Rorate Caeli

Note of the District Superior for Germany of the SSPX

As District Superior of the Society [of Saint Pius X] in Germany, I am very troubled by the words pronounced by Bishop Williamson here in this country. 

The banalization of the genocide of the Jews by the Nazi regime and of its horror are unacceptable for us.

The persecution and murder of an incalculable number of Jews under the Third Reich touches us painfully and they also violate the Christian commandment of love for neighbor which does not distinguish ethnicities.

I must apologize for this behavior and dissociate myself from such a view.

Such dissociation is also necessary for us because the father of Archbishop Lefebvre died in a KZ [concentration camp] and because numerous Catholic priests lost their lives in Hitler's concentration camps.

Stuttgart, January 27, 2009

Father Franz Schmidberger

Father Schmidberger was the Superior-General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X at the time of the consecrations of 1988.

From the website of the German District of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) (27.01.2009, 2235 CET)


  1. Dear friends,

    Traditional Catholics are being scrutinized by observers at this moment in history more than at any moment since Vatican II. Many had never heard about Traditionalists before recent events. Therefore, before you post any comment here, consider this: is what you write going to cause greater glory to Christ and His Church; or will it cause scandal, even though you believe you are right?

    If it may cause scandal or misunderstanding, PLEASE DO NOT POST YOUR COMMENT HERE.


  2. Anonymous12:25 AM

    As a fervent supporter of the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Society of Saint Pius X has always been in my prayers. Having defended them many times, I was embarrassed by Bishop Williamson's comments.

    As a person of Jewish descent, with great devotion to St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, I also found his words quite hurtful.

    I rejoice that Bishop Fellay and Father Franz have taken action to distance the society from such gut wrenching comments.

    May God Bless the Pope, Bishop Fellay, Father Franz, as well as Bishop Williamson. In fact he probably needs the most prayers.

  3. Anonymous12:37 AM

    Well, well, well.

    Some have alleged over the last two or three years that Bishop Fellay and Fr. Schmidberger--especially the latter--were more conciliatory towards the Pope than were Bishops Williamson and Tissier, Frs. Fay and Scott, and other Society leaders.

    Immediately after Bishop Williamson's interview with the Swedish Radio people, Bishop Fellay, in a very subtle and diplomatic way, distanced himself and the Society for Williamson. He did so more forcefully yesterday. Now this from Schmidberger.

    Is this an attempt to isolate Williamson and the extreme hardliners, all before making an agreement with Rome? Interesting question. If there is to be any regularisation of the Society in the short term, it will obviously not be supported by all Society leaders or priests. That's normal in these sorts of situations, and it is to be expected. The real question, however, is to determine how numerous the hardliners are.

    As to the issue raised by W. in the interview, it's hardly relevant. The issue is not how many Jews died by what means--a debatable subject, I suppose--but how prudent W. was in his timing of such comments. One can imagine that he was either creating an excuse for a breach with Fellay or else he was tricked into this.


  4. Anonymous12:44 AM

    On N.C.s comments. if he is suggesting that we are all bound to accept a particular interpretation of history, I'd say that everyone is perfectly at liberty to examine the evidence for himself and come to his own conclusions. The more controversial a man's opinions are, the better. In a free country, we don't allow others to tell us what to think, and those others certainly include journalists, a group of people for whom I have zero respect.

    Williamson is entitled to have whatever wacko or sane opinions he may wish. I'd fight to the death to defend his right to hold and express whatever views he pleases. The problem with Williamson's interview is that its timing tended to undermine the efforts of the Rosary Crusade, and that was not good.


  5. Anonymous2:11 AM

    I'd fight to the death to defend his right to hold and express whatever views he pleases.

    Even if he (hypothetically) expressed views against the Catholic Faith? Surely there are due limits! ;-)

    Oh, and God bless Fr. Schmidberger. I've always liked him, especially now.

  6. Anonymous2:16 AM

    I'm a former Jewish Catholic also so I share your feelings on this.

    As to the statement on hand it was a very shrewd and correct move by Fr S - the real risk was the German authorities could have started an investigation into the SSPX in Germany for genocide denial and/or revisionist links (international) without a clear repudiation and distancing from Williamson's remarks.

    (Don't forget - the SSPX wouldn't be classified as coming under the umbrella of the Church in such a situation and I doubt the Church would take up their defence or allow them to be identified as part of their organisation in such a situation).

    It appears that some of the SSPX leadership are taking steps to deal with this situation in an intelligent and sensible manner.

  7. Anonymous2:34 AM

    God bless. Well Done!.

  8. I continue to support the SSPX. They are doing fine. Let them not be sway away from the defense of the Catholic faith against the liberals and modernists in the church.

