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Ok, just to reinforce Theophan's point that has been made twice, to keep this thread on topic. If not, then it will be assumed that there is no further need to discuss the topic and thread will be closed.

In IC XC,
Father Anthony+
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Everyone baptized into Christ should pass progressively through all the stages of Christ's own life, for in baptism he receives the power so to progress, and through the commandments he can discover and learn how to accomplish such progression. - Saint Gregory of Sinai
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Richard Williamson is now back in Britain.

Today, I understand that the following declaration from Richard Williamson was released by the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei":

Quote
DECLARATION

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 saidbefore God I apologise.

As the Holy Father has said, every act of injust violence against one man hurts all mankind.

+Richard Williamson
London 26 February 2009.


Thanks to Raffaella at the Papa Ratzinger Blog for posting this declaration.

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Hmmm...

So, he's sorry he said what he said.

I guess we're not going to get much more out of him and, since we are not in full communion yet anyway, I propose moving along...

Shalom,
Memo

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In fact, we are in full communion. Since the excommunication has been lifted, Richard Williamson can go to confession and receive Holy Communion in any Catholic church. However, he and all the Bishops and clergy of the Society of St. Pius X remain suspended from ministry, i.e. they cannot function as Catholic clergy and cannot celebrate the sacraments.

As for me, I accept what Richard Williamson has to say about the "harm and hurt" he has caused "to the Church." From the point of view of the Catholic Church, I think his apology should be accepted in a Lenten spirit.

As for the "survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich," it is entirely up to them if they want to accept Richard Williamson's apology. I hope they do, but I shall understand if they do not.

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Originally Posted by Latin Catholic
In fact, we are in full communion. Since the excommunication has been lifted, Richard Williamson can go to confession and receive Holy Communion in any Catholic church. However, he and all the Bishops and clergy of the Society of St. Pius X remain suspended from ministry, i.e. they cannot function as Catholic clergy and cannot celebrate the sacraments.

As for me, I accept what Richard Williamson has to say about the "harm and hurt" he has caused "to the Church." From the point of view of the Catholic Church, I think his apology should be accepted in a Lenten spirit.

As for the "survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich," it is entirely up to them if they want to accept Richard Williamson's apology. I hope they do, but I shall understand if they do not.


Unfortunately (or not... whatever), the lifting of excommunications is not equivalent to full communion.

Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras lifted the mutual excommunications of 1054, but nobody claims that Catholics and Orthodox are already in full communion.

The lifting of excommunications is the starting point of a process that hopefully, leads to full communion, but just that, the starting point. In both cases, the goal is not quite around the corner.

Yes, the SSPX Bishops may go to confession, but at that point, they would have to confess the sin of schism that placed them under excommunication. They would have to repent from receiving episcopal ordination against the norms of the Latin Church and they would also have to repent from their rejection of the current teachings of the Church.

Personally, I would hope they also repent from the harm and sufferent they and their followers have inflicted to faithful Catholics around the globe, but I am not holding my breath.

In other words, they would have to become fully Catholic. At that point, of course they would be in full communion and it would be a happy day.

Shalom,
Memo

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Memo,

As you rightly point out, our communion with the Catholic Church always depends on our making a good confession, with the grace of God.

And wouldn't it be wonderful if Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew were to hear each other's confessions...? (but that's a sidetrack and not really relevant to this thread)

May we all make good confessions during this sacred season of Lent.

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In fact, we are in full communion. Since the excommunication has been lifted . . .


Christ is in our midst!! He is and always will be!!

In fact, the lifting of the excommunication is just the start of the road to full communion. When one enters schism, it takes a profession of faith togethre with confession to be back in full communion. None of these four gentlemen can just show up at a confessional this Saturday and think he can go to Holy Communion on Sunday.

Been there. Done that.

BOB

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Holocaust-denying Bishop apologises
27th February 2009, 5:43 WST

British bishop Richard Williamson apologised to all those he offended with his Holocaust-denying remarks, in a letter to the Vatican released on Thursday through a Catholic news agency.

"Observing these consequences, I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks," said Williamson in the letter made public a day after his return home from Argentina.

"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," he said.

"To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologise," he wrote, according to the Zenit news agency. "As the Holy Father has said, every act of unjust violence against one man hurts all mankind."

