ADL To Vatican: Do Not Rehabilitate Holocaust Denier Bishop
Update: The Vatican rehabilitated Bishop Richard Williamson on January 24, 2009. More
New York, NY, January 23, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep concern at reports that Pope Benedict XVI is preparing to lift the excommunication of a bishop who has said, "I believe there were no gas chambers" in reference to the Holocaust, and who rejects modern teachings of the Church about Judaism.
Reports say the Vatican is preparing to rehabilitate Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Society of St. Pius X and a staunch traditionalist who rejects the teachings of Nostra Aetate. Bishop Williamson denies that six million Jews were deliberately slaughtered during the Holocaust and has embraced the infamous anti-Semitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" as fact.
In a letter to Walter Cardinal Kasper, President of the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations With the Jews, ADL wrote that lifting Bishop Williamson's excommunication "could become a source of great tension between Catholics and Jews."
"The re-admittance to full communion of a bishop who appears to publicly reject key teachings of the Second Vatican Council could provide succor to those whose views threaten the Jewish people and the Church's desire to improve and deepen its relationship with us to benefit all mankind," wrote Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
The ADL leader urged Cardinal Kasper to convey those concerns to Pope Benedict XVI.
In an interview broadcast January 21 on Swedish television, Bishop Williamson said he agreed with Holocaust deniers that "between 200,000 and 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber." He added, "I believe there were no gas chambers." Williamson was also quoted in a British newspaper as asserting that, "in accordance with their false messianic vocation of the Jewish world domination, the Jews are preparing the anti-Christ's throne in Jerusalem."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.