Mahony: Williamson is persona non grata in LA

posted by David Gibson

Cardinal Mahony.jpgCardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has announced that Richard Williamson, the Holocaust-denying bishop of the right-wing SSPX sect, is “hereby banned from entering any Catholic church, school or other facility, until he and his group comply fully and unequivocally with the Vatican’s directives regarding the Holocaust.”

I believe that makes Cardinal Mahony the first bishop to bar the door to Williamson.

The cardinal made his statements in a column published in The Tidings–the weekly of the archdiocese–together written with Gary Greenebaum, U.S. Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee, and Seth Brysk is Los Angeles Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee. It was running simultaneously in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. Mahony and the others write:

Holocaust deniers like Williamson will find no sympathetic ear or place of refuge in the Catholic Church, of which he is not — and may never become — a member. In rejecting the Second Vatican Council, the Society of St. Pius X and Williamson also reject Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”), one of the most remarkable documents to come out of the Second Vatican Council. Published in 1965, the document changed forever the Catholic Church’s fundamental understanding of other religions, including Jews and Judaism.

Interesting phrasing about Williamson not being “a member” of the Church.

In any case, the action is noteworthy, and restricts even more the space in which Williamson, now in an SSPX priory in London, can operate. He can’t go to Germany or Austria, given his views, he was expelled from Argentina last month after his order fired him as head of the seminary there, and now he can’t go to LA. (I thought anyone could start again in LA. It was always hope, at least.)

The current head of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay, one of the four bishops whose excommunications were revoked by Pope Benedict, touching off this long-running controversy, tells Der Spiegel of Germany that Fellay may even get the boot from the SSPX if he keeps talking:

SPIEGEL: So why don’t you exclude Williamson from the society?

Fellay: That will happen if he denies the Holocaust again. It is probably better for everyone if he stays quiet and stays in a corner somewhere. I want him to disappear from the public eye for a good while.

Booted from a schismatic church for being too schismatic? Neat trick.  

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posted March 4, 2009 at 11:59 am

the first bishop to bar the door to Williamson? No, the second!

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John Smith

posted March 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Mahony is grand-standing. How can he say Williamson is not a member of the Catholic Church? Of course he is. The pope recognizes that by both 1) imposing an excommunication and 2) by lifting it. He was ordained illicitly, but that doesn’t make him not a member of the Catholic Church.
By the way, how many child molesters has Mahony excommunicated? How many of them are banned from church property? How many of them are LIVING on church property still?
And how can you ban someone from church property who IS a Catholic and who has NOT committed any crimes? Mahony needs to grow up … and look at the beam in his own eye.

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Gerard Nadal

posted March 4, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I agree with John Smith’s comments above. Sometimes the prudent thing for a Cardinal to do is just shut up and say nothing. There is no probative value in saying that Bishop Williamson is not welcome in his diocese. Williamson’s business is with Rome, not Hollywood.
Further, the point of lifting the excommunications was to bring these four Bishops in from the cold and end an ugly schism, not debate what we all agree upon. Driving Williamson further away from the Church will only guarantee that he ordains new schismatic Bishops and perpetuate a schism that could have been handily ended.
Nostra Aetate http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html was the Church’s definitive word on Jewish-Catholic relations. This is the wrong battle.
How many pro-choice politicians does Mahoney permit to receive Holy Communion? Their complicity in the ongoing (50+ million) American Holocaust is much more proximal in its effects. Bishop Williamson’s deluded take on history (which also denies what happened to millions of Catholics) has no power to move anyone. He should be brought back and allowed to die in obscurity in Rome. End of schism.
Perhaps Cardinal Mahoney would flex some muscle where ongoing Holocausts are concerned. That, it seems, would be a more prudent use of his office.

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posted March 4, 2009 at 2:19 pm

“Perhaps Cardinal Mahoney would flex some muscle where ongoing Holocausts are concerned. That, it seems, would be a more prudent use of his office.”
Actually, Gerard, I’d say this is an attempt to cover up a federal investigation into his handling of abuse allegations against priests under his authority.
Imagine that…yet ANOTHER leader in the church being questioned about what they did with abuse allegations.

