A German court has fined Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) 10,000 Euros, almost $14,000, for denying the Holocaust.
The 70-year-old bishop had denied the magnitude of the Holocaust, saying only 300,000 Jews perished, and that there were no gas chambers. It is a hate crime in Germany to deny the Holocaust, in which about six million Jews and millions of others perished, Reuters reports.
Bishop Williamson had appealed the initial 12,000 Euro fine, which was reduced. At a hearing in Regensburg in southern Germany, Judge Karin Frahm rejected Williamson’s lawyer Matthias Lossmann’s request that the fine be nullified.
A court spokesman said the judge reduced the penalty slightly because the bishop’s lawyer argued he had been unaware that his comments would spread outside of Sweden on the internet, leaving him open to prosecution in Germany.
The interview with Swedish television was conducted near Regensburg.
Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of four SSPX bishops, including Williamson, hoping to reconcile the breakaway group with the Catholic Church. Williamson’s comments about the Holocaust were not known to him at the time, but they caused controversy especially among Jewish groups.
Williamson later offered an apology for his remarks, which the Vatican rejected as insufficient.