Wednesday, January 28, 2009

SSPX silences holocaust-denying Williamson

Briefing. This is a significant development. Williamson has been a loose canon for years but now reconciliation with Rome may be on the horizon the SSPX seems to be recognising it has to do something about it.

There is an apology included in this statement, which has been released by the Vatican: that is, it is addressed first and foremost to the Vatican. It does not say the Holocaust happened; it could not do so, given that argument it is using against Williamson is that he exceeded his authority by making historical claims, about which the SSPX could not in principle hold any position. It might have been better to have said that what Williamson did wrong was to make highly contentious historical claims likely to cause offence to great numbers of people; it could then have added that such claims are offensive partly because they completely lack historical credibility (and accordingly invite the conclusion that they are motivated by anti-Semitism). No one would have minded if Williamson had said that William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

From NCT, in part (their translation; see their full story): Statement of His Excellency Bernard Fellay, Superior of the Fraternity of St. Pius X

We have become aware of an interview released by Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Fraternity of St. Pius X, to Swedish television. In this interview, he expressed himself on historical questions, and in particular on the question of the genocide against the Jews carried out by the Nazis.

It’s clear that a Catholic bishop cannot speak with ecclesiastical authority except on questions that regard faith and morals. Our Fraternity does not claim any authority on other matters. Its mission is the propagation and restoration of authentic Catholic doctrine, expressed in the dogmas of the faith. It’s for this reason that we are known, accepted and respected in the entire world.

It’s with great sadness that we recognize the extent to which the violation of this mandate has done damage to our mission. The affirmations of Bishop Williamson do not reflect in any sense the position of our Fraternity. For this reason I have prohibited him, pending any new orders, from taking any public positions on political or historical questions.

We ask the forgiveness of the Supreme Pontiff, and of all people of good will, for the dramatic consequences of this act. Because we recognize how ill-advised these declarations were, we can only look with sadness at the way in which they have directly struck our Fraternity, discrediting its mission.

This is something we cannot accept, and we declare that we will continue to preach Catholic doctrine and to administer the sacraments of grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Menzingen, January 27, 2009

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen