Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feeling sorry for Dickey

There is a type of Cambridge academic, much emulated by English schoolmasters of my youth, whose powers of reasoning and logic, based of course on a rather exclusive selection of data, and a selective rejection of common sense leaves him locked in an Ivory Tower of his own making. I have always thought its connection with Cambridge had something to do with the Protestant miasma drifting in from those Low Countries: all that personalism and individual interpretation of scripture.
I think the description fits Bishop Williams very well. The tower grows in height and the door more firmly locked. I must say I am beginning to feel quite sorry for him.

It was announced today that he is being thrown out of Argentina, this follows his removal as seminary rector, his silencing on matters other than religion, there are rumours too that he might even be ejected from the SSPX. All this amid the clamour of the press. Bitter hubris!

We English have a feel for the underdog and the eccentric, Williamson is both, say a prayer for him, it must be very lonely for him as he is increasingly isolated in his pride.


gemoftheocean said...

Yeah, but as they say "Son, it's no good going through life stupid!"

Anonymous said...

I know, he's like an awkward old uncle. You disagree with him about many things, but you don't like to see him set upon like this.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I spent 5 months in one of the few protestant areas of Bavaria, at no moment did I sense that either the Catholics or Protestants believe in the Holocaust story as presented in the Western media. They don't refute it but they don't believe in it or at lesat have serious doubts.

That an English public schoolboy is challenging the received wisdom on these events is an irony lost on poor Dickey.

Physiocrat said...

Sadie, it is called being in denial.

Jews made up 10% of the population of Poland before the war - about 3 million. Where did they go to? What happened to the Jews of Western Ukraine, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Rumania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Greece, Italy? They were there in 1939 and gone by 1945. A lot of people went missing. Who owned the piles of shoes and spectacles in Auschwitz? What happened to them? What is one to make of statements by the people who were in the Nazi concentration camps? Who is buried in the mass graves in Belsen? What about the film footage taken at the end of the war, showing starved people in striped uniforms? Set up by film producers?

Sorry I do not feel sorry for Williamson. He has made a complete ass of himself and brought SSPX into further disrepute. It does not help those of us who want to see the Benedictine liturgical reform and actually agree with SSPX on that one single issue. This kind of incident gets us all pigeonholed as being reactionaries or fascists of like mind.

The timing could not have been worse, coinciding with the lifting of the excommunication, thereby spreading the opprobrium to the entire Catholic Church. That is a scandal in the true meaning of the term.

The best thing that Williamson could do would be to retire to the deepest obscurity, and make sure he is never heard of again.

gemoftheocean said...

SV: Well, then I guess those German civilians who were marched through the death camps (and quite young German civilians too) must have kept their traps shut about the piles of dead, rotting bodies they were forced to march past so that years later they couldn't lie to themselves that "that never happened." APparently they've died off and the stupid people are now in charge.

Fr. Blake, the English do have a charming fondness for the "underdog" and "eccentric" as you say - it's one of your best qualities. But that's supposed to be "underdog" and "eccentric" as in "the guy who couldn't beat a 98 lady at lawn darts who collects 1879 (only!) pennies who were run over by various railway trains on Wednesday afternoons in years that the queen wore pink 4 days in a row." Or guy who collects marathon bar wrappers and makes them into wedding gifts.

Williamson is the guy that wanders through life with an open fly and no one bothers to tell them because he'd rant that it wasn't open and you shouldn't be looking down there anyway. Commodore's privilege.

JARay said...

I saw him once at a Mass in which he conferred the sacrament of Confirmation.
He never mentioned the Holocaust or The Sound of Music (which I have seen several times). He stuck to religious matters and I quite liked him.
So there!


Physiocrat said...

Nice one, Gem. Pity he didn't just keep his stupid mouth shut about politics and stick to what he was paid to do, which he might well be perfectly good at.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I simply remarked upon my experience of living in Germany. I have even visited Buchenwald concentration camp near Wiemar where those images were filmed by Billy "Some Like it Hot" Wilder.

Go visit the "Red States" of America perhaps in about 12 or 18 or 24 months time and recite your history lesson with which we are all familiar.

