manicstreetpreacher analyses the fanatical pronouncements of an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier and a current bishop in the Roman Catholic Church.
As with so many of the quotes on my blog, I owe the title of this post to Christopher Hitchens. During his October massacre of the Catholic Church with Stephen Fry in London, Hitch used the sound bite to describe the views of Bishop Richard (or “Roger” as Hitchens bizarrely called him on the night) Williamson; a member of Marcel Lefebvre’s ultraconservative Catholic sect, Society of St Pius X (SSPX), who was excommunicated along with several other members of “his rat bag organisation” in 1988 by Pope John Paul II, but was readmitted by the current pontiff, Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, in January 2009:
Williamson… has long been a believer that – I’ll put this shortly – that the Holocaust did not occur, but the Jews did kill Christ. In word others, “Genocide? No. Deicide? Yes!”
I realise that I am weighing in rather late in the day with this one, but at the Hitchens/ Fry debate, Catholic defender, Ann Widdecombe, chided Hitchens for grossly misrepresenting the Church in his opening address. Widdecombe was adamant that Williamson had been ordered to recant his views by Ratzinger before his readmission. However this post presents a series of video clips and articles on Williamson’s views. It beggars belief as to why Ratzinger not only readmitted Williamson, but did not re-excommunicate him PDQ once the full picture of his views came into the public domain.
Denying the Holocaust
Below is the longest version I could find of the notorious interview on Swedish television that Williamson gave just days before his readmission to the Church. I apologise for the clip being hosted by neo-Nazi scum who clearly sympathise with Williamson, as do many of the commenters. However, there are some good refutations of Williamson there as well, particularly in relation to the utterly bogus and debunked Leuchter Report into the gas chambers at Auschwitz.
The interview was filmed in Schierling, south of Regensburg, Germany, and you’ll see that he knows full well that he is guilty of an act of anti-Semitic hatred by pleading with the interviewer not to report him to the German authorities.
9/11 was a setup by the US government
This next one is an audio clip of a sermon Williamson gave in London in 2007 where the deranged cleric insists that the attacks against the USA on 11 September 2001 were a government inside job as per the ridiculous cut n paste Internet film, Loose Change. Notice how he refers to a 9/11 “mysteries” website where his parishioners can learn more if they so wish…
…because in this next montage of his ravings, he denounces the Internet as the biggest source of lies that the world has ever concocted.
Views and opinions
For a summary of yet more of Williamson’s crackpot views, see this post on the Fringe Watch blog. Unfortunately, most of the links are now dead. SSPX have clearly removed many of his sermons and newsletters in light of the scandal. However, this shocking piece from 2005 on the civil unrest in France is a good indication of Williamson’s ultraconservative views:
This immigration has taken place in France, Great Britain, Germany and also the USA, amongst other countries, especially since World War Two, for two main reasons. Firstly, the Europeans in these countries wanted to enjoy the conveniences of materialism without the inconvenience of having babies. So there were not enough workers for their factories or for all the menial tasks henceforth beneath their dignity as university graduates, university degrees having become as common as daisies. Secondly the enemies of God, seeing as usual farther ahead than His friends, foresaw in the immigration of an alien population a great means of diluting the national identity of countries which by their long and proud history risked not easily being absorbed into the Antichrist’s New World Order…
For if they had kept the Faith of St Paul, they would never have let themselves be deceived by the liberals’ false equality and charity, which are no more than a parody of Christian equality and charity. St Paul says, “For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3: 27, 28). Similarly, “…putting on the new man, him who is renewed unto knowledge, according to the image of Him Who created him. Where there is neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free. But Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3: 10, 11).
Notice how in each of these quotations, St Paul frames the equality of different human races, classes and sexes within Christ. In other words the equality is before God, and will only be fulfilled in Heaven. St Paul would never have dreamt of denying or wiping out the inequality of human differences before men. As to the inequality in this life between Jew and Greek, see Romans and Galatians; between bond and free, see Philemon; between man and woman, see Ephesians and Colossians. The will of God for men on earth is that Catholic save Jew, that the man free look after the bondsman and that the man be head of the woman. So when the white men give up on saving Jews, looking after other races and leading their womenfolk, it is altogether normal for them to be punished respectively by the domination of Jewish finance, by the refusal to follow of the non-white races and by rampant feminism.