  9. Amidst all the Catholics I know who are SSPX and or who are ardently traditionalist there is not one who would agree with Williamson’s comments. Roman Catholicism would never permit anti-Semitism as it is un-catholic. Bishop fellay and Fr Scmidburger have already published their views about this.

    However, the systematic humbug of contemporary society proclaims on one hand freedom of speech, on the other it continues, but not for this one or that one because we do not like what they are saying. Objectively speaking, we can demonstrate the genocidal movements of WWII. The so-called “deniers” have little evidence of worth to illustrate otherwise. Nevertheless, it has to be said, public figures can state all they wish about abortion, sodomy and euthanasia they like provided it is in agreement with the politically correct perspective. Like Dr Nathanson in the 1960s and 1970s they can even print absolute lies and fabrications about abortion and be allowed to get away with it: little or nothing said.

    I have stated before Williamson’s views are drivel and can be shown to be inaccurate. Nonetheless, the resultant furore arising from them reflects a society that has become hypocritically intolerant of tolerance. Social democracy is in the process of becoming undemocratic. Those who cry “fascism” are in distinct danger of becoming fascists themselves. The very essence of public debate is fading into speech control and judging by what is being taught to innocent young children in our schools, thought control.

    What are we all so afraid of? Methinks we do protest too much.

  10. Anonymous3:24 AM

    According to NC's request, those who oppose to the flirting with Rome, and support Bp. Williamson stand, and are willing to continue the true teachings of Mons. Marcel Lefebvre, shoud be reduced to silence, because traditional catholics are being scrutinized?
    In other words, the SSPX who has been very vocal so far, and free to clearly denounce modernism and progessivism in the Church must play the moderate game.
    By the "elegant" excuse of calling us to silence to give whatever "elegant" image to who? the world? history?
    How all of a sudden Mons. Fellay can silence Mons, Williamson when the SSPX has always enjoyed freedom to denounce errors even to the Pope himself?
    Finally, is Rorate Coeli going to silence this post too? Hope that decency still is found here.

  11. Anonymous3:31 AM

    I have never met Bishop Fellay but I have met Fr. Schmidberger and he is a very holy and amiable man, not afraid to speak the truth. For some reason, his German accent lends even more weight to his words for me, as when he said one time at a conference here in the Houston area "Marritch iss the union of vun man VITH VUN WOMAN."

    Even though Bishop Williamson confirmed me, I am really pleased to see the Society distancing itself from his more extreme personal views. I pray that all will soon be right on the fraternal level in the Society.

  12. Anonymous3:51 AM

    "One can imagine that he was either creating an excuse for a breach with Fellay or else he was tricked into this."

    I tend to believe he was tricked; but how can anyone prove it? If, perhaps, he fell into a trap, I would think that as a consequence, he would now be more prudent.

    I have no doubt there will be hardliners who will refuse reconciliation. That has been the case throughout history, i.e., holdouts such as the Old Catholics.

    I hope the numbers will be minimal. Hopefully, all will unite around our Holy Father to defend him from the wolves!


  13. In case anybody wonders how "KZ" equals "concentration camp," it comes from Konzentrationslager für Zivilpersonen (Concentration Camp for Civilians).

    Sometimes KL --KonzentrationsLager -- (concentration camp)was used as well.

    --Guy Power

  14. The reality is that the Vatican, and especially the SSPX, are paying the price for the many years that they refused to reign Bishop Williamson.

    Rome should never have allowed the Vatican-SSPX problem to have lingered for decades.

    The SSPX is Catholic...and Rome knew that. Rome should have brought the Society under its wing long ago.

    Meanwhile, the SSPX itself should have distanced itself long ago from Bishop Williamson's bizarre claims and should have reigned him.

  15. Anonymous5:39 AM


    With all due respect to your numerous postings on other topics where you are much respected ...

    "Is this an attempt to isolate Williamson ...."

    Please. Was it not Bp Williamson who offered a pointless personal point of view that he knew would cause such harm and offense?

    Is it Bp Fellay and Fr S now who are to be questioned from distancing themselves from such imprudence and insensitivity?

    Let's face it. As a clergyman speaking in a public forum, is his personal "interpretation of history" what Christ has called him to preach to all corners of the earth?

    Or is it rather not the Gospel?

    Bp Williamson had no business preaching a personal interpretation of secular history - one I might add that is grossly at odds with a huge body of secular historians and even the evidence of a major Nazi SS officer during the Nuremberg trials who himself estimated murders in the numbers of close to 6 million.

    I cannot see St Paul the Apostle troubling himself with preaching his personal views on the history of the Punic Wars to his gentile Romans or fellow Hebrews. In his own words he preached "Christ and Him Crucified".

    Let our bishops stick to the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Everything else is vanity.

