As we here at LGR pointed out in a recent article, Bishop Richard Williamson gave a rather standard non-apology apology. That is, he gave a statement apologizing for causing offense while not actually stating that he understood the reasons behind the offense. Well, the Vatican seems to agree. Papal spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi stated that Bishop Williamson “doesn’t appear to respect the conditions” set forth by the Vatican for Bishop Williamson to be brought back into the fold and that he must repudiate his beliefs that only a small number of Jews were executed during the Holocaust.
It does get worse for Bishop Williamson. The interview was conducted in Germany and violates German laws concerning the Holocaust. Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries has stated that they could issue a European wide arrest warrant for Williamson on hate crimes charges. Bishop Williamson has stated that he was only giving his opinion as a “non-historian”. He went on to say that he formed this opinion twenty years ago on the basis of evidence that was then available. This evidence, he went on to claim, had not been discussed much in the intervening years publicly. “To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologize,” he said.
The problem for Bishop Williamson, and many people who deny the Holocaust, is that the evidence is pretty substantial that these events occurred. These include not only the survivor accounts, but the accounts of the United States soldiers who liberated these camps and the Nazi guards who oversaw them. American soldiers, some of whom were vehemently anti-Semitic at the time, recall the stench of the camps, and the horrors of the mass graves. Testimony from the trails also recounts how these events played out, and there are existing Nazi records.
Jewish groups were far from being impressed by Bishop Williamson’s apology. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, is on record as saying “This is another sham statement that doesn’t recant any of his earlier remarks about the Holocaust. Bishop Williamson must unequivocally acknowledge the full extent of the Holocaust and recognize the fact of the existence of the gas chambers.” Others, including American Jewish Congress Executive Director David A. Harris have praised the Vatican for demanding more, and stated how Bishop Williamson is not fooling anyone with his stance.
Bishop Williamson is a bishop in name only. His ordination is illicit under Vatican law since Bishop Lefavbre was suspended from the Roman Catholic Church back before Williamson was ordained. In order to become a clergyman again, Williamson must get the blessing of Pope Benedict XVI. This means that he must recant his views on the Holocaust.
Bishop Lefavbre created the breakaway Catholic sect The Society of St. Pius X in 1969 in protest of the reforms being initiated by the Vatican at the time. These included reaching out to the Jewish communities of the world. They have distanced themselves from Bishop Williamson’s remarks.
Roughly six million Jews and nearly an equal amount of other minority groups were executed by various means during the Holocaust, including roughly fifteen thousand homosexuals.
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