In my post of a few days ago on Bishop Williamson’s Holocaust denial in advance of the lifting of the excommunications, I expressed my fervent desire that Bishop Fellay would do something about Williamson lest he impugn all adherents to the Society or even all Traditional minded Catholics with his nonsensical rantings. I wrote:
In recognition of all the Pope has done and is trying to do and in the name of all the good people in the society and those who are aligned with it, the SSPX should immediately censure or even expel Richard Williamson. He is a very troubled man in need of our prayers, but he should not be a Bishop or in any leadership position.
I am so pleased to report that Bishop Fellay has done the right thing. He apologized to the Pope and perhaps even more importantly put a gag order on Bishop Williamson.
[NCR] Statement of His Excellency Bernard Fellay, Superior of the Fraternity of St. Pius X
We have become aware of an interview released by Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Fraternity of St. Pius X, to Swedish television. In this interview, he expressed himself on historical questions, and in particular on the question of the genocide against the Jews carried out by the Nazis.
It’s clear that a Catholic bishop cannot speak with ecclesiastical authority except on questions that regard faith and morals. Our Fraternity does not claim any authority on other matters. Its mission is the propagation and restoration of authentic Catholic doctrine, expressed in the dogmas of the faith. It’s for this reason that we are known, accepted and respected in the entire world.
It’s with great sadness that we recognize the extent to which the violation of this mandate has done damage to our mission. The affirmations of Bishop Williamson do not reflect in any sense the position of our Fraternity. For this reason I have prohibited him, pending any new orders, from taking any public positions on political or historical questions.
We ask the forgiveness of the Supreme Pontiff, and of all people of good will, for the dramatic consequences of this act. Because we recognize how ill-advised these declarations were, we can only look with sadness at the way in which they have directly struck our Fraternity, discrediting its mission.
This is something we cannot accept, and we declare that we will continue to preach Catholic doctrine and to administer the sacraments of grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Menzingen, January 27, 2009
Amen! Amen! The fact that Bishop Fellay has publicly apologized, publicly repudiated the noxious opinions of Williamson, and implemented a long overdue gag order are the best signs yet that the SSPX and its leadership are serious about dialog and reconciliation. My hat is off to Bishop Fellay and my prayers are with you and the society.