Bishop who denied Holocaust is removed
BUENOS AIRES - The bishop whose rehabilitation by the Vatican sparked outrage because of his denials of the Holocaust has been removed as the head of an Argentine seminary, his superiors said yesterday.
The ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X, which is trying to reconcile with the Vatican, announced it had dismissed British Bishop Richard Williamson as director of the La Reja seminary and distanced itself from his views.
Williamson's views about the Holocaust created an uproar last month when Pope Benedict XVI lifted his excommunication and that of three other bishops consecrated by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
Lefebvre founded the Society of St. Pius X in 1969 in opposition to the liberalizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council, particularly its outreach to Jews.
In an interview broadcast Jan. 21, Williamson told Swedish state TV that no Jews were gassed during the Holocaust and only 200,000 to 300,000 were killed, not 6 million.
"The statements from Monsignor Williamson do not in any way reflect the position of our congregation," the Rev. Christian Bouchacourt, South American superior for the Society of St. Pius X in Buenos Aires, said in an e-mailed statement.
Williamson also questioned the Holocaust while serving as rector of the St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, Minn., between 1988 and 2003.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Williamson declared in a 1989 speech that "Jews made up the Holocaust, Protestants get their orders from the devil and the Vatican has sold its soul to liberalism."
"There was not one Jew killed in the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies," Williamson said in the speech at Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes church in Sherbrooke, Quebec, the Jewish group said in a report posted Jan. 26 on the Internet.