Judy Mandelbaum

Judy Mandelbaum
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June 01
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APRIL 16, 2010 11:40AM

The other Catholic scandal: Bishop Williamson loses his case

Rate: 17 Flag

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.

Richard Williamson 
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

The Sound of Music 
Pornographic soul-rotting slush...?

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."



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You know, I'd promised myself to stop blogging about this sort of thing for a while, but it's been a bumper month for crazy bishops and I hate to let them all go to waste...
Thanks for updating this story, Judy. One almost has to laugh reading his characterization of, as you so cleverly put it, "that cutting edge work of modernist culture," The Sound of Music, along with your last paragraph.
Yeah, Judy - can't let 'em go to waste.

Yeah, Kathy - Sound of Music as “pornographic soul-rotting slush" is quite wonderful, in its way.
It's always been one of my favorites. Maybe I'll watch it again tonight!
I'll think of this guy next time I'm inspired to belt out "Climb Every Mountain."

It almost makes me feel sad for him. Almost. It must take a lot of effort to carry around that much hate in your heart all the time.
Williamson said about The Sound of Music: "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."
Perhaps the good bishop was traumatized by the scene where the nun says to Julie, "What is it you cunt-face?"
Thanks for posting. With respect to Mrs. Anderson's lament, perhaps a brain tumor, an alternative personality, the devil...that's it the devil made he do it. Makes perfect sense. The church takes no responsibity for any of its actions, calling factual documentary, attacks. Yup, poor Mrs. Anderson. Rated.
Very interesting. Scary that he rose to the rank of Bishop. The quote "a woman can do a good imitation of handling ideas" - wow. Just wow. On top of the conspiracy, Holocaust-denier nonsense...
Obvioulsy the Bishop wants the Van Trapp children fro HIS toys.

Especially Kurt.
Rogers and Hammerstein were responsible for bringing "pornographic soul rotting slush" to Broadway. I wonder how he felt about "South Pacific" or does he limit his comment to the European Theater.
Williamson said about The Sound of Music: "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."

This is definitely going on my list of top ten nuttiest comments ever, in the history of the world. Projection much, Bishop Williamson?
ugh, another one revealed :p
Wow! Just crazy -- some of it funny (women imitating handling ideas, the evils of Julie Andrews) and some of it not... I wonder what the rest of that church is up to?
They are definitely coming out of the woodwork, Judy. Of course this whacko is going to deny the holocaust and the gas chambers, his pope is a freaking Nazi. This idiot bishop got off easy with just a fine for his denials. The fact that he didn't show up for court makes me wonder what other secrets he is hiding.
You know, I'm not a big fan of that law in Germany b/c I think it drives fascism underground, and I'd rather see it go, but I must say it's delightful to see it applied to such a nut in the meantime.
We should expect nothing less from the Catholic Church. A church which installs a confirmed Nazi soldier, and Hitler Youth member, as its representative of "god on earth". The opprobrium of pedophilia and sexual abuse is obviously sanctioned and condoned by the Church. These criminal acts must be investigated by Interpol and the perpetrators must be brought to justice in the International Criminal Court. In this country the Church must be investigated by the F. B. I. and it should be discerned whether the R.I.C.O. statute applies (it does). If the Church truly wants these heinous acts of violence, barbarity and sexual abuse
to end they must do the following:
Allow women to be priests.
Allow women to be in all hierarchial positions, of the Church.
Allow priests to marry.
Cardinal Ratzinger must resign.
The fact that this nutcase made it to Bishop says a lot about the Catholic Church and the way it chooses its leaders. I was raised a Catholic; however, I chose, while still a student at a Catholic high school, to no longer participate. Both my husband and I are products of the Catholic school system. Neither of us have any desire to be part of the Church. This man is an extremist, but he reminds me of some of the nuns I knew growing up.
I consider myself quite ecumenical: I dislike ALL forms of organized religion as anti-woman, anti-intellectual and all-around silly. But I must say that over the past ten years the Catholic Church has moved down in my rankings from merely tiresome to downright loathsome. What a bunch of creeps and their enablers, from the Pope downward. Waaaay downward.
I don't know what to say but I'll post a web-site and then continue.
I had another appropriate to the blog but seem to have misplaced it.
The bishop's feverish mind is contemptible. The woman he literally insults, Maria von Trapp was the second wife of a widower! The Bishop's Scenario is malarky. Today, the great-grandchildren of George Ritter von Trapp are the second group of Trapp Family Singers and are still touring and singing. I'm sure that I probably went to the theater and heard the first family group in concert after they came to the US, because my mother was big on attending concerts of every kind. I would not have really known very much about their background at the time, so I probably did not distinguish them from other Tyrolean-clad childrens' singing groups more apparent particularly at Christmas time in our German-American community.
Ps. Judy:
I found the comments of the former Williamson' housekeeper(in your link to the UK press), on the bishop's childhood personality and his debating style in academe along with the noted changes in his later life, the nicest touch of all. She seems to have impeccable background and credentials to remark the changes that took place in his personality. Why they do not retire these mentally troubled gentleman of the cloth is beyond me; the various orders have always done this with women when they age somewhat unevenly by sending them to the mother-house of their order for their retirement. The current pope has however instigated a review of all the conventual orders of women here in America, because something tells him that they are behaving badly compared to his old-fashioned standards in which they would appropriately not make decisions for themselves in sisterhood but remain obediently subservient to churchmen in the apostolate,that is, Bishops, such as Bishop Williams.
thanks for the intriguing comment. It's great that you experienced the Trapp Family live! Regarding Williamson, let me point out that he is hardly a typical Catholic but was a renegade from the Church, and was only brought back into the fold by the Pope-for reasons known only to him and his boss. I'm sure I can't understand it.