January 23, 2009                          

Urges that anti-Jewish Society Not Be Welcomed back into Church in the Name of Christian Unity

The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced Pope Benedict XVI's decision to remove the excommunication of four Bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X(SSPX)-- one of whose leaders, Bishop Williamson publicly declared last week that no Jews were murdered in Nazi Gas Chambers and that only 300,000 Jews died in WWII.   "Just as the world joins together on January 27th  to commemorate the extermination of 6 million Jews, the Vatican welcomes back into its ranks a  Bishop who teaches that it never happened. Whatever his intention, the Pope's decision to welcome back such a hater into the Church lends moral credence to deniers of history's worst crime and contradicts of the teachings of Vatican II, which as then Monsignor Ratzinger, today's Pope played so important a role, " charged Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean  of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.  "Bishop Williamson's TV interview  makes clear that he has no intention of changing his hateful teachings, " they added.

In addition to Bishop Williamson's Holocaust denial ,  looms the unchanging virulent anti-Semitism of the Society of Saint Pius as a whole. Here are but a few quotes from current postings on the Society’s website (www.sspx.org) proclaim that:

-         Jews are “directly responsible for the crucifixion,” Jews are cursed with the ‘blindness to the things of G-d and eternity;’

-         Jews as a people stand ‘in entire opposition with the Catholic Church.;’

-         ‘Christendom and Jewry are designed inevitably to meet everywhere without reconciliation or mixing;’ that Jews ‘should neither be eliminated from among us … nor given equality of rights.’

“The differences between accepted Church teaching and this group of Latin-speaking extremists are not subject to reconciliation,” added Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center’s Director of Interfaith Relations. “The Pope must make clear to the world – especially in the midst of the wave of  Islamist anti-Semitism engulfing Europe – that SSPX cannot teach medieval hatred while seated amongst the leaders of the Church.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036.