PCED: Declaration by SSPX Bp. Williamson: “regret… apologise”

Here is a Declaration from SSPX Bp. Williamson released by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.


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.

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.

On Swedish television I gave only the opinion (…"I believe"…"I believe"…) of a non-historian, an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available and rarely expressed in public since. However, 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. To all souls that took honest scandal from what I saidbefore God I apologise.

As the Holy Father has said, every act of injust violence against one man hurts all mankind.

+Richard Williamson
London 26 February 2009.

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138 Responses to PCED: Declaration by SSPX Bp. Williamson: “regret… apologise”

  1. Nick P says:

    well. Bp. Williamson.

    It is good that he apologised. I hope that his comments were sincere, and not just because of external pressure. If he actually by reason is now convinced, then Deo Gratias.

  2. Timothy Clint says:

    His Excellancy has spoken truely from the heart. I know, because I know Bishop Williamson. This apology is genuine and heartfelt.And oh, how his heart must hurt now. Would that we have many bishops around the world who could muster the courage to do the same. He deserves our prayers and sacrifices NOT continued derogation. Thank you Excellancy you are in my continued prayers.

    Timothy Clint

  3. Brian Mershon says:

    Totalitarianism is here when bishops can be made to apologize multiple times for their views on history that are not dogmatic.

    Those of good will will of course accept the apology. The media, and those who persecute Christ and Christians–the anti-Christ–will use this to fuel hatred for several more weeks against the Holy Father.

    This is how the media influences events rather than just reporting them.

    All because of historical beliefs about an historical event…

    It’s a pity the media is not so concerned with bishops, archbishops and cardinals who repeatedly and publicly deny Catholc doctrine and dogma.

    But again, the Church is suffering the same passion as Our Lord.

    And it is Lent.

    “Holocaust denying bishop” another headline blares with the lie.

  4. Rita says:

    The mob will not be satisfied with this.

  5. Rachel says:

    This is a good apology and since we don’t know the state of his soul I will give him the benefit of doubt and accept it as sincere. He has been hounded constantly for this silly remark of his. The backlash against not only him but also the Holy Father has been very disgusting. It stinks. He is in my prayers along with the rest of the SSPX and I hope that the regularization will happen soon.

  6. Mark says:

    “I regret” is not the same as “I am sorry”. Good for Bp Williamson for stating it that way. He has the right to his opinion and he has not conceded it.

  7. Paul Haley says:

    Considering the man and all the pressure he has been under, whether self-inflicted or not, this is truly a remarkable gesture and act of homage to the Holy Father. May Our Blessed Lord in His Infinite Mercy, grant the Holy Father the grace to respond to this act of homage with the granting of faculties until a structure can be developed and agreed upon by all concerned. Viva il papa!

  8. Vox Borealis says:

    *Totalitarianism is here when bishops can be made to apologize multiple times for their views on history that are not dogmatic.*

    That is absurd, nearly as absurd as the bishop’s wacky views. In the face of overwhelming historical evidence, with regards to a subject as sensitive as this, no rational person would refrain from recanting such views and apologize for holding them.

    Freedom of speech is not freedom from the social repercussions of silly speech. Social stigma is not totalitarianism.

  9. Cortney says:

    Bp. Williamson is being obedient to the Holy Father and to the superiors in the SSPX. Would that all priests and bishops might be obedient to the Holy Father! Bp. Williamson and the SSPX are in my prayers. We need them in the mix.

  10. Nancy says:

    I’m feeling a bit sorry for this man. He seems to be a lightning rod for a lot of angry feelings that may or may not relate specifically to him. This message sounds humble enough. All I can offer his my prayers for him.

  11. Trad-man says:

    Rita is correct. The mob will not be satisfied by this. The reason is that, for most mob members, the issue never was the holocaust or denial thereof. Many of these people who have been railing on Bishop Williamson are supporters of abortion on demand and the ongoing Abortion Holocaust. And many of them are Abortion Holocaust deniers – proclaiming that “it’s not a child,” “I can’t impose,” and so forth in their denial. It’s so easy for these hypicrites to condemn the sins of people who lived a generation or two ago. Bishop Williamson has never participated in or denied the existence of the Abortion Holocaust unlike so many of his critics.

    No, the real issue has nothing to do with the Holocaust. The real issue is Catholic doctrine, orthodoxy, the traditional Mass, and a proper interpretation of the Second Vatican Council -i.e., an interpretation that doesn’t conflict with previous councils. This is what the big fuss is REALLY all about. The thought of the SSPX priests and bishops having the opportunity to work toward clarification of some of their favorite issues frightens the liberals. They see that their days are numbered. The Second Vatican Council is soon to be re-studied, interpreted in light of tradition, and implemented correctly.

    Then the fun is over. No more “Liberal Catholic.”

  12. John Polhamus says:

    Uh, hello? It’s not a question of the Mob being satisfied with this, no one could be “satisfied” with this. He apologizes and regrets, but he doesn’t recant his malformed opinion. This means nothing, in fact it gives further ammunition to the enemies of the Holy Father. Does he really think that no one currently residing upon the earth knows what two lines are, and how to read between them?!?! Away with him. This proud fool has wasted enough of our time.

  13. TNCath says:

    This is good. “Regret” and “apologise” are good words to use here. He did what he was asked to do out of obedience, although he never explicitly stated that his statements about the Holocaust were WRONG. For the good of the Church and in the interests of the SSPX’s reconcilation, he might now consider getting out of the spotlight for good.

  14. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    Ecce magna humilitas!

    I have known Msgr. Williamson for 22 years although I have had no contact during the past 10 years. Even if he is still convinced of the rightness of his claims on Swedish television (and I would tend to think that he is!), that he would lay aside his own will in obedience to his religious superior and the universal Pontiff shows the virtue of his character.

    Many have seen the shaken fist displayed to the Argentine reporter. Was this justified or not? What was the context? I do not know. But THIS apology is important.

    And…alas…I too believe that it is insufficient for those forces which seek no less than the complete destruction of the Church.

  15. Paladin says:

    I’m feeling a bit sorry for this man. He seems to be a lightning rod for a lot of angry feelings that may or may not relate specifically to him.

    I echo that. His excellency has certainly become a whipping boy, flogged by the politically “progressive” (I do wonder whether they know to what “end” they’re progressing…). Any sane person (IMHO) can see the difference between the good and deserved chastisement which H.E. received from Church authorities (and a handful of other sane individuals in the media) and the frothing hysteria by which the secular sharks (and their media trainers) permit themselves to gnash their many rows of teeth against the Church of Christ. “Any old stick…”

  16. Paul Haley says:

    Comment by Cortney — 26 February 2009 @ 11:15 am

    Bp. Williamson is being obedient to the Holy Father and to the superiors in the SSPX. Would that all priests and bishops might be obedient to the Holy Father! Bp. Williamson and the SSPX are in my prayers. We need them in the mix.

    Hear, Hear! Truer words were never spoken, er printed.

  17. RANCHER says:

    His apology may be sincere. But one must wonder how anyone with a brain could form the opinions that he expressed. There is overwhelmingly clear evidence of the extent of the holocost. I hate to call anyone stupid, but he was either that or had an agenda which is highly suspect.

    I doubt his apology will do much good. It’s one of those “I’m sorry if someone took what I said wrongly” types.

  18. Rita says:

    John Polhamus, You are the perfect example of what I was getting at. He was never ordered by the Vatican to “recant” his opinion but to unequivocally “distance” himself from it. Lest, you forget this apology went through the Vatican and was released by an office, thereof. If it is good enough for the Vatican, then it should be good enough for everyone.

    If it gives ammunition to the enemies and causes more suffering for both the Holy Father and Bp. Williamson, neither of them seem to be afraid of suffering.

    He made an honest, humble apology and if the raving pack of wolves with no sin of their own are standing in line to stone them…then it gives us an opportunity to defend and do good works.

  19. Rachel says:

    William Christopher,

    I have see the video too and I don’t blame him for showing his fist. He didn’t want to talk to the reporter. He had a plane to catch. The stupid reporter wouldn’t leave him alone. In fact he continued to chase after him even though he was held back by the people accompanying the bishop. So, I think that the fist shaking was appropriate. Reporters can be so pushy.

