Rorate Caeli

Apology Letter of Bishop Richard Williamson

Mgr Richard Williamson

To His Eminence Cardinal Castrillón 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

Written to Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on January 28, 2009.


  1. Anonymous12:57 PM

    This whole Williamson affair may turn out to be a kind of "felix culpa" that will demonstrate and prove the sincerity and commitment of both the SSPX and Rome.

  2. Anonymous1:03 PM

    This is really interesting as the speed and offer of himself suggests that +Williamson does not want to be left behind when the train leaves the station after all. For the same reasons, given all the other news, it might also be taken as another bit of evidence that something is going to "come down" real soon.

    Despite the recent spat and some other rather extreme remarks in past, His Excellency is a nice man in person and one who has a lot to offer, in a good sense, actually.

  3. Anonymous1:19 PM

    I've never been a fan of Bishop Williamson, but I must tell you how I am impressed with the humility it must have taken him to do this.

    God bless this good man, the rest of the SSPX leadership, Cardinal Castrillon and our beloved Holy Father!

    May they be regularized ASAP. They will be such a blessing for the Church!!!

  4. Actually, now the FSSPX behave themselves as true catholics. After the lifting of ex-communications both Felay and Williamson apply directly to their true supperior, i.e Ponitfex Magnus and the direct ceo in Vatican Card. Hoyos

  5. Anonymous1:27 PM

    "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."

    I respect the bishop very much, but I beg to remark, that Christian virtue requires us to care for more than the Incarnate Truth and the interests of the Church.

    We must be truthful and accepting of all truths, even those historical.

    This bishop's confession above, seems to indicate he has not yet accepted this Christian duty....

    And that is the crux of the scandal he has given.

    The bishop seems to be flirting with the error of fideism, which holds that there is truth in matters pertaining to the faith, but in all other matters it is non existent or doubtful.

    No the Catholic position has ever been, that since the world was created by Eternal Truth, and man's mind is directly formed by that Same Truth, we can know truth and there are created truths.

    And this extends to the field of history and the statistical reports of the executed polities of the Naxi state and their victims.

  6. Written like a true Catholic brother. Bishop Williamson deserves full pardon. Perhaps his detractors could find it in themselves to forgive also. He is neither a nut, nor a crank, nor insane. These were the name-calling taunts of those who are no better than the names they call others.

    I doubt if the apology will cut any ice with those who hate The Church and it will certainly not be welcomed by anti-traditionalist elements.

    Further, there are quite a few bishops around the world who also owe the Holy Father written apologies for their continual rebellion against his Summorum Pontificum and other stated liturgical wishes. Those in UK and USA who have continually acted in disobedience are several. I do not suppose for one moment they have either the courage or the humility to do so.

  7. Anonymous1:37 PM


    I think you may be correct. There has been an incredible amount of good will from all sides in the last few weeks, including some from whom we might not have expected it.

    Let us continue to pray to Our Lady that this rift might be finally and completely healed.

  8. Bishop Williamson: A class Catholic act! A real Bishop!

  9. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Now will some neoconservative blogger -- George Weigel, Ed Peters, or someone -- send a letter to Bishop Williamson protesting his decision to offer a Mass for the Holy Father and Cardinal Hoyos? After all, he's still "suspended"!

  10. Anonymous2:04 PM

    Nothing short of a miracle. The Blessed Virgin Mary's powerful intercession is apparent in all these events.

  11. Anonymous2:04 PM

    Truth and grace have met.

  12. Anonymous2:20 PM

    Vintage Williamson!

    A very clever non-apology and non-retraction -- not for what he actually said, but for "imprudence" and "causing distress."

    As we used to say: Listen to what Fr. Williamson is NOT saying, and then you'll know what he's said.

    -- Fr. Cekada

  13. Anonymous2:40 PM

    What a beautifully expressed apology! Can anyone imagine a Cardinal Mahoney writing such a letter?

    As I have said before, I believe the Bishop was "set up"; it must be one painful lesson now learned which will make him a wiser man.

    God bless Bishop Williamson.


  14. Anonymous2:56 PM


    Not Ponitex Magnus; rather,

    Pontifex Maximus, ie. the
    Supreme Pontiff.

  15. Anonymous3:20 PM

    I have such a deep and newfound respect at this moment for His Excellency Bishop Williamson.

    Lord forgive me for thinking he was nutty.

    God bless His Excellency and God bless the FSSPX!!!

  16. Anonymous3:22 PM

    "Now will some neoconservative blogger -- George Weigel, Ed Peters, or someone -- send a letter to Bishop Williamson protesting his decision to offer a Mass for the Holy Father and Cardinal Hoyos? After all, he's still "suspended"!"

    They don't need to: a "trad" blogger, yourself, has made the point quite nicely.

  17. Anon:

    To be honest, I have a feeling that the Pope at this point doesn't care that they are saying Mass while suspended. I think he would rather them not, but there are worse things in this world that an illicit Mass, in fact such Masses can still bring great graces. More to the point the Vatican has allowed SSPX priests to say Mass in St. Peters Basilica for several years. (They almost always do so on the Altar-tomb of St. Pius X.)

  18. And now, let all those nasty critics who have trashed His Excellency over the years show the same humility and self deprecation. Shall I hold my breath??

  19. Anonymous4:13 PM

    I thought Jonah was fleeing on that boat from the work God commanded of him! Maybe I'm being pedantic but....., well, at least it's amusing.

  20. Anonymous4:20 PM

    His first act as an official Catholic bishop is one of humility and homage to the pope. Not bad!

  21. Deo gratias ! The Holy Father needs us to support him in every way. There are too many who would want this reconciliation to fail. I am happy that His Excellency has done the right thing. I applaud his humility and fortitude. Now let us all pray for the success of this holy endeavor as well as the return to the Church of the Anglicans seeking union with the See of Peter. Despite all the evils that surround us, it is a wonderful thing to see the Holy Spirit at work; the miracles we never thought we would see, unfurl before our very eyes. We are living in prophetic times!

