Richard Williamson (bishop)

Richard Williamson (bishop)

Richard Nelson Williamson, SSPX (born 8 March 1940) is a bishop of the Society of St. Pius X. He was declared excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church because of his unauthorized consecration by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, deemed by the Holy See to be "unlawful" and "a schismatic act". [ [ Apostolic Letter 'Ecclesia Dei'] ]

Early life and ministry

Williamson was born in England, the second of three boys to Anglican parents. He attended Winchester College.cite news | title = Lefebvrists face crisis as bishop is exposed as ‘dangerous’ anti-Semite| Last= Arco | First -Anna| work = The Catholic Herald | language = English | publisher = Catholic Herald Limited | date = 3/5/2008 | url = | accessdate = 2008-06-24 ] After taking a degree in literature at the University of Cambridge, he taught at a college in Ghana.Fact|date=November 2007 During this time he was greatly influenced by Malcolm Muggeridge and many believe this started his process of conversion to Catholicism. During his time in Africa, Williamson met with an elderly Albert Schweitzer in Gabon.Fact|date=November 2007

In 1971 Williamson was received into the Roman Catholic Church by Father John Flanagan, an Irish missionary priest working in England. After some time as a novice at the London Oratory, Williamson entered the Society of International Seminary of St. Pius X at Ecône in Switzerland. In 1976 he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

Williamson's first appointment was as a professor at the German seminary of the Society in Weissbad, and after two years he was named at the St. Pius X International Seminary in Ecône, Switzerland. In 1983 he was transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Within a short time he was appointed rector of the seminary which moved to Winona, Minnesota in 1988.

Consecration and excommunication

bishop controversy SSPX | name = Williamson | noUseRef = true

Life after 1988

After his episcopal consecration Williamson remained rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary. He performed various episcopal functions, including confirmations and ordinations. In 1991, he assisted in the consecration of Licínio Rangel as bishop for the Priestly Society of St. John Mary Vianney after the death of its founder, Bishop Antônio de Castro Mayer.

In 2003 Williamson was appointed rector of the Seminary of Our Lady Co-Redemptrix in La Reja, Argentina.

In 2006, Williamson ordained two priests and seven deacons in Warsaw, Poland for the Priestly Society of Saint Josaphat, a group led by the priest Basil Kovpak whose 2003 excommunication by the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church was declared null on procedural grounds, but who was definitively excommunicated in November 2007.cite news | title = Ukrainian priest excommunicated | work = Catholic World News | language = English | publisher = CWN | date = 2007-11-23 | url = | accessdate = 2008-06-24 |quote=SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson illicitly ordained two SSJK priests and seven deacons.] This action was considered unlawful by the Catholic Church as Williamson violated canons 1015 §1 and 1017 of the Code of Canon Law, [cite web |title=Canon Law |url= |publisher=Vatican |work=1983 Code of Canon Law: The Celebration of Ordination and the Minister|accessdate=2008-06-24] as he, acting outside his own jurisdiction, did not have the permission of the diocesan Bishop, and as he did not have valid dimissorial letters (cf. canons 1018 and 1019) authorizing him to perform the ordination anywhere.

Views of Bishop Williamson

Like the SSPX in general, Williamson opposes the changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council, which he sees as liberal, neo-modernist, and destroying the Catholic Church.cite news|title=New Traditionalist Bishop Says Fight Just Beginning|last=Neuerbourg|first=Hanns|date=1 July 1988|publisher=The Associated Press|accessdate=2008-08-01] cite news|title=Liberalism destroying church, bishop says|last=McAteer|first=Michael |date=3 April 1989|publisher=The Toronto Star|accessdate=2008-08-01] Among the changes he decries are informality and simplicity in worship, preferring "beauty and majesty, beautiful music and vestments." Williamson considers the post Vatican II mainstream Catholic Church to be too tolerant of other denominations and religions, viewing Ecumenism an error.cite news|title=Bishop attacks Rome 'poison';Bishop Richard Williamson|last=Wilkins|first=Emma|date=19 September 1988|publisher=The Times|accessdate=2008-08-01] He has critiqued the theological understanding of both the Popes with whom the SSPX has been in conflict, including stating that Pope John Paul II had a "weak grasp of Catholicism".cite news|last=Owen| first=Richard|title=Pope woos conservatives expelled for rebellion|work=Times Online|url=|date=2003-04-21|accessdate = 2008-07-29]

Williamson upholds the SSPX view that they are not schismatic, but keep the "complete faith" and are the genuine Catholics,cite news|title=US Seminary of front line in Catholic Doctrine Battle|last=Moylan|first=Martin J.|date=11 December 1988|publisher=The Dallas Morning News|accessdate=2008-08-01] cite news|title=Ousted bishop says pope ruining church|last=Stowell|first=Linda|date=13 August 1988|publisher=Houston Chronicle|accessdate=2008-08-01] while the mainstream church is under "the power of Satan".cite news|title=Maverick bishop confirms Lefebvre's way|last=McAteer|first=Michael |date=15 April 1989|publisher=The Toronto Star|accessdate=2008-08-01]

