VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday that he feels “full and indisputable solidarity” with Jews and warned against any denial of the full horror of the Holocaust.
Benedict spoke days he revoked the excommunication of a bishop who says no Jews were gassed during the Holocaust. The decision provoked an outcry among Jews.
“As I renew my full and indisputable solidarity with our brothers,” Benedict said, “I wish that the memory of the Shoah prompt humanity to reflect on the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the hearts of men.” Shoah is a Hebrew word for the Holocaust.
“May the Shoah be a warning to everyone against oblivion, denials or reduction,” the pope told thousands of pilgrims at a weekly audience at the Vatican.
The Vatican had already distanced itself from comments by bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied that 6 million Jews were murdered during World War II. The Holy See said that removing the excommunication by no means implied the Vatican shared Williamson’s views.
But these were the first comments on the issue by the pope since the controversy erupted.
Benedict lifted the excommunication of Williamson and three other bishops last week.
The four were excommunicated 20 years ago after they were consecrated by the late ultraconservative Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre without papal consent – a move the Vatican said at the time was an act of schism.
Associated Press – January 28, 2009
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