SSPX Bp. Williamson mans up

From the always vigilant Rorate this is the apology sent be SSPX Bp. Williamson to His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos, President of the P.Comm. Ecclesia Dei.  It was written to 28 January 2009.

Apology Letter of Bishop Richard Williamson

Mgr Richard Williamson

To His Eminence Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos

Your Eminence

Amidst this tremendous media storm stirred up by imprudent remarks of mine on Swedish television, I beg of you to accept, only as is properly respectful, my sincere regrets for having caused to yourself and to the Holy Father so much unnecessary distress and problems.

For me, all that matters is the Truth Incarnate, and the interests of His one true Church, through which alone we can save our souls and give eternal glory, in our little way, to Almighty God. So I have only one comment, from the prophet Jonas, I, 12:

"Take me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."

Please also accept, and convey to the Holy Father, my sincere personal thanks for the document signed last Wednesday and made public on Saturday. Most humbly I will offer a Mass for both of you.

Sincerely yours in Christ 

+Richard Williamson

He manned-up.

Well done.

Sincere WDTPRS kudos.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Skyscan says:

    Bravo. Let us remember to keep Bishop Williamson in our prayers.


  2. Paul M says:

    Looks like he sees the big picture and I congratulate him for his apology.

    Let us all continue to pray.

  3. Marc says:

    Mons Williamson deserves our prayers, of course.

    Is he perhaps suggesting that, the hoped for progress of relations between the Lefevbrist communities and Rome being achieved, he would accept retirement from public life were this judged to be a prudent course of action?

  4. Sid says:

    When a man asks to be thrown overboard, when he admits that he’s the cause of the storm, then let’s honor him for so admitting and do as he asks. Holy Father has condemned Holocaust Denial. Bishop Felley has said Williamson’s views are not the Society’s. Now Williamson himself regrets what he previously had said. The words of these three men ought be enough to stop any support for what Williamson said in his TV interview.

    With Williamson now overboard, I have the feeling that union with the SSPX is closer than ever.

  5. The choice of this particular Jewish biblical text about someone being divisive coming around is truly historic on so many, many levels. Thanks, your Excellency!

  6. TJB says:

    Im sure that the recent acts of humility by the sspx are the result of increased prayer by the faithful throughout the world.

  7. schoolman says:

    This is how +Willimson prefaces his letter on his Blog:


    Following in the steps of Our Lord (Jn. XVIII, 23) and St. Paul (Acts, XXIII, 5), Archbishop Lefebvre gave his Society the example of never so cleaving to God’s Truth as to abandon respect for the men holding God’s Authority. In the midst of last week’s media uproar, surely aimed rather at the Holy Father than at a relatively insignificant bishop, here is a letter written to Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on January 28 by that bishop:

  8. Choirmaster says:

    Has anyone else notice that these four are starting to sound (more and more in tone, vocabulary, etc.) like true members of the Catholic hierarchy?

    Very telling.
    Very encouraging!

  9. CB says:

    Wow. My respect for him just jumped a few notches. I didn’t expect that of him.

  10. TNCath says:

    This is a good start! May his apology inspire him to continue down that road to full communion.

  11. SARK says:

    It must have taken a lot for a man of Bishop Williamson’s choleric character first of all to admit his error to himself and then to make such a public act of apology.

    Grace, all is Grace.


  12. Memphis Aggie says:

    This is such a fine example of humility and obedience and so unexpected, I’m very impressed. Praise and prayers for the Bp.

  13. tradition says:


  14. mike says:

    A decent apology to the Holy Father et al., but the wording does not at all decry what he did say about the Holocaust. In fact, the grievance mongering of some Jews will only grab onto the fact that he stated “one true Church, through which alone we can save our souls and give eternal glory, in our little way, to Almighty God”. So, I think the apology was classy – for toward the Church – but lacking with regard to Jews.

  15. Phil (NL) says:

    Well, sorry to sound sour, but as I read it, he only apologises for the consequences of his remarks, and let the remarks themself stand in all their rotten horror. It’s better than nothing I suppose, and a big step up from what we normally hear from him, but it’s not nearly enough – not enough to save the Holy Father of the fallout of Williamson’s madness, and not enough that he could ever function as a regularized bishop.

