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Blog

Filtering by Tag: Jewish-Christian Relations

Moving in the Right Direction

Thomas Whitley

The Pope issued this statement today:

“any denial or minimization of this terrible crime is intolerable,”


The Pope is, of course, speaking of the Holocaust.

The Pope is also planning to visit Israel soon, possibly in May. This is an important step forward in the recent relationship between the Vatican and Jews worldwide in the wake of comments made by Bishop Williamson, a member of the ultra-traditionalist Society of St Pius X (SSPX). Williamson told Swedish television in an interview broadcast on January 21: “I believe there were no gas chambers.” He also said that no more than 300,000 Jews died during the Holocaust.

He has still not recanted, saying he needs more time to review the evidence, but nevertheless, the Church has taken a step in the right direction by letting everyone know that they will not accept anyone in their ranks denying or minimizing the Holocaust.


NOTE: Full story can be found here.

Good Move, Pope

Thomas Whitley

Even if it has taken worldwide outrage at his decision, the Pope has said that

Bishop Richard Williamson must “unequivocally” distance himself from his statements to serve in the Roman Catholic Church.

This is a good move, indeed, but I am concerned about another part:

The Vatican also said that the Pope had not been aware of the bishop’s views when he lifted excommunications on him and three other bishops last month.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, who is in charge of relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Jewish leaders, admitted different parts of the Vatican administration had not talked enough to each other, and failed to check where problems could arise.

This begs the question of what exactly the Vatican tries to find out before they reinstate someone and what B16 was thinking by not making sure that the necessary research had been done. I am certainly glad that the Vatican has made this move (also requiring all 4 bishops being reinstated to accept Vatican II, which should have been required from the beginning) and corrected the potentially corrected the mistake, but this casts a lot of doubt on the leadership of B16. This is a quite immature problem to have. It is not like Bishop Williamson made his Holocaust denying statements after the reinstatement. He has been making them for some time now, even as recently as November 2008 on Swedish television. How does that clip not make its way across the desk of whatever committee deals with reinstatements?


Note: Information comes from this BBC article.

Holocaust Denying Bishop Apologizes ... Sort Of

Thomas Whitley

Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, reported today (original article can be found here) that Bishop Richard Williamson, who has recently been reinstated from his 20-year long excommunication by Pope B16, has written a letter and apologized. This letter, though contains no remorse for what was actually said about the Holocaust.

The letter was posted on Williamson’s personal blog and addressed to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who has been dealing with the rehabilitation of Williamson and other renegade bishops who had been excommunicated. The Holocaust denial had outraged Jewish groups and many others. It was not immediately clear if Williamson’s letter, which contained no apology for the content of his remarks, would ease that anger.

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

If you ask me, which you obviously did because you’re reading this on my blog, I’d say this isn’t much of an apology. It’s like the child who is sorry that he got caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar, but who isn’t actually sorry he stole them. It smacks of immaturity and recklessness.

While some Jews have severed ties with the Vatican, Mordechay Lewy, Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See, “said the Jewish state has good relations with the Vatican, despite the flap over Williamson’s comments.”

I’m in agreement with the some 50 Catholic members of the US Congress in their letter to B16:

“We do not question your reasons for revoking the excommunication of Bishop Williamson or your right to do so, but we fail to understand why the revocation was not accompanied by an emphatic public rejection of his denial of the Holocaust,” the letter said.

“The bishop’s remarks about the Holocaust echo those of neo-Nazis, Islamist extremists, racists and others who choose hatred and violence over peaceful co-existence among peoples of all races and ethnicities.”

Jews Severing Ties with the Vatican

Thomas Whitley

A USA Today article (found here) speaks of Israel’s chief rabbinate severing its ties with the Vatican.

Israel’s chief rabbinate severed ties with the Vatican on Wednesday to protest a papal decision to reinstate a bishop who publicly denied 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

The Jewish state’s highest religious authority sent a letter to the Holy See expressing “sorrow and pain” at the papal decision. “It will be very difficult for the chief rabbinate of Israel to continue its dialogue with the Vatican as before,” the letter said. Chief rabbis of both the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews were parties to the letter.

This is quite saddening, as their relationship had been quite good since 2000 when the relationship was formally made by Pope John Paul II’s visit to Jerusalem. I cannot say, thought, that I find fault in the move of these Jews. The Church needs to realize that there are consequences to their actions.

B16 “expressed his ‘full and indisputable solidarity’ with Jews.” These words seem to be too little, too late. The old adage proves once again to be true: actions speak louder than words. The Pope’s action of reinstating Bishop Williamson has been heard around the world, while his verbal solidarity with Jews is but a whisper.

NB: Thanks to my mom for sharing the article with me.

Not a Good Move

Thomas Whitley

The Pope (B16 as I like to call him) has just made a bad move. He reinstated Bishop Richard Williamson, who is:

“…a member of the ultra-conservative Society of Saint Pius X who rejects the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and recently said ‘there were no gas chambers’ during the Holocaust.”



Williamson was excommunicated by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

In comments to Swedish television broadcast on Wednesday and widely available on the internet, Mr Williamson said: ‘I believe there were no gas chambers and only up to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, instead of 6 million.’

‘I believe that the historical evidence is hugely against 6 million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler,’ he said.

‘There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!’



What is B16 thinking? Can anyone help me out here? Better yet, can someone please help B16 realize how ridiculous this is? Not only is he infuriating Jews worldwide, he is setting a negative precedent for how he may interact with other religions.