Bishop Williamson promises to look into whether Holocaust happened

In an interview with Der Spiegel over the weekend, embattled (and now unemployed) Bishop Richard Williamson declined to recant his denial of the Holocaust, as the Vatican has demanded, but did say he would read some more about it:

Williamson: Throughout my life, I have always sought the truth. That is why I converted to Catholicism and became a priest. And now I can only say something, the truth of which I am convinced. Because I realize that there are many honest and intelligent people who think differently, I must now review the historical evidence once again. I said the same thing in my interview with Swedish television: Historical evidence is at issue, not emotions. And if I find this evidence, I will correct myself. But that will take time. [...]

SPIEGEL: You could travel to Auschwitz yourself.

Williamson: No, I will not travel to Auschwitz. I've ordered the book by Jean-Claude Pressac. It's called "Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers." A printout is now being sent to me, and I will read it and study it.

How nice that Williamson has suddenly realized that "many honest and intelligent people" disagree with him about this. I can imagine him anxiously checking his mailbox for that Amazon package so he can decide for himself whether one of the most well-documented and historically significant events of the twentieth century actually happened. The Holocaust occured over 60 years ago. Williamson made his controversial comments in the 1980s. He's almost 70 years old. He really hasn't had time to look into this until now?

I feel like if I suddenly decided that, say, the Great Depression or the moon landing had never actually happened, I'd probably want to at least do some follow-up Googling at some point just to be sure.

Never mind his anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories. Does the Vatican really want to put someone this stupid back in a position of authority?



Morning Brief: Hope and hesitancy in Munich

Top Story

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's speech at the Munich Security Conference this weekend appears to have been well-received by European leaders. In particular, his pledge to "press the reset button" on U.S.-Russia relations was welcomed by Russia's deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov.

Unfortunately for the Obama administration's boosters in Europe, as the Financial Times editorializes,  "U.S. re-engagement comes at a price: they must be prepared to share more of the burden of troubleshooting around the world. Above all, that means in Afghanistan, where NATO is facing a test of its very existence..."

Gen. David Petraeus and special envoy to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke also echoed Biden's call for a greater NATO commitment in Afghanistan. Holbrooke predicted the conflict would be “much tougher than Iraq.” NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer backed up his U.S. counterparts by calling on European countries to "share the heavy lifting." How countries like Germany and France will respond to this call is still unclear. Their leaders mostly dodged the issue at the conference.

Middle East

Former President Mohammed Khatami announced that he will challenge Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran's presidential elections in June.

U.S. war planners have developed three timelines for pulling out of Iraq.

Israeli aircraft bombed two targets in Gaza in response to ongoing rocket attacks.

Asia and Pacific

Kyrgyzstan's parliament has delayed a decision on closing the United States' Manas airbase, allowing time for more negotiation. A U.S. general said operations in Afghanistan would not be seriously affected by the closure of the base.

South Korea seems unperturbed by the North's recent saber-rattling.

Over 100 people have been killed by brushfires in Australia.


Barack Obama is hitting the road to sell his stimulus plan to the American public.

Mexican drug cartels have begun hijacking police radio frequencies to deliver death threats.

Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson was removed as the head of a seminary in Argentina.


A car bomb believed to be planted by Basque-separatist group ETA exploded near Madrid.

Ukraine's government is asking for emergency loans.

A new German economy minister will be appointed today.


Ongoing rioting in Madagascar has led to the resignation of the country's defense minister.

South Africa's high court ruled that citizens living abroad should be allowed to vote, possibly delaying this spring's presidential elections.

Somalia's new president arrived in the capital, greeted by cheering crowds but also mortar fire.