The agency said the letter was written from London. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, however, told AFP he had not yet been informed of it.

Williamson, 68, indicated in the letter he was responding to a demand by the Pope to reconsider his comments.

The bishop has been at the centre of a raging controversy after saying on Swedish television last month: "There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies."

Williamson said he believed "200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but none of them by gas chambers".

He was among four bishops Pope Benedict XVI agreed to take back in January in an attempt by the Vatican to heal a split with traditionalist Catholics who rejected the church's liberal reforms of the early 1960s.

Until now, Williamson had refused to withdraw his claims, despite Vatican demands for him to unequivocally distance himself from his statements.

The Pope on February 12 sought to pacify Jewish anger over his lifting of Williamson's excommunication by saying Holocaust denial was "intolerable".

"Any denial or minimisation of (the Shoah), this terrible crime, is intolerable and altogether unacceptable," the pontiff told visiting American Jewish leaders at the Vatican.

He added: "The (Catholic) church is profoundly and irrevocably committed to reject all anti-Semitism and to continue to build good and lasting relations between our two communities."

The Argentine government last Thursday gave Williamson 10 days to leave the South American nation - where he lived at a seminary run by the ultra-conservative Saint Pius X Society - for having "deeply shocked Argentine society, the Jewish people and all of humanity".

The Vatican said earlier the bishop's views on the Holocaust were not known to the Pope when he decided last month to lift the excommunication.

AFP
http://www.thewest.com.au/aapstory.aspx?StoryName=554460

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Apparently the Vatican does not think Bishop Williamson's apology is sufficient.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7915022.stm

Quote
Vatican rejects bishop's apology


The bishop said he did not mean to cause offence
The Vatican has rejected an apology by a British bishop who denied the full extent of the Holocaust.
It said the bishop needed to "unequivocally and publicly" withdraw his comments.
Earlier, Jewish leaders said the bishop had failed to address the issue of whether he believed that the Holocaust was a lie.
Richard Williamson said if he had known the full harm his comments would cause, he would not have made them.
'Ambiguous' apology
The bishop said that his opinions had been formed "20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available".
But Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi said the bishop "does not seem to respect the conditions" it set after he had made the comments.
Meanwhile Renzo Gattegna, the president of Italy's Jewish Communities, described the apology as "absolutely ambiguous".
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said the statement "is not the kind of an apology that would end this matter" because it failed to address the central issue.
The row began after Bishop Williamson was reinstated into the Church.
The Vatican has been embroiled in an international row after Pope Benedict XVI lifted an excommunication order on the British bishop in January.
Church leaders said the Pope had not been aware at the time of an interview given by the bishop, a member of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X (SSPX), to a Swedish TV programme last November.
In it, he disputed that six million Jews had been killed by the Nazis, and said that none had died in gas chambers.
The Pope has since called on Bishop Williamson to recant his views.

The one thing he doesn't say, and the main thing, is that the Holocaust occurred, that it is not a fabrication, that it is not a lie
Rabbi Marvin Hier
In a statement published on the SSPX website, the bishop says his superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, and the Pope "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."
He added: "On Swedish television I gave only the opinion… 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 apologise."
The BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott says the apology stops short of fully recanting the bishop's earlier statements.
The bishop was one of four ultraconservative SSPX bishops whose excommunications were lifted by Pope Benedict XVI on an unrelated matter.
He is back in the UK after being expelled from Argentina earlier this week for concealing "the true motive for his stay in the country".


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The problem seems to me to be that Williamson fails to retract his comments on the Holocaust, something which does makehis apology seem rather ambiguous.

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However misplaced His Excellency's opinions are on the matter, would it not be sinful for him to say he doesn't believe something anymore when he actually still does?

These people need to get it through their heads that you cannot FORCE others to believe something just by making them feel bad about it.

Alexis

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Profile: Bishop Richard Williamson

By Robert Pigott
BBC Religious Affairs Correspondent

Richard Williamson's views on Holocaust
Pope Benedict's decision to rescind the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson last month appeared to be the latest in a series of olive branches held out to Roman Catholic traditionalists, who have never come to terms with attempts to modernise the Church.

Three other men ordained as bishops at the same time were also readmitted to the Church.

