European rabbis urge Vatican to renounce rebels

PARIS Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:16am EDT

Related Topics

PARIS (Reuters) - European rabbis urged the Vatican Wednesday to suspend unity talks with an ultra-traditionalist Catholic rebel society until the movement pledged to fight what they called anti-Semitism in its ranks.

The Conference of European Rabbis said Bishop Richard Williamson -- already known for publicly denying the Holocaust -- and the head of the splinter group in France had recently revived the age-old accusation that Jews killed Jesus.

The statement came as the dissident Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) considered a final offer from the Vatican to end their 23-year split and reintegrate the rebels who firmly reject modernizing reforms the Catholic Church made in the 1960s.

Both Williamson and French SSPX head Rev Regis de Cacqueray, two outspoken critics of any compromise with the Vatican, recently repeated the charge against the Jews, as Pope Benedict prepared to host world faith leaders -- including Jews -- in Assisi, Italy next week.

"There must be no rapprochement within the Catholic Church for those of its flock who seek to preach words of hate," said Conference head Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt in a statement.

"We call upon the Catholic Church to suspend negotiations with extremist Catholic tendencies until it is clear that these groups show a clear commitment to tackling anti-Semitism within their ranks," said Goldschmidt, whose Brussels-based group represents chief rabbis and senior rabbinical judges across Europe.

The Roman Catholic Church said at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) that it did not hold the Jews responsible for the killing of Christ, launching an era of improved relations between Catholics and Jews.

But issues concerning the Holocaust, including Williamson's denial and Benedict's support for the beatification of wartime Pope Pius XII, despite statements by some historians and Jewish leaders that he did not do enough to support persecuted Jews, still cause friction.

After two years of discussions with the SSPX, the Vatican said last month the movement would have to agree to a list of fundamental Church teachings if its four bishops were to be reintegrated in to the Church. The list was not made public.

The four, including Williamson, were excommunicated in 1988 when they were ordained by SSPX founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre against orders from the Vatican.

Williamson, who lives in Britain, was conspicuously absent from a recent meeting of SSPX leaders near Rome to consider the Vatican demand. Remarks by SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay since then hinted the group could not agree with the Vatican.

The SSPX is expected to deliver its response to the Vatican within a few months.

(Reporting By Tom Heneghan; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
blackjack46 wrote:
To claim that Williamson denied that the Holocaust did not happen is patently dishonest on the part of the rabbis. What he did was question the extent of the numbers of Jews who died and whether there were gas chambers used for extermination. In the meticulously kept records of the prison camps, the Nazis unashamedly and remorselessly recorded the deaths of the priosoners and the exact method of execution. Not one mention of gas chambers used for extermination purposes in the volumes now held by the Holocaust Museum in Washinton.

Oct 19, 2011 1:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
So, according to ‘blackjack46′, since all(!) Williamson did was question the extent of the numbers who died and whether gas chambers were used (which really is indisputable, except to anti-semites), that makes it all ok and the official Catholic Church should look past that and welcome them with open arms! Unfortunately, you are incorrect in your assertion. Here’s one (and I’m sure there are more)–In 1989, Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes church in Sherbrooke, Canada, Bishop Williamson stated:
“there was not one Jew killed in the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies. The Jews created the Holocaust so we would prostrate ourselves on our knees before them and approve of their new State of Israel…. Jews made up the Holocaust, Protestants get their orders from the devil, and the Vatican has sold its soul to liberalism.”
I doubt very much if you’ve ever been to the Holocaust Museum in D.C., let alone seen the chambers for yourself in Europe. Your statements are only slightly less disgusting than Williamson’s! Anyone who tries to diminish the magnitude of the evil of the Nazis and their collaborators is less than human. Never try to excuse the inexcusable. Do some soul searching…

Oct 19, 2011 8:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Tiu wrote:
And the rabbi’s will be denouncing all Jews who are anti-islam. (yeah right!)

Oct 19, 2011 10:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.