The Vatican today released a statement from Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X and one of the four traditionalist bishops whose excommunication was rescinded in a Jan. 21 decree from the Congregation for Bishops.
The statement is in response to the uproar created by a recent interview on Swedish television in which another of the traditionalist bishops, Richard Williamson, asserted that the Nazis had not used gas chambers and that only 200,000 to 300,000 Jews had died in the Second World War.
Statement of His Excellency Bernard Fellay, Superior of the Fraternity of St. Pius X:
We have become aware of an interview released by Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Fraternity of St. Pius X, to Swedish television. In this interview, he expressed himself on historical questions, and in particular on the question of the genocide against the Jews carried out by the Nazis.
It’s with great sadness that we recognize the extent to which the violation of this mandate has done damage to our mission. The affirmations of Bishop Williamson do not reflect in any sense the position of our Fraternity. For this reason I have prohibited him, pending any new orders, from taking any public positions on political or historical questions.
We ask the forgiveness of the Supreme Pontiff, and of all people of good will, for the dramatic consequences of this act. Because we recognize how ill-advised these declarations were, we can only look with sadness at the way in which they have directly struck our Fraternity, discrediting its mission.
This is something we cannot accept, and we declare that we will continue to preach Catholic doctrine and to administer the sacraments of grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Menzingen, January 27, 2009
(read the complete statement)