SSPX Update

Bishop Richard Williamson
Bishop Richard Williamson (photo: CNS)

Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson has been removed from his position as director of a Society of St. Pius X seminary in Argentina.

The Rorate Caeli blog, which has been closely monitoring the controversy engendered by Pope Benedict XVI’s lifting of the excommunications of Bishop Williamson and three other Society of St. Pius X bishops, reports here about this news.

One of the outcomes of the controversy has been a repudiation by the Society of St. Pius X of Bishop Williamson’s Holocaust-denying views.

And the Vatican has made it clear that it expects the traditionalist society to purge its hierarchy of such sentiments, and to declare its fidelity to all aspects of the Second Vatican Council, before further steps towards full union with the Catholic Church can be considered.

Cynics who believe that the SSPX may only be pretending to disavow Bishop Williamson’s denials of the historical legitimacy of the Holocaust might consider this fact, reported yesterday by Inside the Vatican magazine: The father of the SSPX ‘s founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, himself died in a Nazi death camp in 1944.

Moynihan cites Internet sources that state that Rene Lefebvre was arrested by Nazi authorities for his activities on behalf of the French Resistance and British Intelligence, helping soldiers and escaped prisoners return to unoccupied France and to Britain. The reports say that following imprisonment and torture, Rene Lefebvre died in 1944 in the Sonnenburg concentration camp.

Inside the Vatican also noted a comment posted on the Reuters Faithworld blog, from a Jewish man named Dr. Chaim Lehmann who says his relatives were saved from death at the hands of the Nazis by Rene Lefebvre.

Inside the Vatican notes that it has not been able to establish the authentic of the comment posted on the Faithworld blog. But, the magazine says, “It is important as we report this story, and as readers read about it and try to understand what is happening, that we keep in mind that there may be elements that are overlooked — like the actions and fate of Archbishop Lefebvre’s father — which can shed important light on the suffering, tragic fate, and heroic courage, of those who made the often tragic history we have inherited.”