Holocaust-Denying Lefebvrite Relieved of Duties
Will No Longer Direct Society Seminary in Argentina
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BUENOS AIRES, FEB. 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Society of St. Pius X bishop who denies that 6 million Jews were gassed in Nazi concentration camps has been removed of his duties as rector of the group's Argentinean seminary.
The 68-year-old British Bishop Richard Williamson is no longer the director of the seminary in La Reja, according to the Argentinean daily La Nacion. The newspaper reported receiving the news via a Sunday e-mail from the Society of St. Pius X South America director, Father Christian Bouchacourt.
Father Bouchacourt said the bishop had been relieved of his post in recent days. And the South American director echoed the declarations made by the society's superior-general, Bishop Bernard Fellay, who said the prelate's positions "do not reflect in any way the position of our society." Bishop Fellay also stated that "a Catholic bishop cannot speak with ecclesial authority if it is not a question of faith and morals."
Regardless of his past or present position in the Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Williamson and the other three bishops who had their excommunication lifted do not licitly exercise any ministry in the Catholic Church.
As the Vatican Secretariat of State clarified in a note last Wednesday: "The lifting of the excommunication has freed the four bishops from a most grave canonical penalty, but it has not changed in any way the juridical situation of the Fraternity of St. Pius X, which for the moment does not enjoy any canonical recognition in the Catholic Church.
"Neither do the four bishops, though liberated from the excommunication, have a canonical function in the Church and they do not licitly exercise a ministry in it."