Replaced Cathcon translation with the official one! Check back Cathcon will be covering the response in the German press and TV
'I Will Not Travel to Auschwitz'
Bishop Richard Williamson's denial of the Holocaust has done serious damage to the Catholic Church. In an e-mail and fax exchange with SPIEGEL, the ultra-conservative bishop says that he is willing to "review the historical evidence."
SPIEGEL: The Vatican is demanding that you retract your denial of the Holocaust, and it is threatening to not allow you to resume your activities as a bishop. How will you react?
Williamson: Throughout my life, I have always sought the truth. That is why I converted to Catholicism and became a priest. And now I can only say something, the truth of which I am convinced. Because I realize that there are many honest and intelligent people who think differently, I must now review the historical evidence once again. I said the same thing in my interview with Swedish television: Historical evidence is at issue, not emotions. And if I find this evidence, I will correct myself. But that will take time.
SPIEGEL: How can an educated Catholic deny the Holocaust?
Williamson: I addressed the subject in the 1980s. I had read various writings at the time. I cited the Leuchter report (eds. note: a debunked theory produced in the 1980s claiming erroneously that the Nazi gas chambers were technically impractical) in the interview, and it seemed plausible to me. Now I am told that it has been scientifically refuted. I plan now to look into it.
SPIEGEL: You could travel to Auschwitz yourself.
Williamson: No, I will not travel to Auschwitz. I've ordered the book by Jean-Claude Pressac. It's called "Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers." A printout is now being sent to me, and I will read it and study it.
SPIEGEL: The Society of Saint Pius X has set an ultimatum for the end of February. Are you not risking a break with the group?
Williamson: In the Old Testament, the Prophet Jonah tells the sailors when their ship is in distress: " Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you." The Society has a religious mission that is suffering because of me. I will now examine the historic evidence. If I do not find it convincing, I will do everything in my power to avoid inflicting any further harm on the Church and the Society.
SPIEGEL: What does the repeal of the excommunication by Pope Benedict XVI mean to you?
Williamson: We just want to be Catholic, nothing else. We have not developed our own teachings, but are merely preserving the things that the Church has always taught and practiced. And in the sixties and seventies, when everything was changed in the name of this Council (eds. note: the Second Vatican Council), it was suddenly a scandal. As a result, we were forced to the margins of the church, and now that empty churches and an aging clergy make it clear that these changes were a failure, we are returning to the center. That's the way it is for us conservatives: we are proved right, as long as we wait long enough.
SPIEGEL: People at the Vatican claimed that they didn't know you. Is that true?
Williamson: Most contacts pass through Bishop Fellay and the General Council, of which I am not a member. But three of us four bishops attended a private dinner with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in 2000. It was more about getting to know each other, but we certainly talked about theological issues and even a bit of philosophy. The cardinal was very friendly.
SPIEGEL: The Second Vatican Council counts as one of the great achievements of the Catholic Church. Why do you not fully recognize it?
Related Bishop Williamson steps down as seminary director- sacked as per Cathcon last night!
Bishop Fellay only allows Bishop Williamson in future to speak on matters of Faith and Morals. Cathcon understands that the Spiegel interview was given "for legal reasons".