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Apology for remarks on holocaust

February 27, 2009|Associated Press

ROME — A British bishop whose denial of the Holocaust embroiled Pope Benedict XVI in controversy has apologized for his remarks, a Catholic news agency said Thursday.

Bishop Richard Williamson of the conservative Society of St. Pius X faced worldwide criticism. Though he apologized to all those offended and for distress caused, he didn't specifically say that his remarks were wrong, or that he no longer believed them.

Jewish leaders said the apology was inadequate.

"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," Williamson was quoted as saying by the Catholic news agency Zenit.

Last month, the pope, seeking to heal a rift with ultra-traditionalists, lifted a 20-year-old excommunication decree imposed on Williamson and three other bishops who were consecrated without Vatican approval.

The move immediately caused an uproar among Jewish groups. Benedict later condemned the remarks.

"Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks," Williamson said.

It was not clear whether the apology would satisfy the Vatican, which had demanded that he recant.

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