    I think the Holy Father has little choice but to take him up on his offer, and laicize him.

  16. matt says:

    To me, this is a classic ‘non-apology apology’…he didn’t take responsibility for the comments…he takes responsibility for the fall out of the comments.

    How is this even close to adequate?

  17. Beautiful. Great words from Bishop Williamson! I shall pray for him!

  18. Paul S. Quist says:

    I wept when I saw this.


  19. Gravitas says:

    Very well done.

    I’m glad to see it appears all the rumors that he would break off from the SSPX and start his own splinter group were wrong.

  20. MenTaLguY says:

    Considering the significance of the fallout and where Williamson is coming from, the apology is pretty significant, as is his gracious manner in doing it. I don’t think it is realistic to expect him resolve his problematic views so quickly, but the kind of humility he is displaying is an important prerequisite for his being able to do so.

  21. Allan says:

    Sid wrote: “Now Williamson himself regrets what he previously had said.”

    Wrong. Williamson regrets saying it, but not what was said. The careful distinction is obvious.

    Kind of like apologizing for calling someone stupid by saying “OK, I’m sorry you’re stupid” or “I’m sorry my valid and truthful remark has caused so much trouble.”

    Silence was better.

  22. Baron Korf says:

    He calls his remarks imprudent. Also the Holy Father and the Society are not hurt by him holding these opinions, only by expressing them. Wrong as the opinions may be, he apologized for the harm he did. That should be enough for any of us.

  23. nasman2 says:

    Wow. How very heartening and a wonderful example to the rest of us.

  24. Fabrizio says:

    oh come on folks, this is one good letter, and he’s not the only one to have to keep in mind the “big picture” and where all involved are coming from and what they have gone through in the last 40 years OK? There are WAY more important issues to solve now than his attitude toward allegations about temporal matters of 70 years ago. How many modernists do you know who’d write such a letter to the Pope after anything they might have said not on history, but faith and morals?? Come on!

  25. Melchior Cano says:

    To the two commenters who are unsatisfied with his comments:

    I think you’re being unfair in the utmost. Bishop Williamson refers to his comments as imprudent. This is surely something, even if not everything you wished for. Second, he admits that he himself is the cause of the uproar. This is not a “classic non-apology apology.” In those cases a politician apologizes that something happened. Never that he himself caused it. Any honest man will admit that Bishop Williamson’s letter of apology is sincere and demonstrates a good degree of humility.

    If Fr. Zuhlsdorf is correct that some on the traditional side will never be content, surely it must be true (as evidenced by certain comments over the past couple of days) that some in the mainstream of the Church will not be content with any concession from the Society at all. Let us act in Truth and Charity, friends. These are delicate times.

  26. Truly the Holy Spirit is working here (not that I had any doubt).

    You also see more and more all of them acting out of great and remarkable humility. They are speaking more and more like they are truly under the jurisdiction of Rome. I dont think you would have seen a letter like this to the Cardinal, one year ago.

    This is great news,and very welcomed

  27. John says:

    It is significant that the first act of Williamson as a Catholic bishop
    is an act of reconciliation, humility, and homage to the Holy Father.
    Gratia sanans at work.

  28. Brandon says:

    *Sincere* kudos to this bishop… That scripture was hardcore humility there.

  29. He didn’t repudiate the substance of his remarks (he calls them “imprudent,” which some may say goes to whether he should have aired them publicly), so I wonder whether this will mollify his and Pope Benedict’s critics.

  30. Athanasius says:

    I think this apology is very appropriate.

    I do not believe Bishop Williamson should apologize for the content of the comments if that is what he believes. Every human being must have the freedom to draw a conclusion based upon what s/he believes to be true. There are times when it is prudent to keep you mouth shut. This was one of those times, and I believe Bishop Williamson has leaned a lesson about prudence in speach. Some people have a tendency to say things they shouldn’t and this is why Fr. Z tells people to “think before you post”.

    Bishop Williamson all that needed to be said, in my opinion.

  31. TJM says:

    I think we should accept Bishop Williamson’s statement and move on. It took a big man to do it. Tom

  32. Kazimer says:

    Excellent news.