  16. P.K.T.P.,
    You are of course correct. Bp Williamson is entitled to his views and in a free society he should be able to voice them. But others are just as free and perhaps under a moral obligation to denounce his false, bigoted and utterly odious statements. The Holocaust is not a figment of the imagination or the product of some strange conspiracy. It is an historical fact to which there are quite literally mountains of irrefutable evidence, much of it provided by the murderers themselves. To deny it is the historical equivalent to arguing that the Earth is flat.

    I salute in the strongest possible terms Bp Fellay, Fr. Schmidberger and the many other Traditionalist Catholics who are standing up and denouncing this infamous lie (I use that very strong term deliberately). To be silent in the face of what one knows to be malicious falsehoods is not only cowardice it is a sin.

    Under the mercy,

  17. Anonymous8:06 AM


    I am sorry that your feelings have been hurt by + W's imprudent remarks, but I'm sorry, feelings are no indication of the truth - or falsity - of a particular proposition.


    I hope you don't accept the nonsensical theory of Voltaire, do you, that we have a right to be wrong about something if we so desire?

  18. Anonymous12:33 PM

    I believe that Bishop Williamson was "set up"/tricked into expounding his views to the Holocaust.
    Anyone with sense, and also human decency acknowledges the Holocaust, and understands the tragedy of it for the Jewish people. But at the same time, anyone with sense also acknowledges that an equal or even greater number of people of other groups (mentally ill, aged, chronically sick, ethnic minorities such as the Romani(gypsies), Armenians, Bosnian Muslims, plus over 25,000 priests and nuns (mostly in Poland but also in France , Netherlands and Germany itself...executed or gassed for trying to save Jews), were likewise killed. It is a violation of valid judgement to believe that places like Dachau, Auchwitz, and other deathcamps were only for Jews.
    Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's (the founder of the SSPX) own father was arrested, tortured, and died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1944.
    Bishop Williamson, as a Bishop of the SSPX and member of an awesome group which has preserved the Catholic Faith should have know that any personal opinion or mindset of his own about the Holocaust would be subject to scrutiny by the press and others.
    He did not use right reason or valid judgement in responding to the question regarding the Holocaust. He should have kept is personal views (wrong views), to himself.

  19. Anonymous12:41 PM

    Anonymous wrote :
    "According to NC's request, those who oppose to the flirting with Rome, and support Bp. Williamson stand, and are willing to continue the true teachings of Mons. Marcel Lefebvre, shoud be reduced to silence, because traditional catholics are being scrutinized?"

    Easy response : Abp Lefebvre never denied the existence of extermination camps and of the "Final solution" set by the nazis.
    So there is no link between "the true teachings of Abp Lefebvre" and silencing Bp Williamson's denial of historical facts.

    nb. to P.K.T.P. : there is a huge gap in European culture - where the nazi genocide took place - and Northern America (and others) perception. Moreover many European countries have legal restrictions on free speech when for ex. the US First Amendment prohibits any restriction. These legal restrictions are prompting some contestation among historians.


  20. Anonymous2:03 PM

    It's inconceivable that Williamson was "trapped" into making his comments. He was on German soil, speaking on camera, for Pete's sake. Having pondered Holocaust history these many years, surely he must have known that such revisionism is against German law. To provide documentary evidence of his pronouncements (again, made on German soil) could only have been a deliberate provocation, an attempt to create a storm of controversy and thereby subvert reconciliation with Rome. Thank God he failed, but what harm he has inflicted on the Church.

  21. Anonymous5:57 PM

    The whole thing shows clearly that touching the "holocaust" issue brings up unrest. And how powerful the jews are in their efforts to silence anyone who dares to chanllenge that.
    But is OK.
    One more thing, Mons. W. actually didn't "deny" the horrors in concentration camps. It is un-christian and evil to deny those horrors, as well as to deny the horrors that palestinian and israeli civilians are going through today. The Bp. questioned the way it is said today that happened.
    His Excellency has always had a big mouth, but it is not an evil person. Those who condem him know very little about him.
    He shouuld have remained silent, anyway. The world still is not ready to seriously question the jews' past events.

  22. Anonymous8:42 PM

    On others' comments about a right to be wrong, I did not mean that we have a moral right to be wrong. No reference to Voltaire intended. I was writing instead about civil rights in positive law to consider the evidence in historical matters. It is truly dangerous when a certain group of people pass laws telling us what we can or cannot believe in regard to historical record. For example, we are free to believe that the French Revolution never occurred. Such a belief may be risible but making it a crime is absurd--and dangerous.

    There is now a group of people in the West who want to make it a crime to hold absurd beliefs about the treatment of Jews by the Nazis. This should not be tolerated. Moreover, such laws (as Germany has on this) only encourage people to defy the law.


  23. Sadly it all may results in the in 'schism' within SSPX, we should pray for their unity and for Bp Williamson. It does not matter how many Jews were exterminated in Auschwitz of other places around Europe. Mass murder, genocide are horrible crimes against humanity and cry to God's vengeance.


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