January 24, 2009.
(IsraelNN.com) In a
move that many Jewish community officials said would
cause relations between Jews and Catholics to further
deteriorate, the Vatican on Saturday lifted an
excommunication ban against Bishop Richard Williamson,
one of four bishops who were banned in 1988 for taking on
the office of bishop against the wishes of then-Pope John
Williamson is a
Holocaust denier, and has repeatedly said that the gas
chambers did not exist and that no more than 300,000 Jews
were killed during World War II, mostly of starvation. In
addition, Williamson has declared that the Jews are
plotting to take over the world, and that the U.S. and
Israel were behind 9/11.
In an interview
with Swedish television conducted last November
but broadcast last week, Williamson said that he believed
that there were "no gas chambers."
200,000-300,000 perished in Nazi concentration camps, but
not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber," he said,
adding, "I believe that the historical evidence is hugely
against 6 million having been deliberately gassed in gas
chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf
Back to Middle
Williamson has had a long history of Holocaust denial.
In a 1989 sermon in Sherbrooke, Canada, Williamson said
that "there was not one Jew killed in the gas chambers.
It was all lies, lies, lies. The Jews created the
Holocaust so we would prostrate ourselves on our knees
before them and approve of their new State of Israel...
Jews made up the Holocaust, Protestants get their orders
from the devil, and the Vatican has sold its soul to
liberalism." In dozens of sermons and letters, Richardson
reiterated the same theme, adding that Hitler "liberated"
Germany from the Jews.
advocates a return to the Middle Ages, with the
Inquisition the preferred model of the Catholic
relationship to Jews. "As Catholic faith goes up, so
Jewish power goes down, while as Catholic faith goes
down, so Jewish power goes up. In the Catholic Middle
Ages, the Jews were relatively impotent to harm
Christendom. But as Catholics have grown over the
centuries weaker and weaker in the faith, especially
since Vatican II, so the Jews have come closer and closer
to fulfilling their substitute-Messianic drive towards
world dominion... When Spanish Catholics were truly
Catholic, God granted them by 1492 to reconquer Spain
from the Arabs, and then granted them to create a
Catholic empire in the Americas."
officials have expressed serious concerns over the Pope's
move. Rabbi Shmuel Ricardo Di Segni, the Chief Rabbi of
Rome, told reporters that the rehabilitation of
Williamson opens "a deep wound" in Catholic-Jewish
League, an anti-Semitism watchdog group, said that the
reinstatement "could become a source of great tension
between Catholics and Jews." The umbrella group of Jewish
communities in France called Williamson "a contemptible
liar whose sole objective is to reawaken centuries-old
hatred against the Jews."
In a report,
Reuters quoted Mordechai Lewy, Israel's ambassador to the
Vatican, as saying that Israel "has no intention of
interfering in the internal workings of the Catholic
Church. However, the eagerness to bring a Holocaust
denier back into the Church will cast a shadow on
relations between Jews and the Catholic
A Vatican spokesman
said that the lifting of the ban had nothing to do with
Williamson's views. "It has nothing to do with the
personal opinions of a person, which are open to
criticism, but are not pertinent to this decree."