SSPX Bp. Williamson convicted by German court for Holocaust denial

From NPR and, of course, AP:

Bishop Convicted For Denying Holocaust

by The Associated Press

BERLIN April 16, 2010, 10:14

 A German court convicted ultraconservative British Bishop Richard Williamson on Friday for denying the Holocaust in a television interview.

A court in the Bavarian city of Regensburg found Williamson guilty of incitement for saying in a 2008 interview with Swedish television that he did not believe Jews were killed in gas chambers during World War II.

The court ordered Williamson to pay a fine of euro10,000 ($13,544).

The Roman Catholic bishop was barred by his order from attending Friday’s proceedings or making statements to the media.

His lawyer, Matthias Lossmann, told The Associated Press after the court ruling that Williamson has yet to decide if would appeal it.

Denying the Holocaust is a criminal offense in Germany.

The court last year ordered a fine of euro12,000 for Williamson, without a trial. But the Bishop appealed that ruling, forcing his case to be tried publicly.

Lossmann said that Williamson had explicitly asked the Swedish television crew conducting the interview not to broadcast it in Germany.

In issuing her ruling, Judge Karin Frahm said the bishop could not have expected that the clip would show up on YouTube and be seen directly in Germany, which led her to reduce the fine, court spokesman Bernhard Schneider told the AP.

The journalists who conducted the interview also ignored a court order to attend the trial, Lossmann said, leaving the judge to rely on written statements as testimony.

"That does not do a case like this justice," Lossmann said.

The interview was conducted near Regensburg and was granted shortly before Williamson’s excommunication was lifted by Pope Benedict XVI, along with that of three other bishops from the anti-modernization movement of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

The lifting of Williamson’s excommunication sparked outrage among Jewish groups and in Israel. The Vatican’s handling of the affair prompted criticism from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The bishop had been forbidden by his order to attend the proceedings in Regensburg. The ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X has also forbidden him to make statements to the media.

Williamson lives in Great Britain, Lossmann said.

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56 Responses to SSPX Bp. Williamson convicted by German court for Holocaust denial

  1. johapin says:

    I don’t believe in the Big Bang Theory.

    Fine me. Take me to jail.

  2. Bishop Williamson’s comments were, to say the least, outrageous and despicable. He is also incredibly naive to think that his statement would not immediately go nuclear what with YouTube being what it is. But it seems unclear to me how Germany has any jurisdiction over a resident of Great Britain conducting an interview with Swedish journalists — however offensive, stupid or silly that interview might be. It also seems unclear to me how Germany expects to collect the imposed fine.

    If this is a preview of the new face of European Union “justice”, where will it end?

  3. johapin says:

    Germany has become a “thought police” State.
    When citizens have to go about watching what they say in fear of reprisals, your nation has ceased to be free.

  4. TJerome says:

    I thought Nazism was stamped out in 1945. This is an embarrassment for the German people. What’s next, arrest Al Gore for his Global Warming fraud?

  5. ‘If this is a preview of the new face of European Union “justice”, where will it end?’

    I don’t know. But if Luxembourg sends me a tax bill, I ain’t payin’ it.

    I suppose the next thing will be prosecuting the various European WWII museums for displaying and trading in Nazi memorabilia (also a crime in Germany).

    The beauty of the modern world is that it makes martyrs of just about everyone, and therefore gives you a great deal of human sympathy for people whose loathsome views would otherwise take away all your sympathy.

  6. dominic says:

    David Zampiro,

    The reason that Germany has jurisdiction in this case is because the interview was conducted (for whatever reason) in Germany.

    Yes, the European Arrest Warrant certainly does raise issues about liberty in the EU (as do the nature of the laws under which Bishop Williamson was convicted): but in this case it seems to be a fairly straightforward case of someone breaking the law in the country that they were in at the time that they broke that country’s law.

  7. I think Bp Williamson is wrong on his questioning of the stats for the Holocaust, there’s far too much evidence in favor of the 6 mil Jews that were killed. But if you can be convicted for questioning the stats, where does it end?

    As a side note, Al Gore should be arrested for the global warming fraud, it’s an act of fraud, plain and simple.

  8. Andy Lucy says:

    To question the Shoah itself is madness… there is entirely too much eyewitness, video, photographic and documentary evidence to the contrary.

    Questioning the statistics, however, is a valid historical question. Different camps used different accounting methods. In the early days of the the Einsatzgruppen, the accounting was horrible, with thousands being counted twice, etc… Then there is the factor of camp commanders, wishing to look good to the SD and SS hierarchy, inflating their numbers merely to make a good impression in Berlin.