For by refusing Christ, these whites no longer understand the divine dimension of the true equality between men. Retaining however from Christianity, because it suits their pride, the sense of the value of every man, then all eternity’s equality has to be squeezed into this little life on earth, where it necessarily crushes the hierarchies willed by God between races, classes, and sexes. So by affirming the equality of men without Christ and without eternal life, these white men betray alike Jew and bond and woman.
In chronological order, before Christ, nobody in their senses would have dreamt of denying the inequality of different races, classes and sexes. When Christ came, nobody in their senses imagined that men’s equality in Christ wiped out these differences, it transcended or rose above them. However post-Christian modern man, by refusing anything transcendent or anyone above him, has lost all grip on reality, and in all likelihood it will take rather more than a few thousand cars getting burnt for him to see straight once more.
Then what? Then we need to pray that the much greater disasters soon to take place will open as many eyes as possible, to save as many souls as possible, and if the white men still refuse to convert, let us pray for some great conversions amongst Jews, Muslims and blacks so that they may take over where the whites have left off, and may continue to show us the way to Heaven. So long as God is served, all honor to His servants, of any race, class or sex!
Such paranoid ravings could have come from a member of a pagan, fascistic political party.
Catholic blogger for The Daily Telegraph website and editor of The Catholic Herald, Damien Thompson, had it right:
This is a truly appalling man. I realised this last year, when – in a fruitless attempt to warn the Vatican what he was like – I commissioned a front-page exposé of his poisonous anti-Semitism in The Catholic Herald. Like most Holocaust deniers, Williamson has a soft spot for the Third Reich: that much is clear from his pathetic diatribe against The Sound of Music, of all films, for painting the German authorities in an unsympathetic light…
The SSPX has known for many years that one of its four bishops was a Far Right conspiracy theorist. It was irritated by him, it pushed him to the margins – but it allowed him to continue exercising episcopal ministry in the Society. That is a scandal that its leader, the arrogant Bishop Bernard Fellay, has never got round to addressing…
No one who supports the Holy Father should have any dealings with Richard Williamson. If he wants a congregation, let him set up his soapbox at Speakers’ Corner and gibber about Jews and Freemasons alongside all the other nutjobs. I personally volunteer to heckle him.
The article in The Catholic Herald to which Thompson refers is worth the effort, if only for compiling the sayings of this raving loon:
In accordance with their false messianic vocation of Jewish world-domination, the Jews are preparing the Anti-Christ’s throne in Jerusalem.
Can you imagine Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music staying with the Captain if the romance went out of their marriage? Would she not divorce him and grab his children to be her toys? All the elements of pornography are there…
This is my diagnosis of the Unabomber. You may say what you like about him as a criminal terrorist, and much of it is true… But he still has a remotely Catholic sense of how technology brutalises man. How Catholic are those technophiles who wallow at ease in their computers? Give me the Unabomber’s seriousness over their shallowness, any day of the week.
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.
Williamson was given a nod of approval from the Institute for Historical Review… which happens to be one of the world’s most prominent Holocaust denial outfits:
The Williamson affair underscores a great social-political danger – not the danger of dissent or of historical error, but rather of ruthlessly enforced orthodoxy. Far more harmful than Williamson’s unconventional views about crimes committed, or not committed, more than 60 years ago is the well – organized global campaign, backed with the power of police and courts, that demands submission to an instrumentalized and dogmatically-presented view of one chapter of history. This campaign is an expression of a hypocritical double standard that makes a mockery of the pretentions of “democratic” states to uphold freedom of speech and expression.
A society’s real hierarchy of values, and of power, is shown by what it prohibits. The Williamson affair underscores a well-entrenched Jewish-Zionist bias in the cultural life of modern Western society, and reminds us, once again, of the power behind that bias.
Poor Bishop Williamson is being hounded by the powers that be who want to preserve the memory of one of the greatest crimes against humanity in deliberate defiance to heroes like Norman Finkelstein who say that they are only profiting from a “Holocaust Industry”. Yeah.
