Bishop Richard Williamson

Richard Nelson Williamson (born 8 March 1940) is an English traditionalist bishop formerly in communion with the Catholic Church who opposes the changes in the church brought about by the Second Vatican Council. He was originally a member of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). He was subsequently excommunicated; this was lifted in 2009. Williamson was convicted in German courts of denying the Holocaust and incitement related to those views. He incurred a latae sententiae excommunication in 2015 for consecrating a bishop without the pope's approval. Due to other actions, Williamson was expelled from the SSPX in 2012.

In 1988, Williamson was one of four SSPX priests who were ordained as bishops by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, for which they incurred ipso facto automatic excommunication.[4] The validity of the excommunication has always been denied by the SSPX, who argue that the consecrations were necessary due to a crisis in the Catholic Church. The excommunications, including that of Williamson, were lifted on 21 January 2009, but the suspension of the bishops from the exercise of ministry within the Catholic Church remained in force, except for certain exceptions. The exceptions were granted by Popes Benedict XVI and Francis as a way to foster dialogue and goodwill, and allow the priests limited ministry despite their canonically irregular situation.[5]

Immediately afterward, Swedish television broadcast an interview recorded earlier at the SSPX's seminary in ZaitzkofenBavaria. During the interview, Williamson expressed his belief that Nazi Germany did not use gas chambers during the Holocaust and that no more than 200,000 to 300,000 Jews were killed by them during the war.[clarification needed] Based upon these statements, Williamson was immediately charged with and convicted of Holocaust denial by a German court. The Holy See declared that Pope Benedict had been unaware of Williamson's views when he lifted the excommunication of the four bishops.[6] He said that Williamson would remain suspended from his episcopal functions until he unequivocally and publicly distanced himself from that stated position on the Holocaust.[7][2] In 2010, Williamson was convicted of incitement in a German court in relation to those views; the conviction was later vacated on appeal.[8] He was convicted again of this charge in a retrial in early 2013.[9] Williamson appealed again, but his appeal was rejected.

After a number of incidents, including calling for the resignation of Bernard Fellay as the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, refusal to stop publishing his weekly email and an unauthorised visitation to Brazil, Williamson was expelled from the Society in 2012. After leaving the Society, Williamson consecrated Jean-Michel FaureTomás de Aquino Ferreira da Costa, and Gerardo Zendejas [pl] as bishops in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Because of these consecrations, he was excommunicated latae sententiae from the Catholic Church again in 2015.[10]

(Taken from Wikipedia )