Thursday, January 22, 2009

More SSPX News: Bishop Williamson opens mouth and inserts...

I remember Bishop Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X from my own days in the SSPX (mea culp mea culpa). Back then he was still Fr.Williamson. My impressions of him were that he was a remarkably well spoken gentleman, congenial with a very British dry wit, and a complete loon. Over the many years since I last saw him (it's probably been over 20 years now) he has continued to pop up in various news reports here and there. And almost without fail he continues to confirm my earlier impressions. Now he is at it again on the eve of the most dramatic step towards regularizing the SSPX that has thus far occurred (he has been deeply opposed to reconciliation with Rome).

In an interview with a European television crew (see above) he repeats his longstanding views that the Holocaust is mostly a myth and that there were no gas chambers. Of course Holocaust denial is one of the pet causes of radicals in the tin foil hat crowd. But it is also a bit more serious than that for a few reasons.

First is that this is a glimpse into the weird subculture of Trad Catholics. Not all by any means, but a large number of them are hard core right wingers. Anti-Semitism may not be an article of faith for the SSPX, but its pretty widespread among both the laity and the clergy. I could fill several pages with anecdotal experiences that send shivers down my spine just thinking about them. But it is sufficient to note that this has been so widely reported that it is not seriously contended except by the society's apologists.

Secondly it demonstrates the grave risks that must attend the lifting of the excommunications from a group that has in no way softened its opposition to the so called hermanuetic of continuity espoused by Pope Benedict. The SSPX is a group that has long seen itself as the last bastion of true Catholicism and their obstinate refusal to tow the Vatican's line has won them many supporters among the fringe. Most remain completely unreconciled to Vatican II and they are likely to see this as a de facto surrender by the Vatican as are many more moderate and liberal Catholics who will wonder what this says about Benedict's views on Vatican II.

And finally it will without doubt further damage the already frayed relations between Rome and the Jewish community who are almost certainly going to be alarmed by the readmission of a hardcore Holocaust denier like Williamson to communion with the Roman Catholic Church. And to be honest I won't blame them. There will be no way to interpret this as anything less than a huge slap in the face. I have been a big fan of B-XVI, but if he does this without first silencing Williamson he will be making a huge mistake that will seriously damage his reputation.

The question which this begs is, have Rome and the SSPX reached an agreement on the serious points of divisions? I have long feared that Pope Benedict, who felt keenly and personally the failure to prevent Archbishop Lefebvre's schism in 1988, would undertake a rush to reconciliation with the SSPX. No doubt reconciliation and the healing of schism is a much to be desired thing. But is this a true reconciliation or a modern false union of Florence?


Anonymous said...

I'm a Catholic traditionalist.

I can't go into why I think this, but here's what I believe is going to happen.

The excommunications will be lifted and within the next year the SSPX will be regularized as a personal prelature, carefully watched over by Ecclessia Dei and the CDF. Bishop Williamson and a solid third of the SSPX will not go along with it however. They will split off and many will come out of the closet of sedevacantism, and believe you me Bishop Williamson will be one of them.

The SSPX has been divided for sometime between sincere and reasonable people like Bishop Fellay, and people like Bishop Williamson who will never accept reconciliation. It's the closet sedes like Williamson who are the nut jobs, don't lump everyone together with them.

omorphia said...

Ooh. This is a program from my country, Sweden. It was broadcasted last week, I think, and has created a storm...Apparantly, the Swedish Church (lutheran) have troughout the years allowed them to use their churches. The Catholics in Sweden refuse to even talk with this grouop...

How interesting that people outside Sweden have found this program.

Anonymous said...

I have been wondering for years why Bishop Williamson and his followers don't simply join the sede-vacantist "Society of St. Pius V."

William Tighe

gdelassu said...

Whenever the whacko heterodoxy of my former parish in Michigan drove me crazy enough to seek solace in an SSPX chapel (or sedevacantist; there are plenty of them in Detroit and Ohio), all it took was 10 minutes spent in the company of the schismatics to send me running back to the Church. I pray for an end to all schisms, but there really is no way that Williamson is going to end up back in communion with Rome. I agree with the anonymous Traditionalist above that when the excommunication is lifted, a substantial chunk of the SSPX (in my humble opinion, well more than the third that he predicts) will come out of the sedevacantist closet and follow Williamson (and others) into the "Society of St Pius II" or some such.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"I have been wondering for years why Bishop Williamson and his followers don't simply join the sede-vacantist "Society of St. Pius V."

The rivalry between Richard Williamson and the SSPV head, Clarence Kelly, when both were still SSPX priests, was notorious.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

I don't understand why everyone is singling out Williamson. Msgr. Tissier de Mallerais has made statements that are as, well, astonishing as those of Williamson.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Very disturbing. May God shed mercy upon this bishop's inner being. May he come to wholeness in Christ Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Will someone point out the following for us please: Zionism,
Christian Zionist, Jewish Zionist,
Jews Against Zionism. Why as Christians do we NOT follow Christ's mandate Go Forth and Baptize all Nations! The Conciliar Church has fallen into PC hands. Anti-semitism is a label given to anyone against Zionism. Yes even against Jews!
Until Catholics realize these distinctions there can not be a true consensus of Catholic Faith.
SSPX and true traditional teaching support the Social Kingdom of Christ. If you know the history of God, Man and Church you will see that WE ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES FACEING HERETICAL SITUATIONS. Remember the Arian Controversy? God Bless St. Athanaius!

Anonymous said...

The author of the article writes :
"Not all by any means, but a large number of them are hard core right wingers. Anti-Semitism may not be an article of faith for the SSPX, but its pretty widespread among both the laity and the clergy"

With regard to the laity, I do not see how the author can know this. You would have to conduct a survey to know this.

Racial anti-Semitism is forbidden by the SSPX and the Conciliar Church as a sin.

I am a Jewish convert to Catholicism and I have always been welcomed by the SSPX London.

A Church is not a social club. I go when I can because the SSPX has not "watered-down" the religion.

However I agree Bishop Williamson's judgment is poor. If he is going to make statements about the Holocaust, I think it is his duty to research the subject fully which he has appeared not to have done.