Vatican: Holocaust Denial "Unacceptable"

Nicole Winfield of AP has the story here.  And Catholic News is reporting that Cardinal Walter Kasper called denial of the Holocaust "stupid."

From her story:

The Vatican said Monday that comments by a recently rehabilitated bishop that no Jews were gassed during the Holocaust were "unacceptable" and violate Church teaching.


In a front-page article, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reaffirmed that Pope Benedict XVI deplored all forms of anti-Semitism and that all Roman Catholics must do the same. The article was issued amid an outcry from Jewish groups that Benedict last week lifted the excommunication of a traditionalist bishop, Richard Williamson, who has denied that 6 million Jews were murdered during World War II.

The Vatican has stressed that that removing the excommunication by no means implied the Vatican shared Williamson’s views. Williamson and three other bishops were excommunicated 20 years ago after they were consecrated by the late ultraconservative Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre without papal consent — a move the Vatican said at the time was an act of schism.

Benedict has made clear from the start of his pontificate that he wanted to reconcile with Lefebvre’s traditionalist Society of St. Pius X and bring it back into the Vatican’s fold. Lefebvre had rebelled against the Vatican and founded the society in 1969. He was bitterly opposed to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought liberal reforms to the church.

One of the key documents issued by Vatican II was "Nostra Aetate," which said the church deplored all forms of anti-Semitism. The document revolutionized the church’s relations with Jews.  In the article, L’Osservatore said Benedict and his predecessors had all made clear the church’s teaching on "Nostra Aetate" in documents, actions and speeches and that its contents "are not debatable for Catholics."

Williamson’s statements, broadcast last week in a Swedish state TV interview, "contradict this teaching and are thus very serious and regrettable," L’Osservatore said. While broadcast before the Jan. 21 document lifting the excommunication, they remain "unacceptable," it said.   --AP

But...if denial of the teachings of "Nostra Aetate" is "unacceptable," then how is it that one can be a bishop in good standing and reject the rest of the teachings of Vatican II?  (Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, etc.)  Violating church teaching is a charge that is frequently leveled against the far left, the left, the liberal, the progressive Catholic.  Is violation of church teaching acceptable when it happens on the right? 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
9 years 3 months ago
"Is violation of Church teaching acceptable when it happens on the right?" Heterodoxy is heterodoxy in every location.
9 years 3 months ago
I have nothing but respect for the Holy Father and I am obedient to the Church's magisterium, but I don't get this move by Pope Benedict XVI. I trust that his intentions were good: bring back in the fold all the SSPX adherents despite the idiocy of one of their bishops. Perhaps he was concerned, as some commentators have reported, that the only growing segment of church goers in Europe are those who are part of the traditionalist movement and that a splinter church in Europe would be disaster. But courting an unrepentant "Bishop" whose repugnant anti-semitic views are only matched in foolishness by railing against the "modernist" church should not be the price to pay for this. That being said, from the initial statements so far, it doesn't seem that the gesture by Pope Benedict XVI will ultimately not be met in full faith (as in accepting Vatican II as authoritative) by Williamson and the other bishops (that is if canonically they are still bishops). One can only pray that the laity and clergy of SSPX will chuck their pride at the door and enter back into the fold
9 years 3 months ago
But Fr Martin, this criminal is NOT in good standing. He is, for example, suspended a divinis. Quite contrary to Fr Hans Küng, by the way...
9 years 3 months ago
Quoting from the address I linked in a previous comment thread, 'There is a glaring contradiction in the fact that it is just the people who have let no occasion slip to allow the world to know of their disobedience to the Pope, and to the magisterial declarations of the last 20 years, who think they have the right to judge that this attitude [towards the Lefebvrists] is too mild and who wish that an absolute obedience to Vatican II had been insisted upon.' (Cdl. Ratzinger, 1988)
9 years 3 months ago
Are liberals only concerned about the denial of Church teachings when the right denies Church teachings? They certainly are not concerned when Catholic politicians deny Church teachings about the sanctity of life!
9 years 3 months ago
For what it's worth: 1- Bp. Fellay, the Superior General of the SSPX, 'has silenced Bp. Williamson' and declared his (Williamson's) statements regrettable and unacceptable. (cf. 2- Juridically, NOTHING HAS CHANGED with regard to SSPX. In a juridical sense, no, they are not legitimized. The SSPX still doesn't have the approval of the Holy Father or of a bishop in any diocese. The bishops of the SSPX be validly consecrated bishops, they were illicitly consecrated and that hat hasn’t changed. They are still not reconciled with the Holy See and they are still suspended a divinis. They are still without permission to exercise ministry in the Church and therefore may not licitly ordain. They have no authority to establish parishes, etc. Ditto for SSPX priests. They say Mass without permission from the Holy See or the local ordinary. They don't have the required faculties to hear confessions or give sacramental absolution except in danger of death. Mind you, the excommunications back in 1988 were, IMCO, valid. But that's another discussion altogether. AMDG, -J.
9 years 3 months ago
Vatican II is infallible when restating a matter of faith or morals. The teachings found in The Delaration on Religious Liberty (for example) do not directly fall under the category of faith and morals per se. That doesn't mean that we can just chuck them out but if we care about truth we must read the Vatican II documents along with former documents dealing with the same issues.I'm no scholar but I've read Quas Primas from Pope Pius XI as well as Dignitatis Humane and they certainly seem to contradict each other. This shouldn't upset our belief in the infallibility of the Church because Dignitatis Humanae did NOT change any doctrinal or moral teaching of the Church but there are some very NOVEL IMPLICATIONS about Church and state, religious liberty, etc. that I believe led to much of the widespread heresies in the Church. Read both documents for yourself and if someone can prove me wrong I'll stand corrected.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Archbishop Matteo Zuppi (Photo/Community of Sant'Egidio website)
Archbishop Matteo Zuppi of Bologna calls Father James Martin’s book ‘Building a Bridge’ ‘useful for encouraging dialogue, as well as reciprocal knowledge and understanding.’
Matteo ZuppiMay 21, 2018
 Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican May 20. The pope at his "Regina Coeli" announced that he will create 14 new cardinals June 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Eleven of the new cardinals are under the age of 80 and so have the right to vote in the next conclave.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 20, 2018
Images: AP, Wikimedia Commons
Bishop Curry described Teilhard as “one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century.”
Angelo Jesus CantaMay 19, 2018
Both men were close to each other in life, and both are much revered by Pope Francis.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 19, 2018