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February 4, 2009

WIESENTHAL CENTER WELCOMES VATICAN’S CALL FOR CONTROVERSIAL BISHOP TO RECANT HIS DENIAL OF THE HOLOCAUST


The Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomed the news that the Vatican has demanded that Bishop Richard Williamson recant his views denying the Holocaust before being re-admitted to the Roman Catholic Church. Williamson was one of the four priests from the anti-reformist Society of St. Pius X who were excommunicated 20 years ago for defying the Church reforms of Vatican II.

“Finally, the Vatican has taken responsibility for one of the worst blunders in recent history welcoming back a Holocaust denier into the embrace of the Church,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center. “What is particularly astounding is that the Vatican assertion that they didn’t know about his Holocaust views. All somebody had to do was Google him and they would have found them,” he added.

“This is, however, a step in the right direction and if Williamson refuses to recant, the Vatican should excommunicate him – this time permanently,” Hier concluded.

Last week, the Wiesenthal Center launched an online petition campaign (at www.wiesenthal.com) urging the Vatican to take action. To date, the campaign has generated over 11,000 signatures.

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).

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