I suggest you go armed.

gemoftheocean said...

SV: "Red states" are the ones that vote more Republican. I have not known republican holocaust deniers, so I don't know what you're "on about."

As for travelling packing heat, it's the states with the MOST restrictive gun laws that have the highest crime. Gun crime goes DOWN when you don't need the approval of SuzyBusybody to protect yourself. You see, criminals don't obey the law. "Gun free" zones guarantee more crime.

epsilon said...

Why do you think everyone latches on to this label "holocaust denier" when describing someone who does not deny hundreds of thousands of Jewish deaths too place, but dares to suggest it was through disease and malnutrition and possibly not gas? Why is it that those who dare to say such things are imprisoned, shunned, materially ruined, etc.? Even people of jewish origin have been forced into hiding for asking questions that are now forbidden to be asked.

Doesn't it make you wonder? Have those who say "so that it would never happen again" lifted a finger in any part of the world since 1945 to prevent all the genocide since then? Or does "never happen again" only refer to Jews?

Have you seen what happens to revisionists?

Have you read Finkelstein's "Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering"?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I would need very strog evidence to persuade me 6m Jews were not killed, or that there was no killing of many of them by gassing.

One of my parishioners witnessed the seperation of the sick, elderly and children on the transports they went one way the reast went of to slavery. The first group were never seen again.
She understood they were gassed, there was no firing of guns, so they were not shot.
What do you think happened?

Sadie Vacantist said...

"I have not known republican holocaust deniers" and I've not know any democrat "holocaust deniers". In fact, I am not sure what party Holocaust revisionists vote for at all?

Most Germans' attitude to the Holocaust parallels Argentina's concern about Richard Williamson's passport. Do the Germans really believe in it all i.e. the Holocaust? My own experience is, no.

The difference, at the moment, between a revision of the events of the last 70 years in the USA is their economy. If the economy collapses, there will be all manner of revision and the outcome of that revision is uncertain.

If, in 2 years time, the USA is in a state of chaos, (armed to teeth both individually and collectively) and revising its history, God alone knows what conclusions they will draw.

Anonymous said...

I'll pray for him. He looks to me like a crusty old gent, but if he is a nut he is one of our nuts and we should go back and carry the dead and wounded (in his case mentally so) from the battle field. I think he's got the spiritual equivalent of shell-shock and he isn't thinking straight. All that isolation in the SSPX has sent him stir-crazy.

When it's all said and done I don't think he is an anti-semite, rather he is a conspiracy theorist. Swedish TV missed a trick and should have asked him what he thought about 9/11, or whether he thought there was a masonic-modernist plot to take-over the Catholic Church. Then they would have had a headline. However, thinking about it maybe they didn't want that. 'Bishop is conspiracy theorist' doesn't sound as good as 'Bishop is holocaust denier'. Maybe they knew and arranged the questions to fit their headline.

To be fair about it people who actually know him and met him have got good things to say about him and he seems to inspire loyalty. That's hard to do if you are evil as some people are virtually saying.

No, he looks pompous to me, led by a false idealism and naive (why on earth didn't he think it fishy Swedish TV wanted to interview him?) but he is a Catholic Bishop and one has to hope this is a moment of grace and conversion for him.

St. Peter, pray for us, and pray particularly for Bishop Williamson.

epsilon said...


I'm not trying to persuade anyone either way - all I'm asking is why is it such a taboo subject...


He IS a conspiracy theorist - I discovered him on youtube a couple of years ago in relation to 9/11.

Sadie Vacantist said...

"why is it such a taboo subject"

The current status quo suits everybody:

State of Israel

USA's failed empire building (unlike Europeans they don't actually believe in building empires which is why they are crap at it but that's another story)

UK war crimes both before, during and after the war.

As for Germany? They have had 2 magnum .45s pointed at their head since 1945 - one from the East and one West. They'll sign or say anything - try reading some of the testimony at Nuremberg, if you don't believe me.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Sadie because whatever the number the hurt was so great, so systematic, so carefully defined, so progressive in its attempts to enlist every faction of society against a particular race.

