ADL Disappointed in Pope's Decision to Rehabilitate Holocaust Denier Bishop
Update: In an effort to allay concerns about this decision, Pope Benedict XVI condemned Holocaust denial and affirmed the reforms of Vatican II. More
New York, NY, January 24, 2008… The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed disappointment with the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to rehabilitate an excommunicated traditionalist bishop who denies the Holocaust, saying the action "undermines the strong relationship between the Catholic Church and Jews."
The Vatican issued a decree lifting the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the ultra-conservative Society of Saint Pius X who rejects the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and who recently said "there were no gas chambers" during the Holocaust.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, issued the following statement:
This decision undermines the strong relationship between Catholics and Jews that flourished under Pope John Paul II and which Pope Benedict XVI said he would continue when he came into his Papacy.
We are stunned that the Vatican has ignored our concerns by welcoming back into the fold a bishop who denies the Holocaust and rejects the seminal reforms of Vatican II.
This decree sends a terrible message to Catholics around the world that there is room in the Church for those who would undermine the Church's teachings and who would foster disdain and contempt for other religions, particularly Judaism. Given the centuries-long history of anti-Semitism in the Church, this is a most troubling setback.
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.