Holocaust-Denying Bishop Gagged
The Holocaust-denying British bishop recently “un-excommunicated” by Pope Benedict is now under a gag order from his superiors in the Fraternity of St. Pius X.
Statement of His Excellency Bernard Fellay, Superior of the Fraternity of St. Pius X
We have become aware of an interview released by Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Fraternity of St. Pius X, to Swedish television. In this interview, he expressed himself on historical questions, and in particular on the question of the genocide against the Jews carried out by the Nazis.
It’s clear that a Catholic bishop cannot speak with ecclesiastical authority except on questions that regard faith and morals. Our Fraternity does not claim any authority on other matters. Its mission is the propagation and restoration of authentic Catholic doctrine, expressed in the dogmas of the faith. It’s for this reason that we are known, accepted and respected in the entire world.
It’s with great sadness that we recognize the extent to which the violation of this mandate has done damage to our mission. The affirmations of Bishop Williamson do not reflect in any sense the position of our Fraternity. For this reason I have prohibited him, pending any new orders, from taking any public positions on political or historical questions.
And the Vatican has come out with a statement denouncing Bishop Williamson: Vatican says comments by Holocaust denier Richard Williamson ‘unacceptable’.
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican said Monday that comments by a recently rehabilitated bishop that no Jews were gassed during the Holocaust were “unacceptable” and violate church teaching.
In a front-page article, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reaffirmed that Pope Benedict deplored all forms of anti-Semitism and that all Roman Catholics must do the same.
The article was issued amid an outcry from Jewish groups that Benedict last week lifted the excommunication of a traditionalist bishop, Richard Williamson, who has denied that six million Jews were murdered during the Second World War.
The Vatican has stressed that removing the excommunication by no means implied the Vatican shared Williamson’s views.
Williamson and three other bishops were excommunicated 20 years ago after they were consecrated by the late ultraconservative archbishop Marcel Lefebvre without papal consent - a move the Vatican said at the time was an act of schism.
Benedict has made clear from the start of his pontificate that he wanted to reconcile with Lefebvre’s traditionalist Society of St. Pius X and bring it back into the Vatican’s fold.
Lefebvre had rebelled against the Vatican and founded the society in 1969. He was bitterly opposed to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought liberal reforms to the church.