The Society of St. Pius X has expelled Bishop Richard Williamson, saying he has distanced himself from the traditionalist Catholic group’s leadership and he has refused “to show due respect and obedience to his lawful superiors.”
The Switzerland-based society said Oct. 24 that the “painful” decision was necessary because of “concern for the common good” and for the good government of the society.
The society’s Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay and his council declared the bishop to be excluded on Oct. 4. Bishop Williamson, in response to a final deadline for him to declare his obedience to the society, published an open letter asking the superior general to resign.
Pope Benedict XVI has endeavored to reconcile the society with the Church. He lifted the excommunications of the society’s four living bishops in 2009. However, that act caused significant controversy because, unbeknownst to the Pope, Bishop Williamson had made statements that diminished the magnitude of the Holocaust.