He had distanced himself for years from the leadership and direction of the priestly brotherhood and refused to show respect and obedience, a spokesman said in stuttgart on wednesday. Moreover, the decision is connected with an interview of the bishop for swedish television, in which he had denied the holocaust.
The 72-year-old briton will therefore have to stand trial again next year before the regensburg district court on charges of incitement to hatred. A first conviction of the bishop had been overturned by the higher regional court of nurnberg (OLG) in february because of procedural defects. As a result, the public prosecutor’s office had revised the criminal order. This involves a maximum amount of 6500 euros (100 daily rates of 65 euros each).
Williamson had denied the murder of six million jews by the nazis and the existence of gas chambers in a TV interview at the seminary of the pius fraternity in zaitzkofen near regensburg in 2008. He said at the time, translated from english: "i believe that the historical evidence strongly contradicts the idea that six million jews were gassed in gas chambers as a premeditated strategy of adolf hitler. (…) i believe there were no gas chambers."
Williamson’s lawyer is convinced that the german judiciary is not competent to deal with the case. "A british citizen gave an interview to a swedish television station that was not intended for broadcast in germany," lawyer edgar weiler said after the trial announcement on monday.
The williamson case had plunged the catholic church into a serious crisis. Exactly at the time the interview was published, the vatican announced the lifting of the excommunication of williamson and three other bishops of the pius brotherhood. Pope benedict XVI. However, he is said to have known nothing about the interview cleanings. For a long time, the vatican’s negotiations with the pius brothers about their return to the catholic official church were strained.
"The decision will certainly ease the language," said the spokesman for the pius brotherhood in germany, father andreas steiner, in response to a dpa inquiry. After all, the pope was severely scolded at the time.
Williamson was a staunch opponent of the annexation of rome. That’s why the briton had already been expelled in the summer from the general chapter of the pius fraternity, to which every pius bishop normally belongs, the spokesman stressed. "Williamson has always emphasized that one should not talk to rom. This criticism was already a clear form of disobedience."
The brotherhood of pius X, founded in 1970. Opposes modernization of the catholic church. The main point of contention is the course of the holy mass. The brotherhood rejects ecumenism and interreligious dialogue altogether and insists on an absolute concept of the truth of its own faith.
The vatican declined to make a statement or comment wednesday. Spokesman federico lombardi made it clear that the holy see considers this an internal matter of the fraternity. He does not comment on their decisions concerning his own brotherhood, lombardi told the dpa. The german bishops’ conference also did not want to change its mind.