  22. Anonymous4:51 PM

    Ma Tucker said...
    "I thought Jonah was fleeing on that boat from the work God commanded of him! Maybe I'm being pedantic but....., well, at least it's amusing."

    But then, when Jonah was vomited forth from the belly of the whale what did he do?

    God takes our souls as they are, right now.

  23. Very meet, right and his bounden duty, neither insubordinate nor grovelling to the howling PC outrage over opinions nothing to do with the pending regularisation of the SSPX and its clergy.

  24. Father Cekada, do you believe Bp. Williamson SHOULD have apologized? (To the Jews?)

  25. Anonymous5:33 PM

    Father Anthony, it's not very charitable of you to try and dimminish the humility displayed here. Should he have to apologize for his politically incorrect personal opinion? I don't think so, and the whole comment he made on Swedish tv should not overshadow the great good that is to come for the Holy Catholic church. I commend Bishop Williamson's humility, and love the quote he used too! Let's pray for the Church and our poor Holy Father who is under attack by certain groups and media.

  26. Anonymous5:43 PM

    Perhaps a quick websearch of Fr. Cekada will lay open his desires regarding a regularization of the Society with Rome.

  27. In spite of some imprudence on his part, it is Bishop Williamson who is the true friend of Jews, who seeks their conversion to the one true Faith and seeks their salvation, not the present Conciliar "pope," who says and does nothing for that conversion. In eternity the Jews will know this and bless the bishop's name while cursing Benedict for his false ecumenism. By the way, Anonymous, Bishop Williamson is not suspended. It was only Archbishop Lefebvre who was illegally suspended. And Bishop Williamson's invalid "excommunication" has been lifted.

  28. Anonymous5:49 PM

    Father Cekada,

    His Excellenys apology was humble, heartfelt and without guile.

    I am sorry that you see imaginary phantasms lurking behind good and salutory intentions.

    If I was to judge everyone on what they did not say,or pigeonhole a particular person into my assumptions of them, I would be guilty of bearing false witness against my neighbor.

    Now I do not need to point out that this is breaking the ninth commandment, so of course is objectively is a mortal sin.
    God bless you and

    God bless His Excellency.

  29. This apology letter must close this affaire.

  30. Anonymous6:23 PM

    This is great and I hope it’s contagious. It would be great for Catholic-Jewish relations if director Stephen Spielberg would now apologize for all the hate speech about Jesus in his movies and make reparation by sending them back to the editing room. I think it an insult to Christians everywhere to hear his movie character’s verbalizing JC’s and C’s throughout his movies while parading around with other Jews in Hollywood about the dangers and effects of hate-speech on individuals and groups. Jesus is to us what a concentration camp is for them: non-revisionist material. Besides having us pay money to hear these insults, they are also awarded prizes for artistic achievement. How about an apology from Tom Hanks for the Da Vinci Code since the Jesus portrayed in this movie is a blasphemous attack against the Catholic faith. Both these men spread diseased propaganda about our Savior and get away with it. Let us not miss the opportunity to hold others accountable too, less they believe they are privileged and can say and do whatever they want. And put people in jail too.

  31. Anonymous6:52 PM

    Mr Hunter, I think you mean the eighth commandment?

  32. I am impressed, Bp Williamson is a great man.

  33. Most humbly I will offer a Mass for both of you.

    I bet that is the first time he's heard THAT in years

  34. Anonymous7:59 PM

    Bishop Williamson has apologiezed for causing scandal. One can cause scandal with evil actions and lies; one can also cause it with imprudent good or indifferent actions and statements of the truth. Recall in this connection St. Paul's remarks on eating meat reputedly offered to idols.

    Bishop Williamson is clearly apologizing for scandal caused by what he deems the truth, or he also would have stated that he now does not doubt the gas chamber narrative.

    Father Cekada clearly would have us believe that Bishop Williamson is being sly or sneaky or disingenuous or something else bad in what he has said and not said. But if His Excellency still believes -- as there is every reason to think that he still believes -- that Jews were not gassed, what was he supposed to do? Lie?

    Father Cekada, as the most vocal clerical "rigorist" sedevacantist in the U.S., has no dog in this fight. He also knows perfectly well all the things I have said above. So his remarks are primarily of interest as evidence that (1) he has a very aberrant view of the moral theology or scandal -- and/or (2) his dislike of Bishop Williamson, dating from the expulsion of him and the rest of the "Nine" from the SSPX in the early 1980s, has prevented him from properly applying the relevant principles to the current situation.

  35. Anonymous8:28 PM

    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor is the eighth commandment.
    Please forgive me,
    I guess I got Lutheran all of a sudden.

  36. Anonymous8:55 PM

    And now Bishop Williamson should resign and fade into quiet obscurity - if he is truly humble.

  37. Anonymous9:16 PM

    I am moved by this gesture. Let us pray for Bishop Williamson and the other SSPX bishops. Grace is certainly at work. Let us thank God and Our Lady. Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus, quoniam in aeternum misericordia eius.

  38. Anonymous9:26 PM

    Sedevacantists are the least humble Catholics I've met. And Bishop Williamson is the only bishop I've heard say that he didn't consider sedevacantism to be a very big sin due to the confusing situation the church caused and the error of sedevacantists being on the side of defending the honor of the papacy. The man can't win.

  39. Anonymous9:28 PM

    "And now Bishop Williamson should resign and fade into quiet obscurity - if he is truly humble"
    Where is the logic in that?

  40. Anonymous at 20:55-- Resign from what? He has no bishopric.

  41. Anonymous9:58 PM

    Thank you John Mc Farland for a great post on Fr. Cekada. We here in Rochester lost our wonderful SSPX church to the Infamous 9 priests who betrayed us. If memory serves me right the inquisitor sent by Bishop Lefebvre to check up on the situation here was Fr. Williamson. That would account for Fr. Cedada's dislike of him.

