Sunday, February 8, 2009

Latest on Richard Williamson and Holocaust

A number of websites are reporting that Richard Williamson has responsed to the demand of the Vatican that he recant his views about the Holocaust before being readmitted to communion. Williamson states that he needs to study the matter ( and

For readers new to this thread, Richard Williamson is a member of the schismatic Catholic Society of St. Pius X, which rejects Vatican II. Pope Benedict XVI recently removed the excommunication for this society. When he did so, consternation arose in many sectors regarding the anti-Semitic views of Williamson.

Williamson has stated that he believes no Jews died in gas chambers in Nazi Germany, and that the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis was closer to 300,000 than the figure of 6 million that is widely regarded as canonical.

The suggestion that anyone needs to reconsider the evidence before he or she determines whether Jews died in gas chambers in the Nazi period, or whether 6 million Jews were murdered, is obscene. Abundant historical evidence establishes these facts beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Those who continue to question these historical facts do so for one reason alone: to distort history. And the need to distort this particular history, the history of the Shoah, arises out of toxic anti-Semitism. The kind of belligerent anti-Semitism represented by Holocaust denial has rightly been relegated to the fringes of most civilized nations. Nations like Germany criminalize Holocaust denial with good reason: permitting people to deny an atrocity like the Holocaust, or to alter sound evidence about the magnitude of this event, opens the door to the possibility of more events of this nature in history.

It is deeply disturbing that the Catholic church, in the person of Benedict XVI, is permitting views widely held to be incompatible with civilization to find a place in the Catholic church, and even, seemingly, a central and highly regarded place. If Richard Williamson is permitted to return to communion after he has stated that he has to reconsider what is not merely a consensus of historians but a cornerstone of civil society, then what will the Catholic church be saying about its regard for truth, through the rehabilitation of SSPX? For fact? For science? For human decency and civil society?

What noxious, counterfactual "truths" will be taken into the bosom of the church next? A renewal of the claim that women are misbegotten men? An attempt to claim that there is no evidence that sexual orientation is innate? A denial of evolution?

Williamson's response to the church's insistence that he recant his views about the Holocaust compounds the problem of his rehabilitation. His claim that the evidence for the Holocaust demands further elaboration, after the historical data about the magnitude and atrocities of this horrific event have long been established, demonstrates the unwisdom of the decision to rehabilitate Williamson and SSPX.