Holocaust-denying bishop's rehabilitation is 'crowning disgrace' of Benedict's career


THE ATTEMPTED rehabilitation by the Vatican of Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson has been described as “the crowning disgrace of Pope Benedict’s career” by controversial Augustinian priest Fr Iggy O’Donovan.

He has also said that change initiated by Vatican II in the Catholic Church has become “a debacle”.

Announced 50 years ago, Vatican II, “this noble venture”, was now “on life support”. “Almost from day one insidious attempts were made to undermine conciliar reform,” he wrote in an Augustinian newsletter. “If anything illustrates this latter point it is the recent announcement, on the 50th anniversary of the convocation of the council, of the lifting of the excommunication of the bishops illicitly ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre.”

In 2006 Fr O’Donovan was bound to silence and removed from a teaching post in Rome by the Vatican after he concelebrated an Easter Sunday Mass in Drogheda with local Church of Ireland rector Rev Michael Graham.

“We are now at a juncture where Rome demands total conformity with papal ideas and ideals in all things and not merely in those which are essential to the unity of Christian and Catholic faith,” he said.

“That is all very well but when the Holy Father is ‘accident prone’ (as the present incumbent is) the potential for damage to the church is incalculable. “The recent case of the rehabilitation of ... Richard Williamson is a prime example of this.”

President Barack Obama had “been quick to come out and admit he ‘screwed up’” in proposing Tom Daschle as health secretary.

“In the case of Williamson Pope Benedict certainly ‘screwed up’ and must be as forthcoming as Obama in admitting it,” he said.

He continued: “how a German-born Pope (and a former member of the Hitler Youth to boot) could not foresee the furore that would follow the rehabilitation of a man who denies the Holocaust leaves me baffled. It is the crowning disgrace of Pope Benedict’s career.”

Reuters adds: Pope Benedict said yesterday that “any denial or minimisation of this terrible crime is intolerable, especially if it came from a clergyman.

The pope also confirmed that he was planning to visit Israel. Vatican sources say the trip is expected to take place in May.