Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson booted from traditionalist group

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) A traditionalist Catholic breakaway group expelled Bishop Richard Williamson, who in 2009 sparked a major crisis in Jewish-Catholic relations for denying the Holocaust shortly before Pope Benedict XVI readmitted him to the church. By Alessandro Speciale.

  • Janet Baker

    I attend an SSPX chapel, and also travel to their annual conference in Kansas City, as well as reading many society publications. I therefore have some knowledge of their teaching and practice, and as a life-long supporter of civil rights, I am watching for any evidence of anti-semitism and would protest it vigorously. I have not found this. They do not seem to have any anti-semitic content that needs ‘reformed,’ as the Simon Wiesenthal center says. They do maintain the traditional Catholic position regarding Jews: that in rejecting Christ both historically and presently, Jews abandon their position as the chosen people of God and take a back-water seat in history. And that they need to convert. But that position is not anti-semitic, it is simply consistent with traditional Catholicism, as SSPX tries to be, in heroic measure, while the new, liberal Catholicism would leave all other faiths in their error, in the name of ecumenism. Think, if someone applied the same principles to an alcoholic; the liberal position would leave the person in their error, with soothing words, but the true friend would object, would insist on treatment, and would apply all the measures of ‘tough love.’ And the true friend would show real love. And that is the same principle applied toward the religion of Judaism. Nor is the principle so unsavory, when applied to more mundane topics, say, in defense of a better programming language, or a superior spaghetti sauce recipe. Liberalism is weak on standards, long on insincerity. SSPX is simply consistent and in that, more loving–consider what it means to invite Jews to convert, as the traditional liturgy does every year during the week of Christ’s Passion. It means to offer the hand of friendship, true friendship, side-by-side in the chapel. That’s not anti-semitic at all. And when I pray that prayer, I mean it with all my heart and all the love in it, for Christ as well as for those who reject Him and the fullness of life keeping His commandments brings.

    That Williamson denies some aspects of history as presented since World War II–duh. The Wiesenthal center would be well served to root out all the politically self-serving fiction emanating from exploitation of the Jewish experience. It exists in plenty, in exaggeration, and in pure make-believe in some cases. NPR reports on them now and then. There is a body of ‘work’ on the numbers. I have not personally investigated the subject, as one does tend to come into contact with the kind of ignorance that attacks Jews with less than the loving attitude such as found in SSPX. But I have heard the NPR reports at least, and have reason to believe that there is very much misinformation from the Jewish side, for purely political reasons.

  • Joe Morona

    Sorry to contradict you, Ms. Baker, but anti-semitism in endemic in most FSSPX circles in Europe, specially in France and in Germany, and I am not talking about the theological side that you mention, that for you Catholics or other Christians everybody who doesn´t believe in your founder (Jesus of Nazareth) is doomed to temporary or everlasting punishment. I am talking about believing and spreading ideas of a Jewish-Free Mason-Bolshevik-Capitalist conspiracy and similar thoughts. Basically, everyone who doesn´t subscribe to your religion of fear, hate and masochism is a potential enemy – not only Jews.
    By the way, I don´t know if you are aware that your beloved Bishop Williamson taught or still teaches that he doesn´t believe girls should go to college. Welcome to the Modern Times, Williamson – wake up, we aren´t in the Middle Ages anymore.

  • National Christian Asssociation

    The exclusion of Bishop Williamson is the correct path to take for the group. Germany should have been dismembered and removed from the map after WW II. Let us honor those who fought in WW II from the U.S. and Europe and around the world against the Nazis and Axis Powers, as well as those who helped capture top Nazis after the war. nationalchristianassociation.bravehost.com

  • Bob Hunt

    Can’t you guys in the press get anything right regarding religion? This site calls itself Religion News Service, for pete’s sake, yet you still make the glaring error that Williamson, “denied the Holocaust shortly before Benedict XVI readmitted him to the church.” Richard Williamson was never readmitted into the Catholic Church. The pope did lift the excommunication off of him and three others illegitimately ordained as bishops, but that did not constitute readmission into the Catholic Church, as the SSPX and Williamson remained then and still remain in formal schism from the Catholic Church. That schism has not yet been healed, and now likely will not be, since talks between the Vatican and SSPX have seemed to come to an impassable obstacle (though who knows what the Holy Spirit has in store!). Please, please care enough about what you report to get the facts straight.