Wiesenthal Center Hails Vatican Criticism and German Court Decision Against Holocaust Denying Bishop

January 16, 2013

The Simon Wiesenthal Center today lauded a statement by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews that strongly criticized the extremist Catholic Society of Saint Pius X as a group "who do not accept ecumenical dialogue, relations with Jews and religious freedom."

Mark Weitzman, the Wiesenthal Center's Director of Government Affairs said, "Cardinal Koch's statement is a vigorous and welcome affirmation of the Church's commitment to a strong and positive relation with the Jewish people. It sends a clear message that the Vatican will not accept the anti-Semitism that is at the heart of the SSPX's theology and will not compromise on those principles. The Cardinal's further statement that ‘any form of anti-Semitism is a non-Christian act and the Catholic Church must fight with all it's might against this phenomenon,’ represents an important and very welcome restatement of the Church's position on this issue."

Weitzman also praised the decision of a German court that found renegade SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson guilty of denying the Holocaust. Weitzman said, "The German court's ruling clearly reaffirms that denying the Holocaust is meant to incite hatred and to increase anti-Semitism. It is a strong statement that Germany is committed to maintaining the accuracy of the historical record of the Holocaust. It also demonstrates once again the deep rooted anti-Semitism that has permeated Bishop Williamson's words and stands as well as an indictment of the Society of Saint Pius X where Williamson was one of the most prominent leaders until his expulsion for disobedience (and not for anti-Semitism) last year."

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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, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).