Argentina Expels Lefebvrite Bishop
Prelate Already Removed as Group's Seminary Superior
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, FEB. 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Argentinean government has given Lefebvrite British Bishop Richard Williamson, known for his statements denying the Holocaust, 10 days to leave the country.
Father Christian Bouchacourt, the Society of St. Pius X superior for South America, stated that Bishop Williamson already had a similar order from his superiors, after being removed as head of the Lefebvrite seminary in the country.
Argentinean Minister of Interior Florencio Randazzo said that the prelate was instructed Thursday "to leave the country in 10 days time" and was advised of "a decree for his expulsion."
The formal reason given by the authorities for revoking the prelate's residence permit is a discrepancy in Bishop Williamson's engagements in the country, since his permission was for an administrative function and he has been carrying out a religious one.
Bishop Williamson's work in Our Lady Coredemptress seminary, in La Reja, came to light when he became notorious after denying historical facts about the Jewish Holocaust on Swedish television.
The ministry's communiqué noted: "For these reasons, added to the energetic condemnation of the Argentine government of such manifestations that profoundly attack Argentine society, the Jewish people and the whole of humanity, denying a proven historical truth, the national government has decided to make use of the faculties conferred on it by the law to instruct the Lefebvrite bishop to leave the country or be subject to expulsion."
Father Bouchacourt confirmed that Bishop Williamson is preparing for his departure from the country, as the government has ordered.
The bishop, along with three other Society of St. Pius X prelates, had their 20-year excommunication lifted at the end of January, in the framework of Benedict XVI's continuing efforts to heal the schism between the society and the Church.