The former Cardinal of the Curia Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who is responsible for the traditionalists, apparently knew months before the lifting of the excommunication of the Briton Richard Williamson about his Holocaust denial. This was reported by the Swedish TV program "Uppdrag Granskning" ("Mission: Investigate") on Wednesday evening, citing leading Vatican officials such as Pope's spokesman Federico Lombardi.
In the broadcast, Stockholm Bishop Anders Arborelius explains that he had already forwarded information about the interview, in which Traditionalist Bishop Williamson denied the existence of gas chambers, to the Stockholm nunciature in November 2008. The Pope's ambassador to Sweden, Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, was unwilling to be interviewed on camera. However, according to reporter Ali Fegan, immediately after receiving the information, he stated that he had contacted several people in the Vatican. This had included Cardinal Castrillon, who is responsible for contacts with traditionalists.
Kasper: Castrillon committed errors
The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper, said in the July interview in Sweden that mistakes had been made in the Vatican surrounding the Williamson affair – by those responsible for it. Asked by Swedish journalist Ali Fegan if Castrillon had also made mistakes, Kasper said, "I think he is one of them yes, because he was a major figure in this thing." However, he said, it is not his job to accuse other cardinals. In a letter to "Uppdrag Granskning" published on the Internet, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi is quoted as saying that he had no knowledge of the Williamson interview at the time it was broadcast. He had been informed only afterwards by the Swedish section of Radio Vatican. It continues: "Cardinal Castrillon did not say a word to me about it."When Lombardi informed his superiors about his findings on Williamson, the excommunication had already been lifted. The Vatican spokesman stressed in the letter that he was firmly convinced that also Pope Benedict XVI. had not known of Williamson's Holocaust denial before his decision to lift excommunication. The Pope himself had also stated this in March in a letter to all the bishops of the universal Church. Lombardi reiterated this Wednesday in an official Vatican statement. Castrillon, who has since retired, was not available for an interview, according to "Uppdrag Granskning". Still on 29. January, eight days after the broadcast of the Williamson interview on Swedish television and five days after the official announcement of the lifting of excommunication, Castrillon had told the Italian daily "Corriere della Serra" that he had known nothing about the interview.
Williamson: Castrillon is close to us
The TV broadcast also included excerpts from a video interview of the priestly fraternity of St. Pius X. shown with the Holocaust denier Williamson. In it, the traditionalist bishop reported that Castrillon "really tried to help the priestly fraternity". He has "met a number of members of the Brotherhood and likes us on a human level," Williamson said: "I think he likes us because we stand up for our faith."