revisionist denier Bishop Richard Williamson has worn out his welcome in Argentina.
Argentina has thrown out Holocaust-denying British bishop Richard Williamson, saying he must leave the country in 10 days.
The Interior Ministry said last night Williamson had failed to declare his true job as director of a seminary on immigration forms and because his comments on the Holocaust “profoundly insult Argentine society, the Jewish community and all of humanity by denying an historic truth”.
Williamson’s views created an uproar last month when Pope Benedict XVI lifted his excommunication and that of three other bishops consecrated by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre as part of a process meant to heal a rift with ultra-conservatives.
The flap led the Vatican to demand that the clergyman recant before he could be admitted as a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church. It also prompted the Society of St Pius X, founded by Lefebvre, to dismiss Williamson as director of the La Reja seminary in Argentina and to distance itself from his views.
The Vatican had no comment on the Argentine action.
Although Williamson has been in Argentina since 2003, the government’s secretary for religious affairs, Guillermo Oliveri, said immigration officials only realised he had made an undeclared change of jobs when the controversy hit the press.
But Mr Oliveri made clear the Holocaust uproar played a key part.
“I absolutely agree with the expulsion of a man residing in our country following his statements (denying) one of the greatest human tragedies,” he said.
It was not clear when or where Williamson would go. A person who answered the phone at the Society of St Pius X said Williamson was still in the country, then hung up.
I find it interesting that the Argentinian government used the immigration excuse to kick him out of the country. Even if he hadn’t included inaccurate information on his papers, I’m sure they would have found some loophole to throw him out. It’s worth keeping in mind that the people and government of Argentina are extremely sensitive when it comes to the Nazis, World War II, the Holocaust and antisemitism.
Several Nazi collaborators and war criminals, including Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele, fled to Argentina after the war, often with the blessings of Argentinian president Juan Peron.
The global uproar over Williamson’s comments show just how raw and heated emotions are about the Holocaust more than 60 years later. I find it astonishing that an educated man like him could genuinely believe discredited theories to whitewash what really happened. Whether or not he will recant and change his views is entirely up to him, but until he does no church, seminary, school, or organization will want anything to do with him.