  20. Ken says:

    Distinctions are indeed important here — words are powerful things and carry a lot of meaning. I am always impressed on the way smart, traditional Catholics craft their words.

    If only documents and statements from novus ordo bishops from Vatican II to the present day could contain these kinds of clear, concise, well-thought-out words, we would not have the state of ambiguity that leads to mass (pun intended) confusion and and lousy interpretation.

  21. Fr Ray Blake says:

    It doesn’t say much or repair any of the damage done by him to the memory of those Jews who died under the Nazis, to reputation of the Catholic Church or of the Holy Father or even of anyone who is anxious for his Society’s reconciliation.

  22. Marc says:

    He’s regretfull and is apologetic for the hurt his comments (beliefs) have caused. I don’t find anything that even implies admitting he’s wrong too.

  23. cheyan says:

    I have to agree with John Polhamus (@ 11:28). Bp. Williamson probably regrets making the Pope look bad for lifting the excommunication, and that’s good; he regrets causing harm and scandal, and that’s good; but he doesn’t say he was incorrect, just that he shouldn’t have said it.

    There’s a difference between “I shouldn’t have said you cheated on your chemistry test when you hadn’t. I’m sorry for repeating something that was untrue,” and “I shouldn’t have said you cheated on your chemistry test when you were listening. I’m sorry you got mad,” and it’s the same kind of situation here, for me.

    It may not be a matter of dogma, but it is not uncommon for someone who denies or minimizes the Holocaust to also hold anti-semitic beliefs. While it seems that Bp. Williamson’s comments were only made in ignorance, not malice, it still puts him in bad company. Everyone who I have talked to who has objected to his comments has objected because either they’re simply angry that anti-semitic comments were made, or they’re angry that the Church seems to be rewarding those kinds of comments. Certainly there are people who don’t care either way who are using it as an excuse to bash the Church, but I don’t think they are the majority.

  24. Baron Korf says:

    Reciprocity. So where is the apology from secular society over the Pius XII defamation?

    Thought so.

  25. Mac User says:

    How do we know it’s released by the PCED? What is the source?

  26. Jordanes says:

    This is a positive and encouraging statement, and it’s significant that it was released by PCED rather than the SSPX or Bishop Williamson himself. Though it probably does not amount to “distanc[ing] himself in an absolutely unequivocal and public way from his positions regarding the Shoah,” as the Holy See has stipulated, nevertheless it is probably the most we can and should expect from him at this time. Nobody can reexamine a matter and change his mind in such a short time, especially under immense pressure. Just give him time and keep praying.

  27. Jimbo says:

    “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.”

    No, they demanded a retraction, not because the consequences had been so heavy, but because the remarks were untrue.

    “…but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich…”

    Victims of INJUSTICE? What, where they denied equal access to social programs? They were MURDERED.

    “…have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused. To all souls that took honest scandal from what I saidbefore God I apologise.”

    His responsibility wasn’t for “much distress caused” but for the untruths he uttered, and for the scandal which it caused. He apologized for the scandal, but NOT FOR THE UNTRUTHS HE UTTERED.

    This was a partial apology, but a good start. Now he needs to apologize for the untruths he uttered, and assure us that he has changed his mind. Otherwise… (!)

  28. Dominic H says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m really not impressed.

    I was deeply unimpressed, and embarrassed and ashamed to read of Williamson’s correspondence about holocaust denial/minimisation with one of the leading (and utterly discredited) practitioners of the art, David Irving, and that he was apparently met at the airport in London by another, fairly notorious in the field too, Lady Renouf.

    And now, another “non-apology apology”. I mean I could understand this sort of adopting the form but not the content of an apology from a 12-year old caught scrumping apples (oh what an innocent age I imagine myself living in despite all the evidence to the contrary, so whatever the contemporary equivalent of a 12-year old scrumping apples is; realistically, probably procuring an abortion, so not that, something far less serious) – but from someone who has served, at least, as a priest, for decades (and who has done much good in upholding the mass of ages alongside his foolishness), and on such a serious matter, presumably aware of the depth of both offense and embarrassment he has caused?

    Sorry, it’s really not good enough. His thoughtless actions and words are seriously damaging “traditional” catholicism (and also, of secondary importance perhaps, but important too, how it is perceived by those who know next-to-nothing about it, or the church, and so on), and maybe are even threatening (deliberately or otherwise? I don’t know) the (much desired, much appreciated, extremely hoped-for and desirable) full reunion of the SSPX with Rome.

    At such a sensitive time, on such a sensitive matter, this half-hearted utterance just does not cut the mustard.

    So, again, for the second time in two days, I say (to quote Jacques Chirac in an entirely different context!), “il aperdu une occasion de se taire” – he missed a good opportunity to be quiet.

    If he is sincerely unable to repent of his views, fair enough. Fine.

    But it really would be very much better if he would just be quiet and withdraw from the gaze.

    His actions and words are not doing the church any good at all.

  29. I’m glad that he said it, but as I like to say, you have a right to your own opinion, even if it’s wrong.

  30. boredoftheworld says:

    Ken is on to something here, it may be because we’ve endured so many years of doublespeak and muddy thinking that some people seem to be having a great deal of difficulty parsing the bishop’s statements.

    Bp. Williamson has issued two statements regretting his November remarks. This latest declaration suggests that he believes he was probably incorrect because the only defense of his opinion is to deprecate it rather than enforce it.

    He most definitely is not saying “I’m sorry IF you were offended” he quite plainly said his words DID hurt people. He further acknowledges that he is not an expert in this area and that the information he used to form his opinion is out of date, he’s leaving open the possibility that what he said was incorrect.

    Would that Hans Kung could issue such a statement, or Richard McBrien or Andrew Greeley… or Nancy Pelosi… or half the bishops on the planet.

    Imagine if any of those would say “I have caused pain through my words, I might not be right, I’m sorry.” That is what Bishop Williamson said, if Hans Kung would say something like that I might die of the cognitive dissonance.

  31. John Enright says:

    This might be a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough. What scream out loud is that he hasn’t repudiated his holocaust denial; he only said that he regrets his public statements about it. That doesn’t mean that he has recanted his hurtful views even if they remain private. I’ll pray for the man.

  32. Tecumseh says:

    Dear Fr Z, this is good news, and an honest apology. Could I make a suggestion, I hope I’m not being out of order. If you have any “channels open” to the upper echelons of the SSPX, would it be possible to suggest that +Williamson repeats his statement on You Tube. That is where the Swedes started this. That is where it should end. Yours, Jim, Carlisle.

  33. Brian Mershon says:

    OK Vox. I’ll bite.

    So, since even “mainstream” scholars disagree as to whether there were 4 million or 6 million Jews who died during the Holocaust(another 5-7 million Catholics, Poles and non-Jews, but of course, that is not newsworthy, is it?), what is your iron-clad theologically dogmatic and absolutely assured FACT as to how many Jews died?

    My answer is that One was more than should have been. How about you?

    And how will we know for sure you are correct?

    Totalitarianism by mob media rule over an opinion about history…

  34. Jerry says:

    The bishop needs do nothing. He’s done more than charity demands and he owed no one an apology in justice.

    “To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said before God I apologise.”

    Those who took honest scandal have no right to demand anything else.

    Those who took dishonest scandal will never be satisfied and only a fool would try to continue to appease the unappeasable.

    Those who make the dogmatic statements that what he said was “untrue” make no distinction between being truthful and being “honest.”

    The bishop is honest. His statements may be true or may be false. Those that demand he retract his statements based on their being false have a case to prove.

    So, those that insist dogmatically on the popular views of history should support open debate on the issue in full public view, with equal time opportunity, resources and exposure for those who differ in opinions.

  35. Paul Haley says:

    Already it is being said that the apology is insufficient and doesn’t go far enough but I ask all who bear resentment in their hearts to think of the utter humiliation this sorry spectacle has caused this bishop and the Church and to ask themselves if they could have done better. Maybe they can say “yes” with an honest heart but others might think differently. In any case, does it do good to the church to continue to castigate this man? Methinks not.

  36. The Other David says:

    Regardless of how he could have reached such a bizarre conclusion before, he did do what was asked. We cannot know whether he was sincere or not, and speculations seem unfruitful. Only God knows the answer to that. If he was insincere, he would obviously answer to God for it.