    A.M. LaPietra

  42. This bishop apologizes and still he receives criticism from some quarters that just won't let up. It is apparent to me that some in the church would use this unfortunate situation as ammunition against the regularization of the Society. As for the sedevacantists, what right do they have to interfere in this matter since they don't believe in the hierarchy as such? It boggles the mind.

  43. Anonymous12:34 AM

    Admittedly, those of us catholics that have had a relative immolated in the Nazi holocaust tend to be unduly (certainly from the perspective of many of the commentators to this blog) sympathetic to the emotional distress suffered by the adherents of another great faith (with which we share a rich tradition and multiple divine covenants) when they hear a Bishop ordained by our Church exploiting his ecclesiastical platform to spread his well-considered conclusion that no jew was ever gassed in a Nazi gas chambers.

    And because we’re good catholics and we generously assume no malevolence in Williamson’s intent, we tend to assume that he’s merely out of his depth, probably doesn’t know it, and has begun to suffer some emotional impairment .

    Certainly, a man of his widely-reported faith and devotion could not possibly so insistently inflict such mental anguish on others purposefully.

    But, regrettably, that perspective is simply too subtle to be grasped by most non-catholics.

    Typically all they’ll hear is that some important catholic priest has been speaking what sounds suspiciously like the party line of the Aryan Brotherhood and then they’ll “rush to judgment” that that cleric is one more closet anti-semite.

    And, as far as they’re concerned, that’s all they'll ever need to know.

    Now, you probably know that the ADL sent the Vatican a letter on January 23 alerting them explicitly that this kind of perspective could very well be adopted by Jews worldwide to the Vatican re-opening its doors to Williamson and fellow his fellow SSPX Bishops.

    Yet, on January 24th, the way the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Lombardi, chose to preempt the predictable furor that might erupt from any such potential misinterpretation of the Vatican’s actions was to tell the world press that
    Bishop Richard Williamson's views were simply irrelevant to the Vatican’s decision to lift the excommunication decree
    and that
    his views could only "be judged on their own".

    Not until January 27th, days after that ham-fisted handling by the Vatican and SSPX of the announcement and the ensuing outrage expressed by Catholics and Jews worldwide, did

    the SSPX miraculously discover (apparently for the first time in its brief guardianship of what they have had the discernment to recognize as the “true” RC Tradition) that it could comment negatively on the merely “secular” ravings of one their favorite Bishops
    Cardinal Ricard, deftly brushing aside the justifiably discredited Fr. Lombardi, suddenly became emboldened to exercise his new-found ecclesiastical authority in the Church to declare it to have found "unacceptable" the "declarations from Bishop Williamson negating the drama of the extermination of the Jews."

    Whew – finally !

    But by then the damage to the credibility and integrity of the Church had already been done.

    It is quite sad that an extraordinary act of great charity and ecumenical outreach by the Holy Father has, by its amateurish mishandling by Vatican upper-management lifers (even an intern in the PR department at Merrill Lynch would have had less of a tin-ear than Fr. Lombardi and crew), improbably, and quite unnecessarily, been turned into yet one more glaring source of additional cynicism about the Church that even its worst, and most vicious, critics could not have concocted from such a benign initiative.

    A few other random notes:

    - I couldn’t agree more with the comments about Williamson’s non-apology apology.

    Some us were foolishly hoping for an acknowledgement from him that what he’s been saying about the Jews is wrong, inflammatory, and not representative of a man of such intellectual acuity.

    For him, after days of self-reflection and consultation with SSPX lawyers, to say merely that he’s sorry that the “media storm” caused by his “imprudent remarks…on television” caused distress to the Holy Father, was an elliptical way for him to make clear that he is absolutely unwilling to recant his well-considered, firmly-stated untruth about the holocaust (nb: just because to say Jews were actually gassed in Nazi ovens is “PC” doesn’t mean, as some of you seem to subtly hint, that it didn’t happen…) and, beyond the Holy Father, he doesn't much care who he hurts with his words.

    I think the Jesuits in my catholic school would have understood exactly what Williamson was, and wasn’t, trying to convey in that “apology”.

    - By the way, did you see the celebratory brochure the SSPX issued on January 24 to exult in its newly elevated status in its relations with the Church?

    It’s easy to download a PDF file of it from the internet, but I’d like to cite just a few of its passive-aggressive expressions of ecumenical appreciation to the Pope for his outreach to them:
    + "the suspension of Lefebrve was contrary to Canon law" and he was "illegally denied ecclesiastical trial"

    + the "excommunications never existed...they were illegitimate and null and void"

    + of course, while the SSPX bishops admitted that they had cheerily engaged in "mere abuse of ecclesiastical powers", the brochure clarifies that what they did were "not offenses against religion and the Unity of the Church"

    + all those new SSPX bishops they created were actually never improperly consecrated, because they were merely "sacramental" bishops
    + and, by the way, let us SSPX’rs remind you that Lefebrve had the right idea when he cited Paul's declaration of anathema against anyone teaching a false doctrine, like the Pope ("Is it not this that the Holy Father is repeating today ? This reformation [that our Holy Father has embraced]...derives from heresy").

    I'm not aware the Vatican PR office ever sent to anybody, much less ever acknowledged the existence of, that contemporaneously issued SSPX brochure brimming with such vicious attacks on the Church, Pius, John, Benedict, etc.

    So, in light of that brochure and the SSPX’s initial press release, I just don’t understand why more of the devout, even those of us that have such respect for theological rigor of the SSPX, haven’t expressed outrage at what looks, to the casual observer, like a duplicitously condescending response by the SSPX to the Holy Father’s compassion.

    - I haven’t really heard anybody talk too much about Williamson’s over-the-top sermon (from the pulpit !) on the “REALITY” of 9-11, in which he clarifies that, not only were multiple demolitions, not two jets, responsible for the collapse of the WTC, but also that RC Cardinals systematically “lie” as part of an organized disinformation campaign to prepare for their participation in a global “police state” – it’s all there on YouTube.

