Roger L. Simon

Ms. Merkel and the Pope

I can’t say I had ever heard of the British Bishop Richard Williamson until the current controversy, but he seems like a pretty despicable fellow:

Williamson is one of four bishops from the ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X whose excommunication was lifted by the Vatican last month.

He has apologized to the pope for having stirred controversy, but has not repudiated his comments, in which he also said only 200,000 to 300,000 Jews were killed during World War II.

Williamson does not plan to immediately comply with the Vatican’s demand that he recant, and has rejected a suggestion that he might visit the former Auschwitz death camp, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

Williamson said he would correct himself if he is satisfied by the evidence, but insisted that examining it “will take time,” Der Spiegel reported.

Either that or about twenty seconds watching the bulldozers in Alain Resnais’ Night and Fog. What’s disturbing in all this is the Pope Benedict evinced innocence of Williamson’s Holocausst-denying ways. It’s hard to believe, but even if true, it doesn’t speak very well for Benedict’s advisors who were surely aware of Williamson’s views. (He doesn’t believe there were gas chambers.)

Great praise is due Angela Merkel for speaking up for basic human values in this case. It will be interesting to see if further facts will surface.