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Fernando A. Ortiz

posted March 4, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Anyone who has closely followed Mahony’s history of depositions and interviews on the crisis of child abuse would agree on one thing, he’s a pedophilia denier, minimizer, and pseudo-religious leader. On multiple occassions, he has publicly made apologies to victims and most would argue that these are PR stunts. Now, anyone who has read and seen Bishop Williamson’s history of anti-semitic rantings in interviews and his recent questioning of some historical aspects of the Shoah would agree on one thing, he’s a holocaust denier, minimizer, and a fraud. Mahony has called Bishop Williamson a ‘holocaust denier’ and has not accepted Bishop’s Williamson’s recent statement apologizing to his victims. Bishop Williamson should probably reply accordingly and call Mahony what he is and point out his hypocricy. It is appalling to see Mahony’s shrewd ability to hit the headlines and side with victims of historic revisionism, especially during this time when he is being investigated by federal agents for failing to protect the children of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. This is clearly one more example of his cunning ability to mount PR campaigns to portray himself in a positive light. This is not the first time he has banned someone from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, he also banned Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson from publicly speaking at various locations in los Angeles. Bishop Robinson has questioned the mishandling of the child abuse crisis by the Catholic hierarchy. Where does Mahony get the moral authority to use issue such authoritarian statements? Is he really protecting the faithful of the Archdiocese or protecting himself by manipulating public opinion?

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posted March 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm

so who loses, Mahony the judaiser or the good Bishop of truth? Go to

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posted March 4, 2009 at 3:56 pm

“Bishop Williamson should probably reply accordingly and call Mahony what he is and point out his hypocricy.”
With all do respect, Fernando, that wouldn’t be aligned with Christian teaching (turn the other cheek, love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you, etc) I’ve reached a point where I truly sympathize with Williamson and his ongoing purgation. Never thought I’d reach that point, as I’ve been hard on him in the past. Also very dismayed at Mahoney’s stance in this particular instance, as you don’t have to be a Catholic in good standing to set foot in a Catholic Church. Not sure how Mahoney feels that he has this kind of authority as it seems like grandstanding extraordinare. At least Williamson is apparently on a path progressing towards genuine humility.

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posted March 4, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Im sure Card. Mahony already new that Bishop Williamson never even goes to any of the churches in the City of Los Angeles. The SSPX has no churches in Los Angeles City. So what is this statement suppose to do? I dont get it??

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Gerard Nadal

posted March 4, 2009 at 4:17 pm

” I’ve reached a point where I truly sympathize with Williamson and his ongoing purgation. Never thought I’d reach that point…”
I got there a while ago. Those unmoved by Nostra Aetate wouldn’t believe Bishop Williamson’s recanting under any circumstances. There are those who hate the Church and will seize upon any opportunity to trumpet her flawed member’s failings.
I’ve always thought Bishop Williamson to be more deluded than malicious. That Mahoney could have rejected Bishop Williamson’s saying, “Before God, I apologize” and then claiming that he, a validly ordained Bishop is not a Catholic and not permitted in Church? I’m beginning to believe that Mahoney is both deluded and malicious. Who’s abusing his Office now?

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posted March 4, 2009 at 6:43 pm

“Those unmoved by Nostra Aetate wouldn’t believe Bishop Williamson’s recanting under any circumstances.”
That’s just it, Gerard. He did not recant his statement. He apologized for those he may have offended in speaking those words.
Here is what the Vatican set as the condition for his reinstatement:
“In order to be readmitted to episcopal functions within the Church, Bishop Williamson must absolutely, unequivocally and publicly distance himself from his views concerning the Shoah, which were unknown to the Holy Father at the moment he lifted the excommunication.”
Here is what Williamson said:
“On Swedish television I gave only the opinion (…”I believe”…”I believe”…) of a non-historian, an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available, and rarely expressed in public since.
However, the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St. Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused. To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologize.”
Here is the Vatican response:
“But Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi said the bishop “does not seem to respect the conditions” it set after he had made the comments.
Meanwhile Renzo Gattegna, the president of Italy’s Jewish Communities, described the apology as “absolutely ambiguous”. ”
It would seem, Gerard, that you are out of step with the Holy See with regards to the heretical Williamson. Not surprising…cafeterial Catholics often ignore those teachings and statements that conflict with their personal opinions.