    I don’t say this as an apologetic for Williamson. I personally he has said and done so many things that are problematic, Rome should be careful in giving him the full facilities of the office of bishop.

    However, since he did do what was asked, it would be wrong to keep raising the bar on this issue.

  37. Rob says:

    Amen! Let us now move on from this ugliness, and work to bring the SSPX back into the Church!

  38. ED says:

    He’s 69 years old so he will not have any longtime influence on the SSPX. My guessis he’ll be used for confirmtions and ordinations little else.

  39. Jordanes says:

    Mr. Merson said: even “mainstream” scholars disagree as to whether there were 4 million or 6 million Jews who died during the Holocaust

    No reputable scholars lower the estimate to 300,000, nor do they deny the existence of the gas chambers.

    When I was in college I and my fellow students studied official bureaucratic Nazi documents about the early attempts to gas Jews and others. Originally they fitted trucks or vans as mobile gas chambers, but the documents impersonally explained how inefficient that method was: they just couldn’t fit enough “units” in there, and the “units” had this way of swarming to the back of the vehicle and tipping it as the “units” desperately attempted to break open the door and escape. Thus, the Nazi bureaucrat argued, they would have to find a better way to gas the “units.”

    Really, Bishop Williamson’s opinions are indefensible. I trust he will shortly change his mind. That is my hope.

  40. Michael J says:

    John Enright

    How on earth can an individual’s views or opinions of a particular topic be considered “hurtful” if they remain private? This is just nonsense.

    As far as “recanting” goes, can you, or anyone else demanding their pound of flesh tell me with any specificity at all exactly what he is supposed to recant? Sorry, a nebulous and vague “holocaust denial” won’t cut it.

  41. supertradmom says:

    This apology is fantastic. Obedience is always rewarded with more grace.

  42. Erin says:

    He’s sorry he said it, not sorry he believed (believes) it. As someone who lost most of her family in the Holocaust, I have one word for Williamson: scum. May God have mercy on him.

  43. James Noel says:

    I really rather suspect that the posters here who are unsatisfied with Bishop Williamson’s apology would simply attack him again if he were to write a new letter saying he has completely changed his opinions.

    “How do we know he REALLY changed his views?” they would say. “How do we know he isn’t just saying this so people leave him alone?” On and on and on again.

    At this point, people who are unsatisfied need to look within themselves to understand why. I am tired of their constant hand-wringing and whining.

  44. shadrach says:

    This is equivocation: A sort of ‘I regret you were offended’ approach. Not good enough. But let’s forget about him and move on.

  45. AnAnonymousSeminarian says:

    However, 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. To all souls that took honest scandal from what I saidbefore God I apologise.

    As the Holy Father has said, every act of injust violence against one man hurts all mankind.

    I think this sounds like a sincere apology for what was said, and agree with the poster(s) above that assert that Bp. Williamson has the right to his opinion, whether or not it was correct. That does not mean, as it seems he has now realized, that it is right for him to say it.


    That said, Bishop Williamson is a Catholic Bishop. It is too easy to forget this given the circumstances.

    If you agree that this apology is sufficient: pray for him.
    If you think it is insufficient: pray for him.

    We are entering difficult times… we need to pray for all of our bishops more than ever.

  46. Henry Edwards says:

    I don’t understand why people think it’s so important that Bp. Williamson apologize for whatever he’s said, however crazy it seems to everyone else. Nor what real difference in this situation any conceivable apology could make.

    Lots of crazy people have crazy views for which the concept of apology seems quite irrelevant. To take the standard example, it’s like requiring an apology of the fellow who actually thinks he’s Napoleon.

    It seemed clear to me when I watched the video that he actually believed what he was saying. What would it mean for him to apologize now for a belief sincerely held in the past? Would an apology now change the view retroactively, or the sincerity with which it was held?

    Whatever the answer to that, he’s a mature man of long-settled convictions, of a recognizable type whose opinions are almost never changed by contrary argument.

    So he surely still believes what he said then. What difference would it make if now — for whatever reason — he lied and said he didn’t believe what he plainly still believes? None, so far as I can see, if he still thinks he’s Napoleon.

    In which case, what makes a difference is not what Bp. Williamson does or says, but what the Church does or says.

    Would it suffice for the Church to announce that he will in no way ever again function as a bishop? For the SSPX to announce that they have expelled him? That he will be sent to a monastery under a vow of perpetual silence?

  47. Charles R. Williams says:

    Williamson was not excommunicated for being the kind of person he is. The decree of excommunication was not lifted because of some change in the Vatican’s judgment regarding his character or his opinions.

    Williamson’s statement reflects some awareness of the embarrassment and scandal his remarks have caused. This is good as far as it goes. There is no need for us to pass further judgment. I assume he has a father confessor.

    He remains a man without jurisdiction, office, authority or personal influence in the Church. I see no prospect of this changing.

    The Church cannot throw Williamson under the bus to please public opinion.

  48. Al says:

    unless I am wrong he did not take back his words about the number of deaths and admit he was wrong. Therefore it is yet another half-truth apology. He is sorry for the pain this has caused everyone but he is not sorry for propogating a stupid lie

    This helps the traditionalist cause how exactly?

  49. Chris says:

    Erin: “As someone who lost most of her family in the Holocaust, I have one word for Williamson: scum.”

    As someone else who had family in the death camps, I’m hoping this statement is struck from the site. There is no room for emotion-filled hate rants like this.

  50. Baron Korf says:

    Wow there are a lot of sour grapes on here.

    So what if he is wrong on the number?
    So what if he is refering to a discredited historian?
    So what if he doesn’t change his mind?

    He still agrees that the Jews et al., were systematically enslaved and exterminated.
    He calls it an injustice.
    He’s admitted his not a historian.
    He’s sorry he upset people.

    Take it for what it is, an apology.

  51. boredoftheworld says:

    This is equivocation: A sort of ‘I regret you were offended’ approach


    No. There is a world of difference between “I regret you were offended” and “I regret that I offended”. The former is saying “Too bad you’re so stupid you took it the wrong way”, the latter says “This was my fault”.

    Moving on:

    In his email to this David Irving person (of whom I have NEVER heard prior to this) Bishop Williamson writes the following:

    ‘Dear Mr. Irving, Do you mind if come back to you, sooner than I expected, to ask you to read the attached letter from my German lawyer, defending me in Germany against State charges, but himself convinced, as you see in his letter, that the H was more or less for real.

    ‘At the heart of this whole uproar is the objective truth about what happened in Auschwitz and other concentration camps. I must conform my mind to the truth. Please take no more time nor trouble than you care to take. I will be grateful for all and any help.
    Most sincerely yours +Richard Williamson.

    “I must conform my mind to the truth.”

    What a concept.

  52. dcs says:

    I’m not sure if a man can retract a statement he’s made if he still believes that the statement is true. How would that not be lying? I think what (some) people want is for Bp. Williamson to act against his conscience, that way they can point to his previous statements and condemn him some more. Never mind what the Catechism says about one who acts against his conscience.

  53. Vox Borealis says:

    Sorry, Mr. Mershon,

    That attempt falls short. Arguing between 4 and 6 million is quantitatively and qualitatively different from claiming the number is on the order of 300,000. As Jordanes notes, no credible historian–indeed, no credible rational person–would ever even consider a figure that low. It is a laughable assertion, along the same lines that the US bombed the World Trade Center (hmm…who said that?), or that man did not land on the moon. As such, it is worthy of public scorn and ridicule.

    Worse yet, the handful of pseudo-historians who promote the 300,000 figure tend to do so in a very ugly context, which is usually just a stone’s throw from Nazi apologia, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and a bunch of other whacky and downright scary stuff. It is sophistry to claim that Williamson’s views are mere an “opinion” about “history.” The ONLY people who hold these particular opinions are either deeply deluded or hold very frightful views themselves, or both.

    So, should he have been driven from Argentina because of his statements? No. I do not believe in government compulsion in areas of freedom of speech. Should he be scorned and stigmatized in the court of public opinion. Yes, that is the price of of freedom of speech, when one chooses to exercise it in this fashion.

  54. Brian Mershon says:

    Jordanes, You know, I went to college too. And much of what I was taught, I later found out, was untrue.

