The Vatican has been forced into damage control mode. Amid mounting anger over the rehabilitation of a Bishop who denies the extent of the Holocaust, there is a dramatic U-turn. The Vatican now says the lifting of the Bishop’s excommunication will only happen if he recants his views. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said: “When the Pope lifted the excommunication on Bishop Williamson, he was not aware of the Holocaust denials. So we say that if he wishes to restore his position as Bishop in the Catholic Church, he should explicitly and publicly recant these denials.”
However, critics say they cannot believe the church was unaware of Bishop Richard Williamson’s controversial views. In November he gave an interview to a Swedish TV station. He said: “The historical evidence is largely against … hugely against … six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler … I believe there were no gas chambers.” He also quoted what he called the most serious revisionists, who say that only between 200 and 300,000 Jews died in concentration camps. At his home in Argentina, he declined to say whether he would heed the Vatican’s latest demand.