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Vatican City - Bishop Who Denied Holocaust Apologizes to Pope Without Retracting

Published on: January 31, 2009 09:36 PM
By: BBC News
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H.E. Bishop Richard WilliamsonH.E. Bishop Richard Williamson

Vatican City - A UK-born cleric who denied the existence of Nazi gas chambers has apologised to the Pope for causing any distress - but without retracting.

Richard Williamson also thanked Pope Benedict for allowing him to rejoin the Roman Catholic Church after being excommunicated on an unrelated issue.

He apologised for his “imprudent remarks” in a Swedish TV interview.

Pope Benedict has reiterated his “full and indisputable solidarity” with Jews on the subject of the Nazi death camps.

He has been under pressure from Nobel Peace Prize winner and death camp survivor Elie Wiesel among others to distance himself from Mr Williamson, who was promoted to bishop along with others by the breakaway Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of France.

Mr Williamson, who lives in Argentina, blogged his apology in an open letter to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the mediator between the Vatican and the breakaway Catholic faction.

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“Amidst this tremendous media storm stirred up by imprudent remarks of mine on Swedish television, I beg of you to accept… my sincere regrets for having caused to yourself and to the Holy Father so much unnecessary distress and problems,” he said.

He made no mention of the Holocaust in the brief letter.

In an interview with Swedish TV, he had said: “I believe there were no gas chambers… I think that two to three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers.”

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, contacted by AFP news agency, refused to comment on the content of the letter, saying only: “The Vatican has asked nothing of Monsignor Williamson, who is not an ‘ordinary bishop’ of the Catholic Church.”

Mr Williamson and three other “bishops” whose excommunications were lifted are members of the Society of St Pius X, which was founded by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1970 as a protest against the Second Vatican Council’s reforms on religious freedom and pluralism.

The late Archbishop Lefebvre made them bishops in unsanctioned consecrations in Switzerland in 1988, prompting the immediate excommunication of all five by the late Pope John Paul II.

When it recently lifted their excommunication, the Vatican said the four men had been asked to recognise the authority of the Pope and the Second Vatican Council.



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Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 31, 2009 at 09:09 PM Anonymous Says:

That's real Chutzpa - Apologizing to the Pope who is not offended - but not apologizing to Jews who are offended by stupid remarks.

The apology should offend everyone - including the Pope - it is selfish and self serving - something the Church is supposedly against.

2

 Jan 31, 2009 at 09:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Since when are Yidden supposed to be telling everyone else what to do and what to think? How would we feel if others demanded our rabbis retract or change positions that they have on all sorts of issues, including the Medinah??!

3

 Jan 31, 2009 at 09:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Maybe it is just me. But to me, the more we cry about what the Catholic Church does and/or says, the more we are giving them importance.
Who cares what they say?
I do not.

4

 Feb 01, 2009 at 06:33 AM Anonymous Says:

Cut offll the ties,this way no more problems will arise.

5

 Feb 01, 2009 at 01:23 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

That's real Chutzpa - Apologizing to the Pope who is not offended - but not apologizing to Jews who are offended by stupid remarks.

The apology should offend everyone - including the Pope - it is selfish and self serving - something the Church is supposedly against.

Since when was the Pope not offended? He's the one who's been the target of all the idiots, he's been embarrassed in front of the whole world. Look at all the people calling the Pope an antisemite, as if he had somehow endorsed this mamzer's views. That's what the mamzer's apologising for. He still thinks he's right, but now he realises it would have been better to have kept his mouth shut.

6

 Feb 01, 2009 at 06:55 AM UBET Says:

Since when should any Jew care what the bishop or pope says about the holocaust? Like our life depended on it? Oh please!

7

 Feb 01, 2009 at 07:55 AM Reubies Says:

I find the uncaring attitude of some of the posters here troubling. A generation ago we all knew of living holocaust survivors who were able to bear witness to the horrible death and suffering caused by the nazi beasts. With each passing year we are left with, unfortunately, with fewer and fewer survivors. It is more important now than ever to not let people in leadership positions to make such callous anti semetic remarks. It is our obligation to demand at the very least this acknowledgement to the multitudes who were slaughtered like lambs in the cursed gas chambers and the hellish infernos.

8

 Feb 01, 2009 at 01:28 PM Anonymous Says:

From 1938 to 1941 in Vienna under Hitler and then from 1941 to 1945 in various concentration camps certainly makes me a survivor. We should care because this man has a pulpit. The Catholic Church has a dwindling attendance in Italy, Germany, France and even Spain. The unfortuante fact is that the Catholic Church is not a monolith and this Bishop probably would reinstitute the inquisition if allowed. The latest headline of the German weekly Spiegel reads"A German Pope embarasses the Catholic Church". The problem is that we Yidden should not and cannot tackle the Catholic Church but we should display more achdus to Am Yisroel.

9

 Feb 02, 2009 at 08:56 AM Anonymous Says:

V'alu hamoshim l'har tzion lishpot es har esav.

10

 Feb 02, 2009 at 07:29 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

From 1938 to 1941 in Vienna under Hitler and then from 1941 to 1945 in various concentration camps certainly makes me a survivor. We should care because this man has a pulpit. The Catholic Church has a dwindling attendance in Italy, Germany, France and even Spain. The unfortuante fact is that the Catholic Church is not a monolith and this Bishop probably would reinstitute the inquisition if allowed. The latest headline of the German weekly Spiegel reads"A German Pope embarasses the Catholic Church". The problem is that we Yidden should not and cannot tackle the Catholic Church but we should display more achdus to Am Yisroel.

The Inquisition never had any problem with yidden. Its only authority was over Christians. If a yid didn't shmad zich, the Inquisition didn't care what he believed or did. But if someone claims to be a Christian, there needs to be someone whose job it is to make sure that he sticks to church doctrine and doesn't become a heretic.

11

 Feb 02, 2009 at 07:27 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #7  
Reubies Says:

I find the uncaring attitude of some of the posters here troubling. A generation ago we all knew of living holocaust survivors who were able to bear witness to the horrible death and suffering caused by the nazi beasts. With each passing year we are left with, unfortunately, with fewer and fewer survivors. It is more important now than ever to not let people in leadership positions to make such callous anti semetic remarks. It is our obligation to demand at the very least this acknowledgement to the multitudes who were slaughtered like lambs in the cursed gas chambers and the hellish infernos.

Since when was this Williamson in a leadership position?

12

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