Pope welcomes back Holocaust denier

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Today the Holy Father lifted the decree of excommunication against the bishops of the right-wing SSPX, the group around the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. This group includes Bishop Richard Williamson who denies the use of of the gas chambers during WWII. I guess he never heard of Edith Stein!

What a sad, sad day in the Catholic Church. It’s hard to fathom what the heck is going on in Rome these days. The SSXP has always rejected the fundamentals of Vatican II. Will they be able to continue in this? We will then truly have “cafeteria Catholics”.  Some have suggested that the Holy See can have better control over the more problematic parts of this group if it comes under the Holy See. Only time will tell.  God help us!


  1. You are right, Friar Rick, the SSPX includes Bishop Richard Williamson who denies the use of of the gas chambers during WWII. This has never been the position of the Society however-it is the erroneous position of one person. And to be fair, the Vatican II Church is full of bishops who are deniers of the divinity of Christ, deniers of the supremacy of the Pope and deniers of Pius XII’s role in saving many thousands of Jews. It doesn’t change the fact that the Church itself cannot err when speaking for Christ.

    Looked at another way… The same American electorial process which elected preborn-child denier Obama, (who calls 50 million innocent children deliberately killed an act of mercy and justice) elected pre-born child champions Reagan and Bush. The institution is not corrupt, although individual members of the institution can be.

  2. Hi Fr. Rick,

    So called Catholic’s Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden support abortion. Bishop Williamson denies the holocaust. Which is a greater impediment, to the faith? Who can do the greater harm? I’m sure you would agree that the church is big tent and there is room for everyone?

  3. I believe this is a wonderful day for the SSPX and Rome. Even though there may be some inside each side that believes this may not be good…it is objectively a good thing. Myself, I believe Bishop Williamson has some “crazy” ideas, but we have to remember they are apart fromt the overall SSPX faithful. Thanks be to God that now they will be given jurisdiction over confession and marriage. I don’t believe in the “spirit” of Vatican II, which has been used a lot to destroy our patrimony, but does that make me less in “union” with Rome? Nope.

    You put it right, this group “includes” Bishop Williamson. It is NOT Bishop Williamson. Please remember that distinction.

  4. I was just thinking the same thing, Friar Rick, about Tom’s comment. The Church is not big enough for heretics and apostates (unless they change their view points of course).

  5. How about Georges Gaillot or Thomas Gumbleton? There’s no way these guys believe Jesus was anything other than a liberal social activist and teacher.

  6. I very much agree with you Friar Rick – this is a sad day and one that is enough to make this catholic weep. However, it is perhaps unsurprising given the whole tone that seems to come from Rome in recent years.

    It is also unsurprising to see a proud holocaust denier amongst the upper tier of the SSPX. Lefebvre’s antipathy towards Vatican 2 was as much to do with his reactionary political world-view as any supposed desire to maintain the purity of Catholicism. His earliest followers were either those who rejected the ideas of liberty and fraternity started during the French Revolution or the remnants of extremist crypto-fascist groups that had flourished in France during the german occupation. Even today in France the overlap between support for the SSPX and the neo-fascist National Front is undeniable. The leader of the National Front is another notable holocaust denier.

    I suspect that Lefebvre would be exceedingly proud of the vile views of Williamson and his other spiritual children.

  7. No problem, you’re quite welcome. Let’s pray for one another and for the church. I believe the UK and Ireland are due for some important appointments these days. I pray these will be helpful to the People of God.

  8. Yes, we are expecting the announcement of the next Archbishop of Westminster (who will eventually become a Cardinal) any time now. I think we have been very fortunate to have the current Archbishop and his predecessor – I’m too young to remember much about earlier ones.

    It is such a difficult calling to try and lead a divergent church (progressive/conservative; old established/newly arrived members; etc. – all with different needs and expectations) in a proudly secular country that views religious conviction as, at best, an anachronism. The new Archbishop will certainly have my prayers. Veni Sancte Spiritus.

  9. “I suspect that Lefebvre would be exceedingly proud of the vile views of Williamson and his other spiritual children.” Martin, you’re making a very strong statement here…support your thesis. Have you read any of Lefebvre’s writings? What would make you suspect that? Because he was against some of the documents of Vatican II and the French Revolution? Pick a better argument…like one that is based on facts.

  10. Elizabeth –
    It may be that you are unaware of, for example, Lefebvre’s association with fascist and authoritarian leaders or his endorsement of Le Pen, the neo-fascist leader of the French National Front. If you are unaware of this, I would respectfully urge you to read a little more widely and perhaps try to avoid the apologist literature of the SSPX.

  11. Martin,
    The SSPX are not the only ones who question the “glorious achievements” of the French Revolution. Let’s not forget how things turned out for the Catholics of France when the enlightened intellectuals took over in 1794. When the Reign of Terror marched to the Atlantic Vendee, they torched, raped drowned and butchered 170,000 Vendee Catholics. It was a far greater genocide than what the Turks did in Armenia

    The Revolution had a clearly stated program to exterminate the Vendéean people for the simple reason that they had rebelled to protect their priests, who refused to swear an oath to the new constitution.

  12. Adrienne – there certainly were terrible atrocities. For example, the story of the martyrdom of the nuns of the Compiegne Carmel will live through the ages.

    However, Lefebvre’s antipathy to the revolution is only partly to do with the persecution of the Church – it is more to do with his rejection of the idea of ‘Liberty, Fraternity and Equality’. The belief in the divine right of kings and that the ancien regime was divinely instituted. This is one of the reasons why he was, and the SSPX remains, so vehemently opposed to Dignitatis Humanae.

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