The strange case of Bishop Williamson

From reading sub-moronic mainstream news stories, like this one from AFP and Breitbart, you’d think that Bishop Richard Williamson was excommunicated from the Catholic Church because he was a Holocaust denier (and when this happened, the story doesn’t bother telling us), and that he was brought back into communion with the Church despite being a Holocaust denier. In reality, as I learn from Wikipedia, neither event had anything to do with his views on the Holocaust, and apparently the Vatican did not even know about Williamson’s Holocaust denial statements until after his excommunication was lifted on January 21. The excommunication had to do with Williamson’s being a member of the Society of St. Pius X, which rejects Vatican II and even the authority of the post-Vatican II papacy; and mainly with the fact that his consecration as bishop in 1988 by breakaway Archbishop Marcel LeFebvre was done without proper authorization and in defiance of the Vatican.

Williamson has traditionalist social views, such as saying that women should not wear pants or shorts and that men should be more masculine. However, his cultural criticisms of modern society draw the line in the sand at an unusual point: he has attacked The Sound of Music as a decadent movie that promotes selfishness in marriage and undermines male authority. He is also a whacked-out conspiracy theorist who says the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attack. And he is a whacked-out anti-Semite: he calls Jews “enemies of Christ” (does he call Buddhists or Hindus enemies of Christ?), opines that only 200,000 Jews were killed by Hitler, states that the Jews are seeking world domination, and declares that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a historically accurate document.

Which brings on a paraphrase of a famous Tom Lehrer song:

Oh the Darwinists hate the Catholics
And the Catholics hate the Darwinists
And the Muslims hate the Leftists
And everybody hates the Jews.


Note: So that no one will think I’m making offensive generalizations, by Darwinists I mean the Darwinist anti-Semites such as those who post at Majority Rights; by Catholics I mean traditionalist Catholic anti-Semites such as Williamson and Fr. Denis Fahey; by Leftists I mean the entire European Left who see Israel as a uniquely hateful and oppressive country and the cause of all Muslim terrorism and want to destroy her; and by Muslims I mean all Muslims who believe in the Koran, the ultimate Jew-hatred book. You have to admit it’s pretty incredible that hard-line traditionalist Catholics see the Jews as the source of all evil, and right-wing racialist atheist materialist reductionists see the Jews as the source of all evil, and anti-racist egalitarian statist globalist leftists see the Jews, or at least the Israelis, as the source of all evil, and Muslims … but the latter goes without saying.

Thus my adaptation of Lehrer’s verse is much closer to the amazing truth of the ubiquity and variety of Jew-hatred than the original:

Oh the Protestants hate the Catholics
And the Catholics hate the Protestants
And the Muslims hate the Hindus
And everybody hates the Jews

- end of initial entry -

LA write:

John Zmirak at Taki’s Magazine has observations on the Bishop Williamson matter, posted January 24. He makes it clear that the lifting of the excommunication had nothing to do with Holocaust denial, but was part of a reconciliation between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X. He also says that Williamson is a low-level crackpot and a disgrace, and that it’s deeply unfortunate that Archbishop Lefebvre, who did so much to bring the Church back from the ruin of Vatican II, tarnished his saintly reputation by ordaining Williamson. But as is usual for Zmirak, he is all over the place, trying to touch all bases. Thus he balances bad Catholics such as Williamson with bad Jews who have “stolen” Palestinian land. It would be interesting to see exactly what this “theft” consists of. Zionist settlers legally purchasing and developing land in Palestine under Turkish rule? Israel fighting back against the Arab attempt to destroy Israel in 1948 and taking enough land from the Arabs to make Israel minimally defensible? Capturing the West Bank after Jordan commenced hostilities against Israel in 1967? Building towns and settlements in the West Bank starting in the late 1970s after trying unsuccessfully for years to give the land back to the Arabs in an exchange of land for peace? Was every acre of that unused land to sit there unused forever, while the Arab war against Israel continued? So, beyond anti-Israel sloganeering, what precise act of theft is Zmirak referring to?