    Perhaps you went to a first-rate Catholic college that is on the leading edge of historical Holocaust research. If so, good for you.

    If you haven’t figured it out by now, this entire fabricated “crisis” was created by the media in order to attack the Pope and the Church. If Bishop Williamson’s historical facts about the Holocaust are incorrect, he said he is willing to do the research to correct that. Don’t know how he will ever be morally certain since it is not a matter of faith and morals. Although you seem to be pretty dogmatic in your knowledge.

    Furthermore, I hope you are as upset and righteous at the media who has promulgated lies and untruths never to be recovered.

    “Holocaust denying bishop” Google that and see how many times it comes up.

    It is a patent lie. Who is going to cover that? The media going to self monitor?

    The bishop said he was sorry TWICE now. Those of good will will forgive. Those who are not, will not.

    “Forgive us our trespasess as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

  55. It’s been interesting to see how quick the Novus Ordo bishops were to condemn Bishop Williamson but when it came to their fellow Novus Ordo bishops transferring pedophile priests they wouldn’t say a word. [Pushing the edge with this. … ]

  56. Irish says:

    I posted this on the wrong thread, so with all apologies, I’ll repost it here if it’s okay:

    I don’t think this, unfortunately, will go away without a deflection. From this statement Bishop Williamson feels true remorse for the furor caused by his politically-suicidal remarks.

    So, I have an idea. It’s partly silly, but may be brilliant. He needs to deflect this criticism. How? I think Bishop Williamson should grant another interview in which gives his opinion on intelligent design or the false religion of Darwinism (assuming that he holds views that are in opposition to the “accepted” theory). Let the anti-creationists drown out the current chorus. It’s crazy, but it might just work.

    But seriously, is there a way he or the church could deflect this criticism?

  57. If the bishop truly believes this eroneous view of the Holocaust then he can’t honestly apologise for his opinion, nor can he be forced to submit on a matter that is not a matter of doctrine.

    However, He does state that what he said was based on evidence from about twnety years ago which seems, at the very least, not to have stood the test of time.

    What would therefore make this statement much better would be if the bishop admitted the possibility that he was misinformed and committed himself to re-evaluate the matter in light of all the evidence now available from respectable sources.

  58. Nuggen says:

    Erin wrote: “I have one word for Williamson: scum. May God have mercy on him.”

    I can think of others in the Church who throughout recent history may have earned your adjective. They were directly responsible for mentally, physically and spiritually abusing the innocent. Bishop Williamson has done nothing of the sort.

    I am FED UP with this term “Holocaust denier.” He questions what actually happened vs. the socially accepted version. No where has he applauded Hitler for his efforts. He is not a Holocaust denier – he agrees that it ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

    I honestly think some people will never be satisfied.

    It’s tiring. And Erica just jumped on my last nerve.

  59. Michael J says:


    Did Bishop Williamson, in fact, claim that 300 K Jews were killed by the nazis during WW II? That is not what I heard he said. Since you are sure, though, would you be so kind andprovide an exact quote?
    I need to know what I am supposed to be scorning and stigmatizing him for

  60. Jordanes says:

    Mr. Mershon said: Jordanes, You know, I went to college too. And much of what I was taught, I later found out, was untrue. Perhaps you went to a first-rate Catholic college that is on the leading edge of historical Holocaust research. If so, good for you.

    I’m certainly never going to find that the mountains of evidence of the Nazis’ crimes are mostly bogus, which is the only way Bishop Williamson’s opinions could be justified.

    If you haven’t figured it out by now, this entire fabricated “crisis” was created by the media in order to attack the Pope and the Church.

    Yes, and as Bishop Williamson has said, he helped them create it. I’m very glad that he is now helping to resolve it.

    If Bishop Williamson’s historical facts about the Holocaust are incorrect,

    You say that as if there’s a possibility that his views (not facts) might have been correct. It’s just as possible that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama weren’t elected president of the U.S., or that Bonnie Prince Charlie didn’t lose at Culloden, much as I wish that were not true. As I said, no reputable scholar lowers the estimate of Jews killed to 300,000, nor do they deny the gas chambers. The contrary evidence is introvertible.

    Don’t know how he will ever be morally certain since it is not a matter of faith and morals.

    One can be morally certain about matters that aren’t Catholic doctrine. It basically means to be certain of something beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Furthermore, I hope you are as upset and righteous at the media who has promulgated lies and untruths never to be recovered.

    Sure I am (upset, that is — I disavow righteousness). But at the moment I’m more concerned about Bishop Williamson, since he is a Catholic bishop and his utterances have an affect on the whole Church, and in particular on the important task of reconciling and regularising the SSPX and bringing their necessary voice inside the Church. I also don’t like it when I find people believing and saying pernicious nonsense, especially when it is a man who has received episcopal orders even if illicitly.

  61. Jordanes says:

    “Incontrovertible,” that is.

    Though I am kind of an introvert . . . .

  62. EJ says:

    This is an extraordinary act of sincere good will and humility on the part of the Bishop, and it should move us all, Christian Jew or non believer alike – to accept it for what it is, and move on. We should pray sincerely for Bishop Williamson, and give thanks that he found the courage to apologize – we all have shortcomings that we must address in our lives, and by all accounts the Bishop is doing what he should be doing. Now leave the man in peace for goodness’ sake! And leave the Holy Father, who has bent over backward the past 6 weeks doing all in his power to mend any harm done Anyone who refuses to accept this and move on at this point has to have his original intentions toward the Pope and Church questioned in the first place, and should really examine his/her conscience.

  63. John Polhamus says:

    “He made an honest, humble apology…”

    Sorry, not buying it. This is neither honest, nor humble. And his comment about unjust violence against one man hurting all mankind is a sickening self-referential double-entendre.

    AND the idea of going to DAVID IRVING of all people for the TRUTH about the “H” (does the mere writing of the word rankle on his precious and delicate tastebuds?), a defender and sanatizing biographer of Adolf Hitler, who actually spent time in prison for publishing his vile views, is so transparantly disingenuous it hurts.

    This man was asked – between the lines – to RECANT his malformed opinion, and he has chosen to injure the Holy Father once again; to undermind the desired and desirable reconciliation of the SSPX with the Holy See out of a warped fear of subjugation and self-righteous independence.

    In my opinion this is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, but don’t beggar belief and insult even moderate intelligence by trying to whitewash the situation with this foul, faux innocence. Traditionalists – and I am one – need to understand that they don’t run the WHOLE church…yet. But if Williamson is going to maintain this position and continue to throw passive-aggressive spanners into the works, to resist the invitation to pitch in and help IMPROVE the situation, then he needs to be EXPELLED, IMMEDIATELY. If he doesn’t, the Church, and our Holy Father cannot afford politically to waste any more time on the SSPX initiative. The potential danger of the situation to the papacy itself is beginning to outweigh its merits.

    Is the society in or out? Make a decision now.

  64. Sorry, but this apology is totally worthless until he actually recants his erroneous view. Making more public statements regretting that people took offense to his offensive position is meaningless. The only thing he can do that will actually have a meaningful effect is to admit that his statements were entirely erroneous. Otherwise he needs to keep his mouth shut.

  65. elliot says:

    ouch…some of you people are merciless…

  66. Tom says:

    Well, this supposed “apology” is just not good enough. Bp. Williamson did not light himself on fire and self-immolate in Trafalgar Square. We can’t be sure he’s realio-trulio sorry until we see such a gesture.

    How typical of these stubborn, opiniated, unforgiving Radtrads.

  67. Nathan the Prophet says:

    Bravo Polhamus, Fr. Blake. cheyan, Jimbo, dominic H, John Enright, and shadrach! You got it right!

    Williamson’s defenders are the very people who pontificate about how V2 is against The Tradition and against the definitions of the Magisterium (and they might be correct), when they themselves are against what the same Tradition and Magisterium has said about Penance, (i.e., it requires confession, contrition, satisfaction, before absolution), and thus Williamson’s defenders are the very cafeteria Catholics that they accuse liberals of being. “You are the men.”

