Society of St. Pius X head Bishop Bernard Fellay has said Bishop Richard Williamson’s apology for his Holocaust remarks is an “important step” but added that Bishop Williamson should probably stay quiet and stay “in a corner somewhere” or face being kicked out of the Society.
In a 2008 interview with a Swedish television crew, Bishop Williamson had said no more than 300,000 Jews died in the Holocaust and denied that there were gas chambers at the concentration camps.
His remarks prompted media uproar in January after Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications on the four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), a breakaway traditionalist group.
Last Thursday, Bishop Williamson issued a statement expressing regret for making the remarks and apologizing for the reaction and “scandal” they had caused.
However, he did not explicitly retract his opinions.
Speaking to the German weekly Der Spiegel, Bishop Fellay said the apology was honest.
"It is a first request for forgiveness and an important step in the right direction,” he said. Adding that Bishop Williamson had damaged the SSPX, Bishop Fellay distanced himself from the bishop.
If Bishop Williamson denies the Holocaust again, Bishop Fellay warned, he will be excluded from the SSPX.
“It is probably better if he stays quiet and stays in a corner somewhere,” Bishop Fellay said, according to Reuters. He said he believed it unlikely that the Vatican would excommunicate Bishop Williamson a second time.
On Friday, Vatican spokesman Fr. Frederico Lombardi said Bishop Williamson’s statement fell short of demands that he must “distance himself in an absolute, unequivocal and public manner from his positions regarding the Shoah.”