Friday, January 30, 2009

Jews Break Ties with Vatican Over Holocaust Denier

From, 30 January 09, by Hana Levi Julian:

The Central Council of Jews in Germany was the latest in a march of national and international Jewish umbrella organizations to announce it would sever ties with the Church over the matter on Thursday.

Tensions have continued to mount between Jewish communities around the world and the Catholic Church over the Holy See's rehabilitation of a bishop who denied the wholesale slaughter of Jews during the Holocaust.

Last Saturday Pope Benedict XVI lifted an excommunication ban against Bishop Richard Williamson, who has repeatedly insisted that the Nazi gas chambers did not exist and that no more than 300,000 Jews were killed during World War II, and those mostly due to starvation.

Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Council of Jews, told Germany's Rheinische Post newspaper in an interview published Thursday, "Under these conditions, there will certainly be no talks between myself and the Church for the time being – I stress the words 'for the time being.' "

...Israel's Chief Rabbinate broke its ties with the Vatican on Tuesday to protest the decision to reinstate the bishop. Rabbinate Director-General Oded Weiner wrote a letter to the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews explaining the decision. "Without an official apology and recanting, it will be difficult to continue the dialogue," he said.

...Pope Benedict XVI responded to the letter Wednesday by saying he feels "full and indisputable solidarity" with Jews and said it was forbidden to deny the horror of the Nazi genocide. A Vatican spokesman had said earlier that Williamson's views "which are open to criticism" were irrelevant to the lifting of the ban.

Israel's Ambassador to the Vatican, Mordechai Lewy, warned in an interview with the Reuters news agency, however, that the Vatican's "eagerness to bring a Holocaust denier back into the Church will cast a shadow on relations between Jews and the Catholic Church."

Williamson has claimed in the past that the Jews are plotting to take over the world, and that the U.S. and Israel both planned the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the attempt on the White House.

The Holocaust denier was one of four bishops who were banned in 1988 for taking on the clerical office against the wishes of then-Pope John Paul II.

Williamson said in a 1989 sermon in Sherbrooke, Canada, "The Jews created the Holocaust so we would prostrate ourselves on our knees before them and approve of their new State of Israel… 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," he declared.

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