The German Bishops' Conference has had enough: they call for the renewed excommunication of Richard Williamson. "I see no place for him in the Catholic Church," says Bishop Zollitsch - the Holocaust denier had previously announced in the SPIEGEL, that he will not renounce his theories in spite of Papal demands.
Robert Zollitsch, Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, wants the Holocaust denier Richard Williamson to be again excluded from the Catholic Church. The Freiburg Archbishop Robert Zollitsch told the Bild am Sonntag: "Mr. Williamson is impossible and irresponsible. Now I see no place for him in the Catholic Church."
Pope Benedict XVI is also seeking high-level talks with Jewish representatives. He wants underline to envoys of the influential Association of Jewish Organizations in the U.S., CPMAJO, that the Church shares with them their view on the hazards of Holocaust denial express shared with Church. Accordingly, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate has already agreed to renewed talks with the Vatican. The chief representatives of the Jewish faith had suspended dialogue with the Catholic Church suspended in late January.
Before Zollitsch, the Regensburg Bishop Gerhard Muller had asked for sharp sanctions against Williamson. The Bishop of the arch-conservative SSPX must "voluntarily or compulsorily leave the clerical state” , Mueller wrote in a statement that this weekend was read in the Churches of his Bavarian diocese. Also Mueller urged consequences for the other three SSPX bishops returning to the Church. They should give up their Episcopal powers work only as a priest, says Müller in a letter published on the website of the Diocese of Regensburg.
Bishop wants to search for "historical evidence" for the Holocaust
In an interview with SPIEGEL Williamson had said he would not be taking back his theses on the holocaust. He will first examine the historical evidence, the bishop said: "And if I find this evidence, then I will correct them. But that will take time."
In SPIEGEL, Williamson renewed his criticism of the Second Vatican Council. The conciliar texts were ambiguous: "That leads to this theological chaos that we have today." The Second Vatican Council is generally regarded as the contemporary renewal of the Catholic Church and interpreted as a rapprochement of the Christian churches. The conservative SSPX reject it for just reason.
Canon lawyers think renewed excommunication possible
Williamson can be excommunicated again according to German canon law experts. When we think of the genocide of European Jews, this is not a faith issue, said the professor of canon law at Trier, Peter Krämer to the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger". Nevertheless, the Catholic Church has the duty to take positions on ethical or social issues and to intervene if the premises of the Church on human dignity are violated." This was the case when someone denies the Holocaust. Williamson denied not only the historical facts, "but behind the denial is an inhuman ideology." Pope Benedict XVI could, as the toughest sentence, perfectly well pronounce excommunication, but a ban on speaking over many years is possible.
The Catholic Church according to insiders is increasingly loosing members due to the dispute about the controversial SSPX. "The exit wave has already started," said the head of the German section of Vatican Radio, Fr Eberhard Gemmingen.