The Pope unknowingly ignited a firestorm over his plan to lift the excommunication of several conservative bishops. One of these bishops, Richard Williamson, gave an interview on Swedish television voicing his view that the Nazis did not gas a single Jew and that not more than 200,000 to 300,000 Jews died throughout the Holocaust.
Jewish groups are up in arms and have revealed a dark side that is typically kept from the public. Richard Prasquier, the president of Conseil Representatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF), along with Maram Stern, deputy secretary of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), met with Vatican officials and announced, “Today we strongly reaffirmed that the denial of the Shoah [Holocaust] is not an opinion, but a crime.”
Other leading Jewish spokesmen piled on. WJC President Ronald Lauder said, “We want the Vatican to realize that by accommodating anti-Semites like Williamson, the achievements of four decades of Catholic-Jewish dialogue ... will be put into doubt.”
Even Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel felt it necessary to comment on the lifting of the excommunication saying “That a man who is a bishop and Holocaust denier—and today of course the most vulgar aspect of anti-Semitism is Holocaust denial—and for the Pope to go that far and do what he did, knowing what he knows, is disturbing.”
For Elie Wiesel and other Jewish leaders to comment on the lifting of excommunication demonstrates their chutzpah. Neither Bishop Williamson nor any of the others were excommunicated over Holocaust denial. This was a church affair conducted by the rules of the church. Essentially, the Vatican did not recognize the consecration of the bishops and issued the excommunication over the perceived challenge to its authority.
Through all its coverage the media has not made it clear what excommunication is. Excommunication is to exclude from Communion. That is to say that one is excommunicated is not allowed to partake in the Lord’s Supper / the rite of Holy Communion / Eucharist. Partaking in the sacrament of bread and wine (the body and blood of Christ) provides for a special union with Christ and the spiritual repast of the soul. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the sacrament of the Eucharist also blots out venial sin and preserves the soul from mortal sin.
Elie Wiesel has always prided himself on being a religious man. One would expect that this Peace Prize winner would embrace Pope Benedict’s “turning the other cheek.” In a true act of Christian kindness, Benedict has forgiven, in an effort to bring unity to the Church, what amounted to an unauthorized consecration of four new bishops.
For Wiesel there apparently is no sin greater than Holocaust denial. He calls it the “must vulgar aspect of Anti-Semitism.” By definition, however, anti-Semitism is a form of racial discrimination. Holocaust “denial,” or revisionism, is not discrimination at all. In fact Holocaust revisionism combats discrimination. Holocaust hucksters peddle their own brand of hate against the German people. Germans are charged with horrific crimes like making Jews into bars of soap and lampshades and even conspiring to take over the world and killing all of the world’s Jews.
Wiesel is not alone. Richard Prasquier says that “denial of the Shoah is not an opinion, but a crime.” Well, of course, due to the efforts of many Jewish organizations, including the CRIF and the WJC, expressing certain opinions about even the Holocaust is a crime in many countries. Holocaust denial however, no matter how criminal, is certainly also an opinion. It may be a criminal opinion, but it is an opinion nonetheless. The question that all people of good will need to ask is: Should Holocaust denial be a crime? How guaranteed are our liberties when governments begin to legislate thoughts and opinions?
There is a certain irony in this entire affair. Jews who deny that Jesus is the Christ, once a crime for which they were persecuted, have elevated denial of the Holocaust to inquisition levels. Under immense Jewish pressure Pope Benedict has now demanded that Bishop Williamson renounce his heretical Holocaust views. Hopefully all will begin to recognize that belief in the Holocaust is a matter of faith and that the Holocaust faithful would like all heretics condemned. Now appears to be the time to pray that the grand inquisitors of the new church of the Holy Holocaust become more tolerant of dissent.
Additional information about this document
|Title:||Holocaust Faith and Holocaust Heresy|
|First posted on CODOH:||June 29, 2009, 7 p.m.|