    Bishop Williamson has offered a sincere apology with a desire for atonement

  33. Gravitas says:

    Allan: “Wrong. Williamson regrets saying it, but not what was said. The careful distinction is obvious.”

    So, Allan, you’re judging the bishops heart and, in effect, calling him a liar and playing God?

    Think we need to slow it down a bit.

  34. Choirmaster says:

    I think my observation about the change in tone, vocabulary, etc. of the SSPX bishops is better expressed by Fr. Z’s…

    Change of Atmosphere…
    Change of Climate.

    The wind flowing from the gap opened by Ecclesia Dei, and made wide and irreversible by Summorum Pontificum, is having some serious effect on the weather in the Church. Its balmy and fragrant vapor is reaching all corners.

  35. Nick Gale says:

    Good for you Bp Williamson. A gracious,humble and heartfelt apology. Though should you really be saying Mass for the Holy Father and Cardinal Hoyos, given that, technically, you are still suspended?!

  36. Allan says:

    Gravitas, not at all.

    I simply think we need to honestly acknowledge what is truly the subject of the apology: namely, that he is sorry for the turmoil, but not the remarks that caused it. That said, I would agree that it is appropriate to argue that being sorry for having said something, while not the something itself, should suffice.

    I would not agree, but it is at least a debateable point. I would have preferred that his “heart”, as you put it, be genuinely converted and not hardened towards God’s chosen People. (Obviously I regard as spurious the notion that one can hold any bona fide revisionist opinions on the Holocaust along the lines of those enunciated by the Bishop.)

  37. Templar says:

    The fact is that his comments (no matter how crazy they may seem) are his to hold and if he wants to refute or defend them on his own he is right to do.

    However, as a member of an organization, one in which he holds an office of responsibility, his opinions must be subordinated to the will of his superiors and the organization. It is this for which he owed the apology, and for which he delivered it.

    I suspect the Bishop would gladly debate his original statement with anyone, Jew or gentile, were he not under orders to not do so; and he would be within his prerogative to do so. It is the harm he does to others for which the apology is owed. No harm befalls the Jews when he makes a foolish statement. It would at the very least be hard to prove.

    In all of this, what I am mot struck by is how “Catholic” the SSPX acts. A Bishop errs and is publicly and privately disciplined by his superior. The Superior in turn apologizes to his superior, and the offender publicly apologizes. And through it all you get the sense that they are serious about it. Filial obedience seems to mean something among them. If all in the SSPX behave this way then please, please, please, come spread your disease in my Diocese.

  38. prof. basto says:

    This is a great development. Both the apology and the text that prefaces it in the Bishop’s blog are very good.

    This week, the Church seems to be at a special hour of Her recent history.

    Indeed, the members of the SSPX are sounding more like proper Bishops now that the excommunications were lifted and they have accepted the Holy Father’s initiative.

    They seem understand that they are at a hugely important crossroads, and that the Pope is on the side of Tradition against the forces of the world. Let us pray for the SSPX, and for the rapid and effective progress of the talks, so that full reconciliation can be accomplished soon.

  39. chironomo says:

    He called his remarks “imprudent”, which they were. That was the issue, not that he personally holds these views. To publicly say that he no longer holds these views would be to claim that he is lying now or was lying then, and that would be insincere! He expressed regret to the Holy father for the distress and problems that his remarks caused, hardly a classic “non-apology” as in “I’m sorry you felt hurt by what I said…”. No, he said that he was sorry because HE caused the distress and problems, not because the Holy Father FELT distressed. The classic “non-apology” is when you apologize for someone else’s reaction to your actions.

  40. chironomo says:


    could someone tell me the HTML for italics…the ones I use for my website don’t seem to close properly. I’m using .

  41. chironomo says:


    I’m using (i) and (i/) except with the pointed brackets!!!

  42. Charivari Rob says:

    Well, at least he addressed at least a couple of the parties this caused difficulty for, and avoided some of the misdirect/deflect/minimalize rhetoric that is all too common in these high-profile cases.

    However, I would say that this was certainly closer to a word-parsing “non-apology” apology than an explicit apology.

