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.
On Swedish television I gave only the opinion (..."I believe"..."I believe"...) of a non-historian, an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available, and rarely expressed in public since.
However, 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 injust violence against one man hurts all mankind.
London, 26 February, 2009
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said in a verbal statement today that the apology is lacking. He told journalists that the statement "does not seem to respect the conditions established in the Feb. 4 note from the [Vatican] Secretariat of State, which stated that [Bishop Williamson] must distance himself in an absolute, unequivocal and public way from his positions regarding the Shoah."
The spokesman also noted that the prelate's declaration was not a letter directed to the Holy Father or to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which oversees the Church's efforts to heal the schism with the Society of St. Pius X.