Bp. Fellay responds to the Swedish TV re: Bp. Williamson’s interview

My friend Fr. Ray Blake, PP of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton, has found a response by Bp. Fellay of the SSPX to the Swedish TV station which broadcast the inflammatory interview with the SSPX bishop Williamson.

Click to enlarge.

The letter is dated 21 January.

The signing of the Holy See’s Decree lifting the excommunications was 21 January.


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  1. Kradcliffe says:

    I can’t tell whom Fellay is calling “shameful.” I assume he means the interviewer: he blames them for introducing these topics into the discussion in order to malign the Society.

    In which case, I don’t see this as being a very emphatic denunciation of Williamson’s statements.

  2. RichR says:

    I saw this yesterday and thought the same thing. Who would profit from having aspersions cast on this reconciliation process?

  3. BillyHW says:

    So weak.

  4. Jacob says:

    Fellay is obviously walking a fine line in that letter between outright denunciation which would probably scare off Williamson and his faction and the Holy See which would view lifting the four’s excommunications without any kind of word from Fellay as superior general as a PR disaster.

  5. RichR says:

    I guess what I mean is, is it possible this is being brought to light on the eve of the lift-off to keep the shadow of doubt on the SSPX……and Fellay forsaw that.

  6. Josephus muris saliensis says:

    Damian Thompson has an interesting report (click) which shares Kradcliffe’s rather negative view of this letter. It is hard to argue, let us hope his charitable doubt that it may be a hoax proves true.

    How could anyone in Bishop Fellay’s position of pastoral responsibility want to sabotage church unity for this maniac’s views?

  7. Tony C says:

    Lest we forget, bishops gave us “Faithful Citizenship”. They have been
    known to do some questionable and disasterous things. Seems to be a
    worldwide problem.

  8. prof. basto says:


    The Enemy.


    Bp. Williamson is no better then those crazy Iranians who are holocaust deniers.

    It offends, with good reason, the death-camp survivors, their families, the relatives of the dead and all people of good will.

    And this is not a jewish issue, although jews were first and foremost the primary target of this evil. Remember that our fellow Catholics suffered and died too, for different reasons: some because they opposed the Nazi ideology, others simply for the fact that they were Poles, or because they were of Jewish ancestry, or because they had a disability, etc., etc., etc.

    In light of the abundance of historical material, the gas chambers, the piles of bodies, the testimonies from the living, the crematoria, the Nazi documents that were left behind, the position of being an holocaust denier is by no means legitimate.

    It’s clearly a sign of blatant anti-semitism. Bp. Williamson is not excommunicated anymore — good for him and for his soul — but he is still unfit to discharge Episcopal ministry. And he still wasn’t appointed fo discharge that role.

    Thank God that he failed in his attempt to derail the lifting of the excommunications — yes, I believe that his statements were made with that clear purpose — failed.

  9. RC says:

    A French version of the same letter appears in a news story on the web site of Vatican Radio, and says the same thing. As a dissociation from the “private opinions” of SSPX “member” Bp. Williamson, I think it’s sufficient.

  10. Mark says:

    What is truly shameful is that a man who calls himself a Catholic Bishop would deny an undeniable historical fact.

    It is also shameful that his superior, instead of disciplining him, diverts the issue to an alleged misuse of an interview. It is a slap on the face for the Pope who is doing all he can to reconcile this group with the Church. It damages the Church in the eyes of those who, as a result of this man’s actions, may associate all of legitimate Traditional Catholicism with no-fascism, anti-semitism, and other evils and idiocies. It also does damage to the Catholic-Jewish dialog, and obliges the Pope to apologize for this man’s words, since his own superior will not.

    What should have been a joyous occasion of reconciliation, has turned into a scandal of SSPX’s making, for which all Catholics of good will must apologize for. If such views are common within this group, why should we want an unrepentant SSPX back?

  11. T. Dinsmore says:

    Friends, I beg of you to leave off attacking His Excellency. In fact, I know why he speaks as he does. For those interested, a young man named David Cole filmed a documentary concerned with Auschwitz; in the film, he raises some points on the gassing of Jews and dissidents of the Third Reich. I watched the film, and now I have recourse to you. Please, someone watch the film and counter its points. I have looked, but I cannot find any objections. I wish to learn the truth. Thank you.

  12. I’m having trouble seeing anything of value in this letter. In fact, it only seems to exacerbate the problem by making it seem as if the bishop is unwilling to come down hard on Williamson for the horrifying anti-Semitic comments he makes. He seems to be calling the interviewer shameful and not Bishop Williamson. It seems that this kind of a response from Fellay will only further agitate those who are troubled by the potential of Williamson being brought back into the Catholic fold and given some position of authority.

  13. hopeful says:

    For the sake of clarity. +Williamson does not deny the Holocaust. He denies the broadly accepted details and numbers. It is a subtle, but I think, important difference. He does not deny the horror of what happened or that it happened but argues the extent of it is not what is generally believed. If one wants to take issue with the Bishop’s opinions on this matter, feel free, just make sure you are arguing with what he really said.

