Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Interview with Bishop Williamson no secret to Vatican ????
Uppdrag granskning reveals that the Vatican was, in fact, aware of the now world-famous interview with Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson when the decision to lift the excommunication was made - despite prior statements to the contrary.Contact
The interview with then-excommunicated Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Catholic traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (the SSPX), aired on Swedish TV in the investigative journalism program Uppdrag granskning in January 2009, sparked off the most serious crisis between Jews and Catholics seen in recent times.
In the interview, Bishop Williamson denied that the Holocaust had taken place. "I believe there were no gas chambers," is one of many statements on the subject.
Only three days later, the Pope's and the Vatican's decision to lift the 20-year-long excommunication of the bishop was announced, sending shock waves throughout the world.
Israel reacted by demanding that all diplomatic ties with the Vatican be severed, congressmen in the US sent letters of protest to the Pope, and ministers in several European countries openly criticized the Vatican's pardon.
The Vatican has maintained that they had no knowledge of the interview with Richard Williamson when the decision to lift the excommunication was made.
Uppdrag granskning is now able to reveal that the Vatican was, in fact, aware of Williamson's statements well before the decision was made, and that one of the Pope's closest associates, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos had been informed.
The information was included in an internal report written by the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm, Sweden, as early as November 2008, not long after Uppdrag granskning had interviewed Williamson in Germany. The report includes remarks made by Richard Williamson expressing his view that the Holocaust never took place, and that statements to that effect are a criminal offense in Germany.
The Catholic Diocese of Stockholm asserts that this report was passed on to the Vatican's emissary in Stockholm. According to Bishop Anders Arborelius of the Swedish Catholic Church,
"He (the Papal representative) was very troubled and he attempted to send the report on to Rome."
The Papal representative has declined to be interviewed, but has confirmed that he immediately passed the report on. In addition to this, he also contacted a number of officials at the Vatican - including Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, who, along with the Pope, has denied all knowledge of the TV interview.
For eight years, Cardinal Hoyos was the Pope?s closest associate in the negotiations with the SSPX. The cardinal is presently 8o years old and is now retired.
The Vatican continues to maintain that the Pope had no knowledge of the events. In an e-mail sent to Uppdrag granskning, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi ensures us that he is: "certain the Pope is telling the truth."