas chambers.

Vatican rejects bishop’s apology

The Vatican has rejected an apology by a British bishop who denied the full extent of the Holocaust.

It said the bishop needed to “unequivocally and publicly” withdraw his comments.

Earlier, Jewish leaders said the bishop had failed to address the issue of whether he believed that the Holocaust was a lie.

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7915022.stm

Actually, the BBC reports that the Vatican has rejected his apology. Not a very good source. If one reads past the headlines and sees what the Vatican says and not what the BBC reporters say, you will note that the only sense in which it was rejected is that it was not sufficient for reinstatement as a Catholic clergyman. I think everyone already knew that and that was not intended to be the purpose of this apology.

There was a time when I was going to Pius X churches in the 90’s. (I loved the Latin Mass, and I hadn’t yet read Ecclesia Dei.) I actually got to hear a couple of Bishop Williamson’s homilies. They were…interesting.

I wonder if Fr. Williamson had strange ideas even before he became a bishop, or did power go to his head?

The Vatican says that Bishop Williamson’s apology is not satisfactory:
google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gbMiLFM4mOPJfEVDio7gCFmYl0BQD96K3BVG0

Thanks for posting this, bobzills.
I read a similar report from AP.

Many more reports should appear over next few days.

Well, my read on my little corner of the Pius X movement was that way too many cultural preferences were being adopted as moral law. Catholics were more Orthodox in the 1940’s; therefore, everything from the 1940’s was better.

I certainly don’t question anyone’s dedication to Christ. There are dangers, however, when any individual or group decides to be its own Magesterium and Holy See. The churches I went to also seemed to be have a sort of siege mentality. There was much more concern about preserving the dying vestiges of Catholicism than about evangelizing.

Just my take on it, though.

I think that SSPX is correct with reference to the cultural preference of one marriage in the 1930’s versus the cultural preference of easy divorces, easy annulments, and many marriages currently in vogue. For example, in 1930, there were 9 marriage annulments in the USA, whereas in recent years it has been running to more than 60,000 per year. I believe that the SSPX is correct in teaching the indissolubility of marriage as it was taught in 1930.

I have a horrid vision of the post-Vat. II ‘reforms’ continuing into my old age with the only Mass available locally being one featuring a bunch of old ladies dancing around the altar in a bare room somewhere.

People will long for hardline priests and solemn Masses if these annoying novelties and associated irreverence continue. One can easily see our bright and shiny consumerist daydream bubble bursting and millions of people then seeking succour in the Church, only to be repelled by the above.

Could be good for business for the SSPX and Trad. Catholics, 'though :wink:

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