  14. Ben says:

    This is nothing but a blatant attempt by the enemies of the Church to co-opt the dialogue and have Catholics deal with issues which are irrelevant and damaging to the Church. Just as they did when the motu proprio was released: “Oh, this will be damaging to Catholic-Jewish relations, the old Good Friday prayer is so terrible it actually prays for conversion, how dare they…etc…etc.” This is not about the Jews, it is about the Catholic faith. +Williamson’s private views on historical matters have no relevance. If one were rational and logical, rather than emotional, one would see that +Williamson is only questioning the exaggerations and misinformation about the holocaust and its use as a tool for power and a weapon to bash anyone who the Jews see as their enemies without reason, proportionality, fairness. This is what they did with the motu proprio and time and time again when the Catholics get “too uppity”. The historical truth about WWII is still mired in a fog of propaganda, and the nerve is still too raw to discuss things frankly. Do you really think the Society is a secret Nazi conspiratorial group? That is utter nonsense! The Society is full of priests whose fathers, uncles, whole families, fought in the French Resistance, or the Dutch Resistance. It is full of good Catholics both in its membership and leadership. It is distant from the tragedies of WWII, a fratricidal Christian vs. Christian war of horrific proportions. The interviewer deliberately chose to ask a loaded and inflammatory question from some comments made by +Williamson decades ago. He did this to get a “sensational” story, rather than a fair and balanced one, in an absolutely obvious attempt to derail this great step toward Catholic unity. It is shameful that other Catholics are gloating, and gleeful, as they hope to see the steps toward unity implode and are happy in the scandal rather than turning away from scandal and rumour as Catholics should. And even if some are upset, they are in despair rather than hope, and blinded by an emotional reaction rather than taking things in reasonable stride and continuing to hope and pray for unity. Do not be surprised that enemies of the Church are trying mightily to wreck this thing. Do not despair, do not give up, do not be blinded by Satan, that master of lies and dealer in scandal. Rather be Christian, be charitable and trust in God and his ministers to do what is right. Turn away from scandal-mongering and turn to prayer and charity and hope for a great day in the life of the Church in the modern world.

  15. Penitent says:

    In Sweden the devil is working overtime.

  16. Penitent says:

    Just because you are a bishop of the Catholic Church it does not mean you are an expert in history.

  17. Domine Non Sum Dignus says:

    Those who repeat the inflammatory media term “Holocaust Denier” in regards to His Excellency, +Bishop Williamson should perhaps examine their consciences to make certain they are not judging his person. Because one could easily draw the conclusion from some of the above language that this is the case. As Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ states in His revelation to Mutter Vogel, as recorded on page 68 of the Pieta Prayer Book, “One should NEVER attack a priest, even when he’s in error, rather one should pray and do penance that I’ll grant him My grace again. He alone fully represents Me, even when he doesn’t live by My example.”

    Besides, as correctly pointed out above, +Bishop Williamson, in no way denies that Jews died in concentration camps during World War II under the brutal Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler. Is 200,000 to 300,000 Jews something to sneeze at? Do some of you believe there is something magical in the number 6,000,000? Only God Almighty knows how many died and it what horrible manner during that time. Are some of you willing to risk your soul by attacking a Prince of Our Lord and Saviour’s One True Church?! For what — “for fear of the Jews”? (John 7:13, 20:19)

    One should bear in mind who the true Holocaust Deniers are. They are those who deny the True Holocaust of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on the Cross of Salvation, as re-presented in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

  18. Mark says:

    All of us, especially those who are under the illusion that the scope of the Holocaust is being exaggerated, should visit the link below. It is from the official Auschwitz camp website (English version), and deals specifically with the mis-information spread by the Holocaust deniers, like the man in question here. It answers their mis-information point by point:


  19. Guillame H. says:

    Mark, with all due respect, you have no idea what you are talking about. The Auschwitz plaque for years and years and years said 4 million died there. Now your own link says “there are people and organizations who deny that hundreds of thousands of people were murdered in this camp”. “Hundreds of thousands” it not 4 million. no one denies that even one is too many but if those numbers are not exaggerations, I don’t know the meaning of the word. But of course if one dares point this out he must be an anti-semite worthy of the harshest opprobrium and the very Christian virtue of hatred expressed so well by many comments I have seen today against Bishop Williamson.

  20. John Hudson says:

    Mr Dinsmore,

    I have not seen David Cole’s ‘documentary’*, but I am familiar with some of the claims of Holocaust denial with regard to forensic chemical analysis and the presence/absence of gas chambers. If you are looking for detailed refutation of these claims, by a qualified physical chemist, I recommend the essay by Dr Richard Green entitled ‘The Chemistry of Auschwitz’:


    * Note that not every non-fiction film is a documentary, despite the categories of the Academy Awards; a documentary proper, as the term suggests, relies upon documented and hence verifiable facts.

