Categorized | Editorials, Opinion

SSPX Bishop not anti-Semitic

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Adam Ryback

Pope Benedict XVI has recently declared the four bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) to not be excommunicated. However, around the same time Pope Benedict made his declaration, one of the bishops, Richard Williamson, was seen on an interview on Swedish television discussing his views on what happened during the Holocaust.

Without a moment’s delay, the Jewish leaders, cognizant of Williamson’s interview, were greatly offended that the Pope would declare that the bishop was once again inside of the Church, even though the Pope did not know about Williamson’s interview.

Bishop Williamson has been accused of saying a lot of things. Many of those accusations are probably well-founded. Nonetheless, there are certain things which you cannot accuse him of, namely that he denies the Holocaust and that he is anti-Semitic. Unfortunately, now the traditionalist bishop is facing possible imprisonment in Germany for his comments during the Swedish interview.

Although Williamson’s comments were historically inaccurate, you cannot claim he is anti-Semitic or that he fully denied the Holocaust. On the other hand, he denied aspects of the Holocaust. For example, he believed that there were only 200-300,000 Jews killed, not six million, and that gas chambers were never used. He says that he bases his conclusions on “historical evidence”, and he denies “emotion” playing a factor in his decisions.

He also claims that he made his decisions based off of opinions of those whom he thinks judge by historical evidence. In fact, he states that if they changed their opinions, he would also. He trusts those authors whom he believes are good historians.

These are not the comments of an anti-Semite. After all, the murder of 200-300,000 Jews is not exactly a petty matter. Furthermore, he nowhere claims in the interview that he hates Jews. He is by no means another Adolph Hitler.

As mentioned earlier, Williamson says he based his decisions on those of certain historians and states that he would change his opinion if they changed theirs. In other words, if they decided that there were gas chambers and that six million Jews died in the Holocaust, he would believe them! Does that sound anti-Semitic?

He is not an anti-Semite because he does not hate Jews. He is not a heretic because the Holocaust is not part of Catholic doctrine. He is not a liar, as Monsignor Robert Wister called him, because liars say things which they do not believe, and he clearly seems to believe what he says.

However, he is a conspiracy theorist. Not to mention, many of his facts are wrong. Six million Jews most certainly died in the Holocaust, and many of them died in gas chambers.

Nonetheless, everyone regardless of his decisions or beliefs deserves a fair trial.

9 Comments For This Post

  1. John Says:

    There is a difference between anti-Semitic and anti-Judaic. Bishop Williamson is certainly anti-Judaic, he despises Judaism. However, Adam may be right in saying that the Bishop is not anti-Semitic, that is he does not hate Jews based on their ethnicity, but rather their religion (Judaism).

  2. Tom Gonzaga Says:

    First of all, there’s a difference between not liking Judaism (after the Birth of Christ) and not liking Jews based upon their religion. That is part of the great Christian principle of “hate the sin, love the sinner.” If you are Catholic, you should be angry at the FACT that Jesus was not accepted by His own people. And if you are Catholic, you should love all PEOPLE regardless. And out of this love, you should push for the conversion of the Jews to the Fullness of the Truth. After all, for those who have actually read the Gospel, you notice that Jesus was very serious that the Jews recognize Him as Savior. His public ministry focused on the Jewish nation. As another Warrior writer wrote, progress begins with intolerance.
    But back to Williamson, as another John said, a good test to see if Williamson hates the Jews (regardless of ethnicity or religion) is whether he believes in other conspiracy theories. As it stands, I think he still does believe in a few other conspiracy theories, which arent Jew related. Just because someone does not beleive in aspects of the holocaust, does not mean that they hate Jews. That is called stereotyping. As in, Southern conservatives are automatically racist. Or black people are automatically poor. Various people do not agree about the number of people killed in Auschwitz. i personally think around 6 million is accurate, but there could be some evidence which turns up later that shows that less or even MORE were killed. And if people believed more Jews were killed, does that mean that they hate Germans or that they are merely interested in the truth?
    Finally, he doesn’t believe Jews died in gas chambers. Well, that is historically inaccurate. But does it mean Williamson hates Jews because of their religion? No. If Willaimson believes Jews died due to starvation or extreme forms of torture but not gas chambers, does that portray Nazis as good people? or does it make the situation better? Not really.
    Could Williamson be anti-Judaic? Maybe. But you need more evidence to prove it.

