Chief Rabbinate Severs Vatican Ties

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - In response to a decision to reinstate a bishop who denies the Holocaust, Israel's Chief Rabbinate severed official ties with the Vatican and cancelled a March meeting in Rome with the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.

"Without a public apology and recanting, it will be difficult to continue the dialogue," Chief Rabbinate Director-General Oded Weiner wrote to Cardinal Walter Casper, the commission's chairman.

The offending clergyman is British Bishop Richard Williamson, who is under investigation for his remarks on Swedish state television denying the Holocaust, the Simon Wiesenthal Center reported.

"I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews died in Nazi concentration camps, but none of them in gas chambers," Bishop Williamson told his TV interviewer.

"The historical evidence is hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolph Hitler," the clergyman said.

"I believe there were no gas chambers," he said.

Rabbi David Rosen, director of the American Jewish Committee's Department for Inter-Religious Affairs, who sits on the Israeli Chief Rabbinate's advisory board, said the Pope needs to examine his decision more carefully.

"I don't think it is my place to tell the [Catholic] Church precisely what to do. But Williamson should be censured in some way or forced to retract his statements," Rabbi Rosen said.

"Until that happens, we may be in contact with the Vatican on an individual level, but there will be no official meetings," he said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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