|The Adversary wants to see Holocaust revisionists on both the Catholic and Jewish sides of the fence. Let neither Catholics nor Jews indulge him any longer.|
Michael J. Matt
|Editor, The Remnant|
Posted 2/12/09 www.RemnantNewspaper.com) A person would have to be living under a rock not to be aware of l’Affaire Williamson at this point. It’s hardly necessary for us to repeat the tragic sequence of events again here.
The bottom line is this: When he authorized the annulment of the 1988 decree of excommunication against the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), Pope Benedict had no idea that Bishop Williamson, having gotten hold of some revisionist “science” regarding the Holocaust, had made the now infamous statement for which he has not only been removed from his position as seminary rector but also faces criminal charges in Argentina, Germany and France.
For its part, the Society of St. Pius X acted decisively and without hesitation on this matter, and is working in cooperation with the Holy See to bring it to a close.
For his part, Bishop Williamson, rather than perjure himself, has pledged to examine current evidence on the Holocaust and make whatever amends are necessary. Quoted in Der Spiegel, Williamson put it this way: “If I realize that I have made an error, I will apologise. I ask every human being to believe me when I say that I did not deliberately say anything untrue. I was convinced that my comments were accurate, based on my research in the 1980s. Now I must review everything again and look at the evidence.”
He was convinced? In a political climate where perjury is a legitimate option whenever and wherever it can be gotten away with, it may be difficult for some to understand that Williamson is here attempting to do the right thing. He is obviously aware that a false recantation to ‘save his skin’ would ring hollow with everyone, especially those most offended by his statements.
By citing his previous reliance on outdated “research” from the 1980s, Williamson is acknowledging the possibility that he was deceived by a small but vocal clique of revisionists who make their living creating the impression that their research is beyond reproach (even if not recognized as such due to, you guessed it, yet another conspiracy).
When his “science” proves less than convincing, the revisionist cites the pervasive Christophobia of the day to try to garner emotional support for his theories. The ubiquitous staple of secularist ‘talking points’ which asserts that the Church is responsible for the anti-Semitism that motivated Adolf Hitler, for example, has elicited all sorts of kneejerk reactions, which, as recent events have demonstrated in spades, can only do incalculable harm to the Church.
When Christians are routinely smeared as haters, with Sacred Scripture savaged as hate literature, and holy days such as Christmas attacked every year like clockwork, it’s not unthinkable that there might be reactionary blowback here and there. It's the talk radio approach to “discussing differences”—badger and provoke the “caller” until he discredits himself completely by saying something utterly indefensible.
Far from achieving justice, however, for the Christian victims of Hitler’s murderous Reich (e.g., Archbishop Lefebvre’s own father, who was tortured and murdered in 1944 in the Sonnenburg concentration camp after having been arrested by the Gestapo on May 28, 1942, for complicity with the enemy of the Greater German Reich), holocaust denial, in addition to doing grave injustice to the Jewish victims of Hitler's maniacal ethnic cleansing, has proven itself a most effective battering ram against the Church, as well.
(Rene Lefebvre. On July 16, 1953, Archbishop Lefebvre's father was posthumously decorated by the French government with the Médaille militaire for his active participation in the resistance movement against the Nazis)
Like the “Reverend” Fred Phelps and his inane “God Hates Fags” brigade, the Holocaust denier might as well be in the employ of the harshest critics of the Catholic Church, so useful is he to their cause célèbre.
In his corner of cyberspace he does the bidding of secularist puppeteers, dangling from strings he doesn’t even see. He seems to fancy himself the only one in the room with the “courage” to say what needs to be said. But whatever intentions he may have to defend "the truth", his bloviating requires little courage and is easily manipulated into damning evidence for the prosecution in the case against the Church.
And, what’s the point of all this? Everyone knows that the Twentieth Century bloodbath is without precedent in history. Genocide from Turkey to Ukraine to Poland to Rwanda and plenty of places in between left millions to rot in mass graves. The endless lists of the dead—the lasting legacy of the champions of socialism and communism—do not lie. After the Russian Civil War of 1917-22 had wiped out 9 million Orthodox Christians (8 million of whom were civilians), Stalin furthered modern ‘progress’ by wiping out yet another 20,000,000, even as Hitler was cranking up a killing machine that would claim the lives of 42,000,000. Not to be outdone, of course, Mao Zedong would take out 40,000,000 more between 1949 and 1975.