  21. John Hudson says:

    Guilame: the Auschwitz-Birkenau plaque that, during the communist period, read that 4 million died there, was based on a Soviet estimate made shortly after the end of the war. During the communist period, the Polish government maintained this number, despite the fact that historians were able to demonstrate, through documentary evidence, that the actual number was approximately 1.1 million. The untruth of the earlier estimate, and the political circumstances of its retention long after more accurate numbers were available, have no implications for determining the truth of the holocaust. Those who deny the holocaust tend to end up denying any possibility of objective historical enquiry: they are relativists par excellence, who first make one piece of history contingent, and end up making truth contingent.

  22. RC says:

    If Williamson is regularized eventually, how can he be kept from spouting off at regular intervals? This sort of talk brings public contempt upon the Church.

  23. TJM says:

    Yes and the Sun revolves around the earth. This dog won’t hunt. Bishop Williamson does his cause great harm when he makes patently false assertions concerning the millions of Jews who were exterminated. I guess Joe Stalin didn’t kill millions either. Tom

  24. V says:

    Well, well, well, the British AGAIN!
    Isn’t that precious.

    His intervention doesn’t helps out a lot especially when in France the socialo/communists always loves the amalgame Le pen/Lefebvre/anti-semitism. They didn’t loose anytime AGAIN to put the tradionalists in the same basket. Since we have been brainwashed by socialist agenda teachers on history. No french suspect that communists and socialists are the first anti semite. It would seem that a French Catholic Traditionalist is more dangerous than a militant muslim!

    Many in the french clergy reject the teachings of Vatican many times more than the SSPX does!!!
    We won’t even go into disobedience, such as giving blessings to divorce-remarried couple…

    I pray for a quick resolution, so our churches be filled again.
    I pray that the British archbishop find his way back or shuts his mouth. The socialists communistes in France REALLY don’t need more of his help!

    The prodigual son has made a step foward to the Father. It takes a lot to bend ones pride, especially when one is French. :-)

  25. Steven says:

    Let’s suppose 6 million Jews were killed during WWII.

    But, 60 million Christians were killed during WWII.

  26. Ryan says:

    This letter is ridiculous. It seeks to blame the journalist for Williamson’s horrific views on the holocaust. Williamson could have simply refused to answer the questions that were not theological in nature. Williamson answered the questions about the holocaust because he wanted to. To blame the reporter for this exhibits extreme disingenuousness of Fellay’s part.

  27. Mark says:

    John Hudson and Guillame H:

    Thank you for this explanation, Mr. Hudson, you’re absolutely correct.

    Guillame H:

    I’ve included three links below that may provide you with some background on this question. The first link shows the most accurate numbers of the victims of just this one camp (Auschwitz), which backs up the numbers given by Mr. Hudson.

    Keep in mind that the murder of the Jewish population by the German Nazis was well under way before all the concentration camps were fully operational. The early murder methods these barbarians used were found to have detrimental psychological effects on their soldiers – see the last two links below, one of which is a deposition testimony from one of the perpetrators of these crimes. The last link sheds light on how the children were murdered.

    Perhaps now you’ll see why many of us are outraged by the statements of this SSPX Bishop.


  28. RC says:

    We’ve seen it before.

    He’s been an erratic figure for a long time, spouting off and getting into the news; acting as if he were the Church’s only fighter against all the evils Satan is hurling at the world.

    When a bishop’s deviation is mainly behavioral rather than doctrinal, the only thing the Pope can really do about him is to impose retirement on him. And it’s not guaranteed to work with somebody who won’t accept it and be quiet, and stay quiet.

    I’m thinking of Milingo, of course, but if the shoe fits…

  29. V says:


    Monseigneur Fellay:
    ” Nous sommes bien evidemment bien gene, surtout a pense que par cet acte, comme c’est un eveque qu’il les pose, bien qu’il ne s’agisse pas d’une affaire religieuse, et donc il n’engage que sa personne, on va conclure que toute la Fraternite est je ne sais pas trop, anti semite et tout ca, et la je m’erige avec vehemence contre une telle accusation”

    In short, with my limited ability to translate in English, “we are obsviously embarrassed, especially when you think that through this act, because it is a bishop who “said” it, although it is not a religious matter, one is going to conclude that the whole Fraternite is, well you know, anti semite and all that,and there I stand up with vehemence against such an accusation.”

    Please correct my translation

  30. V says:

    oups I forgot that Bishop Fellay said after:
    “although it is not a religious matter, and it only engages (concerns) his person (his personal opinion), one is going to conclude that the whole…”
    and so on …

  31. TerryC says:

    I have to agree that Bishop Fellay came off as weak when he tried to blame the media hack for +Williamson’s statements, but the balance of his comment is right on. When speaking outside his province as a descendant of the apostles a bishops opinion on matters is no better or worse than any other bloke. It is also obvious that the purpose of the media hack was to foment controversy. Still, stating that fact is never really useful.
    I am also curios about +Fellay’s exact relationship with the other SSPX bishops. As head of the order does he actually have authority over them in the manner of a metropolitan bishop or head of a regular order? (Does the Holy See even recognize his position as such in other than a de facto manner?) So does +Fellay have the authority to actually tell +Williamson to keep his historically inaccurate opinions to himself?

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