To Edmonton Sun | 06Feb2009 | Orest Slepokura

The Editor:

Re: "Pope to Bishop: Nein", Mindelle Jacobs, The Edmonton Sun, 06Feb2009

Some 94% of Israeli Jews supported Israel's military strike on Gaza (1);  79% of US Jews supported the strike, while 17% considered it excessive (2). I'm sure most of them also consider Bishop Williamson morally unsound for his unabashed repudiation of the official Holocaust story.




Orest Slepokura
Strathmore, Alta

c. Mindelle Jacobs

Edmonton Sun | 06Feb2009 | Mindelle Jacobs

Pope to bishop: Nein

In a singular and alarming lack of judgment and leadership, Pope Benedict XVI recently overturned the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop. Big oops. Bad key message.

The Pope may be viewed, in some quarters, as infallible, but it seems he needs some good PR advice.

Attempting to bring anti-Semitic, renegade Bishop Richard Williamson and three other rebel clerics back into the bosom of the church has triggered widespread discord. A call for unity has resulted in an embarrassing rift instead.

What was the Pope thinking? The timing couldn't have been worse. Benedict lifted the excommunication of the four the same week Williamson appeared on Swedish television promulgating the Big Lie -- that there were no Nazi gas chambers and that only a couple of hundred thousand Jews died in concentration camps.

"I believe there were no gas chambers," declared Williamson, who has become the darling of pea-brained anti-Semites and neo-Nazis everywhere. Where did the other 5.8 million missing Jews go, including many of my grandmother's relatives? Mars?

Obviously, this is not what the Pope intended. The head of the world's most powerful top-down church isn't used to a backlash from the rank and file. Well, now the poop has hit the Pope.

Benedict now needs not only good PR staff but a full-blown crisis communications team.

Unusually harsh criticism has been directed at the Vatican from Catholic and Jewish theologians alike, as well as from shocked citizens of all stripes weighing in on the issue.

"He who denies the Holocaust cannot be rehabilitated within the church," commented Cardinal Christopher Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna.

It's puzzling why, after all this time, Benedict is reaching out to these four insignificant bishops. They were excommunicated in 1988 after being ordained by a mutinous, ultraconservative French archbishop without papal consent.

The four belong to the Society of St. Pius X which opposes the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, including bridge-building with Jews. Furthermore, there's no indication that they have the slightest interest in reconciliation with the church.

So what has been accomplished? The Pope has outraged Catholics and Jews around the world, triggered calls for his resignation and undermined interfaith relations over a handful of rebel bishops.

Do you think these breakaway bishops care that their excommunication has been lifted? They left the church long ago and have no intention of returning.

I listened to one of Williamson's sermons on YouTube yesterday in which he railed on about the world being told lies by politicians, the media, teachers and cardinals at the highest level of the church.


"Lies will enslave you," he declared, explaining that demolition charges, not planes, destroyed the twin towers on 9/11. Similarly, he pronounced, a guided missile struck the Pentagon.

Yes, he not only hates Jews, believing that age-old canard that Jews are plotting to take over the world, but he's a conspiracy theorist as well.

Is the Vatican that desperate for parishioners that it has to woo this pathetic old man? In response to the public furor, the Pope has ordered Williamson to recant his denial of the true extent of the Holocaust.

The Vatican should just forget Williamson and move on. Surely, the church has more important things to do.