Other reasons put forward by the Pope are it was attempt to "kill God" by blotting out the "chosen race".

No more comments that could be construed to be anti-Semitic, as someone whose relatives who died in the camps, as partisans, I find it distasteful, to their memory, that these issues are even disputed by you, and distasteful to enter into debate about their deaths and sufferings with you.

Sadie Vacantist said...

Hat tip, you have just answered epsilon's question better than I ever could.

Anonymous said...


I agree but it goes a whole lot further than 9/11. He's got a whole alternative view of recent European and world history and even has a prediction for WWIII. Anybody who's got the time to google around will see what I mean. His holocaust denial has to be seen in the bigger context of this alternatve world history to make any sense. Swedish TV didn't know what they were stumbling into. It's barmy to me but try telling that to a committed conspiracy theorist. It's like trying to convert a Jehovah Witness. It's the standard conspiracy line, masonic plots etc married up with an apocalyptic Catholic ending. An over active imagination and misplaced idealism to me - but you'll never convince someone like him. Some blogs (not Catholic) have already picked up on it.

Frankly Bishop Williamson is the Catholic Church's David Icke. Unhappily though I have to say that I have found this type of thinking not uncommon in traditionalist Catholic circles and I wonder if this will turn out to be a liabilty. A liability which may get exposed in the coming weeks as the enemies of the church (now I'm talking like a conspiracy theorist) look for a new angle.

I hope Bishop Willamson comes to his senses in the next couple of weeks but realistically I don't think he will. He's too far in. Being a conspiracy theorist is a bit like being a member of a cult and he will take time to de-program himself. I think the minimum will be about 5 years before he snaps out of it. But I'll still go back and help him. He seems like a good old boy to me (at least from this distance). He's a Catholic alright he's just gone temporally bonkers - that's the way I look at it.

St. Peter, pray for us
St. Don Bosco, pray for us, and especially for Bishop Williamson

Anonymous said...

Never mind the media, look at all the historians of the world of any standing! No decent German historian, or British historian, or American, or French historian disbelieves in the non-existence of the Shoah. Disbelief is among those people who feel guilty, those who hate Jews, and the ignorant and easily deluded.For a quick summary of the statistics involved try a book by Sir Martin Gilbert(Churchill's biographer and defender of Pius XII against ex-catholic calumnies) "The Jewish History Atlas".

Williamson does not deserve any sympathy, he has embarrassed the Pope and slandered the dead.The illicitly aquired grace of episcopacy is no substitute for historical traning and knowledge. No doubt he can spend his retirement engaged in his "research" which one hopes will include interviews with the few remaining survivors of the death camps. There are certainly enough documents, achives, and recorded interviews to keep him going for years.

When the camps were first liberated General Eisenhower ordered that Germans living in the localities should be forced to visit them. He said that it was because he did not want "any bastard in the future" to deny that mass murder had happened. One may decry his language but applaud his sentiments and his foresight.

On a lighter note may I remind you Fr Blake ,that St John Fisher was Chancellor of Cambridge University, and that noted modern Catholic historians include Profs Scarisbrick, Duffy, and Drs Norman and Gilley. Without Cambridge there would be few indeed.

Anonymous said...

St Edith Stein, pray for us.

Anonymous said...


Well done for linking Bishop Williamson's behaviour to his Cambridge education. I know they don't all turn out like him, but that "Ivory Tower" attitude certainly does exist.

Another stereotypical Cambridge trait is an inability to "see yourself as others see you"; if you spend too long in that atmosphere, you forget that the rest of the world works to different values. Perhaps Williamson has spent too long closeted with a particular sub-set of the SSPX that he no longer saw that people would react with horror to his theories.

But then I'm an Oxford man.

Physiocrat said...

Mafeking, STV did not know what they were stumbling into. That is about the measure of it, the Swedes can be a bit naive, the sort of thing that gets into the national news here wouldn't even make the local papers in the UK cos they have to fill the time up with something.

Richard, as an Oxford man I would say it is an Oxbridge trend. They still run the Civil Service between them with perfect logic and often perfectly wrong in too many policy areas to be an accident.

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