Pope Calls Holocaust Denial 'Intolerable'

Pontiff tries to smooth over controversy in meeting with Jews
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2009 7:54 AM CST

(Newser) – Pope Benedict XVI told a group of American Jewish leaders today that any denial of the reality of the Holocaust is "intolerable," particularly from a member of the clergy. The pope said he was unaware that Bishop Richard Williamson, whose excommunication he lifted, had denied the full extent of the Holocaust. He also told the Jewish leaders that he was planning to visit Israel, reports the BBC.

"It is my fervent prayer that the memory of this appalling crime will strengthen our determination to heal the wounds that for too long have sullied relations between Christians and Jews," the pontiff said. Only a few weeks ago the bishop in question told a Swedish television station that "there were no gas chambers," and he has not accepted the principles of Vatican II, which include a rejection of collective Jewish guilt for the death of Christ.