Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bishop Williamson's Plot

I was sent the same press release as Damian Thompson from Searchlight the organisation that brings to light the actions of the BNP and other far right wing and racist organizations.
I haven't got the same legal team as the Telegraph, so I shall just publish what Damian publishes:

A coup within Catholicism is imminent. The target is The Society of Pius X (SSPX), an ultra-traditionalist group founded in 1970 out of opposition to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). The plotters intend to make a major step towards their takeover at a conference on the weekend of 1 and 2 June, which we can reveal will be held at Earlsfield Library Hall, 276 Magdalen Road, Earlsfield London SW18 from 9am to 5pm. The key players in this plot are a bunch of neo-Nazis, fascists and others with disreputable backgrounds. Their objective is to replace SSPX’s current Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, with the convicted Holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson. This plot is a very worrying turn of events.
SSPX is no stranger to controversy. Its members have supported the French Front National and given sanctuary to a Nazi collaborator and war criminal. A previous District Superior… removed Nazi sympathisers from the Society, but our sources inform us that they have re-infiltrated it … This has left many decent members shocked and fearful for its future. They do not want to see it fall into the hands of neo-Nazis.
 The full press release gives names of people who are associated with the SSPX and the BNP, it talks about Bp Willamson and his relationship with other right wing holocaust deniers. It is all rather damning.
Not knowing quite what to do, I forwarded the press release to the Nuncio yesterday.


Sadie Vacantist said...

Comments are already closed at the DT. The story doesn't make sense as the SSPX's power base is France not the UK. What might be happening is that the SSPX is splitting and RW might take some some English and American priests with him.

Konstantin said...

Sorry, but this is utter nonsense, either on part of those who wrote this article or on part of those who want to take over the SSPX. Do those people know how the SSPX works? I suppose they are not going to march on Menzingen and kick out Bp Fellay?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I don't think "Searchlight" is much concerned with the internal workings of the SSPX, only with organisations connected to the far-right, that is there concern.
What the document seems concerned about is the politicalisation of the SSPX and the lay controlled groups assosociated with it.
It doesn't seem to quiet understand the distinction between the priestly fraternity and lay groups assosociated with it, a common mistake, but then the links are complex.

Konstantin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sadie Vacantist said...

In theory, this could be good for the SSPX as they could lose the RW problem in a split.

The SSPX contention that the V2 documents are flawed seems to ignore the issue that Western Civilization as a whole has been corrupted by the postwar settlement. Other than economic meltdown to flush out the corruption (which threatened to occur in 2008) I see no future for the Church.

Name calling ("Nazi") conveniently ignores the fact that Hitler's finance minister resolved Germany's economic problems in less than 18 months without austerity. Even a court historian like Ian Kershaw who's a Catholic is starting to ask questions in the light of 2008.

Mike Cliffson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Cat said...

Correct me if I am wrong, and I might be thinking of a different Bishop, but didn't he say the holocaust happened, but the numbers of dead has been greatly exaggerated?

Tony Flavin said...

Why are remotely bothered what a group who are not in communion with Rome are up to? Heretics are heretics.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Deacon Flavin,
Evidently you missed the Canon Law day course! suspension doesn't equal excommunication. The Bishops were excommunmicated, the excommunication was lifted, though suspension remains, however in every other respect the SSPX, and their followers are like you, Catholics in "good standing".

Where is their heresy? That is an accusation Rome has never levelled against them, or am I mistaken?
You didn't miss the theology course too, did you?

Konstantin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cousinbobo said...

Could you sink any lower relying on a press release from a renowned extreme left wing organisation because it allies with your hatred of Bp Williamson. This hatred has blinded you. Have you bothered to research what the press release says? have you found a shred of evidence that anyone wishes to replace Bp Fellay with Bp Williamson. No none at all, because it is not true. This press release also says that certain people are in the BNP which is a downright lie. Does that bother you that you partake in detraction? A public apology is now due especially as you have forwarded these lies to the nuncio. Desist from this gossipy tittle tattle that you seem to savour so much. May the Good Lord have mercy on your soul.

Konstantin said...

I would just like to set my previous comment straight: of course Bp. Williamson doesn't want to merge Catholicism and Nazism. The problem is that he is often associated with holocaust deniers (wether justly I don't know) who are in turn associated (wether justly I don't know) with Neo-Nazis.

Tony Flavin said...

Well if they're Catholics in good standing why don't they act it?

Rome has obviously been very generous to them.

And my Canon Law tutor was an A&B priest, nuff said.

A Catholic said...

Dear Fr. Blake,

The only damning thing about it is the naivety and foolishness of people such as yourself who take the bait. Fortunately you are sensible enough to limit what you publish to what the Telegraph - with its legal team - published.

