.- Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has given an interview to the German magazine Der Spiegel, saying that he will âreview the historical evidenceâ on the Holocaust and voicing his reservations about the Second Vatican Council.
Bishop Richard Williamson is one of the four bishops leading the breakaway âtraditionalistâ SSPX whose excommunications were lifted in January. The lifting of the excommunications caused international complaints and protest after footage of an interview with Swedish public television showed Bishop Williamson denying that six million Jews were killed in the Nazi genocide.
He also denied the existence of Nazi gas chambers and claimed only two to three hundred thousand Jews were murdered.
Der Spiegel asked Bishop Williamson how he would react to Vatican demands that he retract his view of the Holocaust.
âThroughout my life, I have always sought the truth,â the bishop said. âThat is why I converted to Catholicism and became a priest.â
Saying he realizes there are âmany honest and intelligent people who think differently,â he said he must once again review the historical evidence.
âHistorical evidence is at issue, not emotions,â he claimed. âAnd if I find this evidence, I will correct myself. But that will take time.â
The bishop stated that he had read various writings in the 1980s, such as a report claiming that the Nazi gas chambers were technically impractical, and said âit seemed plausible to me.â
âNow I am told that it has been scientifically refuted. I plan now to look into it,â he told Der Spiegel.
Bishop Williamson said he would not travel to Auschwitz himself but would instead read and study Jean-Claude Pressacâs book "Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers."
Discussing Pope Benedict XVIâs lifting of the excommunication of the SSPX bishops, Bishop Williamson said adherents of his group âjust want to be Catholic, nothing else.â He claimed that they have not developed their own teachings but are âmerely preserving the things that the Church has always taught and practiced.â
He argued the way âeverythingâ was changed after the Second Vatican Council made this position âa scandalâ and pushed them to the âmargins of the Church.â
âNow that empty churches and an aging clergy make it clear that these changes were a failure, we are returning to the center,â he argued. âThat's the way it is for us conservatives: we are proved right, as long as we wait long enough.â
Bishop Williamson said it was âabsolutely unclearâ what the SSPX is supposed to recognize about the Second Vatican Council, charging that some passages of the documents are âalready outdated.â
âThese Council documents are always ambiguous. Because no one knew what exactly this was supposed to mean, everyone started doing as he wished shortly after the Council,â he told Der Spiegel. âThis has resulted in this theological chaos we have today. What are we supposed to recognize, the ambiguity or the chaos?â
The bishop insisted that the Second Vatican Council declared that it would proclaim no new dogmas and charged âthe liberal bishopsâ with using the Council as âjustification for a dictatorship of relativism.â
Responding to the charge of anti-Semitism, the bishop said the Church has understood and condemned anti-Semitism as a rejection of Jews because of their Jewish roots.
When Der Spiegel asked whether he would apologize for causing âgreat injury and outrage in the Jewish world,â he answered:
âIf I realize that I have made an error, I will apologize. I ask every human being to believe me when I say that I did not deliberately say anything untrue. I was convinced that my comments were accurate, based on my research in the 1980s. Now I must review everything again and look at the evidence.â