Pope Reinstates Four Excommunicated Bishops

By | January 25, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI, reaching out to the far-right of the Roman Catholic Church, revoked the excommunications of four schismatic bishops on Saturday, including one whose comments denying the Holocaust have provoked outrage.

Richard Williamson, one of the bishops, during a TV interview.

The decision provided fresh fuel for critics who charge that Benedict’s four-year-old papacy has increasingly moved in line with traditionalists who are hostile to the sweeping reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s that sought to create a more modern and open church.

A theologian who has grappled with the church’s diminished status in a secular world, Benedict has sought to foster a more ardent, if smaller, church over one with looser faith.

But while the revocation may heal one internal rift, it may also open a broader wound, alienating the church’s more liberal adherents and jeoparding 50 years of Vatican efforts to ease tensions with Jewish groups.

Among the men reinstated Saturday was Richard Williamson, a British-born cleric who in an interview last week said he did not believe that six million Jews died in the Nazi gas chambers. He has also given interviews saying that the United States government staged the Sept. 11 attacks as a pretext to invade Afghanistan.

… In a November interview broadcast on Swedish television last week and widely available on the Internet, the bishop said that he believed that “the historical evidence” was strongly against the conclusion that millions of Jews had been “deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler.”

… In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League said that lifting Bishop Williamson’s excommunication “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.”

via Pope Reinstates Four Excommunicated Bishops – NYTimes.com.

5 thoughts on “Pope Reinstates Four Excommunicated Bishops

  1. Sepp

    Richard Williamson may not be wrong, and he is certainly not alone, in the view that numbers of Jews killed before and during the Second World War may have been deliberately exaggerated, and that the attack on the twin towers in September 2001 was not the work of a bunch of box cutter wielding hijackers and amateur pilots trained at CIA-run facilities in the US, but an ‘inside job’ calculated to supply the needed justification for aggressive pursuit of an oil-based energy policy abroad and a repressive political course in the USA itself.

    Why should such opinions be forbidden?

  2. Xeno Post author

    Curiosity and expressing opinions should not get someone thrown in jail. Opinions are usually our interpretation of the evidence we have seen, flawed though it and our logic may sometimes be.

    With respect to the inside job, there may be explanations for the irregularities, but important evidence is still off limits, valid questions unanswered. Bush, by trying to keep 9/11 from being investigated, created conspiracy theorists. I’m hoping that under Obama we will clear things up. The new Freedom of Information Request possibilities seem to open that door.

    As to how many Jewish people were killed in the gas chambers, I don’t understand something: Why would they inflate the numbers? It’s not like they get more money or “extra credit” for having 11 million die vs 11,000. I mean, we lost 3,000 on 9/11 and we had world sympathy up the wazoo for that. Just because there is so much debate about it, I’ve tried to look into the historical facts, but I haven’t found a site that seems 100% neutral, just presenting the facts without politics. From where do the casualty numbers that the various deniers and believers come?

  3. Sepp

    Yes, hopefully the new freedom of information order should help uncover some of the facts around 911 that were well concealed by the Bush administration. There are simply too many contradictions in this whole mess for the official story to hold up. A lot of evidence has been collected, but is being labeled “conspiracy theory” in an effort not to have to actually discuss the inconsistencies.

    As for the exageration of numbers of deaths, one reason may have been that the State of Israel received compensation for all those victims that were no longer alive.

    Quote from a :

    “Despite the protests, the agreement was signed in September of that year, and West Germany paid Israel a sum of 3 billion marks over the next fourteen years; 450 million marks were paid to the World Jewish Congress. The payments were made to the State of Israel as the heir to those victims who had no surviving family. The money was invested in the country’s infrastructure and played an important role in establishing the economy of the new state. The reparations would become a decisive part of Israel’s income, comprising as high as 87.5% of the state income in 1956.”

  4. Xeno Post author

    That wikipedia page says that the money Isreal got was for taking the 500,000 Holocaust survivors and for “six billion dollars worth of Jewish property had been pillaged by the Nazis”. It doesn’t mention there being any compensation based on the number of people killed as far as I can see…

  5. Sepp

    You may be right here and I read more into that than is actually written. So I don’t insist. Mine was a hunch in response to your question as to a motive for exaggerating.

    We might have to wait a while for more information to become available on this – perhaps when they stop putting people in jail for entertaining the thought that something might be amiss with the official picture here, something more will emerge.

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