Pope says his solidarity with Jews "unquestionable"
VATICAN CITY |
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Wednesday reaffirmed his "full and unquestionable solidarity" with Jews in an attempt to relieve tensions after a Catholic bishop denied the full extent of the Holocaust.
Speaking at his Wednesday audience, the German-born pope said the attempt to exterminate the Jews in the Holocaust should remain a warning for all people.
Recalling his own visit to the Auschwitz death camp in 2006, Benedict condemned the "pitiless killing of millions of Jews, innocent victims of blind racial and religious hate."
Briton Richard Williamson, one of four traditionalist bishops whose excommunications were lifted last week, denies the full extent of the Holocaust of European Jews. He has said: "I believe there were no gas chambers."
Williamson also said only several hundred thousands Jews were killed and none in gas chambers.
The pope said: "While I renew with affection the expression of my full and unquestionable solidarity with our (Jewish) brothers, I hope the memory of the Shoah will induce humanity to reflect on the unpredictable power of hate when it conquers the heart of man."
Shoah is the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.
The pope, who did not mention Williamson by name, said the Holocaust should remain for all a "warning against denial and reductionism."
Williamson's comments caused a storm of criticism from Jews, who say it set back Catholic-Jewish dialogue by half a century.
Elie Wiesel, the death camp survivor, author and Nobel Peace Prize winner said Pope Benedict has given credence to "the most vulgar aspect of anti-Semitism" by rehabilitating a Holocaust-denying bishop.
In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Wiesel also said there was no way the Vatican could have not known about the bishop's past and it may have been done "intentionally."
(Reporting by Philip Pullella)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this