    In the end, though, is the brutal massacre of 4 million REALLY less horrific than the slaughter of 6 million… or of 8 million? On that kind of scale, my mind sort of trips a breaker when it comes to quantifying the horribleness of the Shoah.

  9. Bryan says:

    Or the slaughter of 50 million since 1973?

    Oh, wait. That’s a constitutional right to enable convenience.

    Sorry.

  10. MichaelJ says:

    Come on people, get a grip. To characterize mistaken opinions about a historical event as “loathsome”, “despicable” and “outrageous” is way over the top. The only way these characterizations could be justified is if we could conclusively prove that Bishop Williamson holds these erroneous beliefs solely because he harbors a deep seated hatred of an entire group of people.

  11. chcrix says:

    “To characterize mistaken opinions about a historical event as “loathsome”, “despicable” and “outrageous” is way over the top.”

    Maybe not the characterization itself, but the evident psychological compulsion to denounce the opinions before making a free speach stand.

    I don’t care what Bishop Williamson’s opinions are – he has (or ought to have) the right to express them without fear of fines or imprisonment.

    The same thing goes for the ABC guy BTW. Though he is actually doing something rather more serious in suggesting that a rather saintly octogenarian be murdered (or rather be subject to a dose of ‘regime change’) he is entitled to say it. We are entitled to dispute it.

  12. JonM says:

    Again, I hope those characterizing Bishop Williamson’s personal opinions, which he no longer discusses, as ‘despicable’ ‘outrageous’ or ‘madness’ also, with at least equal zeal, lob such judgements against Abe Foxman (who actually is one of us, apostate as he is).

    Why him?

    He publically denies and even lobbies US Congress to coverup and under-report the genocide against Armenian Christians at the hands of Muslim Turks and Jewish collaborators.

    Now, I shouldn’t have to get this tedious (but I know I must): Am I declaring any hate whatsoever against Muslims or Jews? No! Merely, as there have been wicked Christians, I am stating an historical fact that there were, too, wicked Muslims and Jews, and in recent history.

    I should hope that we are enlightened enough, especially given the current abuse scandal in the Church, to understand the sins of a few do not rightly charactize the entire constituency of the sinner.

    So there. I said it. And I am formally asking all those who are cracking cat-o-nine tails on Bishop Williamson to explain why Abe Foxman is not equally condemned with such gusto as he actively denies at least one genocide, such to the point of actually politically pressuring a government to under-report numbers.

  13. spock says:

    “I don’t believe in the Big Bang Theory.
    Fine me. Take me to jail.”

    It’s even worse than that. I live in another country, I say the above and an American Court can fine may and/or take me to jail. EU or no, that’s bizaahhh to quote a Northeastern ffiend

    +Williamson’s remarks on the Holocaust are outrageous. If one sees his discussion of The Syllabus on Youtube, you hear something that sounds intelligent which is a reason why he has a following I guess. ( Wouldn’t it be great if a Bishop in good standing would do the same ..) But contrasted with the Holocaust stuff, Wow. Even if you believe he is being intellectually honest, to overcome the huge amount of historical evidence one has to conclude that he is simply not thinking. Contradictions. Contradictions. Contradictions.

    To quote “Dogbert” from the Dilbert comic strip “OUT OUT YOU DEMONS OF STUPIDITY”

  14. jdskyles says:

    The AP called him a “Roman Catholic bishop”. I don’t think that is entirely accurate, as I am not sure what his standing is. I would say for the AP to “classify” him as one, is just another dig at the Church intending to portray Her in a bad light.

  15. MichaelJ says:

    jdskyles,

    I am inclined to agree with you about the AP’s motives but, at least in this case, they gor the facts correct. He is a Roman Catholic Bishop. What else would you have them call him?

  16. Son of Trypho says:

    The critical point here is this:

    “Lossmann said that Williamson had explicitly asked the Swedish television crew conducting the interview not to broadcast it in Germany.”

    why? because Williamson knew that he was committing a crime against German law with his statements.

    Williamson is not a freedom of speech rights martyr – that wasn’t his motivation for this incident. He is now a convicted criminal and arguably no longer a fit representative for the episcopal honour he holds.

  17. Francisco Cojuanco says:

    But he is still technically a bishop, though one not exactly obedient to the Holy Father…

  18. BenYachov says:

    I have zero sympathy for Willie. He is godless, an anti-Semite, wicked, knavish and the fact he has holy orders is unremarkable since both Luther & Judas had Holy Orders.

    Holocaust Denial is morally evil. It is both a sin against brute reason and charity.