  3. Reuven Says:

    This is ridiculous. A man with this much power who causes such a controversy is ought to have some anti jewish feelings. How does anyone still think that the holocaust was not as horrible as history makes it to be? it was the most unhumane act we know of. where did the other 5.5 million jews go? you really think he has “historic evidence” that suggests that only 200,000 jews died? and this article defends him? one word for you all – brainwashed

  4. John Says:

    Reuven, I never said Bishop Williamson was right, nor does the original opinion piece say he is right. Our point is merely that, although he may be stupid and certainly ignorant, he’s not anti-Semitic. Rather, his denials of the Holocaust stem from his own personal biases against Judaism as a religion. This makes him ignorant, historically dumb and anti-Judaic, but not anti-Semitic.

  5. Josh Says:

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/02/20/bishops_vexing_beliefs_have_deep_roots/

    yeah not anti-semitic…. you are using semantics to defend a nazi sympathizer? a simple google search will bring up numerous previous interviews where he has made statements demeaning jews. you may not be endorsing his views but you are defending him and thats pretty low and disgusting.

  6. Michael Says:

    Wow, Josh, that’s quite a loaded question. I suppose that there could be more than one explanation for a man to doubt the historicity of the holocaust. One certainly is anti-semitism, but why not a distrust of experts, addiction to pseudo-science and conspiracy theories, a light tendency towards paranoia, or a rejection of history on principle? These are all possible, and I’m sure if anyone took the time to think about it, he/she could come up with a good few other possibilities. People are complex. Perhaps we shouldn’t judge too rashly.

  7. Dudley Sharp Says:

    Adam Ryback is in error. Williamson’s decisions or beliefs DO NOT deserve a fair trial.

    Non criminal beliefs are not subject to trail. Yes, free speech is subject to criminal prosecution is some places.

    But, what we are dealing with here is a person of willful ignorance who is making outlandish and false claims, when proper investigation would have precluded him from making them.

    Would it be “fair” to call him irresponsible. Yes. Would it be fair to call him a liar? That depends.

    Is all of the information available for him to find how in error his comments were, long before he made them? Yes. Is such information readily, easily accessible and does he know it is readily, easily accessible? Yes.

    To give this Bishop any type of pass would be idiotic.

    He should be condemned. Then, The Pope should instruct him to study the documentation of the Holocaust for a year.

    Make it a teachable moment.

  8. Cynthia Says:

    I have heard ever since I can remember that those numbers are false. Even the Jews themselves have contradicted themselves in this department though they have no more credibility than anyone else who has studied the Holocaust unless they were there personally in which case I have to question how they happen to survive it. Who can even know for sure and why does anyone care anymore? We should be concerned with atrocities going on today rather than focus on atrocities of the past. Those who are determined to be witch hunters for past crimes are taking away the resources and energy needed for present crimes.

  9. Justin r Says:

    Great website you guys.

    First off. I do not believe that any of the journalists of this website would agree with statement that Bishop Williamson said. That being said, although radical they might be, yes it is true, it does not matter whether 40 were killed for who they were or 6 million. Either way it is a terrible atrocity when any people is killed let alone for what religion they practice. The CAtholic church does not condone this and never has. In fact during WW2, Pius XII was a protector of human rights and rescued and protected thousands of jews, catholics, gypsies from hitlers grasp. Yet he is still to this day heralded as Anti- Semitic.(interestingly enough, Jews are not semitic, as they are not descendants of Sem).

    The point is history has always been debated. Every historical topic has been debated over time. As a senior history major who will continue his studies in a masters program, I have been taught that history should be debated. We debate how the war started exactly, we debate whether or not Pearl Harbor could have been stopped…I feel as if the holocaust, is a historians kryptonite, debate it and it is professional suicide. Every other historical topic is debated…why can’t this one be?

    Personally i don’t know what to believe. The Jews themselves have changed the number so many times I cant keep track. 9 million to 11 milllion to 9 million again, to 6 million now. MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY. I don’t agree with men like Bishop Williamson or the president of IRan necessarily but why can’t they as educated men discuss the possibilty that the number was 200,000 instead of 6 million! People 200, 000 is alot!!!! still! No one is denying the holocaust but as educated people we are questioning whether as many people as they say died…

    The American Jewish Yearbook placed the total Jewish population of Europe at about 9.5 million in 1933. This number represented more than 60 percent of the world’s Jewish population. according to their statistics almost every jew in europe was killed? how did they end up reproducing so quickly then? in 1933 there was about 15 million jews.

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