How could you possibly take seriously a press release from a Marxist organization whose 'research' cost the BBC tens of thousands of pounds in libel damages for the lies broadcast in their documentary 'Maggie's Militant Tendency'?

How could you possibly take seriously a press release from a Marxist organization whose 'research' claims that Fr. Leo Boyle is a former District Superior of the SSPX in Great Britain?

How could you possibly take seriously a press release from a Marxist organization that claims Bishop Williamson and Fr. Morgan are somehow in cahoots with the Oklahoma bomber?

How can you possibly take seriously a press release from a Marxist organization that claims certain SSPX supporters are or were members of the BNP and their details can be found on the leaked BNP membership list - when anyone who cares to check the leaked BNP membership list (available on the internet) finds that the said people are not on there.

You are a fool (at best).

BJC said...

I assume this is a follow up to the 28 January 2012 article on the Searchlight website "Fascists join Catholic traditionalists at London conference". It mentions four people in the SSPX UK province with Far Right/New Right connections - Alex Kennedy, Jeremy Bedford-Turner, Derek Holland and Michael Fishwick. Of those I've only ever heard of Derek Holland and he's the only one with a Wikipedia entry. Two of them, Michael Fishwick and Alex Kennedy, signed a letter to Bishop Fellay on 13 Jan 2013 protesting his leadership. See below for all links.

Ironically the +Williamson faction of the SSPX find themselves in the same situation as liberal Catholics. Do they go it alone and risk becoming a total irrelevance (and lets face it probably knowing that other people would like to see the back of them) or do they live an unhappy existence trying to expand from the inside? The other problem is who is going to lead them? +Williamson is 73.

Fr Ray Blake said...


I do not "hate" Bishop Williamson but I just have serious difficulties in beleiving he ever has been a Catholic or desired union with the Catholic Church, rather than a Church of his own imagination and creation.
I understand this was one of the reasons why he was asked to leave the Oratory which he joined shortly after his reception into the Church.

I think there is good reason to believe he was and always has been an Anglican! His thinking seems characteristic of the those so very high and spikey Anglicans who claim they are so very Roman.

JARay said...

I would suggest that this is much ado about nothing. I somehow suspect that if such a split were tried it would simply hive off a few +Williamson supporters and leave the majority of the SSPX annoyed but glad to be rid of the embarrassment.

The Rad Trad said...

How exactly would this work? Williamson's expulsion would suggest he is no longer a member of the SSPX to me and the [very] small trail of priests who followed him in his exit indicates enthusiasm for his positions, even in the English-speaking world, is not as great as many previously stated. Moreover, the SSPX's strong French roots and association with monarchism contrasts quite a bit with these accusations of neo-Nazism. I've heard, but cannot verify, that some sympathize with General Petain's pseudo-administration—maybe because it was something of a relief after a century and a half of governmental anti-clericalism, but this hardly amounts to yearning for the Gestapo. I have nothing to do with the SSPX, but this article is drivel.

Annie said...

Tony Flavin,

"And my Canon Law teacher was an A & B priest . . ."

You should ask him for a refund.

Sixupman said...


Your comment 11:23 pm hits it exactly.

Msgr. Lefebvre's one mistake.

When +Williamson was sent to America he exploited that which is evident in the psyche in elements of that population - a propensity to follow self-professed icons and he revelled in that self-acclaimed status. Consequently, he created his own brand of SSPX with The Society. His banishment to the UK did us no favours.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I suspect the problem lies with the pupil not the teacher.

Dr Frederick Jones said...

Dont be too hard on Williamson, he is merely following in an old tradition. After all the leading theologian of the German Church in the 1930's Karl Adam saw much in common between his church and the Nazis and expressed his views in print. Strangely enough when his collected works were published after the war such articles were omitted.

Unknown said...

It's a common tactic of those caught with their pants down to shoot the messenger. For all the hoo-ha, it doesn't change the truth of the message.

Pretty much everyone associated with the SSPX knows what Williamson has been up to. His latest appearance at the far-right IONA forum on London last month was only the latest confirmation.

Then there was his appearance on Truth Jihad radio and his comments that the Pope may be a channel of the Antichrist.

If the man was ever Catholic, he doesn't appear to be now.

Sadie Vacantist said...

The father of Archbishop Lefebvre died in a German concentration having been caught fighting for the French resistance. As for the charge of anti-semiticism. Chuck Hagel, Obama's new defence chief was similarly accused for claiming his first duty was to the American people and their constitution.

Robert said...

Fr. I have wondered the same about Sr. Joan Chittister OSB. Is she really Catholic. It could be that Sr. Joan Chittister OSB is going to have a coup and take over the LCWR here in the US. The group of nuns that have FULL "Franciscan" support (Tell that to the Dominicans, He He:)). That may come soon after. But probably not get the same publicity, because she is against anything Pre-Vatican 2, like wearing habits and following the Magisterium's teaching.

