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Europe

Holocaust-denying bishop seeks papal pardon

Video by Claire PRYDE

Latest update : 2009-02-26

Bishop Richard Williamson is seeking "a pardon before God" from all those offended by his Holocaust-denying remarks, in a letter to the Vatican carried Thursday by a Roman Catholic news agency.

AFP - Bishop Richard Williamson apologised to all those he offended with his Holocaust-denying remarks, in a letter to the Vatican released Thursday through a Roman Catholic news agency.

"Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks," said Williamson in the letter made public a day after his return to Britain from Argentina.

"If I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them," he said.

"To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologize," he wrote, according to the Zenit news agency. "As the Holy Father has said, every act of unjust violence against one man hurts all mankind."

Williamson, 68, has been at the centre of a raging controversy after saying on Swedish television last month: "There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies."

Williamson said he believed "200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but none of them by gas chambers."

He was among four bishops that Pope Benedict XVI agreed to take back in January in an attempt by the Vatican to heal a split with traditionalist Roman Catholics who rejected the church's liberal reforms of the early 1960s.

Until now, Williamson had refused to withdraw his claims, despite Vatican demands.

The Argentine government last Thursday gave Williamson 10 days to leave the South American nation -- where he lived at a seminary run by the ultra-conservative Saint Pius X Society -- for having "deeply shocked Argentine society, the Jewish people and all of humanity."



 

Date created : 2009-02-26

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