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California Briefing / Los Angeles

Mahony bans Holocaust denier

March 04, 2009|Duke Helfand

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony on Tuesday banned a Holocaust-denying British bishop from entering any Catholic church, school or facility in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Mahony aimed his largely symbolic action at Bishop Richard Williamson, who has said that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews died in the Holocaust but none in Nazi gas chambers.

"Holocaust deniers like Williamson will find no sympathetic ear or place of refuge in the Catholic Church, of which he is not -- and may never become -- a member," Mahony said in a commentary published in the online edition of the archdiocese's newspaper. The piece also was signed by two leaders of the American Jewish Committee.

Williamson and three other bishops from a traditionalist Catholic society were excommunicated two decades ago for being consecrated without Vatican approval. In January, the Vatican rehabilitated the bishops in an effort to end the rift.

Officials in Rome said Pope Benedict XVI was not aware of Williamson's Holocaust-denying views at the time.

Williamson later apologized, but the Vatican said he must also repudiate his views to be a Roman Catholic clergyman.

-- Duke Helfand

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