    Don’t mistake my meaning – I am glad he realizes there is a problem and that he made some sort of an apology. In my opinion, though, he’s really only on the first rung of the “manning-up” ladder.

  43. Wow… I guess those who are condemning the Bishop ironically themselves so don’t pay attention to the Hebrew Scriptures that they can’t pick up the book of Jonah and read it through to find out what he was saying. Wow… The irony of it. It’s just stunning.

  44. Maureen says:

    “I have a big mouth. Please ignore or ditch me and get the job done” is a perfectly good apology.

    Now, sure, there’s other things he maybe ought to apologize for also, to other people. But personally, I’d be pretty happy if politicians could routinely muster this much when they screw up.

    I’d be pretty pleased with myself, actually.

  45. Joshua says:

    Thank God the pope and Rome are not like some of these combox posters, who want not only what is manifestly a sincere apology and act of humility but an instant and complete change of mind.

    His Excellency is also a 9-11 truther and is prone to conspiracy theories. He is not an anti-semite actually, just too prone to distrust the mainstream account of anything. He has been prone even in sermons and talks to seminarians to talk about such things.

    For him to state that the only thing that matters is Christ and the Truth about him, means he is willing to humble himself enough to leave off his opinions on other things which he has devoted so much time too. Further, such a humbling act is more surprising; being prone to believe in conspiracies it shows a new trust in Rome, some His Grace Lefebrve did not have. Note too, he saw this not as an attack on himself or the society, but on the pope. In that way he even did one better then +Fellay.

    His conspiracy theories have nothing to do with the Catholic Faith and we cannot demand a complete reform of mind as a precondition for reunion. That he sets the priorities straight is sufficient.

  46. I guess those who are condemning the Bishop …

    I think most critics are merely suggesting he came up short.

  47. Andraea says:

    Pope Benedict’s fraternal love, pastoral care and profound humility are the key to all of these very inspiring developments.

    I love you Pope Benedict XVI.
    Viva il Papa.

  48. John Enright says:

    I pray for the Bishop. I don’t see, however, an apology for his anti-Jewish remarks. Am I missing something?

  49. Erica says:

    It is so clear from this blog, and this thread in particular, that the hatred for the SSPX and the bishops thereof is so deep; so habitual, that nothing (perhaps not even grace) will soften certain hearts. If only such contempt were expressed for the true enemies of Mother Church rather than a four (or one) faithful and humanly errant Princes.

  50. I am wrong to wish the His Excellency didn’t offer Mass for Card. Hoyos and Benedict, considering that he is still suspended a divinis?


  51. Yeah, well, Rich… “Most”?

  52. dcs says:

    I would not agree, but it is at least a debateable point. I would have preferred that his “heart”, as you put it, be genuinely converted and not hardened towards God’s chosen People.

    But the Jews aren’t God’s chosen people any more. The Church is the new Israel.

  53. BillyHW says:

    So why don’t we do like Bp. Williamson says and throw this filthy Jew-hater and foaming 9/11 truther overboard?

  54. Rachel says:

    A few nights ago I was praying that the Jewish rabbis wouldn’t break off relations with the Vatican, and I also prayed that +Williamson would apologize– but I prayed very timidly because I was so certain it wouldn’t happen!

    I think God is at work, amazingly at work.

    I wonder if Bp. Williamson had anything specific in mind when he offered to be thrown into the sea. The more I think of that verse and its context, the more interesting it is.

  55. boredoftheworld says:

    I finally watched the interview that caused this whole nightmare… and I wonder if I’m missing something because it wasn’t at all what I expected. What I just saw was a 5:47 clip on youtube, is there a longer version, there was an obvious edit near the end so maybe something really vicious was excised?

  56. Nathan says:

    It seems to me that, without knowing Bishop Williamson’s internal disposition, this would be a very courageous statement. Goodness knows, there are people counseling Bishop Williamson to become more inflammatory and consituencies in both the SSPX and outside who want to keep adding gasoline to the fire.

    I hope this isn’t too snarky, but for those who have argued that Bishop Williamson’s apology is not enough, perhaps we should compare his statement with the public apologies of Archbishop Milingo, Fr. Ray Bourgeois, Fr. Kennedy in Brisbane, and Fr. Jon Sobrino.