Similarly, he condemns Williamson’s Holocaust denial, while referencing the Nazis’ “attempt” to exterminate the Jews. It was only an attempt? Let’s say that there were 18 million Jews in the world in 1941. And let’s say for the sake of discussion that the six million figure is wrong and that, say, only five million Jews were killed by the Nazis. Is the systematic demonization, hunting down, arrest, dispossession, dehumanization, and murder of five million Jews because they were Jews only an “attempt” to exterminate Jews? Would it only have gone beyond an “attempt” to exterminate Jews and become an actual extermination of Jews if every single Jew of the 18 million on earth at that time had been killed? Such are the confusions Zmirak gets into through his endless, politician-type attempts to stay on good terms with all sides in a controversy, including both the Jews and his paleo, anti-Jewish friends such as Taki, rather than being truthful.

There are plenty of legitimate things to criticize Jews and Jewish organizations about, and Zmirak mentions some of them, such as the Jews’ ignoring the persecution and mass murder of Catholics by the Soviet Communists, such as the disgraceful smear campaign against Pope Pius XII, such as Jewish writers’ and organizations’ despicable endorsement of the idea that the Christian religion is inherently anti-Semitic and made the Nazi genocide inevitable (I myself have strongly condemned the Holocaust Museum and Commentary magazine under the editorship of Neil Kozodoy for treating that idea favorably). But, as I said, balance between the respective grievances and sins of different groups must not be balance for the sake of balance; it also has to be true.

Bruce B., who sent the Zmirak article, writes:

Thanks for the reply. I don’t understand your criticism of his word “attempt.” He wrote of the “attempts to exterminate THE Jews.” Doesn’t exterminate mean eliminate completely and doesn’t “THE Jews” mean as an existing people? If he had said “attempt” with respect to “mass murder of” then I would understand your criticism.

LA replies:

Maybe. However, I would say that they didn’t have a project: “We intend to kill every Jew on earth. Here is our plan.” They also didn’t have an explicit plan, “We intend to kill every Jew in Europe,” though they did ultimately intend to kill every Jew in Europe. It moved by stages. They did kill over half the Jews who were in Europe in 1941. To call that merely an “attempt” to exterminate the Jews doesn’t sound right.

If someone sets out to cut off all a man’s limbs, and only cuts off his legs before he is stopped, would we describe that as, “an attempt to cut off all the man’s limbs”? It’s more than an attempt. It’s an act largely carried out. To emphasize the (implicitly unsuccessful) attempt, rather than the (actually successfully carried out) act, does not seem correct.

Bruce B. replies:

I thought the analogy in the last paragraph of your reply was a reasonable one. But I’m not sure we should see one word which could be interpreted multiple ways as evidence he’s trying to stay on Taki’s good side. Some prominent Catholic paleos seem to “play both sides” by rejecting WN style anti-Semitism and what they call “philo-Semitism” (by which they seem to mean aggressive Zionism) both as “un-Catholic.” P.S. I’m not defending Taki but when I read his Madoff post I got the distinct impression he was intentionally provoking his critics in a “I’m a rich guy and can say want I want. Screw you.” sort of way. This is speculative but it occurred to me his post was actually directed literally at YOU in this way. Please note I’m not trying to make light of what he said or your criticisms of it.

Dennis Mangan writes:

This isn’t an original observation, but we can see in the case of Williamson a characteristic of the mind of Holocaust deniers: they say that the Nazi’s didn’t kill many Jews, but they should have. I’ve never heard of a Holocaust denier that wasn’t at the least fairly hostile to Jews. Whatever the reason, and while Holocaust denial is loopy, it’s completely logically possible to separate denial from hostility toward Jews. But in fact we never see that.

LA replies:

Of course. I noticed that syndrome the first time I ever read an issue of the Journal of Historical Review. “It’s an absolute lie, the most monstrous lie in history, to say the Nazis exterminated the Jews! And next time we’ll get it right!”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 03, 2009 11:39 PM | Send

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