A traditionalist Catholic bishop is facing his second excommunication as he plans to consecrate one of his followers as a bishop without the Pope’s consent.
Richard Williamson, who achieved notoriety when he used a television interview to deny the existence of Nazi gas chambers, will consecrate Fr Jean-Michel Faure, 73, in Brazil later today. Traditionalist blog Rorate Cæli reports that Williamson may also consecrate a second priest, Fr Innocent Marie, in a monastery formerly affiliated to the Society of St Pius X (SSPX).
Williamson was expelled from SSPX two years ago after rebelling against its leadership. The society was set up in 1969 by late archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to resist the modernising reforms brought into the Church in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. In 1988, Pope John Paul II excommunicated Lefebvre, Williamson and three others when Lefebvre consecrated them without Vatican consent.
Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications in 2009 in an effort to reconciled SSPX with the Catholic Church and prevent further schism with those who opposed Vatican II’s reforms. However, just as Benedict removed Williamson’s excommunication, an interview was aired in which Williamson denied that Jews died in gas chambers in the Second World War.
Bishop Williamson grew up in Buckinghamshire, UK and was educated at Winchester College and Clare College, Cambridge. He is well known for his controversial views, blaming Jews and Freemasons for “changes and corruption” in the Church. The Catholic Herald reported in 2008 that he has also endorsed the notorious anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and believes the Americans planned the 9/11 attacks.
After his expulsion from SSPX, Williamson set up the St Marcel Initiative, which he calls a “loose network of independent pockets of Catholic Resistance”.
He is said to be relaxed about his second excommunication, with the Rev Rene Miguel Trincado Cvjetkovic emailing AP saying: “What we intend with this consecration is to preserve the true Catholic faith from the greatest crisis that the church has suffered in her history.”