Jews Rip Pope for Reinstating Holocaust Denier

Pope's reinstatement of controversial leader threatens Jewish-Catholic relations
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Jan 25, 2009 5:16 AM CST
Pope Benedict greets the faithful in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican during an audience earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
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(Newser) – Jews across the globe are reacting with fury to Pope Benedict XVI's reinstatement of an excommunicated bishop who denies the Holocaust, the Guardian reports. Former British bishop Richard Williamson, excommunicated in 1988 for his membership in an extremist Catholic sect and defiance of church authority, claims that no Jews died in gas chambers. International Jewish groups and officials are blasting the reinstatement as evidence of rising anti-Semitism.

"The eagerness to bring a Holocaust denier back into the Church will cast a shadow on relations between Jews and the Catholic Church," said Israel's ambassador to the Vatican. A Vatican spokesman has asserted that Williamson's views are unrelated to his reinstatement, which is part of an effort to repair Vatican relations with the right-wing Society of Pius X.