    In Christ,

  57. Adam says:

    well it may be noted that +Williamson has now written to Benedcit XVI apologising for his erroneous and scandalous comments on the Holocaust, but the damage has been done and indeed the errors of that statement should have been noted and reported to the Holy father before he lifted the ban on the 4 bishops, illegally ordained 20 years ago.
    The cardinal archb of Vienna has attacked the Vatican for not doing its homework on this matter before the pontiff lifted the decree – how crazy and inept can those people be in the Curia that once again they blundered. Their research leaves a lot to be desired, and now The Telegraph has a cery good comment on this matter and the cardinal of vienna’s comments.

    But it also be noted what the paper says about Catholic-Jeewish dialogue – too much asking for apologies and indeed where does all this talk get the Church? Indeed it may also be asked what does all the talk between the Church and the Anglicans do for us? Nothing I would suggest since now the Anglicans have not only women priests (???) but they also want women bishops and have them in the USA. These are insurmountable barriers to unity and thus the discussions are going to get nowhere.
    When will the Catholic Church leaders realise that there can be no unity with the Anglicans while they ordain women and the make them bishops?( of course they are not priests nor bishops in apostolic succession).
    No, the Church ought go fast and definite in its discussions with the Orthodix Churches since it is with them that true unity can be forged and made – far better to pray with true believers than with those who have schismatically broken away from the petrine line founded by Christ.

  58. anon says:

    He is indeed a purveyor of neo-Nazi ideology, and , in case anyone should be offended by that statement I apologise for the “imprudent” remark. It is a pity he did not apologise for the distress that such untrue statements give to millions of people who had relatives gassed by the Nazis, perhaps the Holy Father, who has a close aquaintance with German history and has recently given his views on the suject of the holocaust, might set him right. Pray for him, he will be judged by the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.

  59. Sue Sims says:

    “No harm befalls the Jews when he makes a foolish statement,” writes Templar.

    No? Can one doubt that the the rise in practical anti-Semitism (arson attacks on synagogues, attacks on Jews in France, Germany and elsewhere, the exclusion of Jewish children from some Danish schools, and so on) are completely unconnected with this sort of speech? Remember, this network of revisionists (many of whom, alas, are part of the traditionalist movement in the Church) also believe that there is a Judeo-Masonic-Communist conspiracy to destroy the Church and western civilisation generally. If that were true, would it not be a virtuous act to rise up against the evil Zionists?

    Unfortunately, ideas have consequences.

  60. It is a very significant gesture on Bishop Williamson’s part, even though many of us wish he would disavow himself of some very…disturbing notions, such as minimizing the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust, or the supposedly “real” story of September 11.

    But all right, let’s see what is important about this step, and why it is to be praised:

    > As Fr. George pointed out, the selection of a text from the Book of Jonah is remarkable.

    Yes, it’s just possible he picked it for the sake of this verse only, but if not…the story of Jonah is about a prophet who rather more enjoys invoking fire and brimstone, and yet knows God will end up forgiving the wicked, and then the prophet supposes he will look ridiculous–and so it comes to pass.

    The prophet thus resists going along with God’s plan, runs the wrong way–hence the ship voyage and the storm–and when the storm comes up, knows perfectly well what it’s about: God will have his way. Yet God’s way is not vengeance, against either the Ninevites nor the prophet, but reconciliation! The final lesson comes as Jonah sits grouchily on a hillside, watching Nineveh, to see for himself that God will, in fact, not punish, and thus make Jonah look ridiculous, and as he sits there stewing in all this, he takes a fancy to a little gourd plant–and then, the sun withers the gourd plant, and now Jonah, already in a very bad temper, is angry at God for killing the little plant. And then comes the punchline:

    And the LORD said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night, and perished in a night.

    And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

    Insofar as the bishop is casting himself as Jonah…yes, it’s a remarkable statement.

    > One of the nervous questions about a reconciliation between the SSPX and Rome is, what if some are recalcitrant–they refuse to go? And, of course, all eyes would look to the four bishops. We don’t know yet what may happen, but this irenic statement may prove to be a great balm; in any case, I cannot see it doing any harm at this point.