  19. JonM says:

    @Son of Trypho,

    So when we get indicted by a secularist anti-Christian post-modern court, we no longer are fit to exercise our particular roles in the Church. I think many Saints testified otherwise.

    @BenY,

    Speaking of charity…

  20. “@BenY,

    Speaking of charity…”

    There always seems to be a lack of charity when people comment about others’ lack of charity.

  21. Was my last comment uncharitable?

  22. johapin says:

    “I think Bp Williamson is wrong on his questioning of the stats for the Holocaust, there’s far too much evidence in favor of the 6 mil Jews that were killed.”

    I disagree. There is plenty of evidence that the numbers have been manipulated, either up or down. In the end, it’s not the NUMBERS that matter, but those with a specific agenda have chosen to turn a specific number into a sort of “Holocaust Dogma.”

    Take the statistics from Aushcwitz for example. They’ve been as high as 9 million and as low as 135,000. The Auschwitz museum changed its own estimates in 1995 from 4 million dead to 1.5 million. Where did 2.5 million dead go?

    Until the late 1980’s the following plaque was displayed at Auschwitz:
    http://sydwalker.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/auschwitz_plaque_4mil.jpg

    After 1995, the following plaque replaced the original one:
    http://sydwalker.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/auschwitz_plaque_4mil.jpg

    Why isn’t someone being brought to trial for “revising” those numbers?

  23. johapin says:

    Sorry, the second link should point to this plaque:
    http://www.biblestudysite.com/Auschwitz%20plaque%201.5mil.jpg

  24. I disagree with Bp Williamson, but he’s allowed to have an opinion on statistics without denying an event happened.

    As a side note, Al Gore should be arrested for the Global Warming fraud. :)

  25. mpolo says:

    In Germany, the 6 million number is pretty much dogma. It is legal to suggest that there were more Jewish deaths than this, illegal to suggest that the number was lower. There is an academic in Austria doing jail time (3 years, as I recall) for publishing an academic paper suggesting that the real number might be closer to 3 million.

    The German government is also working actively to find a way to legally suppress the (legally erected) successor parties to the Nazis (NPD and similar). The got especially worried a few years ago because these parties got 5-9% of the vote in several states of former East Germany. The last concerted attempt (over 10 years ago) to suppress them failed because the judge found out that over half the leadership of the party were at that point government spies who had infiltrated the group, so that there was no telling what they actually believed.

    The Germans are very sensitive about the Holocaust, and don’t want any suggestion at all that someone here might not have learned from history. Therefore, freedom of speech and opinion on this issue simply doesn’t exist. Bishop Williamson made his statements in Germany, and so is bound by German law, whatever he might think of that law.

  26. Son of Trypho says:

    @JonM

    Not merely indicted but convicted as well.

    Your opinion of the court aside, the fact remains that Williamson’s defence consisted in part of arguing that he never intended for the interview to be aired in Germany – precisely because he was aware that his comments were in contravention of German law – i.e. he was knowingly breaking the law.

    I am uncertain (but somewhat dismayed) as to why you draw a comparison with Saints on this? Which one(s) do you have in mind?

    Similarly, I am uncertain what Abe Foxman has to do with this?

    @mpolo

    Your comment about the 6 million figure being dogma in Germany is not entirely incorrect. It is permissible to suggest alternative figures that are backed by serious evidence – If I recall correctly Raul Hilberg suggests a number in the low 5 millions and his work on the topic is standard reading in the field.

    The problem with Williamson was not primarily that he questioned numbers, it was that he denied the use of gas in the gas chambers in the death camps and based his arguments on 20+ year old discredited/debunked work which now falls entirely within the purview not of serious historians but of cranks.

  27. Gulielmus says:

    One problem with the conviction is that it encourages the notion among some (here and elsewhere) that Williamson is a kind of martyr to free speech, and focuses attention exclusively on his Holocaust opinions.

    That obscures the fact hat he holds many such outrageous ideas, such as his acceptance of The Protocols of The Elders of Zion, or his repeated assertions that the US staged the 9-11 attacks. That he has the right to say such things doesn’t change the lunacy of his positions. But they’ve gotten overlooked in the rush to criticize or defend his Holocaust theories.

  28. catholicmidwest says:

    Al Gore, as thoroughly obnoxious as he is, should not be arrested for merely having insane ideas about the environment. Having “unusual” views is not against the law.

    The problem is that there is a difference between perpetrating a fraud and having an opinion. A person who simply has the personal opinion that the world is flat is having an opinion. A person who spends tons of government money and campaigns on something that is demonstrably not true just to push a political view and further his own prestige is a fraud.

  29. catholicmidwest says:

    And in this way, interviews can be very dangerous.

