International Jewish body welcomes Vatican's action on Williamson

By staff writers
February 5, 2009

The New York-based International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) has welcomed the Vatican's call for a Holocaust denying renegade bishop to disown his reported views.

In a statement issued yesterday evening (4 February 2009), the Committee "applauds the Vatican for clarifying that Holocaust denier Richard Williamson is not welcome in the Catholic Church until he recants his deplorable statements concerning the Shoah."

It continues: "In addition IJCIC welcomes the clear insistence of the Vatican that the members of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) accept the teaching of the Second Vatican Council in general and those pertaining to Jews and Judaism in particular.

"We hope that this clarification can put this unfortunate episode behind us and enable us to continue progressing along the remarkable and historic path along which Catholic-Jewish relations have advanced in the last half century" said Rabbi David Rosen, IJCIC Chairman.

However, in reversing his excommunication, the Pope has not said that the illicitly consecrated Bishop Williamson "is not welcome in the Catholic Church". Rather, the Vatican said there would be "no role" for him unless he recanted.

A 'clarification' statement from the Vatican secretary of state today said: "The remission of the excommunication has freed the four bishops from a serious canonical penalty, but it has not altered the juridical position of the Society of St. Pius X which, at the present time, enjoys no canonical recognition within the Catholic Church. Even the four bishops, though released from excommunication, have no canonical function in the Church and cannot legally exercise a ministry within her".

It added: ""In order to be readmitted to episcopal functions within the Church, Bishop Williamson must absolutely, unequivocally and publicly distance himself from his views concerning the Shoah, which were unknown to the Holy Father at the moment he lifted the excommunication."

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