Bishop Richard Williamson
The Society of St. Pius X threatened to expel traditionalist Bishop Richard Williamson if he retained an extremist lawyer with neo-Nazi ties to defend him in a German court.
The head of the traditionalist society, Bishop Bernard Fellay, "has formally ordered Bishop Williamson to abandon this decision and not allow himself to be manipulated by political ideas that are completely unrelated to his mission as a Catholic bishop serving the Society of St. Pius X," said a communique.
"To disobey this order would result in Bishop Williamson being excluded from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X," said the statement signed by the society's secretary general, Father Christian Thouvenot.
The British-born bishop is appealing a fine stemming from charges by a German court last year for Holocaust denial, which is illegal in Germany. His lawyer, Wolfram Nahrath, is a member of the far-right National Democratic Party.