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April 16, 2010

SSPX Bishop Williamson Convicted for Denying Holocaust

The news is just coming in about a ridiculous though widely anticipated judgment from the German court against an outspoken leader in the SSPX movement. I know that denying the Holocaust is illegal in that country, but it shouldn't be.

Of course I believe the Holocaust happened, but for the state to outlaw personal opinions, however odd we might think they are, is simply stupid. True, Bishop Williamson has caused plenty of headaches for his fellow members of the SSPX, not to mention for the Holy Father, but even though he may have been highly impolitic in some of his statements, he has a right to his opinion on a matter like this.

Personally, I would disagree with Bishop Williamson's opinions on a number of issues (the Holocaust being one of them), but that doesn't prevent me from recognizing that what's happening to him here is wrong, plain and simple. He is being victimized by an unjust law.

A German court convicted ultraconservative British Bishop Richard Williamson on Friday of denying the Holocaust in a television interview.

A court in the Bavarian city of Regensburg found Williamson guilty of incitement for saying in a 2008 interview with Swedish television that he did not believe Jews were killed in gas chambers during World War II.

The court ordered Williamson to pay a fine of euro10,000 ($13,544).

The Roman Catholic bishop was barred by his order from attending Friday's proceedings or making statements to the media.

His lawyer, Matthias Lossmann, told The Associated Press after the court ruling that Williamson has yet to decide whether he would appeal.

Denying the Holocaust is a criminal offense in Germany.

The court ordered a fine of euro12,000 for Williamson last year, without a trial. But the bishop appealed, forcing his case to be tried publicly.

Lossmann said that Williamson had explicitly asked the Swedish television crew conducting the interview not to broadcast it in Germany.

In issuing her ruling, Judge Karin Frahm said the bishop could not have expected that the clip would show up on YouTube and be seen directly in Germany, and that led her to reduce the fine, court spokesman Bernhard Schneider told the AP.

The journalists who conducted the interview ignored a court order to attend the trial, Lossmann said, leaving the judge to rely on written statements as testimony.

"That does not do a case like this justice," Lossmann said. . . (continue reading)

6 comments:

  1. Don't be surprised if the same sort of foolishness happens here in the "Land of the Free". I likewise agree that Williamson is absolutely wrong, but everyone should be entitled to their opinion regardless of it's correctness or lack thereof. In fact, the same sort of thing happens here already, but it's called political correctness.

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  2. I disagree with Bishop Williamson but everyone has a right to their opinion and free speech regardless how kooky or oblivious that person may be to the facts. I also fear that the "land of the Free" is heading down a deep, dark path into tyranny. We must reverse course at the voting booths in November.

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  3. I disagree as well. I was in Bishop Williamson's seminary and have seen what his teachings can do. Here is my story. http://christopherpryor.blogspot.com/2010/03/traditional-catholicism-and-teachings.html

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  4. Nazism having failed in Germany, it is now applying for Communism. PRAY for Germany.

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  5. Keep in mind that Germany has had these restrictions in place since the end of WWII, and it is not something just arbitrarily thrown in on a whim. This is done because holocaust denial is part of the Neo-Nazi movement (not that I am saying Williamson is a Neo-Nazi of course).

    Keep in mind Germany is not the only place where these sorts of restrictions are done. Remember Ebay, France and Nazi collectibles?

    Now though I believe Holocaust denial is both reprehensible and foolish, I wouldn't call for it to be outlawed here. But still... let's look at it in context instead of assuming it was an arbitrary action to pick on Williamson

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  6. Bishop Williamson tells his side of story on threatened "expulsion" from SSPX
    A close acquaintance of mine received an email recently addressed to "Mr. Q." Obviously, "Mr. Q." is a pseudonym, selected by +W himself. The true identity of this person can not be revealed at the present time.
    Before reading +W's email reprinted verbatim below, you might want to quickly review the two reports, which Bp. Williamson's email addresses. These reports had been emailed to His Excellency earlier for his perusal and comment:

    1) The short update from Prof. Arthur Butz:
    http://mauricepinay.blogspot.com/ Monday, (Scroll down a bit)
    2)The article entitled Maximilian Krah and Menzingen: A Cause for Serious Concern?
    http://z10.invisionfree.com/Ignis_Ardens/index.php?showtopic=6405

    Following is a copy of that email, word for word,untouched and unexpurgated from His Excellency. I warrant, as a traditional Catholic and SSPX chapel member, that it is not a forgery:

    Dear Mr. Q,
    The reports, (i.e. referenced above) you send are essentially accurate, give or take a few details. (ed. note: So from Bp. Williamson's perspective, these two reports can be taken to the bank)
    As for the confusing events, here is my version:--

    I employ Nahrath. BpF sends Fr Angles to tell me (Friday mid-day) that unless I give up Nahrath he will expel me from the SSPX. It seems to me that my appeal can only go ahead with either a non-defending lawyer approved by Menzingen, or a truly defending lawyer that will not be approved by Menzingen. On my behalf Fr A e-mails (about 13h00 GMT Friday) to BpF that I give up appealing in front of the German courts, and ironically I add that it would be a kindness if Menzingen would pay the fine. BpF soon e-mails back, "Deo Gratias. No problem for paying the fine" (Friday, about 15h00 GMT).

    On Saturday at a time I do not know, BpF has the SSPX Secretary make the Press Declaration that unless I renounce the "neo-Nazi", I shall be expelled. But also that afternoon, I learn that I could for instance make a Declaration in front of the Regensburg court, hardly needing any lawyer except to be there physically present (German law requires somebody to be there to stand for the accused). The dilemma above mentioned is solved. I decide to continue with the appeal, because Lawyer Nahrath is not after all the only pebble on the beach, but I do not go back on the decision to renounce Nahrath himself. He perfectly understands the whole shemozzle.

    BpF does recognize my right to defend myself. He only does not want the SSPX in any way to be associated with "neo-Nazis". That is why I acted the willow on Lawyer Nahrath, but the oak on the appeal.

    I hope that makes things more clear. By all means share these details with anyone else who may be confused.

    All good wishes, +Richard Williamson.

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