Richard Williamson (bishop) bigraphy, stories - SSPX bishop

Richard Williamson (bishop) : biography

08 March 1940 -

Richard Nelson Williamson (born 8 March 1940) is an English traditionalist Catholic bishop who opposes the changes in the Catholic Church brought about by the Second Vatican Council. He was originally a member of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), but was expelled from the SSPX in 2012.

In 1988 Williamson was one of four SSPX priests who were illicitly ordained as bishops by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, for which they incurred automatic excommunication. The validity of the excommunication is disputed by the SSPX who claim that the ordinations were necessary due to a crisis in the Catholic Church. The excommunications, including that of Williamson, were lifted in 2009.

Due to his public Holocaust denial, of which the Vatican was not aware at the time the excommunication was lifted, Williamson remains suspended from his functions as a bishop. In 2010 he was convicted of incitement in a German court in relation to those views; the conviction was later overruled on appeal but then confirmed on retrial in early 2013., Haaretz/Associated Press, 16 January 2013 He has appealed again.

After a number of incidents, including calling for the deposition of Bernard Fellay as the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, his refusal to stop publishing his weekly email and an unauthorised visitation to Brazil, Williamson was expelled from the Society.

Consecration and excommunication

Episcopal duties

After his episcopal consecration Williamson remained rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, Minnesota. He performed various episcopal functions, including confirmations and ordinations. In 1991, he assisted in the consecration of Licínio Rangel as bishop for the Priestly Society of St. John Mary Vianney after the death of its founder, Bishop Antônio de Castro Mayer. In 2006, he ordained two priests and seven deacons in Warsaw, Poland for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priestly Society of Saint Josaphat.

In 2003 Williamson was appointed rector of the Seminary of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix in La Reja, Argentina.

Lifting of the excommunication

Wishing to heal the rift with the SSPX, Pope Benedict XVI lifted the declared automatic excommunications of the four bishops Marcel Lefebvre had consecrated, as they had requested. The decree was signed on 21 January 2009, the same day that the interview on Swedish television was broadcast. The decision stirred widespread outrage, particularly in Germany, where the interview was conducted and where Holocaust denial is illegal and punishable by imprisonment of up to five years. Reaction from the State of Israel and much of the worldwide Jewish community was strongly negative, and Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote to Cardinal Walter Kasper in order to express his opposition to any ecclesiastic re-integration of Bishop Williamson. In January 2009, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel suspended contacts with the Vatican. The Chief Rabbi of Haifa told the Jerusalem Post that he expected Williamson to retract publicly his statements before any dialogue could resume.

Pope Benedict XVI stated that he deplored all forms of antisemitism and that all Catholics must do the same. The Pope expressed his "unquestionable solidarity" with the Jewish people, and stated his hope that "the memory of the Shoah will induce humanity to reflect on the unpredictable power of hate when it conquers the heart of man", and condemned the denial of the Holocaust. Vatican officials stated that they had not been aware of Williamson's views prior to the lifting of the excommunication; as a result, in a July 2009 Vatican reorganization, the Pope tightened control and supervision over reconciliation efforts with SSPX.

Williamson sent the Pope a letter expressing his regret about the problems that he had caused, but did not retract his statements. On 4 February 2009 the Vatican Secretariat of State issued a note stating that Williamson would have to distance himself unequivocally and publicly from the opinions that he had expressed before he would be permitted to act as a bishop within the Church. Williamson responded that he would do so only after looking at the historical evidence for himself."I Will Not Travel to Auschwitz." Spiegel Online. 9 February 2009. On 26 February, he formally apologized for the offence that had been caused by his comments, but did not indicate that he had changed his views. The Vatican rejected his apology, stating that he needed to "unequivocally and publicly" withdraw his comments. Some Jewish groups have expressed disappointment at the ambiguity of his apology, because he failed to address the factuality of the Holocaust. He subsequently repeated the denial to followers, stating that "The fact is that the 6 million people who were supposedly gassed represent a huge lie."

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Living octopus

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