Court fines SSPX bishop for Holocaust denial

Richard Williamson

Richard Williamson

A German court  yesterday fined Society of Saint Pius X Bishop Richard Williamson €12,000 (more than £10,800)  for incitement, because he has publicly denied the Holocaust.

The court in Regensburg sent  Williamson a letter informing him that he was being fined because of a claim he made on Swedish television that fewer than 300,000 Jews died in Nazi death camps. He also said that the gas chambers did not exist.

Williamson has said in the past  he was assured that remarks would not be broadcast in Germany, only in Sweden, where there is no law against Holocaust denial. The Swedish television producers deny his claim.

Williamson's lawyer, Matthias Lossmann, said he would likely appeal against the court's decision.

An Anglican convert, Williamson studied at the breakaway traditionalist International Seminary of St Pius X at Ecône Switzerland. In 1976 he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. He was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1988  as a consequence his unauthorized consecration as a bishop by Lefebvre.

The Holy See lifted the excommunication in January 2009.  However, after reports accusing him of Holocaust denial attracted widespread media coverage, the Vatican declared that "in order to be admitted to episcopal functions within the Church, (he) will have to take his distance, in an absolutely unequivocal and public fashion, from his position on the Shoah, which the Holy Father was not aware of when the excommunication was lifted."

See also: Vatican holds first meeting with Society of St Pius X

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