    Any of you troubled by any of that ?

    Or is that just one more irrelevant matter not relating to Faith or Morality that neither Fellay nor the Pope should have any ability, interest, or jurisdiction to comment on ?

    Fortunately I’ve got an idea for reconciliation.

    What if we were to offer our newly-re-received brother in the universal church, Williamson, to share in-person the results of his unique and well-thought-out applications of his refined version of phenomenology with any of the NYC Irish-catholic firefighters (regrettably impaired by a more intuitive, humble, and less-sophisticated form of faith than Williamson’s) that had to drag Father Mychal Judge’s battered, lifeless body out of the WTC rubble?

    New York’s bravest may not understand
    what the profound forces are that drive Williamson to use his visibility in the SSPX to relentlessly promulgate the ugly things he has to say about the mass murder of defenseless Jews
    why he says beyond-fantastical things that mock the sacrifice of those firefighters’ fallen pastor.

    But I have every confidence that, were they to have the benefit of a personal audience with him, they would immediately sense the contours and nature of his spirituality and respond accordingly.

    - I’ve got one last question.

    James mentioned that the Vatican has allowed SSPX priests to say Mass in St. Peters Basilica for several years.

    Really ?

    I thought an excommunicant is not allowed to distribute or receive sacraments in the Church.

    Is there some dispensation/loophole here?

    Some kind of sacramental don’t-ask-don’t-tell ?

    I know there’s lots of canonical law firepower lurking on this blog – please enlighten me !

  44. Anonymous1:34 AM

    Imprudent does not suggest that he has reformed his view on the holocaust. He should have been more explicit. The Holy Father would be best to impose a life of prayer and penance upon His Lordship and hide him away in some convent.

  45. Anonymous2:59 AM


    Are you a Catholic?

    Seiously, no offense intended.
    I just want to know.

    God bless.

  46. Anonymous4:10 AM


    Let me further note that the deaths of firemen and Father Judge -- not to mention the poor souls who were just at their daily paper pushing and so not given the title of "bravest" -- are not evidence of anything except that they died. The question is how they came to die.

    As for the excommunications, the answer is that they excommunications were invalid, and the Vatican know (although it does not admit) this; and so the Vatican has never paid much attention to them except as a means of scaring people off from the SSPX. Now a lot a folks on this blog and elsewhere will tell you otherwise at great length; but they're deluding themselves. Look into the analysis of the excommunications by the SSPX and its allies, and you'll see what I mean. Mr. Perkins, perhaps the smartest and most knowledgeable man who comments ln his blog, has been reduced to saying that the issue is not as open and shut as the plain words of canon law say. As a lawyer of thirty years standing, my reaction is that if you're arguing against what the letter of the law says, you're playing a losing hand.

  47. No, Edward, you don't really want to be "enlightened". It's far more satisfying for you to vent your venomous rage through your busy fingers on the keyboard, and impress us all with your verbosity and Buckley-like sophistry. Ed, my boy, who told you that the SSPX priests (not bishops) were "excommunicants", hmmm? It helps to at least have a superficial understanding of the facts before pontificating to the rest of us.

  48. Anonymous5:42 AM

    If he is truly sorry, let him apologize to the Jewish people. His words pave the way again to Dacau and Auswitcz because he makes Jews liars adding insult to injury. Let him prayer for the souls of those who were tortured in the concentration camps - all 6 million of them. Let him walk do the stations of the cross in Auschwitz. I would believe his sincerity if he does that. Otherwise, I don’t believe a word he says.
    How can someone like this be elevated to the office of bishop – the fullness of the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ? He is nothing like the Lord; he would make the Lord look like a monster.
    He does not need to be thrown into the sea. Just step down from his holy office, confess his wrongdoing & make up the damage that he has inflicted.

  49. Anonymous5:50 AM


    I am tired to read about the need for the Church to have "good PR". This is absolute nonsense.
    The mission of the militant Church is not to please the world, and this is true in particular for the Vicar of Christ. CNN and other similar devilish media are up in arms against a decision made at the Vatican? Very good: this means that this decision must not be too far from the Truth.

    Stop whining please.

  50. Anonymous9:08 AM

    Edward said "I think the Jesuits in my catholic school ..." Says it all. When it comes to dissent from Catholic teaching, they are the masters, for sure.

  51. Anonymous10:17 AM

    can't agree with you more, Martin, ditto to you

    Ernie from Beijing

  52. Anonymous11:10 AM


    I believe what you say should be judged on its merits, and not assaulted by ad hominems, like many have done here.

    Yes, it is important for the true Face of the Church to shine through, and thus giving scandal on that score ia a horrible crime against souls.

    St. Francis of Assisi admonished all to avoid such scandals, becaues the salvation of souls and the conversion of unbelievers is at stake.

    And by such words, the Bishop has obstructed the salvation of souls. And by such a faux apology he manifests an impenitent heart.

    Some think the bishop is holy despite his comments on the "Holocaust" or 9/11. They err greatly and St. Thomas would rebuke them.

    A catholic must be faithful too all truth, and even those truths which are purely historical. To hold that 9/11 was perpetrated by explosions from other sources than the planes, is absurd, ludicrous, unfounded, contrary to known evidence, eyewitness accounts, etc.

    But to accuse those who don't hold your looney theories of being involved in a conspiracy takes sins against reason and adds sins against charity upon them.

    Yes, you are wrong, no one in the SSPX is excommunicated now.

    But you are correct, the Bishop has defamed Christ and His Church and greatly injured the reputation fo the Holy Father and the SSPX.

    And yes, folks, I am a devout Roman Catholic, and good friend of the SSPX, and attend only the TLM.

    As for the broschure, I have not seen it: but it is well established in Catholic theology that an excommunication can be invalid, and one can be morally obliged to say law is the the doctrine of the church, which is why St. Pius X forbade doctorates in canon law to be confered on candidate who had not yet obtained doctorates in dogmatic theology.

