Pope Benedict XVI is planning to welcome four rebel bishops excommunicated by his predecessor back to the Catholic Church, reports the Times of London. The ultra-conservative bishops reject the liberal reforms of the Second Vatican Council. One of them, Richard Williamson, openly endorses the anti-semitic tract Protocols of the Elders of Zion and believes the Holocaust never happened. The bishops were excommunicated for defying church authority.
"There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers," Williamson told a Swedish TV station last week. "It was all lies, lies, lies!" The Pope is keen to bring the bishops and their 150,000 followers in the conservative Society of Piux X back into the fold, but the move is expected to ruin the church's efforts over the last 40 years to rebuild bridges with Judaism.