Yet with fanatical fixation, the holocaust denier still insists that the Jews, despite Hitler’s pogrom (as laid out in Mein Kamp and condemned by the Catholic Church at the time), are exaggerating the number of their dead. True, the Jewish people do not own a monopoly on suffering under the Nazi reign of terror—the memory of high profile Catholic victims such as Saint Maximilian Kolbe attests to that. My own father fought in the European theater in World War II, and the dead bodies he saw piled high in Italy and North Africa attest to the level of human misery experienced without prejudice by every class and race.
(LEFT: The Nazi newspaper Das Schwarze Korps published this anti-Catholic cartoon of a serpent priest in its Dec. 2, 1937 edition. The caption read: "The Crossed Adder forces its way into all places of rottenness and decay in the homes of all people and races, multiplies with extreme rapidity and becomes the terror of the inhabitants. Nations, unable to defend themselves against its poison, are doomed to ruin." (Taken from The Persecution of the Catholic Church in the Third Reich, 1940)
Hitler’s National Socialists spent eleven years persecuting not only the Jewish people, but the Catholic Church as well, arresting Catholic priests and nuns and launching campaign after campaign against members of the Catholic hierarchy who tried to stop the madness. How many Catholics today know (or care) of the hundreds of Catholic priests, monks and sisters who died in Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen and Dachau?
Who remembers? Who cares!
Obviously, the Jews prevailed where we Catholics failed. They managed to retain their identity and highlight the evils perpetrated against them as a people to such an extent that one violates international law by so much as questioning the extent of Nazi atrocities against them.
Would that Catholics had been equally militant when it came to Nazi and Communist persecution of Catholics around the world. Would that Catholics had been equally militant when the enemies of Christ and His Church sacked one Catholic country after another, transforming all of Catholic Europe—the cradle of our Faith and the bastion of Christendom—into a sea of blood and destruction from which the Western world has never recovered.
Though not targeted racially as were the Jews, Catholics under the Nazi regime were vigorously singled out because of the Church's public opposition to the Nazi regime:
Gestapo agents attended Mass and listened to every homily preached, prepared to arrest any priest attacking or criticizing the regime. Chanceries were searched for any “incriminating” documents. Communication with Rome was limited. Nazi propaganda represented the Church as unpatriotic and hoarding wealth with clerics portrayed as idle and avaricious. By 1940, all Catholic schools had been closed, and religious instruction confined to the Church itself or at home. Meanwhile, anti-Christian teaching was imparted in the public schools.
Please note that the first concentration camp was established in 1933 at Dachau, outside of Munich; this camp was not so much an “extermination camp” as one for the political prisoners, including priests. At Dachau alone, 2,700 priests were imprisoned (of which 1,000 died), and were subject to the most awful tortures, including the medical experiments of Dr. Rascher.
Such persecution was not confined to Germany. The Church in Poland also suffered severely. During the first four months of occupation following the September 1939 invasion, 700 priests were shot and 3,000 were sent to concentration camps (of which 2,600 died). By the end of the war, 3 million Polish Catholics had been killed in concentration camps. How many other Catholics—priests, religious, and laity—in other countries died for the faith during the Nazi era?
It seems somehow incongruent, then, that any Catholic would experience less consternation over this than over the Jewish people’s refusal to let their dead die in vain, or their willingness to accept the highest number of Jewish victims historians will allow.
Consider this: Catholic Ukrainians were decimated by the Soviet-sponsored famine in the 1930s. The number of dead in that case is also contested by some, as is whether or not the dead were victims of famine or genocide. In the case of the Ukraine, however, it is the number of dead Catholics that is in dispute. And, honestly, who among us has not been more than willing to accept the highest number of casualties historians will allow, thus accenting a gross injustice while exposing the sheer evil of the responsible regime?
Is it so surprising that Jewish victims of Nazi atrocities, singled out solely because they were Jewish, would take issue with those who would attempt to diminish the number of their dead? Must survivors of the holocaust (and their children) be expected to agonize over the possibility that that number might be a wee bit high? Would that we Catholics had the intestinal fortitude to be as defensive when the number of our dead under the Nazis and Soviets is pooh-poohed, diminished or ignored altogether.
(LEFT: Even before he'd become Pope Pius XII, Cardinal Pacelli was vilified in the Nazi press. Here he's seen consorting with a Jew to undermine the Third Reich. This cartoon appeared in Das Schwarze Korps on July 22, 1937)
Instead, we blithely abandoned both identity and creed, morphing mindlessly into non-descript “Catholic Christians”, incapable of standing in defense of anything much less the sacred birthright our fathers would have died defending. While we basked in the soul-killing sunshine of consumerism and liberalism, Christendom was annihilated.
