Holocaust-denying Bishop Gets the Boot From Argentina
Williamson had been excommunicated for 20 years, along with three other members of the ultra-conservative Society of St. Pius X who had been consecrated without Vatican approval. But German-born Pope Benedict XVI didn't know what a firestorm he'd created by lifting Williams' excommunication in early February. Because the British bishop was a longtime Holocaust denier. In January, a Swedish television station aired a November interview in which Williams claimed that no Jews were gassed during the Holocaust and only 200,000 to 300,000 were killed, not 6 million. "There were no gas chambers."
This isn't a new development with Williams. As far back as 1989 when he was at a seminary in Winona, Minnesota, he was quoted as saying that "Jews made up the Holocaust, Protestants get their orders from the devil and the Vatican has sold its soul to liberalism." He made the claim that "the Jews created the Holocaust so we would prostrate ourselves on our knees before them and approve of their new state of Israel."
In letters and interviews, he has claimed Jews and Freemasons ("Judeo-Masons") have caused "changes and corruption" in the Catholic Church, referring to "Jewry" as enemies of Christ, and has supported the belief that the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion are an authentic outline for world domination by Jews. In the Swedish interview, he cites the long discredited (and patently ridiculous) claims of Fred Leuchter and the so-called "Leuchter Report" as 'proof' that there could have been no Nazi gas chambers.
Holocaust denial is illegal and punishable in Germany by imprisonment. Regensburg District Attorney Guenther Ruckdaeschel said authorities were investigating whether the remarks can be considered "inciting racial hatred."
In January, Williamson sent a letter to the Vatican, saying, “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." Note the lack of actually recanting his views. Many of his tamer views can be read on Dinoscopus, his personal blogsite.
The pope has now demanded that Williamson recant his views before he can be recognized as a Roman Catholic bishop, but after spending 20 years under excommunication before this, it's hard to see this as much of a threat to his vocation. Meanwhile, the Society of St. Pius X, which has long argued forcefully against the reforms adopted by the Second Vatican Council in 1965, is attempting to keep Williamson away from them—they've had enough trouble over the years without salting a Holocaust-denying bishop into the pot. On February 9th, they sacked him as head of their Argentina seminary in Buenos Aires. That in turn set off Argentina's Interior Ministry's mechanisms for showing Williamson the door and bestowing upon him the Order of the Boot.
On the way to his plane back to London, the peace-practicing bishop raised his fist at a local reporter, and shoved him into a pole. Nothing like turning the other cheek.