Cestrian said...

Speaking as someone heavily involved in the meeting this weekend, I know of no involvement in political parties of any direction on the part of anybody involved in it; it's just an attempt to save Tradition in the SSPX, that's all. Nor do I know of any involvement on the part of Bp Williamson.

Amfortas said...

Searchlight is not a Marxist or far left magazine. For decades it has shone a little light on some very insidious organisations. Having just shared a tube carriage with some frightening louts from the English Defence League I am glad that it does so.

Sadie Vacantist said...

EDL is headed by a lapsed Irish catholic and has some mysterious funding behind the scenes. This relationship has caused a problem for Griffin's own flirtation with said funding source and the last I heard is that he has ended the affair. The reality is that the English right remains intellectually moribund unlike their equivalents in Russia or Eastern Europe in general. The problem with the English (in contrast to the East) is their refusal to take religion seriously which most Catholics like us cannot understand. I suspect that most English papists, for example, would love to parade a statue of Our Lady through the streets of our towns on St. George's day and would do so with a mix of gravity and enthusiasm.

Fr Ray Blake said...


Thank you, that will raise my standing considerably! Nothing like a threat!

But I would point out a flaw in your logic. If I cannot judge Bishop W's Catholicism, how can you judge what you call the "Concillior Church's" Catholicism?

Unknown said...

In reply to “A Catholic” at 8.32pm yesterday, it is not true that Searchlight’s research cost the BBC tens of thousands of pounds in libel damages over the 1984 Panorama documentary ‘Maggie’s Militant Tendency’. This is a lie circulated by various Nazi and antisemitic groups.

The facts are that the young producer of the programme approached me for an opinion not during the production stage but a few hours before transmission. I replied that I was not able to help as since leaving London Weekend Television after eight years, I was busy on various other TV assignments as well as editing Searchlight magazine. However I advised that if they had relied upon certain Conservative Party internal documents that I had seen, they should be wary as some of the material was open to challenge.

I was then told it was too late as the programme was ready for transmission. Shortly after it had been broadcast, three of the Conservatives named in it sued the BBC.

I was then hired by the programme makers and the BBC’s legal department to help prepare a defence alongside another journalist colleague. One of the claimants, the subsequently disgraced MP Harvey Procter, withdraw his writ. The other two pursued their claim.

Our research showed the BBC was likely to win a libel case. But political pressure was brought to bear and instead of fighting the case the BBC apologised and paid out some hundreds of thousands of pounds in damages and costs.

I later worked for the BBC on Panorama, Newsnight and other current affairs programmes and radio documentaries, as well as acting as a consultant for the successful drama series, ‘Between the Lines’. That would not have happened if I had cost the BBC thousands of pounds in damages. All Searchlight’s research is professional and honest.

Unknown said...

A group of people writing under the title the "Recusant" recently sent a letter to the SSPX clergy in Britain
asking them to leave the society.One of the reasons given was Bishop Fellays liberalism !! I do not know if these people are associated with Bishop Williamson but as there were only twenty seven signatories they do not seem to pose much of a threat. Bishop Williamson was rightly thrown out of the Society and he now seems to be heading nowhere. Bishop Fellay is in the UK this weekend. Let us wait and see what the authentic voice of the SSPX has to say.

Unknown said...

Speaking as someone heavily involved in the meeting this weekend, I know of no involvement in political parties of any direction on the part of anybody involved in it; it's just an attempt to save Tradition in the SSPX, that's all. Nor do I know of any involvement on the part of Bp Williamson.

A tad disingenuous, Cestrian. The conference you refer to is organised by members of the BNP and they're flying in two of Williamson's pet priests from the US. Both of them were removed from the SSPX for rebellion against the leadership.

As the online zine promoting the conference claims to be "fighting a guerilla resistance" to "save the SSPX from liberalism" and as the zine openly promoted Williamson and his cause, you can't be in any doubt about what you're "heavily involved" in organising.

Bearing false witness is still a sin.

gemoftheocean said...

Fellay and Williamson? A pox on both their houses.

Pablo the Mexican said...

Both Bishops are in charge of many innocent souls.

Cursing their houses is an act of violence.

It is a sin, and not something worthy of Catholics.

We must remember, blessings and curses have their effects.

These curses need to be taken to the Confessional, immediately.

IanW said...

How's this for a collective noun: an infestation of comments. I'm grateful that you're given them enough rope with which to hang themselves, Fr., though I feel soiled reading the evidence.

Sadie Vacantist said...

It's fascinating to read the fear and hatred incited by a SSPX theme.

Many of the views reflect secular ideas: we are all stuck in the upper room "for fear of the Jews" or simply living "living on the reservation".

Deep down we all know this will end badly.

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