    > One can think of many alternate ways the bishop could have responded; even silence would have let us wondering; this is a generous step on his part.

  61. Nuggen says:

    Looking at some of the comments here, I can only say thank heavens that God is the dispenser of mercy.

    Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

  62. Joshua says:

    People like “anon” are committing calumny. The bishop holds at times loony conspiracy theories, fine. But neo-Nazi? He is not German, nor a member of the working class, not a nationalist and not a socialist. He is not a nazi then.

    Nor is he a racist necessarily.

    “So why don’t we do like Bp. Williamson says and throw this filthy Jew-hater and foaming 9/11 truther overboard?
    Comment by BillyHW”

    You sir should offer to do likewise. This sort of rhetoric and calumny (and I mean that in its formal sense as a mortal sin imputing false faultto another) is beyond the pale.

    He is not filthy, nor a Jew hater. He is or was wrong, but rather than interpret his acts charitably as is DEMANDED of us by Christ, too many just will never show mercy. We will not have God´s mercy if we deny it to others.

  63. Aelric says:

    I posted this “what if” also at Rorate, but offer it here as well.

    Suppose Rabbi Iza Strawmanstein, chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, had publicly stated something to the effect that the stories of early Christian martyrdoms were fabrications; the evidence of the catacombs creations of the post Constantinian Church etc.

    Now, quite likely, most Catholics would yawn and wonder who cares; the press would likely canonize rather than excoriate him given its anti-Catholic bias; scholars would expound upon this ‘radical new thinging;’ and a Hollywood movie would be fast tracked. But let us suppose Rabbi Strawmanstein were to be taken to task by some council of rabbis and subsequently offered the following statement to the same council:

    ‘I beg of you to accept, only as is properly respectful, my sincere regrets for having caused to yourselves and to the State of Israel so much unnecessary distress and problems with the Vatican. For me, all that matters is the Truth of the Torah, and the interests of His one true People, through which alone we can save our souls and give eternal glory, in our little way, to Almighty God.’

    Again, assuming that we cared at all that the witness of the early saints had been maligned, would this be considered a sincere apology and admission of error for what was said or a case of CYA?

  64. I wrote this on my blog today, but it bears repeating to a much wider audience than my little blog enjoys:

    When someone who for the last thirty years has not been known for his humble spirit can write such a heartfelt and sincere apology, we should all take notice.

    This is a teaching moment.

    Let’s make use of it.

  65. RBrown says:

    Maybe the appropriate action would be, in the mode of Hester Prynne, that he would have to wear a large I or an M on his soutane.

  66. templar says:

    Sue Sims writes:

    “No harm befalls the Jews when he makes a foolish statement,” writes Templar.

    No? Can one doubt that the the rise in practical anti-Semitism (arson attacks on synagogues, attacks on Jews in France, Germany and elsewhere, the exclusion of Jewish children from some Danish schools, and so on) are completely unconnected with this sort of speech? Remember, this network of revisionists (many of whom, alas, are part of the traditionalist movement in the Church) also believe that there is a Judeo-Masonic-Communist conspiracy to destroy the Church and western civilisation generally. If that were true, would it not be a virtuous act to rise up against the evil Zionists?

    Unfortunately, ideas have consequences.

    Sue, in fairness you clipped my quote. The next sentence continues on to say it would at least be hard to prove. And it is hard to prove. To answer your question, yes I can doubt that hate speech causes arson and physical attacks. Ignorance causes it. Only the ignorant would listen to such arguments and accept them at face value.


  67. Dominic says:

    Let us be grateful for Bishop Williamson’s apology, and let us try to be gracious and merciful towards him in the same way that we need others to be gracious and merciful towards us.

  68. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    I am afraid that the people criticizing the Bishop are only feeding into the prejudices of people about the Jews and their friends. Many claim that you can never satisfy a Jew, this is obviously an unfair characterization, however, some on this list are doing all they can to prove that. Allan for example will not be satisfied until Bishop Williamson makes an act of faith that the Jews are still the chosen people of God. There is also the unfair characterization of the Jewish that they are vengeful, and are incapable of mercy. Again those criticizing the bishop are only feeding into that generalization. They have no mercy for any that commit the unforgivable sin of Bishop Willaimson. Unfortunately, the spokesmen for the Jewish religion are not making helpful comments either. Finally, anyone who has actually spent time talking with the Bishop, knows that this statement is in keeping with the Bishop Williamson they know.