Williamson is viewed as being at the hardline end of the traditionalist spectrum. [ Pope opens talks with Latin Mass renegades] ] [,1518,488883,00.html Ein Damenbesuch und andere unbekannte Seiten des Papstes] ] He opposes compromise with the Vatican, [ [ Lefebvrist bishop says no reconciliation with Rome] ] cite news|url=|title=Pope meets head of ultraconservative movement|date=29 August 2005|publisher=USA Today|accessdate=2008-08-02] accusing it of deceit. [ [ Pope opens talks with Latin Mass renegades] ] He judges reconciliation between the Society and the current Vatican leadership to be impossible, noting that some SSPX members might refuse to follow the Society even if an agreement were reached. [ [ SSPX bishop sees little hope for agreement with Rome] ]

Williamson is conservative in areas of gender roles and dress. He opposes the wearing of trousers or shorts by women,cite news|title=Paranoia Is Becoming An Article of Faith In a Tiny Kansas Town --- A Split Among Its Catholics Is as Much About Suspicion As It Is AboutDoctrine|last=Farney|first=Dennis |date=23 August 1995|publisher=The Wall Street Journal|accessdate=2008-08-09] cite news|title=Catholic right over 'sect'|last=Papadakis|first=Mary|date=14 July 2002|publisher=Sunday Herald Sun|accessdate=2008-08-01] and has urged more manliness in men.cite news|title=Bishop's homily ranges from Columbus to 'JFK' |date=28 March 1992|publisher=The Salt Lake Tribune|pages=A12|accessdate=2008-08-09]

Williamson has expressed controversial views about Judaism and the Holocaust. He has endorsed "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", [ [ 1 May 2000] ] has denied the Holocaust,cite news|title=Holocaust stance probed|last=Legge|first=Gordon|date=April 15, 1989.|publisher=Calgary Herald.|accessdate=2008-08-09] cite news|title=Chief Canadian bishop denounces clergyman's anti-Jewish comments |last=McAteer |first= Michael |date=14 April 1989|publisher=The Toronto Star|pages=A11|accessdate=2008-08-09] [ Robert G. Weisbord and Wallace P. Sillanpoa: [,M1 "The Chief Rabbi, the Pope, and the Holocaust"] (Transaction Publishers 1991 ISBN 0887384161), p. 202] cite news|title=Catholic bishop won't be charged for remarks about Jews, police say|last=McAteer|first=Michael |date=21 April 1989|publisher=The Toronto Star|pages=A10|accessdate=2008-08-09] and praised Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel.cite news|title=The Holocaust: Zeal and ignorance|date=April 20, 1989|publisher=The Windsor Star. |pages=A.10|accessdate=2008-08-09] He states that Jews aim at world dominion, [ [ 1 February 1991 Letter] ] and that Jews and Freemasons, whom he also opposes, have contributed to the "changes and corruption" in the Catholic Church. [ [ National Catholic Reporter, 30 March 2001] , quoting a 3 October 2000 letter by Williamson.] He argues that Jews are the "enemies of Christ", and urges their conversion to Catholicism. [ [,M1 Robert G. Weisbord and Wallace P. Sillanpoa: "The Chief Rabbi, the Pope, and the Holocaust"] (Transaction Publishers 1991 ISBN 0887384161) p. 194] Williamson denies that he is antisemitic, [ Lefebvrists face crisis as bishop is exposed as 'dangerous' anti-Semite] ] stating that he is following the New Testament, which includes harsh statements about the Jews, and noting that he also attacks other "enemies" of Christ such as Communists and Freemasons. Williamson supports alternative theories regarding the assassination of President Kennedy, and the collapse of the Twin Towers. [ [ Lecture by Williamson] ]

Episcopal succession

date of consecration=June 30, 1988
consecrated by=Marcel Lefebvre
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bishop 1=Licinio Rangel
consecration date 1=July 28, 1991
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* "The Rural Solution: Modern Catholic Voices on Going Forward to the Land" (2003, with P. Chojnowski, W. Marx, W. Nutting, C. McCann)
* "Letters from the Rector - Volume 1: The Ridgefield Letters" (2007)
* "Letters from the Rector - Volume 2: The Winona Letters" (set for 2008 publication)


External links

Writings by Bishop Williamson

* [ Letters of Bishop Williamson 1991-2003]
* [ Quelques Infos Entre Nous (includes Bishop Williamson's Letters, 2004-2006)]
* [ Weekly columns by Bishop Williamson, since July 2007]


* [ Traditionalist criticism of Richard Williamson's doctrinal stance]

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