After that, the rest was easy. Our liturgy and catechism were “reformed” at will. The priesthood was degraded with machinelike efficiency. The Catholic family was blown apart.
Yet the vast majority of us let our holocaust come and go without lifting a finger. To this day, the voices of our dead crying out from millions of unmarked graves fall on deaf ears. And yet the revisionist would still have his few admirers assume the preposterous attitude of the crepe hanger, quibbling over the number of dead Jews attributable to Hitler. Please!
Certainly, there are some far-Left Jewish organizations that attempt to use the Holocaust to undermine Catholic Tradition and Scripture. But the majority of Jewish people want no part of this. In his January 29th column in the Jerusalem Post (“The Wages of Whining”), for example, Jewish writer David Klinghoffer doesn’t hesitate to condemn this nonsense:
But they (the ADL) have also done great damage to Jewish-Christian relations by making a habit of attacking Catholics and Protestants, sometimes in hysterical terms, on matters about which Jews have no business complaining.
Thus for example the ADL and its allies remain publicly unapologetic, as far as I know, for their role in hyping the supposed anti-Semitic menace posed by Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ. Before the film was released, the ADL harped on supposed parallels between Gibson’s movie and medieval Passion plays. The latter led to pogroms, so the obvious implication was that the former could also.
Others went further. In an article in The New Republic - Jewish-owned and edited - a Jewish scholar, Paula Fredriksen, stated not as speculation but as a certainty that when the film appeared in countries like Poland, Spain, France and Russia, savagery would erupt: “When violence breaks out, Mel Gibson will have a much higher authority than professors and bishops to answer to.”
Of course no such thing came to pass.
Meanwhile, Jewish groups continue to pillory the Christian churches for their alleged guilt in fomenting the Holocaust. That’s despite the fact that Hitler himself clearly dismissed as ineffective any fancied strategy to try to whip up Germans with appeals to punish the Christ-killers.
Kinghoffer touches on a parallelism that has been overlooked in the Williamson affair: There are Holocaust revisionists on both sides of fence. On one side there are revisionists who would minimize the number of Hitler’s Jewish victims. On the other side are revisionists who would lay the blame for those victims at the feet of Pius XII, when contemporaneous Jewish leaders around the world acknowledged that the Church under Pius saved more Jews from Hitler than any other organization on earth.
Golda Meir, Israel’s delegate to the UN and first female Prime Minister: “When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the pope [Pius XII] was raised for the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace.”
At the end of the day, the vast majority of Catholics and Jews know full well that the media war between Holocaust deniers on the one hand, and Christophobic Pius XII-bashers on the other, creates a climate of contrived animosity from which only people at the fringes benefit. “Courageous” Holocaust denial by even a lone Catholic on the fringe, who thumps his cyber-chest in front of his cyber-fans, is something that Abe Foxman, on the Christophobic fringe, will take to the bank every time, thank you very much.
This bickering between Catholic and Jewish fringe elements actually impedes the missionary mandate of Our Lord, which is why the Devil loves to keep it going. But neither Catholics nor Jews should allow themselves to become the ‘useful idiots’ of self-promoting controversialists who would drag us all into a fight that has nothing to do with who and what we are. We must all rise above the bickering and move on.
But let us be clear about one thing: There is nothing—I repeat, nothing—traditionally Catholic about Holocaust denial. To my knowledge, Bishop Williamson is the first and only traditional Catholic spokesman to give these conspiracy theorists a second thought. And, according to the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, Bishop Williamson was ordered by Superior General Bishop Fellay to "correct this nonsense" as soon as he saw the now-infamous interview. "It should not have needed a papal demand to do so," Fellay said.
Exactly right! This "nonsense" cannot be
attributed to either the Holy Father or tradition-minded
Catholics—no matter how hard the media try to make it stick.
Jewish prisoners paraded by the SS and local police
through the streets of Baden-Baden, November 10, 1938)
See How These Christians…Hate?
This controversy seems to be part of a larger effort to foment racial and social unrest in general. It seems to the work of social engineers in the media and government who have everything to gain from maintaining a climate of animosity between a wide variety of different groups. It has inspired enough hate to “justify” all sorts of things, including wars of aggression overseas, the redefining of marriage, and the stripping of fundamental civil liberties here at home. Hate-baiting works! To varying degrees, we’re all being incited to demand our share of retribution. In other words, the Adversary is playing us all like pawns. And artificially contrived racial and religious tension will only help pave the way for a new order that will ride in on the back of a police state.