    If Bishop Williamson has some unusual personal views, as many people do about one or the other subject, he should have just kept it to himself rather than put it on display to be ridiculed–and prosecuted under Germany’s repressive and heavy-handed laws.

    Mind you, religion isn’t just a personal view. If he had refused to talk about religion, the interview would have been worthless and he would have missed the point entirely.

    Rather, I’m talking about stuff like personal opinions re the Jews during WWII (like what he says is expert opinion and worth more than 2 cents! no), eco-beliefs, flying saucers, abominable snowmen or some such stuff. The media eats this stuff up and panders like crazy as a result. And many people don’t have sense enough to consider the source.

  30. Athanasius says:

    The AP called him a “Roman Catholic bishop”. I don’t think that is entirely accurate, as I am not sure what his standing is. I would say for the AP to “classify” him as one, is just another dig at the Church intending to portray Her in a bad light.

    The AP is correct, he is a Catholic Bishop, but he lacks jurisdiction, he is not apart of the magisterium of the Church.

  31. JonM says:

    I’m not going to post on this subject anymore because people are unwilling, apparently, to completely read my entries.

    Therefore, we are not having an intellectual discussion but rather operating only in a maelstrom of competing outrages.

  32. Henry Edwards says:

    CMW: Al Gore, as thoroughly obnoxious as he is, should not be arrested for merely having insane ideas about the environment. Having “unusual” views is not against the law.

    What is it that you think he should be arrested for? That is, which of his activities violate which laws?

  33. Penguins Fan says:

    Williamson’s big mouth and small mind brought all of this firestorm down upon the entire Church. It’s obvious he knows little about what he said so he should have kept his mouth shut. So many problems would not exist if people in positions of influence or authority would keep their mouths shut.

    The truth is, nobody knows how many Jews – or anybody else – were murdered by the Nazis. Six million Jews? It was probably more than that. How many non-Jews? They are just as dead were subjected to the same horrors. I have seen estimates of six million Poles killed in WWII. Half were Jews and half were Polish Catholics.

    A few months ago, I switched to Verizon FIOS and they have a channed DirecTV won’t carry – Military History. This channel carries all the old war stuff History used to show before it went pop culture. The use of labeling political opponents as Nazis cheapens the real evil done by the Nazi dictatorship against all its enemies.

    If anything, the world is too unaware of what the Nazis did against its non-Jewish victims – that hand the mureders committed in the name of Communism, but, as they say, good luck with that.

  34. mark1970 says:

    Gulielmus, I read with (friendly) interest the comments you make about Bishop Williamson being seen as a martyr to free speech.

    Although I’ve never attended SSPX Masses myself, I know several people who have done so. A few of them remember back to the 1970’s when the then Father Williamson came over to the UK straight after he was ordained as a priest by Archbishop Lefebvre RIP. They recound that Father Williamson preached extensively about martyrdom – how each and every true Catholic should aspire to be a martyr, how he wanted to be a martyr, and so on. He allegedly preached in this manner almost to the point where some of the congregation were starting to feel quite uncomfortable at his message.

    In discussion with these individuals recently, considering Bishop Williamson’s recent tribulations, it has been suggested that perhaps all of this is a way of Bishop Williamson himself thinking he is achieving some kind of martyrdom? Not the martyrdom of blood, but perhaps a kind of dry martyrdom? WHat do you think?

  35. Athanasius says:

    One thing I keep seeing here is troubling, but indicative of Americanism, namely “Williamson should be able to say what he wants, even if he is a nut job, without being convicted of it.”

    This is largely drawn out of the faulty concept of freedom of speech enshrined in the bill of rights. It has never been a Catholic concept. In traditional jurisprudence you are not free to say whatever you like, the state does have the right to censor certain opinion. Whether an opinion such as his is something that ought to be censored is a different question, but some speech should be censored. Neither Williamson, or Al Gore, or anyone else has a right in justice to say whatever he pleases, and traditional Catholic thinking used to reflect that.

