The Vatican says Bishop Richard Williamson’s words of regret for his denial of the extent of the Holocaust do not go far enough.
Pope Benedict has ordered the controversial cleric to recant his views expressed in a Swedish TV interview. In it he said he did not believe millions of Jews had been gassed. It caused outrage around the world and Williamson was forced to leave Argentina and return to his native Britain. Williamson has now apologised saying he had not wanted to hurt the Church or survivors of the Holocaust. But that has not appeased Rome, which wants a full and public retraction. Williamson may also face legal proceedings. Denying the Holocaust is not a crime in the UK but it is elsewhere in the EU. The Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot has indicated that Williamson would likely be prosecuted if he went to other European countries where denial of Nazi massacres is a criminal offence. It was enshrined in European law late last year but still has to be adopted by all member states. The Pope was also heavily criticised by Jewish groups for offering to lift the excommunication of Williamson. He had been expelled years earlier at the height of a schism between the Church and a Catholic traditionalist group. The pontiff said he had not been aware of Williamson’s views at the time and ordered him to recant.