Never mind that racism is anathema to the Christian. Never mind that according to the fundamental teachings of our religion, hating those who are not like us either in color or creed constitutes a soul-damning mortal sin. Never mind that we are commanded by the great Law of God to “love our neighbor as ourselves”, to love the sinner but not the sin. None of this matters to the Christophobic hate hunters, on the one hand, or the “courageous” Holocaust minimizers of the Internet, on the other—all of whom spend their time and energy prodding whomever will listen to them to jump into the cages they have set up in their two-ring circus.
They will fail, of course. Two thousand years ago the martyrs of the coliseum, whose bones are part of the foundations of the Church, taught Christians how to live in times like ours: love your enemies, turn the other cheek, and, if necessary, suffer persecution rather than resort to hating those who do not know Christ. There are no exceptions to this rule—whether we’re speaking of Muslims, Jews, pagans, homosexuals, or even the most vicious attackers of our religion.
Two years ago I led a pilgrimage to France and Sicily. For the first (and last) time, The Remnant Tours booked airline tickets on Alitalia.
Halfway across the Atlantic the in-flight movie began. The film was one of those vile modern productions that, while stopping just short of outright nudity, would nevertheless be considered pornographic by any decent person born before 1980. With twenty-five young people in my charge, I became livid.
After voicing ineffectual protest from my seat, I finally got up and walked to the rear of the airplane to register a complaint with the lead flight attendant.
As I approached, I became aware of a man in yarmulke and prayer shawl taking his son by the hand and also beating a hasty retreat to the rear of the aircraft. Once there, father and son opened their prayer books, lowered their eyes, and began to pray.
I stepped past them in the aisle, and began to plead my case with the steward, complaining bitterly about the “entertainment” in the main cabin.
“I’m sorry, Sir,” said the Italian steward (probably Catholic), “but you’ll have to take your seat. We have no control over the in-flight movie selection. You’ll have to take it up with Alitalia customer service.”
“WHAT! So, in the meantime the 25 minors in my custody will be forced to view this rot?”
“Take your seat, Sir!”
After assuring him that our tour company would never again fly Alitalia, I turned back toward my seat and nearly collided with the Jewish fellow and his young son, still praying at the rear of the aircraft.
“I’m sorry. Excuse me.”
“Not at all,” said he, emotion plainly visible in his eyes. “I want to thank you for what you just did. God go with you, my friend.”
He shook my hand, and I his. For a long moment we looked into each other’s eyes, knowing full well what the other was thinking—that neither one of us has a place in this world anymore. People like us don’t belong. We have no right to object because we have forfeited the right to speak. We are all in cattle cars now.
As I walked back to my seat I couldn’t help but wonder how God viewed the scene on that airliner: 300 ‘Christian’ passengers enjoying the ‘entertainment’ on a flight to Rome without batting an eye, while the ‘Christ-Killer’ and his son stood in silent protest, praying!
Clearly, we Catholics have our work cut out for us, and it has nothing to do with pointing fingers of blame in all directions. Even as He was being betrayed by one of His own and handed over to His enemies, Our Lord instructed Peter to put away his sword. Like Father Kolbe before us, then, and countless Catholics before him, who lived through times just like ours, we follow Peter’s lead in witnessing to the Truth in the public square each and every day without fear and without hesitation, leaving the angry rants and clenched fists to those who know no better.
Traditional Catholics of all people on earth cannot—must not—allow the secularist regime to manipulate us like so many cocks in a cockfight. Our mission is to reestablish Catholic identity, and this is accomplished by keeping our eyes on Christ, even as He carries a Cross to which we ourselves may one day be nailed. Where’s the justice in that? Where was the justice for Him? There is none, there was none… not in this world. But He is love, He forgave us all from the Cross, and if we would follow Him we must keep His great commandment of Love. When the world sees us, sinners though we are, it must see ambassadors of His love, capable of inspiring others to follow Him—even to the foot of the Cross.
Bishop Fellay summed up the Catholic position quite succinctly when he told Famille Chrétienne, the French Catholic weekly:
We evidently condemn every act of murder of the innocent. It is a crime that cries to heaven! Even more so when it is related to a people. We reject every accusation of Antisemitism. Completely and absolutely. We reject every form of approval of what happened under Hitler. This is something abominable.
Pray for the Holy Father, who is at this moment being ridiculed and condemned by the world for daring to try to restore Catholic identity in an increasingly depraved and anti-Catholic civilization which, to recall the words of Pope Pius XI, “is tottering to its fall.” Imagine the pressure this 81-year-old man is under at this very moment. It would seem that this is indeed the moment predicted in the Second Secret of Our Lady of Fatima: "The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen