“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

April 16, 2010

Fr. Neil Buchlein and I discuss Medjugorje pros and cons on the Al Kresta Show

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)