Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Politics of Bishop Richard Williamson

It would be impossible to discuss the activities of the "Catholic fascist" faction of Derek Holland and John Sharpe, detailed in earlier posts, without mentioning Bishop Richard Williamson of the SSPX. Nor are many supporters of the Society of St. Pius X scandalized at such exposure at this point, since they have been religiously and politically scandalized by that cleric's pronouncements over the past twenty years (as seen on many online forums). Whether one agrees with the SSPX or not, it is clear that Bishop Williamson has been an extremist and divisive force in Catholic tradition.

Based on the facts available, including correspondence with Bishop Williamson (in the 1990s), it is clear that he was fully aware of Derek Holland's politics but refused to distance himself from the "Catholic" neo-fascists. Instead he seems to have done all he could to insure that Holland (writing under a pseudonym), and later John Sharpe, would be prominently featured in The Angelus magazine and that the Angelus Press would sell many of the materials put out by the neo-fascist Legion of St. Louis/St. George Educational Trust. While still involved with the ITP in the early 90s, former members heard the bishop's name authoritatively invoked by "Catholic" fascists to justify their program. Even now, Bishop Williamson is regularly cited by racialist, radical nationalist and anti-Semitic groups online. Is it "guilt by association"? At the very least it's a scandal that he seems totally unfazed by.

Bishop Williamson also wrote a forward to John Sharpe's LSL booklet on Islam. This is despite the fact that former US District Superior Rev. Peter Scott repeatedly warned against Sharpe and his activities. As recently as August 11, 2005, Fr. Scott stated on a traditionalist forum: "I strongly regret the naturalism of John Sharpe, Derek Holland and their friends associated with the ITP [International Third Position]. By pretending to use a political, right wing, economic solution to the problems of the world, they have fallen into naturalism, and betrayed the Catholic cause." Nevertheless, in a letter on RomanCatholics@yahoogroups.com (July 25, 2005), John Sharpe notes with approval that the bishop had met with Derek Holland in a trip to Ireland, while glossing over Holland's connection with the German NPD's extremist politics (for more information, see the Wikipedia entry).

There can be no doubt that Bishop Williamson's religious and political stances are closely allied, since he has persistently taken an apocalyptic view on both subjects. He is channeling the energies of some traditionalists – understandably concerned with the current problems in the Church – into the wrong direction. For their part, they may think he is simply taking a "strong line" theologically. But is it possible that his de facto split with the rest of the SSPX and refusal to work with Rome is driven by non-religious motivations?

There is no question of exaggerating the problem, although Bishop Williamson is careful to avoid explicit pronouncements. He has a way of pulling his punches even while he desensitizes his readers to fringe views. Yet the pattern of soft-sell extremism is so persistent it is impossible to overlook. It can no longer be written off as mere "eccentricity." The fact that so many people agree on this point, even if they disagree on other issues, demonstrates just how far-out the bishop has gone. The following outline provides links for more information:

Anti-Semitism - "Jewish conspiracy obsessed" would be putting it mildly. The best documentation is a pro-Williamson outline of his pronouncements provided originally by the Feeneyite British racial nationalist Tom Sparks. It includes the bishop's assertions that "not one Jew killed in the gas chambers" and that Hitler was "liberating Germany from [Jewish] control." See: Thomas Sparks Quotes SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson On "The Jews". Christopher Blosser addresses these same concerns (and provides a number of related links) on his blog. During his tenure as rector at the seminary in Winona, he had the reading shelves stocked with "holocaust revisionist" literature like The Revisionist and The Barnes Review as well as neo-Nazi Ernst Z√ľndel's Power Report.

Racialist views - Bish. Williamson recommends the racialist South African Aida Parker Newsletter in his September 1, 2002 newsletter. His excessive concern for the "white race" is discussed in his November 2005 newsletter. When at Winona the bishop displayed copies of The David Duke Report, put out by the well-known American white supremacist leader.

Oklahoma Bombing Conspiracy Theory - Touched on in his May 5, 1995 newsletter; Bish. Williamson repeatedly stated in his sermons that the Oklahoma bombing was secretly carried out by the US government. (This theme would be replayed in his 9/11 conspiracy theories.) The Oklahoma theory appears again in February 1, 1997.

Unabomber Theology - Adopting the survivalist, technophobic views of Theodore Kaczynski, which are so appealing to the "back to the land" neo-fascists (like the Third Position), Bish. Williamson states that: "principles [anarchism? revolution?] are more important than personalities, and the message is, strictly, for good or ill, independent of the messenger. The author of the Unabomber's Manifesto might have since become a Saint without its contents being changed by one word." See his June 6, 1996 newsletter.

US and Israel to Blame for 9/11 - The first of many writings/speeches implicating the US and Israel as the "real" culprits behind the Al Qaeda terror attacks: October 1, 2001 newsletter. Initially, like so many other fringe spokesmen, Bishop Williamson denied that al Qaeda had anything to do with the attacks. In a speech in Bordeaux in October 2001 he stated that "the bombing of [the Taliban] Afghanistan is not intelligent... it is not just to bomb these countries.... Nobody has proven that Bin Laden was behind the attacks, no one has shown proofs, Bin Laden denies it." Left-wing terrorist sympathizer William Blum has gained attention as "Osama's Pen Pal." Yet there is little noticeable difference between his treatment of al Qaeda's actions (and America's "guilt") and those of Bishop Williamson, who actually made conspiracy theory literature (e.g., Exposing the WTC Bomb Plot) part of seminary reading at Winona.