  53. Anonymous1:49 PM

    "If he is truly sorry, let him apologize to the Jewish people. His words pave the way again to Dacau and Auswitcz because he makes Jews liars adding insult to injury."

    Yes, anything questioning the Jews automatically leads to the Holocaust- their trump card they pull out every time the Great Commission or other evidence against their party lines are mentioned. They cried about it with "The Passion" too, if I'm not mistaken. It's the same way the neo-pagans claim the Church killed millions in Europe in witch hunts and killed all the cats so that the Black Plague happened.

    The Holocaust would not be at all unique in history if the event were re-examined and what "everyone knows" to be true about it turned out not to be. Bishop Willamson himself said that he would change his mind based on FACTS, not emotion. He never said it didn't happen, or that the death of 200-300 thousand would be any less tragic or wrong then the death of 6 million. Remember, many many Catholics died in the Holocaust too. Of course, when Pope JPII wanted to honor them by putting up crosses at one of the camps, the Jews threw a fit and he backed down.

    I am glad he apologized. It would have been an extremely imprudent thing to do at any time but especially now. But it bothers me that this topic apparently cannot even be discussed. Honestly, all people are doing by their protests is adding credibility to the opposite view. It makes you wonder what there is to hide.

    "In spite of some imprudence on his part, it is Bishop Williamson who is the true friend of Jews, who seeks their conversion to the one true Faith and seeks their salvation"

  54. Anonymous2:34 PM

    Edward: The SSPX priests have been saying Mass at the Lourdes shrine for years, now. The bishops weren't allowed to before the lifting of the decree of excommunication, but they probably will be now. Remember: the SSPX priests and religious had no decree of excommunication issued against them.

    What I would like to know is why were the priests suspended a divinis in the first place. They were suspended long before the consecrations. Was it for continuing to say the TLM? If so, with the new universal law contained in Summorum Pontificum, the reason no longer exists.

  55. Anonymous7:54 PM

    On Fr. Cekada's remarks:

    What you say is quite true but how can he apologise for beliefs which are presumably his? We might say that his beliefs are unfortunate but can we say that they are dishonest? No, we cannot. Not unless we are to admit a second Magisterium of the secular press (or worse).

    He can only apologise for the imprudence and timing because these proceed presumably from a sin of negligence.


  56. Anonymous8:05 PM

    One clarification needs to be made here. Any of us is free to believe that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the War but we are not required to believe this. My own view is that the number was very great (the Pope recently used the expression "an incalculable number") but I am sceptical about the six million figure. The Faith does not require us to believe the six million number or the method used in the way that it requires us to believe in the Blessed Trinity. There is only one Magisterium and it is that of Christ's Holy Church. The secular press is not a magisterium and matters of historical fact are not a Dogma of the Faith. Therefore, Williamson is entitled to his beliefs. Whether or not he is honest about them is a matter for the internal forum and not for this blog. However, if he does subscribe to beliefs which are unreasonable, this is certainly cause to exclude him from futue appointments in the Church. The old expression for such people was 'he is unsound'.


  57. Anonymous8:37 PM

    Riccardo, could you please identify an ex cathedra declaration on the veracity of the Holocaust?

    If not, why should a Bishop be puniched, if his statements -no matter how bizarre- do not conflict with the Doctrine of Christ.

  58. Anonymous5:34 AM

    A Catholic Point of View on the Holocaust.

    1. First of all, we are strictly required by Christ to love all men, even our enemies. Therefore, there can be no excuse for killing anyone unjustly, including vast numbers of Jewish people who were unknown to the killers.

    2. Secondly, the historical record is clear that the Nazis intended to wipe out the Jewish population of Europe. This is nothing less than mass-murder.

    3. Our Lord teaches us that the intent to do evil is not lessened by a failure to do it. He said that, even to look at a woman with lust in your eye is to commit adultery with her in your heart. Since the Nazis (or at least many of them, and all their leaders) intended to kill all the Jews, they are guilty of the murder of all of them, and not only those whom they managed to kill. So the Jews should not be dogmatic about the number six million. They should add up all the Jews who lived in Nazi-occupied territories at the time, including the many who escaped, and then be dogmatic about *that* number.

    4. Exactly how many the Nazis killed is irrelevant in Moral Law. All that matters is how many they intended to kill, which was all of them. The question of how many actually died is a matter for historical research, not political dogma. Faithful have every right to investigate matters of historical record and to arrive at whatever opinions they please, as long as they are honest about it.

    5. The method by which the victims died is relevant because some methods of murder are more cruel than are others, and cruelty is a sin separate from that of simple murder; it is an additional sin here. However, while important, it is secondary. The primary consideration is the number of intended victims of murder.

    6. If Williamson's statement included dishonest views, views he really does not hold, that is a matter for the internal forum, not this blog. We are ordinarily bound to assume the best of someone until we have good reason to think otherwise. However, some may find that he is unsound or hateful, given his past statements on such issues. Still, only God can judge that in the end.

    7. If Williamson is or may be 'unsound', then he should not be considered for any episcopal appointment. Since he is already 69 years old and Rome usually does not appoint septuagenarians (and most exceptions to this are in the Eastern churches), it is unlikely that he will be named as an auxiliary bishop in any new structure in any event.

    8. The question then is whether or not he should be admitted as a member of the S.S.P.X, for the Society's members are its clerics, including even its retired clerics. I see no reason why he should be excluded because he has not denied any point of dogma. He should be excluded for holding an unpopular political view if and only if all the liberal priests in the Church are expelled for their heresies, for heresy is far more serious. If we were to vet the views of all the priests of the world, we'd find many of them to be objectionable(esp. in Rwanda, where there is evidence that some of them did more than comment on genocide and then later joined a seminary).

    9. It is not a dogma of the Faith that this or that number of Jews were murdered or that it was done by this or that method. We now have a new supermagisterium, which is the secular press. It superpontificates superdogma. Instead of laws against blasphemy, we have laws against offending a privileged group, by which I do not mean all Jews but all those who belong to groups such as the A.D.L. And why should they be offended? As I've already asserted, under Catholic doctrine, the Nazis were guilty of the murder of even those who escaped. How is this assertion 'anti-semitic'? Isn't it exactly the opposite?