    Pope Leo XIII taught in Libertas:

    Men have a right freely and prudently to propagate throughout the State what things soever are true and honorable, so that as many as possible may possess them; but Iying opinions, than which no mental plague is greater, and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life should be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work the ruin of the State. The excesses of an unbridled intellect, which unfailingly end in the oppression of the untutored multitude, are no less rightly controlled by the authority of the law than are the injuries inflicted by violence upon the weak. And this all the more surely, because by far the greater part of the community is either absolutely unable, or able only with great difficulty, to escape from illusions and deceitful subtleties, especially such as flatter the passions. If unbridled license of speech and of writing be granted to all, nothing will remain sacred and inviolate; even the highest and truest mandates of natures, justly held to be the common and noblest heritage of the human race, will not be spared. Thus, truth being gradually obscured by darkness, pernicious and manifold error, as too often happens, will easily prevail. Thus, too, license will gain what liberty loses; for liberty will ever be more free and secure in proportion as license is kept in fuller restraint. In regard, however, to all matter of opinion which God leaves to man’s free discussion, full liberty of thought and of speech is naturally within the right of everyone; for such liberty never leads men to suppress the truth, but often to discover it and make it known. -Libertas #23

    Consider society today, did Leo XIII call it or not? Nothing is sacred. Any libel can be repeated not only against the Church, but against any person with impunity, any nonsense can be repeated with impunity, [of course except for holocaust denial] and due to that society itself is falling apart. The concept of freedom of speech which Americans are familiar is simply un-Catholic.

  36. catholicmidwest says:

    Henry Edwards,

    For using government money to push his own prestige and his own opinions, if anything.

    Look, Henry. The world is full of lunatics; the world has always been full of lunatics; the world will always be full of lunatics. There is no getting around that. You can’t have them all arrested, if for no other reason than it’s not physically possible. The trick is twofold: a) figuring out who the lunatics are, and b) avoiding being ruled by a lunatic. Some things never change, ever.

    We’re living in an era when stable social control has broken down, along with the Judeo-Christian world view. We used to suppress lunatic behavior; that is now gone. Which means you can expect just about anything now. That doesn’t make it right, but it does make it possible.

    From a purely human point of view, history really isn’t an orchestra; it’s more like a free-for-all. Of course, God has worked through all of it and there is salvation history–the only sense this world makes. But when you’re dealing day-in and day-out with heathens, it’s really Alley Oop on a daily basis, from a human point of view.

  37. Henry Edwards says:

    CMW: For using government money to push his own prestige and his own opinions, if anything.

    What about the immense personal financial gain that has resulted? I wonder whether many political activities would be criminal fraud if not for political “cover”.

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    If you want better, you can:

    a) work 100% to re-install the Judeo-Christian point of view in society. Good luck on that one. I promise you will get trounced.

    b) stay 100% within the confines of the heart of the Church, preserving her in strength. Nice if you can find that, and it’s not cowardice–rather it’s sorely needed for those who are fit for that.

    c) go out and fight the pagans. Good luck on that one too. You could get trounced. Or you could become one of them.

    d) some combination of the above, along with some common sense about watching your stuff (faith, family, motivation, etc).

    For most of us, d) is the only reasonable choice because of previous commitments (family members who aren’t catholic, etc) and practical matters in our lives (somebody has to pay the bills).

  39. catholicmidwest says:

    Athanasius,
    You might be able to control speech but you can’t control ideas. That’s always been a fact whether people in power wanted to admit it or not. So goes the history of the world. Forget American. Think William Wallace.

    Gulielmus,
    Williamson probably does think he’s a dry martyr. Who doesn’t these days? Al Gore may even think he is–in his own warped terms–for all I know. Do I care? Nope, not at all.

    MPolo,
    The German people are right to be paranoid about the Holocaust. Both world wars happened on their turf, remember. The problem is that they insist on doing the same exact thing and calling it something else each time, to soothe their consciences. But in truth, it doesn’t matter what they call it, if they keep doing it, does it? Cultural flaw turned paranoid cultural flaw–not an improvement.

  40. BenYachov says:

    >There always seems to be a lack of charity when people comment about others’ lack of charity.

    I reply: Not really. Telling a rape victim she lied about her experience when it’s a known fact her abusers filmed the whole episode and put it up on some pornographic version of Youtube as well as signed written confessions of their crime when caught by the police is beyond a mortal sin against charity. Since to do so has nothing to do with truth but the denial of truth done purely to do further harm to others. It’s a lack of empathy, humanity & basic decency. Holocaust denial is like claiming the Civil War never happened & that it & American Slavery where nothing more than propaganda myths created by ANNCP & the ACLU. That is unreasonable.

    It’s also sick and wrong.

    >Was my last comment uncharitable?

    I reply: Did you intend it to be? If so then yes. If not then no.

    It’s not hard.

  41. tired student says:

    Williamson deserves every last bit of punishment meted to him by German justices. The justices should have thrown him in jail as well. That would’ve kept him out of the public eye. Sadly, someone will pay his bail and he’ll continue to be coddled by sycophants in his London “house arrest”.

    It doesn’t matter if 6 million or 6 Jews were murdered by the sadistic Nazis. The Nazi crimes will always be an injustice to humanity regardless of statistics. Those who seek to minimize the horror of the Shoah by semantics and creative math are despicable in my view.

