Nov 22, 2010
Holocaust-denying Bishop threatened with expulsion
A Catholic bishop who denied the Holocaust has been threatened with expulsion from his traditionalist order for hiring a lawyer linked to the neo-Nazi movement.
The Society of St. Pius X said Monday it ordered Bishop Richard Williamson to fire the lawyer, who will represent him in a Nov. 29 appeal of an incitement conviction in Germany.
The court told the DAPD news agency that Williamson would be represented by Wolfram Nahrath, who has defended neo-Nazis and is a member of a far-right organization.
Williamson was convicted in April for saying in an interview that he didn't believe Jews were gassed during World War II.
Meanwhile the trial of British Bishop Richard Williamson over his denial of the extent of the Holocaust, has been postponed - days before he was due to appear in a German court.
The announcement followed media reports at the weekend that Williamson had appointed a radical right-wing lawyer to represent him in court.
The trial scheduled for November 29 has been temporarily suspended, a court spokesman said. This was because Williamson's new lawyer - whose name he did not confirm - had to familiarize himself with the case.
The trial was not expected to be rescheduled before the new year, the court spokesman added.
Williamson, of the ultra-orthodox Catholic Society of St Pius X (SSPX), denied in a television interview last year that the Nazis had systematically murdered millions of Jews.
The interview, for a Swedish television channel, took place in Germany, where Holocaust denial is a criminal offence.
Spiegel news magazine reported at the weekend that Williamson had appointed Wolfram Nahrath, a member of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), to represent him in court.
Nahrath had led the Viking Youth, a neo-Nazi organization modelled on the Hitler Youth, until it was banned in 1994.
SSPX has distanced itself from Williamson's apparent choice of lawyer. In a statement on its website, the organization said it had ordered the bishop to reverse his decision, or face expulsion from the order.
Williamson's remarks shook the Catholic church last year, as Pope Benedict XVI had ended the excommunication of Williamson and three other SSPX leaders weeks earlier.
The pope has since said he would not have taken this step if he had known about Williamson's Holocaust denial, according to a book on the pope based on interviews by a German journalist, to be published in coming days.
In the TV interview, Williamson stated that no more than 300,000 people had died in concentration camps, and that nobody was killed in gas chambers.Authors: Tina Nachtmann, Helen Maguire
POPE IGNITES DEBATE OVER CONDOMS
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the pope's recent remarks on condoms:
Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges that condoms may make sense in preventing the transmission of disease, and he immediately sets off a firestorm. But he never said condoms are an acceptable means of birth control, nor did he say that they are the answer to HIV/AIDS. Indeed, he said he opposed the widespread use of condoms because that "implies the banalization of sexuality." He also criticized the "fixation" on condoms as a means of combating AIDS.
While what the Holy Father said is newsworthy, it was not revolutionary. Even with regards to the birth control pill, the Catholic Church has allowed for exceptions. In his 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI said, "the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever." Moreover, the Church accepts the use of hormonal contraception to treat endometriosis.
We have been asked by the media what the Catholic League's position is on this issue. This misunderstands our role: we don't have a position on any Church teaching—we simply accept their wisdom and defend the right of the Church to have its voice heard with respect in the public square. We therefore stand proudly behind the pope's comments on condoms.