    10. What we seem to have here is a group of people in the Jewish community who assert that the greatest evil imaginable is to deny that at least six million perished. This entire approach is completely incompatible with the Christian Faith and must therefore be rejected ab ovo. Sin consists in intending evil, not in disputing historical facts.

    Lastly, who ever said that the Holocaust was at the centre of world history? The entire report of it was largely unknown between 1945 and 1965, at least among non-historians, just as the the Holodymr massacre of 1932-33 is largely unknown today.

    We need to love all people, both Jews and everyone else. That means that we should have a much greater determination to stop and catch present war criminals than those who are too old and weak to kill anymore. But the whiners from the A.D.L. and other Jewish groups did nothing at all against Pol Pot, Idi Amin, or Robert Mugabe. Amin, a mass murderer of innocents, died at a good old age in a Saudi hospital. Why did the Mossad not get him, if not to show concern for Gentiles, then at least for good p.r.?

    The Zionists would really do themselves credit if they, acting alone, went after Robert Mugabe (who happens to be an enemy of Israel as well as supported Hussein). They could then say to the world that they are not hypocrites but love all men and desire to protect all the innocent children of the world dying of cholera, and not just innocent Jewish children. And then others would suddenly wake up and renounce anti-semitism root and branch. They have an opportunity to prove this day after day but they don't do it. How sad. Of course, I am not suggesting that others should not go after Mugabe as well. It's just that NOBODY is going after him and NOBODY, Christian or Jew, gives a tinder's damn about the children of Zimbabwe. We shall all have to answer for it hereafter. Enough with this talk, talk, talk about what happened sixty plus years ago. Now is the time to show that we have all learned something from it.


  59. Anonymous9:02 PM

    "Exactly how many the Nazis killed is irrelevant in Moral Law. All that matters is how many they intended to kill, which was all of them. The question of how many actually died is a matter for historical research, not political dogma. Faithful have every right to investigate matters of historical record and to arrive at whatever opinions they please, as long as they are honest about it."

    Dear Sir,

    I am sorry, but in questions of moral theology, how many you actually did kill does matter, because consummated murder is more evil than intended murder by the exact number of persons actually murdered.

    This is the common opinion among theologians regarding all sins of the external forum.

    God's Justice reckons all things, and our justice should too.

    Br. Alexis Bugnolo

  60. Anonymous9:43 PM

    I imagine that + Williamson can no longer travel freely in Germany, Poland and other countries that have extradiction agreements. This limitation will certainly hurt the SSPX and I think the Catholic Church. I hope and pray for a peaceful resolve. I think + Williamson can stay on as a bishop.

  61. The letter of apology does seem to be of sincerity in one sense but it still does not address the cause of the stir, for which the bishop has not apologized - his denial of the holocaust. And that rubs the dirt and sin of Williamson onto Pope Benedict XVI., who is now being presented to the non-Catholic world like the guilty one in this matter. Williamson should have clearly taken back his remarks of his Holocaust denial as through his remarks has the healing gesture of stretching out the kind and helping hand of Pope Benedict XVI. been abused for Williamson's purpose. Pope Benedict XVI. reversed only the excommunication fortunately, he did not instate the four souls into any offices, as for that they will have to lead and live the living word of Christ by example - and must never on anybody, and least on God's children trample.

    God bless you!

    Mother Ziggy (Sigrid) Agocsi
    Order of the Holy Rose
    An Anglican-Catholic Order
    under the authority of Bishop Ralph Napierski in union with the Roman-Catholic Church and supporter of Pope Benedict XVI.

  62. Thank you Mother Ziggy for sifting the wheat from the chaff.

  63. Anonymous10:14 PM

    (1) I’m sure most of you have moved on from this topic, but, if anyone’s still out there to answer a couple of questions, I would certainly appreciate your help on these:

    - Some commentators have stated that the excommunications of the SSPX Bishops were invalid.
    I understand that has been, and remains still the opinion of the SSPX.
    Is that the position of the Church ?

    - One commentator noted that only the SSPX Bishops, not the SSPX priests, were excommunicated.
    Is that correct?
    I would have thought (but really don’t know) that, if the SSPX Bishops were formally excommunicated for their willful disobedience, the SSPX priests following the directions of their Bishops, leading the faithful away from the guidance of Rome, and consciously eroding their instinctual respect for the Holy Father, would probably be sub silentio automatically excommunicated without the necessity of formal action.
    But what’s the real answer ?

    - A couple of commentators have mentioned that SSPX clergy, during their excommunication, conducted masses at Lourdes and at the Vatican.
    I have always had the simple view than an excommunication means not much more, maybe even less (?), than being barred from participating in the eucharist.
    If that were correct, how could the RC clergy at Lourdes or the Vatican sanction the SSPX masses in those locations ?

    - I keep hearing that the until-recently-excommunicated Bishops were merely “sacramental”…what does that mean ?

    - I think (?) I’ve been taught that the sinfulness of a priest has no effect on the actuality and sacramentality of the eucharist delivered by him.
    Does the fact that a Bishop has been excommunicated have any effect on the sacramental nature of the eucharist served by him ?

    - In connection with the SSPX topic, I’ve recently been lectured by a former priest that
    (1) to be excommunicated is to be “condemned” and
    (2) excommunications almost always involve bells and snuffed-out-candles.
    My thoughts on his explanation have been that
    (1) there’s zero explicit “condemnation” (at least of the eternal kind) in excommunication (other than, perhaps implicitly, the tougher road back to Jesus resulting from the lack of access to the sacraments),
    (2) almost 100% of all excommunications are “automatic” (I think I read in the National Catholic Reporter there have been only 4 “formal” excommunications in the United States in the last century – of course, there have been millions of “automatic” excommunications from divorce-remarriage, abortion assistance, etc.), and
    (3) ex-priests and ex-seminarians (particularly the ones on the 6-8 years track) are rarely a balanced source of information on the Church.

