The other Catholic scandal: Bishop Williamson loses his case
Today a district court in the German town of Regensburg sentenced British traditionalist Catholic bishop Richard Williamson to a 10,000 Euro fine for denying the mass extermination of Jews under the Nazi regime, which is a punishable offence in Germany. Williamson was not present for the proceedings.
Bishop Richard Williamson
(Source: The Examiner)
Williamson, a member of the ultra-reactionary Society of St. Pius X, an organisation founded by renegade French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1970 to protest the liberal reforms of the Second Vatican Council, had been excommunicated for his activities and was then rehabilitated by Pope Benedict XVI in early 2009, despite a range of blatantly heretical and distasteful statements on his part, including public Holocaust denial. The Pope’s decision – supposedly out of ignorance – led to one of the most serious crises in his papacy before it was supplanted by the pedophile scandal later in 2009.
Williamson was born an Anglican in 1940 and joined the Catholic Church in 1971. He immediately gravitated towards the Church’s most reactionary doctrines. Bishop Lefebvre ordained him a priest in 1976 and consecrated him as bishop in 1988. Since this consecration had no legal standing, the Church formally excommunicated him within a matter of days.
In an interview for Swedish TV, which Williamson taped in Regensburg in November of 2008, Williamson stated among other things: “I believe there were no gas chambers... I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers... There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!”
This was only one of many bizarre public statements Williamson has made over the years, expressing attitudes typical of the Society of St. Pius X. In 1989 he told a congregation in Canada that “The Jews created the Holocaust so we would prostrate ourselves on our knees before them and approve of their new State of Israel... Jews made up the Holocaust, Protestants get their orders from the devil, and the Vatican has sold its soul to liberalism.” He has also stated his belief in the genuineness of the forged anti-Semitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and practically every other conspiracy theory you can think, including the notion that the US government blew up the World Trade Center by itself.
He has very definite ideas on women’s fashions – “women’s trousers, as worn today, short or long, modest or immodest, tight or loose … represent a deep-lying revolt against the order willed by God” – and regarding female lawyers, he famously said: “A woman can do a good imitation of handling ideas, but then she will not be thinking properly as a woman. Did this lawyeress check her hairdo before coming into court? If she did, she is a distracted lawyer. If she did not, she is one distorted woman.” For Williamson, “feminism is intimately connected to witchcraft and satanism.”
He also has some pretty strong words for that cutting edge work of modernist culture, The Sound of Music: It’s “pornographic soul-rotting slush… By putting friendliness and fun in the place of authority and rules, it invites disorder between parents and children.” 1
It’s hard to know what drives this loose cannon cleric, who – let’s be fair now – is about as Catholic in his viewpoints as the Westboro Baptist Church is really Baptist. One Catholic British colleague of his stated in an interview: “He’s obviously a very angry man – he’s on a hair trigger all the time. I have long suspected he has issues with his sexuality because he spews forth camp poison whenever the issue of homosexuality is raised. He’s absolutely obsessed with sexual deviancy of any sort.”
None of the bishop’s statements were ever likely to win him many friends in Europe, but the Germans finally busted him for the Swedish interview. A year ago, Williamson wrote a letter to a Vatican official where he said: “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.” That’s probably the closest thing we’ll ever get to an apology from his lips.
Last year, the Williamson family housekeeper, a certain Mrs. Andrews who is now over eighty, told reporters: “It’s just so sad. He was always such a thoughtful boy who used to come and sit and have coffee with me and talk about things. I can’t imagine what's got into him."
Believe me, Mrs. Andrews, neither can anyone else.
1 The bishop explained: "Can you imagine this Julie Andrews staying with the Captain if the romance went out of their marriage? Would she not divorce him and grab his children from him to be her toys? Such romance is not actually pornographic but it is virtually so, in other words, all the elements of pornography are there, just waiting to break out."