But if the Pope hoped to prevent a split in the Church from widening, without damaging the Vatican's fragile relations with Jews, he seems not to have reckoned with Bishop Williamson's incendiary views on the Holocaust.

Bishop Williamson, who was born in Britain, gave an interview to a Swedish television programme last November in which he disputed that six million Jews had died at the hands of the Nazis, and claimed that none had died in gas chambers.

He said: "I believe there were no gas chambers," and insisted that up to "300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers".

Controversial views

These are not the only eccentric views held by Richard Williamson, whose "illicit" ordination as bishop by the French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988 led Pope John Paul II to excommunicate him from the Roman Catholic Church.

A woman can do a good imitation of handling ideas, but then she will not be thinking properly as a woman

Bishop Williamson has claimed that the United States planned the attacks of 9/11, and has accused Freemasons of conspiring against the Church.

He also has controversial attitudes towards women. He is quoted as saying: "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."

Richard Williamson was born an Anglican, the son of a vicar, in 1940. He went to Winchester College and read literature at Cambridge University, before teaching in Africa and converting to Catholicism in 1971.

He became a member of the Society of St Pius X, which had been founded by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1970 to counter the reforms in the Church made by the Second Vatican Council during the previous decade.

Richard Williamson was a novice at the London Oratory, studied at Lefebvre's seminary and was ordained a priest in 1976. Archbishop Lefebvre announced in 1988 that he intended to ordain Fr Williamson, and three other priests, as bishops, and did so despite warnings that he would be excommunicated.

The Vatican has said it was unaware of Bishop Williamson's views about the Holocaust when it decided to cancel his excommunication. But, given that they have not been exactly secret, the explanation seems unlikely to pacify Jewish critics of the decision.

As recently as March last year, Bishop Williamson described as "authentic" the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" which purports to reveal Jewish plots to achieve world domination. The document is considered to be a forgery, which originated in Tsarist Russia.

Bishop Williamson denies prejudice against Jews. He said, "My definition of anti-Semitism is to be against every single Jew purely because he's a Jew. That's not at all my case. I once had a Jewish rabbi come and speak to seminarians. Does that sound to you like anti-Semitism?"

Rehabilitation

Just how complete is Bishop Williamson's rehabilitation? He is regarded as a bishop; his ordination, although "illicit" was "valid". But Bishop Williamson - and the other three "illicit" bishops - will continue to be forbidden from practising as bishops. There is no immediate sign that the Society of Pius X will itself be welcomed back into the fold by the Pope.

Some liberal Catholics say Bishop Williamson and his colleagues have had their excommunications rescinded only because they are validly ordained bishops. Fr Thomas Reese of Georgetown University suggests that because the four men could ordain other bishops (validly, if illicitly) "the schism can go on forever".

Fr Reese continues: "If the bishops ordain more bishops, they will again suffer excommunication. If the bishops refrain from ordaining new bishops, the schism ends when these four bishops die even if they are not reconciled with the pope. If lifting the excommunication is the price for keeping the bishops from ordaining more bishops, then in the view of the Vatican it is a cheap price to pay".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7869565.stm

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This has all become ridiculous, complete with self-appointed pundits writing with uneducated pseudo-expertise about Catholicism.

First, it is safe to say that the overwhelming majority of Catholics had never even heard of Bishop Williamson until this current sensation began - and it began, not with anything from the Church, but with a foolish interview that the man gave to some journalist.

I think that I actually laid eyes on Bishop Williamson in Toronto, but all that I heard him say on that occasion was the Rosary, which is edifying but hardly newsworthy.

I would have found it impossible to name the four bishops whose excommunications were lifted by the Pope had the list not been included. I had no idea at all of what, if anything, Bishop Williamson was doing. Come to think of it, I still cannot name the four bishops from memory; the Society of Saint Pius X is not a great interest of mine.

As a rule, the Catholic Church does not trouble to take much interest in the political or secular views of individual Catholics, no matter how bizarre those views might be. The only exception I can think of in recent times is the excommunication of Communists around 1950.