    Any enlightenment on these questions would be appreciated.

    (2) Some responses to comments:

    - I couldn’t agree more that there seems is a highly legitimate dispute among credible historians about the number of jews that died in the holocaust and that the number is quite likely to be less than the 6 million number usually thrown about.
    So while it’s not clear why Williamson has to keep raising it (a lot of us a long time ago accepted that hyperbole is rarely avoidable in historical narratives, so we don’t dwell on many seemingly non-essential details), I would never spend much time trying to argue about Williamson’s doing so.

    However, what troubles many of us is his robust and continuing denial of the clear and overwhelming evidence (conclusions of US Army, confessions of Nazis at all levels of the killing machine, survivors, etc) that even a single jew was ever gassed.

    It’s really challenging to come up with a charitable interpretation for why a guy as clearly sharp and articulate, and with such demonstrated leadership skills, as Williamson insists on continuing to say this.

    Sloppy historian ? Intellectual arrogance ? Early-onset dementia ? Nice guy that can’t keep himself from saying non-factual things on merely secular matters ?

    Whatever the reasons, by damaging his own credibility and relentlessly subjecting those credulously looking to him for guidance on the RC path to communion with the divine, Williamson has done, and continues to do, massive damage to the credibility of the Church and its mission in the World.

    [By the way, one more sign of the damage to jewish-catholic relations done by Williamson’s needless actions is that WABC, the most popular AM radio station in the largest US market, devoted an hour long discussion yesterday among catholic and jewish leaders on just this topic – what came out of it wasn’t very pretty for those that care about the Church (it’s becoming increasingly clear that the effect of Wiliamson’s “secular” ramblings is not some esoteric issue that is a fit topic only for the “internal forum”).

    - I know from your posts that some of you think that
    + a lot of jews are “whiners”
    + an ex cathedra declaration would be required to verify to your standards the actuality of the holocaust
    + the motivation of the people “protesting” Williamson’s baseless remarks are, by their protests, proving the truth of his remarks
    + too much of the media goes along with highly-skewed jewish propaganda
    and, therefore, as a matter of simple reciprocity or whatever, Williamson, should be allowed/encouraged to say whatever he wants to say about the non-gassing of jews, whether factual or not and no matter whatever damage that does to the Church or to innocent individuals.

    I’m still working on grasping logic of all that.

    - One commentator noted that, although that the Vatican continues to hold the view that the SSPX excommunications were “valid”, those excommunications were actually “invalid”, since, “if you’re arguing against what the letter of the law says, you’re playing a losing hand”.

    I think that’s mostly right, except that I think that, as lots of lawyers over the years litigating constitutional and other legal issues in the US discovered to their dismay, sometimes the stated opinion of the highest juridical forum of final appeal (which may not necessarily be the “best” interpretation of the clear words of the statute/constitution) is, nonetheless, what ultimately determines the institutional “validity” of some action.

    I suspect that the final determination of the “validity” of some disciplinary action, like excommunication, may be determined in the same way in the Church, at least among those that believe it is their duty to consistently recognize the Church’s authority.

    - No need for good PR ? [The most persuasive proponent of that position has been George Bush]

    Maybe I should have used the word for “diplomacy”.

    The Vatican has a boatload of diplomats, for good reason.

    In a more complex world than this blog, look what John Paul was able to do in Poland. He stood his ground against the communists, but he never ignored their sensitivities, or refused to compromise with them, particularly on non-essential issues. He understood the utterly illusory line between “matters of faith and morality” and “secular matters” and well-understood the responsibility of Church leaders in both realms.

    And, although the Holy Father’s works spoke for themselves, his PR skills (content + clarity + sensitivity/compassion) helped inspire one of those iconoclastic, secular jews in the media, Bob Woodward, to write a best-selling book highly complementary of the Pontiff.

    (3) Some personal responses:

    - Am I a catholic ?
    That’s an utterly reasonable question.

    I think (hope) so.

    But I am relying heavily on that business of even excommunicates, once confirmed in the Church remaining catholics, notwithstanding their transparently errant ways.

    There’s almost nothing in the Catechism I don’t subscribe to.

    But what I don’t believe has been interpreted “correctly” by the Church (from the admittedly myopic, self-serving perspective of an inevitably compromised conscience), I choose to not comply with.

    Therefore, as a result of my selective rejectionism of some of the Church’s teachings, I do not disrespect the Church’s sacraments by sharing in them other than as a prayerful, hopeful observer.

    That self-righteous attachment to my own doctrinal selectivity I think I may very well share in common with the SSPX (which I understand believes it has a much more “objective” view of Church doctrine than that discerned by the current and past couple of regimes at the Vatican).

    However, I just can’t bring myself to express solidarity with the compulsive manifestations by the SSPX leadership of disrespect for Benedict and his predecessors simply because of their apparent lack of spiritual acuity to agree with me (on the other hand, the SSPX continues to make “clear” that all those Holy Fathers shared the grave, heretical flaw of not agreeing with the SSPX on what constitutes essential Church tradition).

    Benedict is, and has been for quite awhile, a spiritual and intellectual hero of mine and countless others (and that’s at least one of the reasons I tend to go more than a little off the hook when it appears, at least to me, any divisive group within the church seems to consistently self-actualize and express their separatist unity by figuring out a new and adolescently-clever way to demonstrate their disrespect for him).

    [The January 24 SSPX brochure – it says more than anything I could say about the respect the SSPX has for the Holy Father. Read it. Be very afraid.]

    - Blogger NCTradCatholic doesn’t like my “verbosity and Buckley-like sophistry”.

    I couldn’t agree with him more. Really.

    Using all those words is not a particularly efficient way to communicate. The sentences are often too long for any but the most patient to follow. And they’re filled with way too many tangential and elliptical, and, perhaps to some much too irreverent or irrelevant, observations. And the whole thing almost always sounds stilted and/or pretentious.

