Another day, another pseudo-apology.
A British bishop whose denial of the Holocaust embroiled Pope Benedict XVI in controversy has apologized for his remarks, a Catholic news agency said Thursday. Bishop Richard Williamson, with the conservative Society of St. Pius X, had faced worldwide criticism over a television interview in which he said no Jews were gassed during the Holocaust.
I’ve pieced together what the Zenit news agency reported about the actual words of the apology below.
“the Holy Father and my superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy.”
“Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.”
“opinion […] of a non-historian,”
“formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available, and rarely expressed in public since.”
“the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St. Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused.”
“To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologize.”
“As the Holy Father has said, every act of unjust violence against one man hurts all mankind.”
Ah, even a Bishop has trouble with an apology. He regrets making the remarks or regrets the impact that the remarks have had? His “apology” seems to indicate the latter. His apology reads as being “forced”. What’s with the phrase “all souls that took honest scandal”? That sounds to me a lot like he thinks that some have “taken dishonest scandal” at his words and raised much ado about nothing.
Then, in an interesting turn, the last line above has something important in it. “Every act of unjust violence against one man (sic) hurts all mankind (sic).” In the Lutheran understanding of the 8th Commandment (you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor), the Bishop’s words for which he is “apologizing” is an act of unjust violence. If indeed that is true, and it therefore hurts “all mankind”, then the apology should be to all humanity, not just to those who “took honest scandal from what” he said.