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posted March 4, 2009 at 8:12 pm

What difference does it make to Williamson to have Mahony ban him from entering a RCC in LA? The man is in London, and the chances of him going to LA are what? Also how can a person be excommunicated if he doesn’t belong to the church to begin with? Sounds like a lot of huffing and puffing on Mahony’s part. The “see me? I’m important.”

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Gerard Nadal

posted March 4, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Hi Pagansister,
You nailed it. Williamson’s business is in Rome, not Hollywood. The SSPX consider themselves authentically Catholic, and he IS a validly ordained Bishop. That’s the problem. He has the ability to perpetuate this schism by ordaining priests and Bishops.
Your bitterness with the Catholic Church is understandable. So is your bitterness with the specific individuals who harmed you. However, your popping up after I write a post and leveling your guns at me on every thread with ad hominem attacks is getting a little creepy. Please focus on those who hurt you and learn to respect those on these threads with whom you have substantive disagreements.

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posted March 4, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Cardinal Mahoney banned Catholicism in Los Angeles a long time ago.

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posted March 5, 2009 at 12:43 am

This more lies as well. The SSPX has never been schismatic. To state that they are schismatic is calumny.

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posted March 5, 2009 at 9:10 am

Gerard: “However, your popping up after I write a post and leveling your guns at me on every thread with ad hominem attacks is getting a little creepy.”
“To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologize.”

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posted March 5, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Strange reaction to a strayed sheep. Isn’t one of a Bishop’s priorities to reach out after a lost sheep and lead him back to the fold? Mahony should refresh his memory by reading Luke 15, third Sunday after Pentecost.

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Roland Feralo

posted March 5, 2009 at 3:40 pm

What about Nancy Pelosi, pro-abortion “Catholic”. Shouldn’t she be banned by Mahoney as well? Why does Williamson get special treatment? And dare I say that Pelosi does much, much more harm by remaining a Catholic in good standing while staunchly defending the “right” to vacuum to death a baby in the womb?

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posted March 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm

The lack of concern that some on this thread have for what happened in the past and for the feelings of Jews (who they vastly outnumber and who they could squash again in a second if they so chose) is…not surprising. Depressing, yes, but surprising, no.

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Melle Johnson

posted March 6, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Here is a Youtube response I posted about Richard Williamson and why I think Pope Benedict is trying to integrate the SSPX.

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Melle Johnson

posted March 6, 2009 at 2:08 pm

The Youtube link is my video song on Bishop Williamson.

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Gerard Nadal

posted March 6, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Roland Feralo,
A hearty AMEN to all that you say. Unfortunately there are those who only make distinctions of kind and not degree. Bishop Williamson ain’t exactly Hitler. He’s just a poor deluded slob.

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posted March 8, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Williamson is a nut. The other three bishops have been disobedient, yes, but Williamson is a true crank. Not only does he say wacky things about the Holocaust, he also thinks that women shouldn’t wear pants or go to college (this despite the SSPX college in Kansas which is co-ed), and he thinks that “The Sound of Music” is an evil film, and… well, I could elaborate. If you read his archived messages on the web, you’ll see what I mean. I think that a lot of people on this thread have been way too kind to him. Even Fellay wants him “in a corner”!
Our Pope is reaching out to the SSPX mostly for the sake of its priests and thousands of associated laypeople. Yes, the four bishops have souls that matter – but don’t anyone get the idea that this is about Williamson, that lifting his excommunication was all for this guy’s benefit. In the long run, he’s not that important.

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Your Name

posted March 10, 2009 at 12:07 am

Christian teaching prescribes to turn the other cheek, to love your enemies and to be good to those who persecute you, but it does not proscribe rhetorical engagement in the example of Jesus himself. Many instances in the Christian New Testament, especially in the Gospels, show Jesus strongly responding, rebuking and engaging the Pharisees and other hypocritical groups. We also find multiple examples in the first Christian community – Saint Paul would be a clear example of someone who is not afraid to engage his opponents in debate. It is not necessary to provide specific examples since the point has clearly made, so I hope (for further details consult debate between Saint Paul and Saint Peter).
Mahony seems to be very good at comparmentalizing his own thinking. He has in the past used arguments from Canon Law to ban individuals and thus conveys the idea that he closely adheres to law, but he is selective about these legalistic applications. He has surrounded himself with strong lawyers “protect himself,” and not really protect anybody else.

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