    I actually do know that.

    But, when I attempt to be more direct, my words unfortunately tend to erupt like Blogger NCT’s stuff – accusations, denunciations, undiluted rage and premature judgment, all of which I’ve rarely found advance any discussion.

    I do find that concisely flinging out that quick-and-dirty stuff (that Blogger NCTrad evidently likes to do) to actually be quite exhilarating (and lots of fun) in a rough-and-tumble environment.

    But the reason I spend all the time throwing in all those extra words in my comments in a thoughtful forum like this is an attempt, however awkward, to make clearer why I’m making some judgement, however unwarranted or ill-informed, and implicitly to request a critique of my reasoning, so I can maybe change (or maybe just become even more convinced of) my original thesis.

    I guess each of us have to work within the constraints to which each of us are subject…

    - Anybody want to address the advisability, evangelical impact, and or integrity of Williamson’s preaching that terrorist planes never hit the Pentagon or the WTC buildings ?
    I’ve got to admit I’m probably unfairly prejudiced on the side of the majority “opinion” on those “alleged” facts.

    I was thrown out my desk chair in the 1993 WTC islamist bombing – seemed pretty real to me.

    On 9/11, I only saw the TV image of the first plane hitting the WTC.

    But I did see terribly clearly, from a bit less than a mile away, the second plane hit.

    Some of my neighbors died.

    600 of my colleagues at my company, Marsh, perished within the hour.

    Hardly any of us are jews, but, for obvious reasons, we’re just as irrationally intolerant of those that have such an utter disregard for “reality” (Williamson’s self-proclaimed theological specialty) that they’re comfortable in throwing into their bag of rhetorical tricks the denial of the reality of fundamental aspects of horrific acts of mass murder.

    - Thank you, Mother Agocsi, for your thoughtful comments.

    With the recent apparent breakdown in negotiations between the Vatican and many of the dissatisfied Anglo Catholics in the COE looking for a more orthodox alternative, I have become very concerned about the improbability of much of the Anglican Communion ever achieving unity with Rome.

    But now, with the recent report that there is some prospect for the TAC to become soon a personal prelature of Benedict and the news (to me) of the relationship of the Order of the Holy Rose through Bishop Napierski to Benedict, I’m quite heartened that more of those on the Anglican side of another unfortunate schism may yet be reunited in one Church !

  64. Anonymous12:54 AM

    Dear Bro. Bugnolo:

    Even if consummated murder is more evil than intended murder (since the former does more damage to God's objective order), it nevertheless remains true that we are guilty of murder for everyone we intend to murder, just as the one who looks at a woman with lust in his eyes is guilty of fornication in his heart.

    Now, in the case of the Holocaust, the Nazis did not leave a convenient numbered list of victims. Reputable historians have argued over the number. Frankly, my own view is that it was nowhere near six million but far fewer. However, it still remains true that the Nazi leaders are guilty for all those whom they intended to murder, which is all those living in Nazi occupied territories, a number far greater than the unknown number of actual victims. They are not guilty for killing *only* those whom they succeeded in killing. The more relevant number, therefore, is the total intended number of victims.

    If I do my very best to kill someone but nevertheless fail to achieve this owing to factors beyond my control (the lever for the trapdoor on the scaffold got stuck), I certainly am guilty of murder. The fact that the sin would have been greater had I succeeded is a secondary consideration here.


  65. Anonymous3:02 PM

    Your last argument makes little sense. Intended murders vs actual murders is not the same. If you do your best to kill someone the law says you attempted murder and probably are guilty of other crimes such as confinement, torture, etc. etc. Actual murder is worse. Justice demands a distinction as Br. Bugnolo points out.

  66. Anonymous5:54 PM

    Until Bp. Williamson recants his holocaust remarks, it will not be possible to recognize a true and legitiamte apology. His "sincere regrets" will not suffice nor do. A public person making public remarks that go contrary to precise historical fact is not an acceptable standard. One must rebut "the problem" of the holocaust in exact public terms which will demonstrate the certainty and certitude of his apology. Short of that, we wait for a clear refutation, if any such humility will be forth coming. Until such circumstances transpire, the Jan 28th statement of Fr. Schmidberger should be the crystal clear barometer by which to gauge any of Bp. Williamson's messages regarding his pro-holocaust or anti-holocaust positions. Not a few of Semitic descent were undermined by the Third Reich.

  67. Anonymous8:05 PM

    To Anonymous:

    My last argument does make sense. I am not denying that consummated murder does greater harm to the objective order. But, in Moral Law, intended murder is still a form of murder. To intend something is to put it before the mind and resolve to do it, to make it an object of a positive act of the will. That is the essence of moral action. An intention is not the same thing as a desire, which is merely a wish to do something. For example, if little Johnny is asked to go to the corner and buy his mother some milk, as he leaves we can say that he intends to go, but he does not necessarily desire to go. He may desire to continue playing with his toy soldiers. But Johnny might be prevented from completing his mission through no fault of his own. If he is run down by a car en route, does God still fully accredit him for his good deed? The answer is affirmative.

    What I have argued is that the number of intended murders of Jews was far higher than the number actually killed. The Nazis are in some measure guilty for all those whom they intended to kill, not only those they managed to kill.

    The comparison to criminal law does not apply here in your analogy. Positive law must take into account what is known by imperfect human judges, which is limited. But God is Unlimited and knows the heart completely. In His eyes, every true intent to do evil makes one fully responsible for that evil. Look, this is embedded in Catholic teaching. It's why we have such things as the spiritual Act of Charity. If one is truly impeded from helping a child of God, one can still have the same intent to help and say an Act of Charity. Of course, a real gift has a greater effect in the objective order but God also accredits us fully for our good wills--and discredits us for our evil wills.


  68. Anonymous11:49 PM

    Thank you for clarifying objective and moral law PKTP. I will consider your argument further.

    Anon 15:02

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