    Tell me frankly, if I were to defame you by stating that you are a child molester, based on “evidence” long ago rejected by anyone with authority, and if (like Irving), my allegation about you would have been proven in court to be a lie, would you accept the following statement as “sincere”, “as good as it goes”, and an “extraordinary act of sincere good will and humility”?:

    “I’m sorry that you’re sorry, I’m sorry that you’re feelings are hurt [but I’m not sorry, and what I said isn’t wrong]”.

    Of course you wouldn’t, and you’d sue me for my very last penny. Yet that’s just what Williamson has said. A “sincere apology” and “good as far as it goes” MY POSTERIOR! And such non-apologies pass in our degraded culture as an apology! And THIS is supposed to be the man against modernity! He’s the epitome of it!

    I remember when that great theologian, Ted Turner, said “Christianity is a religion for losers.” He later made one of these fake apologies. Ted, you can call Williamson bro’!

    To speak in the terms of moral theology, Williamson has made no confession of wrong speaking; he’s just sorry at the effects. He has made on no contrition for the falsehood that he actually said; he’s only sorry about the results. And so there can be no satisfaction, and no absolution.

    Then there’s the shoddy argument some are making that two wrongs make a right!

    It must have been 10 years back when a Texas Baptist preacher said, on TV, that “God does not hear the prayer of a Jew.” Jews went to him, talked with him, and he made the public statement “I was wrong!” It looks like some Catholics can learn some Catholic moral theology from a Baptist!

    Shame on Williamson defenders! Their defense now will guarantee that supporters of the EF will be seen as antisemites, and consequently end the chances of the EF and stop dead in its tracks reconciliation with the SSPX!

  68. Matt says:


    until he actually recants his erroneous view

    you want him to lie, or you want to control his thoughts??? The Church offers precious little that we must give the assent of faith to, this ain’t part of it.

  69. boredoftheworld says:

    Something is wrong here and I can’t put my finger on it yet. My mind keeps drawing me back to the early days of 2002 when the abuse scandal became huge news. I remember the level of outrage and from which quarters it came.

    I wonder if maybe some of the fury being vented toward Bishop Williamson is because people feel more free lambasting a suspended bishop in ways they refused to attack sitting ordinaries seven years ago. And I wonder if people aren’t venting at Bishop Williamson to make up for the outrage they would not display when we all found out what we had all already known.

    I think I’m drawn toward this idea because some of the very people who appear ready to spit in Bishop Williamson’s face absolutely refused to say a word against their own bishops who had facilitated decades of abuse and monstrous behaviour.

    To be clear, yes, I am saying that bishops in the US (because that’s where I live) have been up to far worse than anything bishop Williamson has probably ever dreamed of doing and the outrage coming from INSIDE the Church (even the Roman responses) leaves me confused when I compare it to the most recent reason for getting mad at bishops.

  70. EDG says:

    I actually think much more highly of Bp Williamson than I ever did before. I think he’s really sorry, and I’m honestly not sure what else he can do; he’s apologized twice. It’s not going to matter, however, because what some people want is his bloodied body out in the streets – actually, it’s not his body they want. They were trying to get at the Pope by attacking Williamson. As I keep repeating, liberals are unbothered by the fact that their hero, Obama, is busy rehabilitating a serious Holocaust denier and setting him up as a respectable major player in the Middle East. Yes, that would be Ahmadinejad, and I hear not a peep about it from any liberal mouth.

  71. Andy Brandt says:

    Good statement. As someone said here if it is good enough for Vatican it should be good enough for us.

    I have also to say that the way media jumps at bp. Williamson’s trip to England is deeply unfair. So much fuss is made of the event that the fact that he didn’t say a single word all the way through this ordeal (and thus obeyed the order not to speak publicly) is overlooked. Furthermore, no one noticed that deep in the Times article it was stated that someone “close to the Bishop” contacted Mr. Irving. How do we know bp. Williamson did ask for it? That he replied thanking him for offering help seems decent enough to me. Furthermore, press presented images of bp. Williamson on a party where Mr. Irving is also present. This led some – including one of my friends – to believe this is where bp. Williamson went straight from the airport. In fact however (as is stated in the text below) the images are from October 2006.

    Did you all note that in fact since the lifting of excommunication and the initial statements etc. there is just one big silence both from the Vatican and the SSPX? I think people even started to forget about the whole thing, bp. Williamson stepped aside and went silent. Everything re-ignited again with the threat from Argentinian gov. and subsequent media coverage of his flight to England. What did bp. Williamson do? He went to the airport, trying to keep low profile, flied to the UK and left the airport. Why all the frenzy? I think it is to re-ignite waning hate. It is sad that such a simple trick works.

    So I think many who say harsh words here about the bishop now are giving in to illicit emotions fed through the media, especially television. And I also think those who call on him to “recant” should really read up on totalitarianism. I was born and raised under communism and I remember all too vividly the times when people were going to jail for expressing views, including views about history, that were officially false. It was also prohibited to research certain periods, to discuss or question the official line. Those who support putting people to jail for “denying Holocaust” are totalitarian in their thinking, in their belief that views other than official should be criminalized and punished.

  72. Matt says:

    Nathan the Prophet,

    of course, as we all know holocaust questioning is one of the ten commandments… This is absolutely ridiculous. I’m no fan of Williamson, and I don’t think he should really be given the authority of a bishop in the Catholic Church, your screed against him and traditional Catholics is perhaps a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

    By the way, how is questioning the extent of the holocaust equated to calling an individual a child molester?

  73. John Polhamus says:

    “…the very people who appear ready to spit in Bishop Williamson’s face absolutely refused to say a word against their own bishops who had facilitated decades of abuse and monstrous behaviour.”

    You watch your mouth, boy. I’ve put alot more on the line in the past eight+ years inveighing against my diocesan than just a snivelling posting-nickname. I could care less about Williamson, he’s making his own bed. It is Williamson’s calculating effect on Benedict XVI’s papacy that concerns me, and calculating is exactly the word. This cunning “apology” is designed to do nothing but stir emotions against both Fellay and Benedict, which is exactly what they will do. The secular press may be dumb (sometimes) but they’re not stupid, they’ll know what to do with this, and Williamson knows it. So by his fruits you shall know him. And apparrantly we’ll know you by them, too, although I’m willing to be proved wrong.

  74. Michael J says:


    You omitted the words “some of” at the beginning of your quote of a previous poster. This dramatically changes the meaning, don’t you think?

  75. boredoftheworld says:

    Mr Polhamus,

    Dropping the “some of” from the beginning of what I wrote seems designed to make me appear to say something that I did not in fact say. I’ll leave the “boy” comment alone other than to say that if you wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to put your foot in it, you’ve done a marvelous job. I wonder if your apology will be as graceful as bishop Williamson’s.

  76. Vox Borealis says:

    Michael J,

    If you are still around to read this–

    source: http://tinyurl.com/bqvrtw

    The bishop claimed in the interview last month that historical evidence was “hugely against six million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler…I believe there were no gas chambers.” He added: “I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in the Nazi concentration camps but none of them in gas chambers.”

  77. John Enright says:

    Michael J:

    You obviously failed to understand the comment I made. My point is that Bp. Williamson did not recant his denial of the holocaust. He only said he was sorry that his statement caused pain. As far as the “private” comment, please note that Bp. Williamson’s holocaust denial was NOT private at at. Even if he hadn’t vocalized it publicly, so long as he harbors such thoughts privately, he is WRONG!

  78. John Polhamus says:

    Leaving aside the fact that Williamson’s “apology” is no apolgy, offense taken first. Your move…but really, don’t bother, this thread’s done. It’ll be picked up elsewhere. The masculine diminuative – what in your prurient outrage did you think I meant? – draws its own implications, whatever sex you choose to apply it to. Boot is perfectly clean, thanks. A little odiferous perhaps, but clean enough.

    Suffice to say, “Amici sancti Patris nostri Benedicti amici mei sunt, inimici ejus inimici mei sunt.” God Bless Pope Benedict XVI; Our Lady of Victories, intercede for him.

  79. wagonjak says:

    I agree with John Polhamus and others here that the bishop’s non-apology apology is not near enough to erase his sins of bearing false witness and arrogant behavior…I was raised a Catholic with all that involves…altar boy, choir boy and Jesuit High School…

    But there is nothing about the new pope or the conservative direction of the church these days that I agree with or want to be part of…I reject the Catholic church and all it stands for these days.

