Canada’s Bishops on SSPX & Bishop Williamson

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Comment on questions concerning views expressed by Bishop Richard Williamson

29 January 2009
In response to questions that have been received regarding statements concerning the Holocaust (Shoah) by Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Society of Saint Pius X, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following comments:

  1. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops finds abhorrent the notion that somehow the terrible evil of the Holocaust is not a fact of history, and joins the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in calling on all people to recognize that the Holocaust is “an admonition against oblivion, negation and reductionism” (see;
  2. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops joins the Holy See in criticizing and rejecting the comments that Bishop Williamson has made on the Holocaust;
  3. The Catholic Bishops of Canada, together with the Holy See, remain committed to dialogue with the Jews, as was reaffirmed by the Bishops of Canada at their September 2008 Plenary Assembly;
  4. The Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, has apologized concerning the remarks made by Bishop Williamson and announced that Bishop Williamson has been forbidden to speak further on this question (see;
  5. It is only the declared excommunication of the four Bishops who are members of the Society of Saint Pius X, including Bishop Williamson, that has been lifted for the offence of their having received episcopal ordination without pontifical mandate. The lifting of the excommunication does not affect penalties for other offences. The decree made public on 24 January 2009 by the Holy See does not allow Bishop Williamson or the other Bishops to exercise sacred ministry licitly or to exercise any office or act of governance in the Catholic Church. It simply opens the possibility of restoring them to full communion with the Catholic Church (see


  1. It is also worth noting that Cardinal Castrillón, in declarations today to the Italian national newspaper Corriere della Sera, has stated that Bishop Fellay, Superior of SSPX has recognized Vatican II Theologically. To quote :”Full communion will come. In our discussions, Bishop Fellay recognized the Second Vatican Council, he recognized it theologically. Only a few difficulties remain…”

  2. I have been wondering, Friar Rick, whether this whole episode is not calling us to something deeper. Perhaps we as a church need to learn to really love and embrace the spirit filled treasures of Vatican II – in this case Nostra Aetate.

    If we could try and enact even a glimpse of the beautiful vision of the Council, then we may find that all the ecclesiastical peripherals we obsess about would fall into their proper place. If we could see all humanity through the prism of the Incarnation and learn from the evils of our forebears then perhaps we really could build Peace & Justice on the Earth.

    Just a thought!

  3. I think a re-reading or finally reading some of these documents would be helpful for many of us. Besides the hype… what did the Council really say? There is a beauty in Nostra Aetate that is breathtaking.

  4. Fr. Rick,

    Its clear that Tony is refering to Williamsons opinion. He is but one nutter out of the whole FFSPX. This one man is making bigger news that the actual news of a reunion. I believe what Tony is alluding to is that the Pope, is taking a lot of flack over Williamson’s opinion. Why everyone is condeming, criticizing etc. the Holy Father over this man is beyond me.

    Besides its ok to be anti semetic when it comes to Gaza, just look at the protests and comments in the media. Why the big deal if a rogue Catholic bishop says something?

  5. The Holocaust is not a matter of opinion. That’s the point. Was the Israel response in Gaza disproportionate to the threat from the Hamas rockets… that’s an opinion… although even that is verging on a fact.

  6. Fr Rick,

    I’m not saying the holocaust is simply a matter of opinion. Please stop twisting what is being said. Williamson’s opinion is only an opinion. The Pope is getting flak over that man’s opinion. What is so difficult to understand about that?

  7. I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about Williamson’s “opinion”. My point is that it’s not just about respecting his opinion. This goes beyond opinion. It’s about confronting the lie that he is promoting.

  8. I guess this makes me the resident pot-stirrer.


    I was talking about what His Excellency said in the interview. He seems very genuine and open to having his mind changed on this issue. I think it is his absolute right, before God, and therefore before us, to hold his position until he is otherwise convinced. In his apology letter, he did not regret saying what he did. Some find this lamentable. I do to a certain extent as well, but only because I don’t find his views true to the facts of history. He did not question the Holocaust, and that is because the presence of the Holocaust in history is not contingent upon the way in which the Jews died, or their number – which were the only things he had questioned.

    Though we may find his views stupid and wrong, we should be just or more upset with how the media is spinning this – and not against Williamson, but against Benedict the Sixteenth.

    I keep on going over 100 words. You’ll have to change the rules a little to accommodate me. Reasonably. Call it ecumenism. 😉

  9. Your cousin Michael is correct though Tony. You need to read up on the history of the Holocaust and what some do to deny the extent of the Holocaust by reducing the numbers, questioning the numbers etc. Take it from B16. Check what the CCCB has stated. It’s as clear as a bell.

  10. Dearest Tony,
    I shall send you a list of books which I suggest you to read and which will, I hope, get you away from the lies of those who revise history. People like Williamson feel themselves superior to all and sundry … don’t expect them to apologise. Don’t fall into their trap.

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