• Sweden edition
SVT denies Vatican conspiracy rumours

SVT denies Vatican conspiracy rumours

Published: 04 Feb 2009 09:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Feb 2009 09:05 GMT+01:00

“Ridiculous and deplorable,” said SVT journalist Ali Fegan to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

“The reports stem from loose speculations, not facts. The church is trying to shake off the problem by shooting the messenger.”

Fegan’s comments come in the wake of reports that a secret memo is circulating in the Vatican claiming that SVT was acting together with progressive priests in a months-long conspiracy to sully the Pope.

SvD cites conservative catholic blogs and the Italian newspapers Il Giornale and Il Riformista, which report that the Vatican suspects the airing of SVT’s controversial interview with Williamson, just days before the Pope was set to lift the 20-year excommunication of the conservative bishop, was a deliberate trap set for the Pope by SVT.

The conspiracy theory allegations rest in part on the fact that Fegan knew of statements made by Williamson at a mass in Canada in 1989 in which he also denied the Holocaust.

According to Fagen, however, he learned of the comments through his own research on Williamson, but was unable to confirm the report.

“No one had gotten to the bottom of it. The rumour that Williamson was a Holocaust-denier had become truth without anyone having evidence of it,” Fegan told SvD.

The excommunication came in 1988 on the orders of Pope John Paul II after Williamson and three other priests from the ultra-conservative Society of St. Pius (SSPX), were consecrated as bishops by SSPX founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in violation of the Pope’s wishes.

Dialogue between the Vatican and SSPX has been ongoing for years, and in late January the Pope finally lifted the excommunication of the four bishops, just days after the broadcast of SVT’s interview with Williamson.

Since then, the Pope has been hit by a wave of criticism from Jewish leaders who see the Vatican's reconciliation with Williamson as a major blow to Jewish-Catholic relations.

Fegan also explained that the broadcast of SVT’s Uppdrag granskning investigative news programme was supposed to take place in the autumn of 2008, but was delayed because the subject of the investigation, a Swedish priest in the process of joining SSPX, had been in a car accident, setting the production schedule back several months.

SVT editors had no idea that Pope was planning on lifting Williamson’s excommunication when the programme finally aired in January.

“When rumours about the excommunication started a couple of days later, we realized that this was highly explosive stuff. It was an unbelievable coincidence,” said Fegan.

Maria Hasslegren, a spokesperson for Stockholm’s Catholic Diocese, told the TT news agency that she hadn’t heard anything about the alleged report and that the claim pointing to SVT's complicity in a conspiracy is unrealistic.

Hasselgren explained that she knew that the programme would be broadcast on January 21st.

According to her, the Pope’s decision to lift the excommunications was a long process, and occured during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which takes place every year.

“I have a hard a really hard time believing that Uppdrag granskning would have known that it the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and it was just then that the Pope would surely do something,” she told TT.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs

Swedish citizens are the most likely to be employed in the EU, but Sweden is among the very worst when it comes to getting non-EU citizens into work. READ  

Man arrested for burning partner's face
Photo: Linn Malmén/TT

Man arrested for burning partner's face

Police suspect that a man in western Sweden is responsible for the extreme burns on his partner's face. The man has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault - and potentially attempted murder. READ  

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm

Eurovision winner and LGBTQ idol Conchita Wurst is in Stockholm this week for Stockholm Pride - and joined Swedes at Skansen for a colourful summer sing-along. READ  

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro
Photo: Joel Bagon

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro

Stockholm's new metro line is not set for preliminary construction until 2016, and will not be completed until 2022 - but Swedes already have the chance to vote for the new line's colour. READ  

Sweden's heat wave officially over

Sweden's heat wave officially over

The heat wave that swept over Sweden recently has finally passed, meteorologists reported on Wednesday, promising cooler and more autumnal temperatures around the corner. READ  

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede
Rebel tanks on the road to Horlivka in June. Photo: TT

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede

The Swede who was kidnapped by pro-Russian rebels has been released after nearly three weeks of being held hostage - although no one knows where he is now. READ  

Stockholm Pride 2014
Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats
Photos: Henrik Montgomery/Fredrik Persson/TT

Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats

While a record number of ministers and party leaders will participate in the Stockholm Pride Parade this year, there are notable exceptions - including SD leader Jimmie Åkesson, who is not only 'uninterested' but banned. READ  

Gender neutral 'hen' enters dictionary
Soon 'hen' will be found on this page. Photo: The Local

Gender neutral 'hen' enters dictionary

The ever-controversial pronoun 'hen' has won its battle and is set to officially become part of the Swedish language. READ  

Pines, polska and magic: Urkult Music Festival
Photo: Danny Chapman/The Local

Pines, polska and magic: Urkult Music Festival

The Urkult music festival in northern Sweden may be less sex, drugs and rock'n'roll and more family fun, chai and polska dancing - but Danny Chapman says it’s one of the most magical Swedish experiences he has had. READ  

Presented by Stockholm Business Region
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
You want one of these. Photo: Skatteverket

Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm

When it comes to data-driven life, from daycare to healthcare, Sweden is in a league of its own. Above all, your personal number is the key that unlocks life in Stockholm. READ  

Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Top ten Swedish taboos
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »


24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
What's On in Sweden
People-watching July 23
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: