Pope hears from Catholic MPs over Holocaust denier

By 
  • February 12, 2009
{mosimage}OTTAWA - Three Catholic MPs from the New Democratic Party have written Pope Benedict XVI to express their “deep concern” over the “reinstatement” of Society of St Pius X Bishop Richard Williamson, who is a Holocaust denier.

“We respectfully question the wisdom of welcoming back into the College of Bishops a man who has both systematically denied and maliciously minimalized the atrocities committed by Hitler’s Germany against the Jewish inhabitants of Central and Eastern Europe between the late 1930s and 1945,” wrote MPs Charlie Angus, Tony Martin and Joe Comartin in an e-mail to the Pope Feb. 5, followed up by a hard copy sent via the apostolic nunciature.

However, the lifting of the excommunication of Williamson and three other society members does not restore them to the College of Bishops as the MPs assume in their letter. According to a statement issued by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, “it is only the declared excommunication of the four bishops who are members of the Society of St. Pius X, including Bishop Williamson, that has been lifted for the offence of their having received episcopal ordination without pontifical mandate.

“The lifting of the excommunication does not affect penalties for other offences,” the bishops said. “The decree ... does not allow Bishop Williamson or the other bishops to exercise sacred ministry licitly or exercise any office or act of governance in the Catholic Church. It simply opens the possibility of restoring them to full communion with the Catholic Church.”

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