    I am convinced anti-Semitism is the mortal sin of the traditional Catholic movement. Recently I found out that the local diocesan TLM priest has been using phrases like “perfidious Jews” in his bulletins. Needless to say, I am in the process of confronting him about this. What frightens me is the real possibility that many of his parishoners actually believe this. Are all traditional Catholics anti-Semites? No. But the combox here and my experiences offline have demonstrated that many are still harboring quite amoral viewpoints.

  42. susanna says:

    First the verdict, then the “trial.”

    Never seen any holocaust evidence myself except
    what’s on the networks, and who believes them anymore? Never a mention about how many Catholic people were killed.

  43. chcrix says:

    “Williamson deserves every last bit of punishment meted to him by German justices. The justices should have thrown him in jail as well.”

    So, tired student:

    What penalties do you support for those who deny or minimize the crimes of Uncle Joe Stalin, or Chairman Mao – both of whom make Uncle Wolf look like a piker? You might want to take a look at the web page on ‘democide’ maintained by R.J.Rummel.

    Sorry, this is the slippery slope. Once you criminalize expression of opinion, Pandora’s box is open. Remember some folks were using the expression ‘climate change denier’ to try to silence skeptics of the AGW hypothesis.

  44. Athanasius says:

    Sorry, this is the slippery slope. Once you criminalize expression of opinion, Pandora’s box is open. Remember some folks were using the expression ‘climate change denier’ to try to silence skeptics of the AGW hypothesis.

    The abuse does not in justify the use. The state has the right to criminalize opinions if they are wrong and subversive to the common good. It does not constitute a slippery slope because the qualification is the common good. Whether Williamson’s particular view fits that bill or is just a stupid opinion is a separate question. Too many people have the idea that any and all opinions are good. This was explicitly condemned by Leo XIII in an encyclical, it is the means by which you tear society down when you say anyone can say whatever.

    You might be able to control speech but you can’t control ideas. That’s always been a fact whether people in power wanted to admit it or not. So goes the history of the world. Forget American. Think William Wallace.

    Ideas are different from every idiot in society being able to publish widely opinion contrary to the common good of society, in whatever form it is. Free love for instance, is the death knell to every society it has taken hold. Look at France, the eldest daughter of the Church, which embarked on free love in the 18th century and had the entire foundation of its society destroyed and turned upside down by the 19th. Certain things need to be censored.

    As I’ve said previously, whether Williamson’s views on this issue are in such a category is another matter. Personally I think he should just be lined up with a bunch of experts and be forced to confront evidence, and if he can’t refute it, then he gets a deserving punishment, that he can’t refute facts will be plain for all to see.

  45. Son of Trypho says:

    @JonM

    Probably best really – Foxman has nothing to do with this and I remain troubled as to why you felt compelled to indulge in “whataboutery” in this case.

    @Athanasius

    You are completely correct and this is the reason why there is legislation concerning certain types of speech control in countries like Germany. I also believe that blasphemy is in the criminal code – precisely because of the results of the wars of religion in Germany’s past history and a desire to prevent religious violence through offence.

    As to lining Williamson up against specialists – just look to his pal Irving and his trial and you can see what happens in those cases. Irving completely and utterly lost his case and discredited himself in the process when confronted by specialists in the field. Williamson’s problem is that he seems to indulge in quite a few strange and/or foolish ideas and expresses these – now that he is a convicted criminal I suggest that he will never function as a bishop in the Church – any reunion of the SSPX with the Catholics will no doubt require his retirement.

  46. chcrix says:

    Athanasius:

    “The abuse does not in justify the use.” ???

    “The state has the right to criminalize opinions if they are wrong and subversive to the common good.”
    Absolutely. Funny how that is the rationale invariably offered by the totalitarian governments of the 20th century (and the 19th 18th and 21st for that matter).

    “Too many people have the idea that any and all opinions are good.”
    Interesting. I don’t recall a single comment in this thread taking that position. Indeed, it would seem to me that anyone who holds any opinion whatsoever must necessarily think that opposing opinions are not good. That is not the same as saying they are to be surpressed by force.

    “This was explicitly condemned by Leo XIII in an encyclical,”
    Do you happen to know which one? I checked the Holy See website and there were so many encyclicals by Leo XIII that it’s going to take some time to wade through all of them.

    However, let us grant the assertion that Leo XIII explicitly endorsed supression of opinion by state force. In that case, he was mistaken. He may pronounce on faith and morals, but he cannot bind on policy. In a like manner, Paul VI’s economic perscriptions in Populorum Progressio can be charitably described as inept.

