Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pope's gesture to Holocaust denier upsets Catholics too

VATICAN CITY (AFP) — Catholic commentators joined Jewish leaders in criticising Pope Benedict XVI for bringing a Holocaust denier back into the fold as part of a bid to heal a schism with a traditionalist branch of the Church.

French essayist Matthieu Grimpret wrote in the Catholic newspaper La Croix that he was "ashamed to be Catholic" after the pope lifted the excommunication 20 years ago of Richard Williamson and three other bishops of the separatist branch set up by the late Marcel Lefebvre in 1988.

Noting that the Church refuses communion to people who remarry after divorcing, Grimpret said the pope's move gave "the despicable impression that it's better for Catholics to be anti-Semitic than divorced."

Williamson has dismissed as "lies" the fact that some six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, most in the gas chambers of Nazi concentration camps.

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