    And to insinuate that outsiders are trying to destroy the church is misguided paranoia. The church with it’s medieval attitude towards women and the layity, and the terrible pedophile scandal that it still hasn’t come to grips with is doing a good enough job of it itself!

    If the church ever decides to open it’s eyes and come into the 21st century I might reconsider…but I don’t think the Conservative leaders of the Catholic Church are capable of that…let them live in their misguided ignorance…I won’t be part of it!

  80. Latinman 1 says:

    mr. polhamus and the usual suspects are piling on to a subject that is moot.The real reason for “the backlash” is to further subvert the Catholic Faith and, have all” Traditional Catholics” and for that matter “all Catholics” Kneel before the altar of secularism,zionism and relativtism,instead of The Holy Catholic
    and Apostolic Church of Rome,and, in my opinion,attempt to actually
    subvert the authority of The Holy Father in Rome;under the guise of outrage, because of one man’s statements. It’s almost diabolical.

  81. Douglas Uhlinger says:

    This man is dissembling, with his reference to only having information from 20 years ago. Holocaust minimizers work hand in hand with anti-Semites. That is why this man’s obscene minimization of what the Germans (and others) did to the jews and gypsies and gays and handicapped is so chilling. It also resonates with those who have knowledge of the silence and complicity of the Catholic Church within Germany while these atrocities were being carried out.

  82. Michael J says:

    I take ut that you are unable to provide an exact quote of what the Bishop actually said and instead are relying on other individuals’ parpharase of his remarks.

  83. boredoftheworld says:

    Mr Polhamus,

    Forgive me but your comment that began “Leaving aside…” is difficult to understand. In what way is my “outrage” “prurient”? I’m just confused and surprised, if I wanted to act like you I could spell it out and say that you should be banned from public discourse for the vile and disgusting use of racial hate speech, not only that but you attempted to cover up what you actually wrote by suggesting it was an issue of sex and not racial degradation.

    However I’m not going to treat you the way you treat bishop Williamson.

  84. supertradmom says:

    Charity! Can we not accept an apology and hope that there is true repentance behind the words, not matter how inexact these words may be? Do we not forgive each other daily, hopefully, for transgressions less public, but no less serious? Give the Bishop a chance….

  85. wagonjak says:

    Vox…”I take it that you are unable to provide an exact quote of what the Biship actually said….”

    Er, no Michael J…the Bishop made it easy for those of us with a computer and web access to hear EXACTLY what the Bishop said…

    The video and audio of his amazingly stupid remarks have gone viral all over the world for weeks and is there for anyone to see.

    and boreoftheworld…I see a lot more hate here coming from the true believers like yourself then from Mr Polhamus…it’s just like conservatives to suggest that a commentator like Polhamus should be “banned from public discourse.”

    Just how does one do that without instituting a police state that allows only discourse that it approves of to be stated or printed?

  86. boredoftheworld says:


    Please read what’s actually there and not what you’re wanting to see. Mr. Polhamus wrote “watch your mouth, boy” to me. I responded that if I was to treat him the way he was treating bishop Williamson I would call for him to be silenced for using racist hate speech.

  87. YoungCatholicSTL says:

    Fr. Z (and fellow readers):

    Is Bishop Williamson appropriate in using the “+” in front of his name? Didn’t you just post something yesterday about how one has to be assigned to a diocese before being able to use the “+”? Since Bishop Williamson is not assigned to a diocese, isn’t his use inappropriate?

  88. lostintranslation says:

    You have to admire the bishop’s readiness to stick to his guns. This is a standard non-apology; sorry if what I did upset you, but I am not sorry that I did it. That sort of thing.

    But I don’t admire his arrogance (ahhh, he had access to information about the holocaust that no one else has seen before or since), his ignorance and his inability to stay out of matters that he is unqualified to deal with. That’s a pretty unfortunate combination of qualities. He deserves what’s happened to him.

  89. shadrach says:

    Someone said: if it’s good enough for the Vatican…
    Believe me, it won’t be. And rightly so. The SSPX will also have to distance themselves from Williamson. Those members who want to spend their lives replaying the Dreyfus affair should be left scuttle off into their obscure corner to uselessly jabber on about conspiracies. They’re a liability. Looking to David Irving for clarification on the Shoah is like going to Al Capone for advice on business ethics. Shame.

  90. vox borealis says:

    Michael J,

    Really, a pathetic defense on your part. How’s this, hear it for yourself:


    “I think the most serious [revisionists] conclude that between 200 and 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one by gas in a gas chamber.” This is after he explicitly denies the usually figures.

    By the way, I like his other phraseology: “the quote unquote Holocaust,” “the supposed gas chambers.” Nice.

    These ideas are scandalous, and to refer repeatedly to this silliness as “historical truth” (which he does repeatedly) is frightful. If the good bishop cannot discern nonsense, rooted in Nazi apology, from historical truth, I wonder deeply about his other discernment in other areas.

  91. Steven says:

    “Why ask a question and then complain when you don’t get the answer you want?”

  92. colleeniem says:

    As a catholic that is struggling to hold on to the faith, I am extremely dissappointed that this “apology” is one that the Bishop believes is adequate. I understand that the Catholic public does not have the ability to absolve one, but he should have the requisite spirit of contrition. This is not a confession, I understand, but there is no spirit of humility in his statement. It’s “I’m sorry if YOU were offended” in liturgical words. To me, that should bring into question his effectiveness as a member of clergy.

  93. Jill of the Amazing Wolverine Tribe says:

    What a pack of kool-aid drinkers some of you are here standing up for Williamson. I don’t know who is more disgusting right now, him, or you people.

  94. ssoldie says:

    Thank you Bishop Williamson for your very soulful apology, I accept it, for I to have been guilty of speaking of things that I know little of. I will pray for you and all Bishop’s Of the Catholic Church. Please pray for me.

  95. Patrick says:

    “an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available”

    And he was head of an academic institution? What a joke!

    Some of you might want to stop defending such idiocy. And the justification of “uhhh, lots of bishops are bad” is really getting old.

    RIP Williamson. Let’s hear no more about him.

  96. Greg Hessel in Arlington Diocese says:

    It’s interesting to see the Pharisees cast stones at the bishop caught in an erroneous opinion.

  97. Steven says:

    Pray 4 Bishops

    The socalled Swedish reporter was a muslim: Ali Fegan.

    This interview was part of a documentary film “The Swedish Crusade”.

    In this documentary film they say:

    SSPX = extreme right = fascism

    The Swedish reporter of SVT (Swedish anti-Catholic national TV) got his information about Williamson’s anti-semetic remarks from

    Fiammetta Venner

    a French lesbian activist

    “Catholics are against gays and lesbians, so they are fascists!”

    However, fascism is not a dictatorship, but a mass movement. The SSPX is hardly a mass movement.

    But, what is the real problem?

    Sten Sandmark, a Swedish protestant minister of the Swedish state church CONVERTED to Catholicism, to the SSPX

    His motivation?

    “I cannot stay loyal to the church of Sweden any longer, because the church assembly had decided to bless gay partnerships!”

    The Swedish muslim reporter asked Sten Sandmark?

    “What is your cause?”

    Sten replied: “To make Sweden Catholic again!”

    Sten is the only SSPX priest in Sweden…

    You know what? They believe him. They really believe that he is going to make Sweden Catholic again!

    The Swedish protestants and CATHOLICS tremble…

    Sten is going to make Sweden Catholic again!

    The “Catholic” bishop of Sweden Anders Arborelius, who hates the SSPX said: “To make Sweden catholic again? THAT IS NOT OUR AIM!”


    This is the context!

  98. shadrach says:


    Unfortunately it is true that some traditionalist catholics take a lax view of holocaust denial. This can be used to tar us all. Maybe the best that can be hoped for from this controversy is that the sourer elements of the SSPX will go play somewhere else? I don’t want anyone to be lost, but sometimes it seems that for some, and, I would like to believe, very few, traditional Catholicism is, in part, a front for, or ancillary to, or even reduced to just another expression of, a ‘hard-right wing’ wacko sub-culture. This is not to indemnify the appalling abuses that the soi-disant liberal ‘left’ in Mother Church has inflicted on us all, but to illustrate that each and all adherents of the traditional liturgy are in some way responsible for its positive reception and future health, and we can do this by – following the example of St Paul – being all things to all; not in a flaccid, flabby, lazy way, but by being able to converse intelligently with all in a way that communicates the truth of our message in a way that is most attractive. Remember, the traditional liturgy and the realitiy it testifies so ineffably to, is really what everyone wants. There is less pure evil in the world than privation of good, albeit the fruits of that privation are heinous. The mass is the answer to all earthly questions, and the traditional liturgy is the most perfect expression of that answer.