I am not an expert on the massacres of Jews and others during World War II. Forgive me, but I was only born in 1942, so I would hardly have been aware of this while it was going on. Several of the relevant generation of my family served in the American armed forces (this includes my father), but, as it happens, most of them were in the Pacific theater, so I naturally heard more about that - the Rape of Nanking, to name only one Japanese atrocity out of many, was no picnic, to say nothing of the bombing of Nagasaki. Unlike the Nazi war criminals, those Japanese war criminals who managed to evade the Communists tended to get off rather lightly. Nobody, of course, has ever been punished for the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

I have no reason to doubt the horrific events which took place particularly in Eastern Europe; anyone who does have doubts about it would be well advised either to keep quiet or to embark upon a thorough-going work of research.

I do know the difference between an "illicit" and an "invalid" ordination - unlike the journalists who throw these words around in such a way as to make it clear that they understand neither term. The Catholic Church has consistently maintained that the ordination of the four bishops was illicit; she has never asserted that the ordination of the four bishops was invalid.

Bishop Williamson, to the extent that one can go by reports in the secular press, was remarkably foolish in "shooting his mouth off" to a journalist in a denial of the massacres in Eastern Europe in World War II (if Msgr Williamson has any claim to expertise in that field, nobody has informed us of what this claim might consist of), and his timing was downright idiotic. Unfortunately however, neither remarkable foolishness nor downright idiocy are sufficient grounds for excommunication!

Now can we all please calm down, leave the events of World War II to the historians and researchers, and leave Catholic doctrine and technical terminology to the theologians? As to Bishop Williamson, I will be more than satisfied if he allows me to return to my previous position, which was one of only a very slight awareness that such a man existed.

Fr. Serge

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Fr Serge is more than half-right.

I met Bishop Williamson once and all he said were 1) studying Latin is good — it disciplines the mind and 2) a sermon on the general state of the Roman Church at the time. All true; nothing against faith or morals.

Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
This has all become ridiculous, complete with self-appointed pundits writing with uneducated pseudo-expertise about Catholicism.

As a rule, the Catholic Church does not trouble to take much interest in the political or secular views of individual Catholics, no matter how bizarre those views might be. The only exception I can think of in recent times is the excommunication of Communists around 1950.


That's what I've been repeating all this time.

The left of course have an agenda (and don't understand Catholic doctrine because they don't want to), which is why they defend outright heretics and apostates yet want the church to overstep its authority and excommunicate on these matters.

(Slapping on the condition that he recant those views to have his orders regularised is in the church's authority but wrongheaded, giving into political correctness and nothing to do with doctrine.)

To be fair Bishop Williamson is not a Holocaust denier; he has never denied nor defended the Nazi murder of literally hundreds of thousands of people (including Archbishop Lefebvre's father). He is a Holocaust revisionist.

Guilt by association - 'everybody knows that all who deny the figure 6 million think the Jews had it coming to them anyway' (it is true that anti-Semitism as part of French right-wing politics is part of SSPX culture) - doesn't work because AFAIK the man has never said that let alone taught it as church teaching.

As for his reputed dottiness (again not excommunicable - 'women shouldn't go to university', IIRC against mixed swimming etc.) his old enemy in the SSPX Fr Anthony Cekada (now a sedevacantist not SSPX) has noted that unlike him the bishop did not grow up in and thus did not know the real pre-conciliar RC Church, which of course wasn't like that in many places and was broader and deeper than the RC traditionalist movement today. The SSPX is all he knows.

(As for 9/11 again guilt by association with 'truthers' has never scared me away from ruling out the unthinkable - that the hijackers may well have been working for people who were working for people who were working for somebody in the US government. The bishop is anti-New World Order and anti-Iraq war and here is spot-on.)

Fr Serge's old acquaintance Fr Leonard Feeney had outrageous views that did sound like doctrine - 'all non-RCs are going to hell'. But they are allowable Catholic opinion found in the Fathers. So he never had to recant.

Like him or not, Bishop Williamson deserves the same fairness.

(If not for Archbishop Lefebvre of blessed memory there would be no RC traditionalist movement nor Pope Benedict's revival today. Again the Orthodox vision of a reunited Western Catholicism looks broadly like this and not 1970s RC practice.)

P.S. My WWII revisionism: The America Firsters were right, the Nazis and the Soviets should have been allowed to destroy each other without American involvement, imperial Japan was no threat to American sovereignty (FDR goaded them into attacking Pearl Harbor, a military target unlike Hiroshima) and friendly trading relations with it then or now would have no more or less a problem than the ones with Communist China today.

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