Friday, January 30, 2009

"Abhorrent"... and Apology

In response to the global outcry over SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson's comments disputing "what is widely believed today" about the Holocaust and after requests for a response from Canada's Jewish community, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has released the following statement:
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
On Wednesday, Williamson wrote the following letter to the Holy See's lead liaison with the traditionalist communities, the president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos:
Your Eminence

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.

For me, all that matters is the Truth Incarnate, and the interests of His one true Church, through which alone we can save our souls and give eternal glory, in our little way, to Almighty God. So I have only one comment, from the prophet Jonas, I, 12:

"Take me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."

Please also accept, and convey to the Holy Father, my sincere personal thanks for the document signed last Wednesday and made public on Saturday. Most humbly I will offer a Mass for both of you.

Sincerely yours in Christ

+Richard Williamson
In a brief preface to the letter on his blog, Williamson opined that the "media uproar" following his interview was "surely aimed rather at the Holy Father than at a relatively insignificant bishop."