Not a very sincere sounding apology
According to an article on The Huffington Post, Bishop Williamson said that he was sorry to the Pope for the upset his comments had caused, but did not retract them. On the contrary, comments reported by Der Spiegel were:
Since I see that there are many honest and intelligent people who think differently, I must look again at the historical evidence… It is about historical evidence, not about emotions… And if I find this evidence, I will correct myself. But that will take time.
The magazine suggested that he could make a personal visit to Auschwitz, set up by the Nazis in occupied Poland, which stands as the most powerful symbol of the Holocaust. More than 1 million people, mostly Jews, died there. Williamson replied, “I will not go to Auschwitz”.
Indeed, Williamson consulted the world’s most notorious “historian”, David Irving for tips on how best to express his appalling views. Irving is of course infamous for his disastrous 2000 libel suit against Deborah Lipstadt, who branded him as Holocaust denier in her book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, as well as his imprisonment in Austria 2006 for breaking hate-speech laws:
He is not a Holocaust denier. Like me, he does not buy the whole package… About a week ago I sent him a lengthy email telling him what he could safely say. He should not be quoted as saying things which are not tenable. I sent two pages telling him what is incontrovertible fact. I got a message back thanking me… He is obviously a very intelligent man who did not realise the danger of talking to the press.
The exchange of emails between Williamson and Irving, together with photographs of the two of them at a party hosted by Irving can be seen in this article. It also contains other useful links of Williamson’s ties with other notorious Holocaust deniers, not least of whom is Michèle Renouf.
In February, shortly after his readmission to the Church, Williamson was given ten days to leave his hideout in Argentina due to his comments on Swedish television which caused great distress to one of the largest Jewish populations outside of Israel.
Eventually, Williamson issued a formal written apology for his comments on Swedish TV. Below is the full text to Williamson’s supposed retraction of his anti-Semitic rewriting of history:
The Holy Father and my Superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy.
Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.
On Swedish television I gave only the opinion (…“I believe”… …“I believe”…) of a non-historian, an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available, and rarely expressed in public since.
However, the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused. To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologize.
As the Holy Father has said, every act of injust [sic] violence against one man hurts all mankind.
London, 26 February, 2009
I don’t think I’m being overly cynical by saying that Bishop Williamson has chosen his words very carefully indeed and has simply apologised for the hurt feelings caused by him publically expressing his opinions based on an honest and sincerely held belief. Nowhere in the statement does he say that he repudiates his actual belief that the Holocaust did not occur. And quite frankly, for a man who is nearly 70 years old who has expressed such views at all in the recent past, the phrase “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” springs to mind.
Latest on Williamson
Williamson has been in the papers again recently when in October he was charged with Holocaust denial by German prosecutors and in November when he refused to pay a £12,000 fine for his comments on Swedish TV:
Under the German legal system, he was served with an ‘order of punishment’ informing him of the penalty.
Such orders are intended to cut down on bureaucracy and costs if both sides agree with the fine, which also would mean a criminal conviction.
But Williamson did not agree. He is to appeal, paving the way for a full hearing which could prove highly embarrassing for the church once more – even though Williamson can absent himself from proceedings to be represented just by his lawyer.
A trial judge will demand to know why he believes that six million Jews were not murdered by the Nazis and on what facts he bases his views on.
In conclusion – Sorry, Miss Widdecombe, but I’ll stick with the Hitch
Williamson is clearly continuing to court controversy with his suborn refusal to admit to the true nature and harmful effects of his views. Indeed, my research indicates that he has not properly recanted his views on the Holocaust. His recent refusal to pay the fine imposed on him by the German authorities is final confirmation of this.
Ann Widdecombe’s rather lame defence of Ratzinger at the Intelligence Squared debate on the Catholic Church took the form of an attack on Hitchens’ research and presentation. She implied that Hitchens had twisted the facts when she said that Ratzinger had made Williamson recant his views before readmitting him to the fold. I hope that this post has shown that this is most definitely not the case.
I am going to stick with Hitchens’ analysis that Williamson is a fanatic, a racist and an anti-Semite. But for Ratzinger, Church unity is more important for him than the unsanitary consequences of having this fraud and liar in the community, regardless of the things that he has said, and done, and continues to stand for.
For shame indeed.