  47. And so, a religious society that has acted in disobedience to the Holy See for decades — WHATEVER the reason — is outraged that one of its bishops is acting in disobedience to them. (Pause to consider the irony.)

  48. JonM says:

    Athanasius,

    I’m glad you have contributed. I always enjoy your perspective and observations because they demonstrate true interest in a genuine intellecual discussion.

    You have pointed out an important consideration: the fallacy that freedom of speech is absolute.

    The state does have the right and duty to affix boundaries of commentary and opinions. Indeed, this was standard practice in America until recent times. Don’t think so? Many states made it a crime to mail out various documents (including abortion advocacy), forbidded certain books, and there was a de facto national censorship standard for television.

    Can this be abused? You bet! But so can any law or any tribunal. That is why it is important to have a moral and devout population so as to mitigate this.

    So, I agree, it would not be a good argument to make that a person ‘can say whatever he wants.’ Ultimately this mindset leads to depravity an a pornographic culture, which has become of modern Western peoples.

    @Son of T,

    In so much as you directly referenced me, I feel it is right that I respond (albeit in a very limited manner.)

    Please read over all my posts on this issue. It is clear what I said, what I did not say, and I believe people filled with red rage are simply ripping out a phrase here and a few words there. About ‘whataboutery’… I merely pointed out a rather obvious double standard, which is I guess not so important for some reason.

    I already said I am not going to talk about this anymore, so it is unfair to hint something about me or ‘call me out.’ If you have a real question about my posts, I welcome your email. Otherwise, please respect that I have ended participation in the discussion of Bishop Williamson, his conviction, and the German law in question.

  49. JonM says:

    Forgot something…

    The word ‘perfidious’ is generally not used because its modern usage blurs its past meaning. We see this with many words, such as ‘intrigue’ or, more recently, ‘impact.’ I don’t like annonymous ‘he did this‘ arguments because no one can fairly judge anything, nor can the accused defend himself.

    Personally I would avoid the word perfidious because it is likely to be misunderstood.

    About traditionalists being ‘anti-Semitic’ and this being our ‘mortal sin’… Please, let’s tone down the rhetoric a little.

    Oh, and the accusation is patently absurd, by the way.

  50. Kevin Ryan says:

    Judging by the tone of these comments, perhaps everyone here would just as soon see +W hung, drawn , and quartered. It is really amazing to see the anonymous expert theologians and historians commenting on +W’s opinions as if they had some kind of papal infallibility. +W clearly does not claim such infallibility himself, merely his own opinions.

  51. tired student says:

    @chcrix

    What penalties do you support for those who deny or minimize the crimes of Uncle Joe Stalin, or Chairman Mao – both of whom make Uncle Wolf look like a piker? You might want to take a look at the web page on ‘democide’ maintained by R.J.Rummel.

    Yes, I would certainly support penalties, or at the very least public scrutiny, of those who deny the amount of people murdered under Mao and Stalin. Perhaps the press and popular media has not paid enough attention to these genocides. All genocide is evil, and all of us have a responsibility to speak out against any moral evil regardless of location, motivation, or ideology. Active misrepresentation of facts about a genocide bears more moral culpability than the complicity of silence.

    Citation of the fact that Stalin and Mao’s genocides were larger than the Holocaust, and therefore “worse”, represents yet another diversionary tactic designed to minimize the intrinsic evil of the Holocaust. Number games inevitably seek to distort or minimize the impact of genocide on a particular victimized community. Remember that the Holocaust destroyed a third of the worldwide Jewish community. Williamson’s revision of the demographic destruction of the Holocaust profoundly disrespects the impact of this genocide on a population of an already small group of people. Williamson’s minimization of the Holocaust also denies that the atrocity has significantly shaped the religious, psychological, and cultural significance of the Shoah in the Jewish community. His disregard for the pain and memory of a people merges towards a profound disregard for the intrinsic value of all human beings.

  52. Athanasius says:

    However, let us grant the assertion that Leo XIII explicitly endorsed supression of opinion by state force. In that case, he was mistaken. He may pronounce on faith and morals, but he cannot bind on policy. In a like manner, Paul VI’s economic perscriptions in Populorum Progressio can be charitably described as inept.

