Pope Benedict XVI is somersaulting. Williamson, his holocaust denying bishop brought in from the cold, has to eat his words and recant his views. Good old fashioned Roman Catholicism here, but it's the Pope who looks stupid.
Williamson made his anti Shoah remarks on 22 January, the day after the Pope told a bunch of extremist bishops they could return, that was made public on 24th. The Vatican is claiming that Pope Benedict knew nothing about this man's views when he and three others were brought in from the cold. Really? The Vatican claims management errors, and Walter Kasper is running around a bit like a headless chicken as he's in charge of Vatican Jewish relations. Plus the Vatican is wheeling out past statements about the Pope's own view about the holocaust.
The somersaulting is because the screw has been turned on the Pope by Angela Merkel, German Chancellor. Others have criticised and there is a threat to the Pope being able to visit Israel. Merkel said the Pope's decision could not stand without consequences and he had to rule out holocaust denial - and so he has buckled and done so regarding this ex-Anglican - he must recant. Walter Kasper says the four are still suspended.
Hermann Haering is a theologian who has said that because of his decision the Pope should resign for the good of the Roman Catholic Church. The bishop of Hamburg, Werner Thissen, told the daily Hamburger Abendblatt on Monday that there is a loss of confidence in the Pope. Vienna's cardinal and archbishop, Christoph Schoenborn, criticised the Pope's decision to let back in a holocaust denier.
The Pope had hoped that his own statement on holocaust a week ago would be enough to let back in the right wingers that meet the traditionalist agenda of current Roman Catholicism. Not so, and the Roman Catholic centre has buckled under the pressure. It's yet another error regarding interfaith relationships.
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