  69. Am I alone in sensing the great good that can come from this whole episode? (Surely not.) Previously, I had never given Bishop Williamson any serious thought — assuming from all references I’d seen that he was merely a wingnut of some sort, unworthy of attention — except to worry vaguely that he might somehow have the power to rally opposition to any rapprochement among the more rigid elements of the SSPX.

    Now, in the brief aftermath of Bp. Williamson’s remarkable apology, that worry is no more. Not only has any such power that he might have had been neutralized, his impetus is (whether fully intended or not) now for good rather than ill. In checking today a site or two that are ordinarily beneath my radar screen, I note the beginnings of a notable softening of resistance within the SSPX to its “coming in from the cold.” For instance, the following statement from an obvious SSPXer, though far from eloquent, illustrates the shift in progress:

    “Bishop Williamson’s apology has been a big wake up call for me. Since the Pope’s lifting of the excommunication I have still been brutally unfair to the Pope and thought that this lifting of the excommunications would still get us nowhere. God have mercy on such an ignorant fool. Thanks Bishop Williamson for setting such a good example for me.”

    Perhaps we too should thank Bishop Williamson. Certainly much is underway for which we should thank God.

  70. Fr. Angel says:


    You are right that many posts here are not being gracious to the Bishop. In my opinion, Williamson’s words are noble and pleasantly surprising, taking into account his past rancor. In fact, he has set a great example of humility which many bishops and priests can learn from who have caused worse problems for the Church. However, I disagree that most people here hate the SSPX. Frustrated or impatient, or unimpressed with the occasional arrogance, yes. But the day when the SSPX are reunited will be a day of unparalleled triumph and joy for most posters here. One heart will not be enough to contain such joy if it pleases God to grant us such a reunion.

    Christopher M.P. Even priests and bishops who are suspended have a right to offer private Mass. I believe it is the fruit of the Bishop’s Masses that we are witnessing. We should pray fervently that further Masses offered by the Bishops and priests of the SSPX speed that day when they will happily be reunited to the bosom of the Church.

  71. Nathan says:

    Henry Edwards: You are by no means alone in seeing the great good that can come from this. Your observations are right on the mark.

    In Christ,

  72. HMacK says:

    Some of the insulting remarks levelled at Bishop Williamson, especially by Catholics, and this included clergy too, were appalling. There are some bishops and clerics who routinely flout the Holy Father’s good will and oughtb to apologise for thier negative example. However, I doubt they have the same humility and courage possessed by Bishop Williamson. Name-calling is a very poor reflection of character and demonstrates a distinct lack of maturity.

  73. HMacK says:

    The Vatican has stated time enough that SSPX Holy Masses are valid. However, there are those who still insist otherwise. It is the same with the “schismatic” label – Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, has said publicly they are not schismatics. How can they be when they are treated as an internal issue. Let us make sense please. The Holy Father will no doubt be more than happy to receive the graces that are bestowed from Masses offered for him, by SSPX priests and bishops too.

  74. Andreas says:

    Wow! Can you spell “lightning rod”?

  75. Brian says:

    I thank the God for inspiring Bishop Williamson to this apology. I thank Bishop Williamson for humbly and courageously following that inspiration.
    As for some of the above comments . . . it would not be prudent to express my opinion.

  76. Guy Abano says:

    If he is truly sorry, let him apologize to the Jewish people. His words pave the way again to Dacau and Auswitcz because he makes Jews liars adding insult to injury. I would believe his sincerity if he does that. Otherwise, I don’t believe a word he says.

    His lapse in charity is horrible. And if he becomes a bishop, he makes the Lord Jesus look like a monster. I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with the man.

    I’ve learned about the polgroms, the Crusades & all the inhumanities that Catholic laymen have inflicted on the Jewish people. The least I can do now is oppose this with all my strength and say this is not acceptable for a bishop.