    I’m sorry, but that opinion would appear to be what Pius XI condemned as “Social modernism” in his encyclical Ubi Arcano. Let us look again at what Pope Leo XIII said, which I’ve already quoted in this thread:

    Men have a right freely and prudently to propagate throughout the State what things soever are true and honorable, so that as many as possible may possess them; but lying opinions, than which no mental plague is greater, and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life should be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work the ruin of the State. The excesses of an unbridled intellect, which unfailingly end in the oppression of the untutored multitude, are no less rightly controlled by the authority of the law than are the injuries inflicted by violence upon the weak. And this all the more surely, because by far the greater part of the community is either absolutely unable, or able only with great difficulty, to escape from illusions and deceitful subtleties, especially such as flatter the passions. If unbridled license of speech and of writing be granted to all, nothing will remain sacred and inviolate; even the highest and truest mandates of natures, justly held to be the common and noblest heritage of the human race, will not be spared. Thus, truth being gradually obscured by darkness, pernicious and manifold error, as too often happens, will easily prevail. Thus, too, license will gain what liberty loses; for liberty will ever be more free and secure in proportion as license is kept in fuller restraint. In regard, however, to all matter of opinion which God leaves to man’s free discussion, full liberty of thought and of speech is naturally within the right of everyone; for such liberty never leads men to suppress the truth, but often to discover it and make it known. -Libertas #23

    Look at the course of our society in 100 years and tell me how that assessment did not turn out to be exactly on the money. Tell me how the industrial media complex has not worked ceaselessly to undermine public morality and push us to the brink of anarchy.

    Interesting. I don’t recall a single comment in this thread taking that position. Indeed, it would seem to me that anyone who holds any opinion whatsoever must necessarily think that opposing opinions are not good. That is not the same as saying they are to be surpressed by force.

    You are not predicating that correctly, no one is saying that opposing opinions are to be put down by force. Rather, lying, blasphemous and immoral opinions are to be. Let us break it down this way, is a society which censors pornography and punishes its proliferators with jail sentences a healthy society or an unhealthy one? The answer determines whether your philosophy of government is Americanist or Catholic.

    Lastly, there have been comments stating that very thing, for instance chcrix @#11:

    I don’t care what Bishop Williamson’s opinions are – he has (or ought to have) the right to express them without fear of fines or imprisonment.

    The same thing goes for the ABC guy BTW. Though he is actually doing something rather more serious in suggesting that a rather saintly octogenarian be murdered (or rather be subject to a dose of ‘regime change’) he is entitled to say it. We are entitled to dispute it.

    I’m sorry, but in a truly Catholic society, atheists do not have the right to suggest the Pope be bombed, and good citizens have no obligation to accept such an opinion.

    Just because a government might misuse authority, or other governments have misused their authority, does not mean that it does not have the right to censor.

  53. geoff jones says:

    BenYachov:
    I largely agree with you. Williamson’s comments were almost certainly motivated by anti-semitism (a mortal sin, by the way) which is why the short shrift he has received by practically everyone (including the leadership of his own society) is much deserved.

  54. This trial just illustrates the pre-cursor of full 1984 style (the book) thought police activity, when following Jesus will be outlawed, and any speech for Him and His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church will be suppressed, by fines and ultimately death. Remember that same process used in the persecution in England during the time of the Deformation (some say reformation), where a priest saying a Mass was fined $500 (a lot of money back then), with repeated offenses leading to death. It illustrates the end result of the politically correct movement, the dictatorship of relativism.

  55. Martin_B says:

    In his Letter to the romans Paul calls us to follow the civil authorities.
    In germany these Authorities have issued a law, stating:
    “Whosoever publicly or in a meeting approves of, denies or downplays an act committed under the rule of National Socialism of the kind indicated insection 6 (1) of the Code of International Criminal Law, in a manner capable of disturbing the public peace shall be liable to imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine.” (German criminal law (“Strafgesetzbuch”), §130.3)
    Bishop Williamson obviously knew about this law before issuing his statements in Germany, but choose, not to follow it.

    Obviously, as christians we are limited by our belief in following the civil laws, but this does not apply in this case.

    Therefor, whatever one may think about such a law, the german court was absolutely justified in his decision to fine Bishop Williamson.

  56. Daniel Latinus says:

    “About traditionalists being ‘anti-Semitic’ and this being our ‘mortal sin’… Please, let’s tone down the rhetoric a little.

    Oh, and the accusation is patently absurd, by the way.”

    I can tell you from personal experience that there is a nasty thread of anti-semitism among traditionalists. In some cases, it seems like an artifact of French (monarchist) culture; in others, the torch is carried by followers of Fr. Charles Coughlin and Fr. Denis Fahey. In some cases, it flows from anger and disgust over the leftism and antichristian attitudes found among many Jews. Whatever the origin, its there, and it is often freely expressed in SSPX circles.

    Thankfully, not all traditional Catholics share this mindset. But the anti-semitism is there, and there is no point denying it.