Spokesman Repeats: Pope Unaware of Holocaust Denial

No Reason to Re-open Issue, Says Father Lombardi

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 24, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican spokesman is repeating again that Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of Society of St. Pius X Bishop Richard Williamson without being aware the traditionalist bishop is a Holocaust denier.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, saw the need to restate again Wednesday that the Pope was not informed of the bishop’s position when the excommunication was lifted in January.

The spokesman was addressing a Swedish TV report that denied the Vatican’s affirmations. 

«There are no grounds to assert or even insinuate that the Pope was informed earlier of Williamson’s positions, » Father Lombardi stated. «This was clearly denied in the Feb. 4 note from the [Vatican] Secretariat of State, which also expresses in the clearest way the Pope’s and the Catholic Church’s radical opposition to any anti-Semitic position or negation [of the Holocaust].

«Moreover, the Pope’s letter to bishops of last March 10 closed this question; hence, there is no reason to re-open it.»

The spokesman pointed to the Holy Father’s explanation that the remission of the excommunication was «a gesture to foster the unity of the Church.»

And, Father Lombardi added, accusations the that Pope lacks respect for Jews are «utterly unfounded.»

The Jesuit further noted: «The Pope has also acknowledged with simplicity the limits of Vatican communication, internal and external, and has established a new statute for the Ecclesia Dei Commission, precisely to guarantee a safer and better way of proceeding on issues relating to relations with the traditionalists.

According to Father Lombardi, therefore, «to re-launch the Williamson case can only serve to create confusion for no reason.»

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