    Shame on those who consecrated this man to be a bishop! Shame on those who would treat him like one.

  77. Gail F says:

    This is a wacky old man. The SSPX is a large group of people. While Williamson has said a heinous thing, I really don’t understand the vehemence of the reaction from some here. To me, what he said is more stunning than offensive, it is just too stupid to take seriously. I think the Jewish leaders who are taking him seriously are giving him far too much credit, and I think the Holy Father is thinking a lot more about the entire SSPX than he is about this nut. I think his apology is pretty good, considering who he is, what he evidently believes happened in WWII, and that he was willing to be ordained illicitly and operate as a bishop for all these years. What do you expect from the man?

    He isn’t really a Catholic bishop, is he? I thought that lifting the excommunication let him back in the fold, so to speak, but didn’t include any permission to act as a bishop. His ordination is still illicit.

  78. P says:

    If he is truly sorry, let him apologize to the Jewish people.

    Maybe he is sorry for the problems he has caused the Pope, but not sorry if certain Jews think they have the right to veto other people’s historical opinions.

    His lapse in charity is horrible. And if he becomes a bishop, he makes the Lord Jesus look like a monster. I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with the man.

    He already is a bishop. And if the Lord Jesus should choose in his mercy to save him (as apparently “monster”-like as that would be), what then? That will leave only one place for you, if you still don’t “want to have anything to do with the man.” Which puts you in the odd place of hoping for another soul’s damnation. So whose “lapse in charity is horrible” again?

    Perhaps instead you might try wanting what St. Maria Goretti wanted for her rapist – “For the sake of my Jesus I forgive him and want him to be with me forever in heaven.”

    Shame on those who consecrated this man to be a bishop!

    Well, even broken clocks…

    Shame on those who would treat him like one..

    Treat him like what he is? Out of curiosity, what is your opinion on treating him like someone made in the image and likeness of God, Whose love for whom He has written in His own blood?

    Perhaps it would be better if we treated him as a bishop, and as a creature created and redeemed by God, and as our own beloved brother, and then he might be inspired more and more to act in a manner worthy of those things.

  79. Da Bard says:

    ‘Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome
    more. Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than
    that Caesar were dead, to live all freemen? As Caesar loved me, I
    weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
    valiant, I honour him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him.
    There is tears for his love; joy for his fortune; honour for his
    valour; and death for his ambition. ‘

  80. Rachel says:

    Nice thought experiment, Aelric!

  81. mike says:

    I agree that this is a sincere apology, and based on his history took some ‘manning-up’. I sympathize with the SSPX deeply, and I think we can certainly bring them, good Catholics, back into the fold along with our abundant supply of un-orthodox, liberal priests and bishops; the SSPX seems harmless considering the latter.

    Yet, this does not mean we cannot parse +Williamson’s words and subsequently discuss. Has not Fr. Z. also pointed out that even when given clemency, the SSPX pamphlet (for instance) was a bit ‘triumphalist’?

    Again, this is a discussion, and I sympathize with the SSPX deeply, but we need to be honest and seek Truth. (Ought we really to give him a pass on essentially denying the holocaust in this day and age just because we are excited about re-communion and what the SSPX brings to the fold?)

    Finally, I agree with what many have said: it’s a great start and the Holy Ghost is softening hearts. Praise be to God!

  82. Vox Populi says:

    If people really feel strongly about opposing Williamson, perhaps they can contact their pastor or bishop about it. Or if everyone outraged would withhold their donation to the Church for a Sunday or two, then that might get the Vatican’s attention. They can send their money elsewhere.

  83. Hendrik says:

    I cannot believe how diluted and false most of your arguments are. The man is insane and he should not be given any power over the education of anyone whatsoever.

  84. Gerry says:

    Sorry to break up this Rev Willimason lovefest: the man is a LIAR! His ‘apology’ is not for his views simply that he caused a rightful media frenzy-when will the Catholic right wake up and smell the coffee! His views on the Chosen People, women and the Holy Catholic Church are not only frightening, but WRONG. I, for one, am delighted that the Holy Father has demanded a public recanting of such wicked views. Let us pray that he will be obedient to the wishes to the Sea of Peter.

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