  99. James says:

    It is hard to believe that the institution that created modern bureaucracy in all its lovely guises could manage to be so ham-fisted in handling such a sensitive matter. Who ever in the Curia was responsible for vetting the SSPX and its leadership needs to be exiled to a tiny parish in a very remote spot. This whole matter is a huge PR disaster for Benedict, SSPX, The Holy See, and the Roman Catholic Church as a whole.

    Some “Good Traditional Catholics” need to google up original offending Swedish T.V. interview. If they do they will note several items. One item is that the interviewer asked the fateful question in reference to a statement that the Good Bishop had made earlier. Thus this was not the first time that SSPX Bp. Williamson had made the odd offensive comment. But it gets better, SSPX Bp. Williamson as much admitted that his views were illegal in the place that he was offering them. He knew that he was technically breaking the law when he spoke up. So not only did he know he was being offensive, he also knew that he was being illegal as well. Still he pressed on and made his comments.

    Those recklessly stupid comments can be given short shrift. There was a holocaust, there were gas chambers, the death toll was massive, it was one of the blackest of sins ever committed by mankind. The documentation behind the holocaust is massive; it fills multiple libraries and more than a few specialized museums/memorials. To deny the central fact of the holocaust, its depth, its breath, its pervasive and massive evil, is to be both mentally and morally deficient in ways that beggars description.

    To deny the holocaust not only insults the basic humanity of the Jewish people and their story but also the Gypsies, Russians, Poles and yes Catholic Martyrs that passed through the gates of the Concentration Camps. To deny the holocaust is to deny people who died for their Catholic Faith. To deny the gas chambers and the ovens is to deny those martyrs the implements of their martyrdom; it is a profoundly anti-Catholic thing to do.

    Mind you all SSPX Bp. Williamson had to do with the particular question offered up by the interviewer was to state “no comment.” Better yet he should have backpedaled away from the previous comments with all diligent speed. “I have reconsidered those words and have found them ill-conceived” would have been a good jumping off point.

    But no, he leaped into the matter with both feet and made a fool of himself, his order, the Holy Father and the entire Roman Catholic Faith. What was a small fire became a major conflagration that required all hands to put out. This was not the medias doing, it was the doing of SSPX Bp. Williamson and his epic case of Foot-in-Mouth disease.

    Some ask what SSPX Bp. Williamson needs to do to make this right. Are they really Catholic after all? It’s called penance; ask a priest about it. He needs to make a statement that is a contrite acknowledgment of the hurt he has caused and yes the evil that he helped perpetuate, however unknowingly. Holocaust denial is an unmitigated evil. Since SSPX Bp. Williamson loves the old Latin ways it is a simple formula : “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” Then he can shuffle off to some nice Benedictine monastery where they observe a strict code of silence. It’s the least he can do for the Holy Father.

  100. James says:

    Well then he was even more of a complete idiot to agree to the interview wasn’t he? He went into a no-win situation with a hostile interviewer. He agreed to do this of his own accord. He either blithely misread the intent of the interviewer and came woefully unprepared or arrogantly thought he could over match the interviewer. Either way he stepped into a tiger trap that already contained a very hungry tiger inside. Either way he scores a zero for common sense.

  101. David Kastel says:

    I am wondering how many of the people using phrases like “stupid” and “overwhelming evidence” with regard to Bp Williamson have actually seen any of the evidence of 6 million Jews having been killed by the Nazis.

    Or do you believe this number of 6 million only because it is repeated again and again and again?

    Be honest.

  102. Luis says:

    Graciously hear us, O Lord, when we call upon You,
    and grant unto our supplications a calm atmosphere,
    that we, who are justly afflicted for our sins,
    may, by Your protecting mercy, experience pardon.

    Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

  103. shadrach says:

    David Kastel, Have you proof of your paternity? Are you sure that your parents conceived you? You weren’t there during the act of conception, after all. Maybe, you sprang fully-formed from the head of a squirrel? Have you incontrovertible proof… those birth certificates could be falsified…. In short, there is more evidence for the Holocaust than for the act that conceived you.

    PS, Don’t worry, your parents did conceive you. Wouldn’t want to worry you.

  104. James says:

    David Kastel,

    You only have the evidence of your holy bible and the teachings of Holy Mother Church and yet you believe in all sorts of things. Have you read the original Greek, Latin and Aramaic texts? How do you know that the bible you read from at Mass is correct? Because people you trust have taught you things are true you believe them to be true.
    Because you have faith in Holy Mother Church as an institution.

    Thus it is with other things also. Every history book worth the name supports the holocaust. Three are tons of documentaries and archival films. There are architectural drawing and bureaucratic missive that prove the existence of the holocaust. Check out a book, look at the bibliography, check out those books look at their bibliography, repeat, repeat again. Take a plane ride to Israel go to Yad Vashem or just visit it electronically at http://www.yadvashem.org/ or maybe look up the Nuremberg Trials.

    David, go to your local public library and start reading in the history section. Do a little research, if needs be learn some German and go to the source material available at the Library of Congress and other places. Or just accept the common wisdom backed by thousands of scholars that write history for living in peer-reviewed publications. There is no historical incident that has better sourcing than the Holocaust–none, period, end of discussion.

  105. kate says:

    I’m a relatively new Catholic and am confused. Are bishops not allowed to have personal opinions? Who decides what opinions are formed or “malformed”?? The “outrage” over Bp. Williamsons comments from liberals are tinged with hypocrisy due to their own ignoring of the millions of Christians killed by communist/leftist regimes (including Stalin, a far bigger murderer than Hitler). I’ve lived long enough to have discovered that “history” is written by the victors and learned rather late in life the truth behind many historical figures and incidences. I wasn’t in WW2 Germany and am at the mercy of a government, media and educational establishment that has been shown to be nothing short of deceitful so I am revising many opinions I held previously and have come to realize I really don’t know.
    Why is it a heinous crime to hold opinions that are unpopular with Jews (“anti-semitism”, of course!) yet Catholics can be smeared, insulted, and have their faith “interpreted” and explained to them by non-Catholics and this is accepted as some kind of natural order?
    This does seem to be more about the fear of a return to the orthodoxy Williamson represents and an attempt to discredit it.

  106. shadrach says:

    kate, 1 sin + 1 sin = 2 sins. Hitler’s atrocities + Stalin’s atrocities = Hitler’s atrocities + Stalin’s atrocities. One set of outrages doesn’t cancel out another. The Shoah happened, the Gulags happened, the persecution of Russian Catholics happened, the Armenian Genocide happened. These are all to be added to the toll of sin that humanity has drubbed herself in. One atrocity does not wipe away another it can only add to it. One cannot facilitate the public due dignified remembrance of Catholic martyrs of the 20th century by seeking to mitigate the Shoah. Those who want to mitigate the Shoah are doing just what they want to do. It doesn’t add to the glory of Christ’s Church.

  107. kate says:

    Williamson was not denying the Jewish Holocaust as was widely reported in the media. He was questioning the degree, the number of deaths.
    >>> One cannot facilitate the public due dignified remembrance of Catholic martyrs of the 20th century by seeking to mitigate the Shoah.<<>> Those who want to mitigate the Shoah are doing just what they want to do.<<<

    So one may never question established accepted history without being accused of attempting to mitigate the Jewish genocide?? There is no room for questioning and alternate opinions?? You may not agree with them but requiring conformity in accepting the states version of history is a very dangerous practice. It neither adds to the glory of Christ’s Church nor is it in keeping with her history of pursuit of truth.

