Holocaust-denying Bishop Risks Excommunication

Bishop Richard Williamson makes waves by planning to consecrate a new bishop in Brazil without pope's consent.

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Bishop Richard Williamson is pictured at Frankfurt airport in this February 28, 2007.
Bishop Richard Williamson is pictured at Frankfurt airport in this February 28, 2007.Credit: Reuters

A Holocaust-denying Catholic bishop, who made headlines in 2009 when Pope Benedict XVI rehabilitated members of a breakaway traditionalist society, is heading for trouble again with the Vatican.

Bishop Richard Williamson is planning to consecrate a bishop Thursday in Brazil without Pope Francis' consent — a church crime punishable by excommunication.

The Rev. Rene Miguel Trincado Cvjetkovic confirmed the planned consecration of the Rev. Christian Jean-Michel Faure in an email to The Associated Press. Williamson, Trincado and Faure have all been, or are in the process of being expelled by the Society of St. Pius X, which opposes the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Williamson has led a splinter group of traditionalists opposed to the society's reconciliation with Rome.

The traditionalist site Rorate Caeli first reported the consecration.

Williamson, who was convicted of Holocaust denial by a German court in 2013, has claimed that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in the Holocaust, but none in gas chambers. He also described Jews as “enemies of Christ.”

Williamson was suspended from his episcopal functions by Pope Benedict XVI until he repudiated his denial of the Holocaust. In 2012, he was expelled from the Society of Saint Pius X, a breakaway sect that opposes Church reforms decided by the second Vatican Council.

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