  108. kate says:

    (Sorry, my response was incomplete above, I don’t know why)

    Williamson was not denying the Jewish Holocaust as was widely reported in the media. He was questioning the degree, the number of deaths.
    >>> One cannot facilitate the public due dignified remembrance of Catholic martyrs of the 20th century by seeking to mitigate the Shoah.<<>> Those who want to mitigate the Shoah are doing just what they want to do.<<<

    So one may never question established accepted history without being accused of attempting to mitigate the Jewish genocide?? There is no room for questioning and alternate opinions?? You may not agree with them but requiring conformity in accepting the states version of history is a very dangerous practice. It neither adds to the glory of Christ’s Church nor is it in keeping with her history of pursuit of truth.

  109. kate says:

    (It was the brackets, sorry again)

    Williamson was not denying the Jewish Holocaust as was widely reported in the media. He was questioning the degree, the number of deaths.
    “” One cannot facilitate the public due dignified remembrance of Catholic martyrs of the 20th century by seeking to mitigate the Shoah.””

    ???I’m not trying to “mitigate” the Jewish holocaust in order to “facilitate remembrance” of Christian martyrs nor am I claiming that the murder of Christians “wipes away” the murder of Jews. I am simply pointing out a curious blind spot, double standard, and lack of sensitivity on the part of people who are constantly screaming for sensitivity to their own tragedy. Thanks to this double standard I didn’t even know until years after I was out of government school that Stalin even persecuted Christians. I was, however, VERY well versed in the Jewish holocaust in government school. It is these gaps in education and secular conversion in school that kept me from the Church for many years and have led me to be more questioning about what “we” “know” about history.

    “” Those who want to mitigate the Shoah are doing just what they want to do.””

    So one may never question established accepted history without being accused of attempting to mitigate the Jewish genocide?? There is no room for questioning and alternate opinions?? You may not agree with them but requiring conformity in accepting the states version of history is a very dangerous practice. It neither adds to the glory of Christ’s Church nor is it in keeping with her history of pursuit of truth.

  110. vox borealis says:


    *So one may never question established accepted history without being accused of attempting to mitigate the Jewish genocide?? There is no room for questioning and alternate opinions??*

    There is no room for positing absurd and irrational alternatives, especially considering the sensitivity of the issue. His “revisionist” opinion has the same merit, approximately, as suggestion that aliens abducted 6,000,000 Jews.

    Worse yet, the “revisionist” position is pretty much Nazi apologia wrapped up as pseudo-science. Given the context and the amount of information at anyones disposal for the last 60 years, one has to be completely daft or willfully seeking an alternate answer, to ignore the obvious.

    And really, when Williams says things like the “quote unquote Holocaust” and follows it up by saying that the Germany’s sense of guilt is basically a con job, as he did in that interview, something is going besides simply holding an alternate opinion. Something very clearly very ugly, I think.

  111. Athanasius says:

    I’m glad that Williamson has made a good apology, and in a just world this issue would have gone away. Then again in a just world 4 million Jews would not have been murdered, nor the millions of Catholics and Protestants too.

    What I find frankly disturbing, as a Traditionalist, is seeing the cult of personality surrounding this confused individual amongst certain trads. An e-mail list I’m apart of is full of people constantly defending Williamson as if he could do no wrong, and hailing him as a sage for views which are frankly asinine. Moreover, one individual announced he was monitoring Williamson’s plane (I don’t know how) so he could see if the “Jews would kill him”. The cult of personality surrounding Williamson is at least as bad as the cult of personality surrounding the late Pope, or that of the liberals surrounding Obama. Its nuts. people have abandoned reason, and worse, in this case it is traditionalists who don’t know the tradition, hailing a man that declares women ought not have ideas as a brilliant thinker. Parce nobis Domine!

  112. Brian Mershon says:

    Steven, Excellent connecting of the dots with information the Holy See now has in hand. Thanks for connecting the dots.

    Now await for those who like to hurl the “conspiracy theorist” epithet your way.

    It is always a conversation stopper for those who refuse to delve into the details.

  113. vox borealis says:

    Yes, the context is intriguing. It is not surprising that anti-Catholics would exploit Williamson’s goofy at best, offensive at worst, ideas.

    That still does not explain why Williamson says–and believes-what he does.

  114. Brian Mershon says:

    Vox, Gotta go to bed, but let’s try this.

    Have you ever been really certain of something, but then found out later, you were really wrong? Has that ever happened to you?

    Again, having a historical opinion that diverges with mainstream historians is NOT, I repeat, is NOT a matter of faith and morals.

    Being a bishop who moves homosexual priests from parish to parish is something despicable. Being a bishop who publicly criticizes the Pope in matters of faith and morals and harbors homosexuals in his diocese as prists. In the hierarchy of sins, these are much greater than holding a historical error.

    Four, going on five weeks, on this same story. Doesn’t that make anyone wonder why?

    He apologizes TWICE and “conservative” Catholics try to read his heart and soul and say “Sorry, that is not good enough?????”

    Hope our Good Lord does not judge me as severely as SOME of the “conservative” Catholics on this forum.

    Can’t WAIT until the SSPX are regularized. Man, wonder how long the media will vilify the Pope for that one? How many cardinals will publicly question his authority?

  115. Antiquarian says:

    Personally I’m waiting for the media to discover his assertions that the US blew up the World Trade Center in order to have an excuse to invade Iraq.

    And I am amused that apologists who a short time ago were feverishly defending his brilliance now have to resort to “he’s not a historian, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he didn’t understand the impact his remarks would have.”

  116. shadrach says:


    Quite simply, there are people who wish to mitigate the extent of the Shoah and they act on this desire. If someone desires to question the accepted and, indeed, proven (it is proven, by the way) extent of the Shoah, then they are doing what they are doing because they have some desire to overturn accepted and proven research and testimonies about the Shoah. I know this is a tautology, but sometimes tautologies are necessary to explain something.

    Why they want to gratuitously mitigate the extent of the Shoah is another matter; I suspect it has something to do with the desire to be uncharitable to Jews. Some people get off on that. (It is a sin, in the way that being uncharitable to anyone is a sin). I wish people were honest about their intentions in this respect and admit that they want to mitigate the Shoah, not pretend that they are part of a struggle for their own, or Williamson’s, freedom of conscience. Of course, Jewish people are perfectly capable of being uncharitable too. Like we Catholics, some are uncharitable sometimes, and some are less charitable than others. But it is up to us to cultivate our own capacity for charitable word, thought and action.

    By the way, a lot of this rhetoric about desiring the liberty to question accepted history (not your desire, which I am sure is sincere, but the sort of rhetoric often found in many submissions on this topic in the traditional Catholic blogosphere) is obviously done in bad faith, and is a scant disguise for the desire to be uncharitable to Jews. It is also intellectual immaturity, despite the supposed sophisticated tone adopted in some of this rhetoric.. There are many fine works dealing with the more philosophical aspects of writing and reading history and the extent to which one can say true things about the past. Basically, historical method will not allow someone to arrive at ‘The Truth’, as in the universal truth (that’s why it’s an inadequate method to use on its own when studying the Incarnation and the life of our Saviour), but historical method does enable people to say true things. That the Shoah killed many millions of Jews is a true proposition, it has been proved – some of the evidence has been referenced above. No historian of repute among trained academic historians (who are a spiky bunch at best, who bicker among themselves and who are certainly not tools of the state) would question this – not because it’s socially unacceptable, but because of the plenitude of information out there about it. Anybody with an open mind who sets out willing to put in effort and research about the Shoah, could arrive at a different conclusion.

    The touted intellectual liberty sought for by many defenders of Williamson’s statement is, too often, a desire for the license to be uncharitable to their fellowman. And, of course, Satan has ensured that that license is always close at hand.

  117. karenka says:

    Wow, there are some nut jobs on this message board. The Holocaust denier gave a non-apology. I’m not impressed. This guy is a complete lunatic, and the fact that he’s got a lot of defenders here is disturbing, to say the least. Today’s Catholic church — that it’s completely irrelevant is the nicest thing I can say about it.

  118. Son of Trypho says:

    I guess its beyond irony to note that Williamson appears to be seeking advice from Irving. Interestingly Irving is a pal of Hochhuth – the playwright which has done more damage to Pius XII’s memory than pretty much anyone else living – I cannot understand how people here cannot clearly see the damage that Williamson is doing to the Church with his vainglorious antics?

  119. vox borealis says:

    Brian Mershon,

    I don’t know if