Chief Rabbinate breaks Vatican ties

Jan. 28, 2009 at 10:47 AM
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JERUSALEM, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The Chief Rabbinate of Israel says it has suspended ties with the Vatican following the pope's decision to lift the excommunication of a Holocaust denier.

Chief Rabbinate Director-General Oded Weiner wrote in a letter to Vatican officials that because of Pope Benedict's decision to reinstate Britain's Bishop Richard Williamson "without a public apology and recanting, it will be difficult to continue the dialogue," The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

Weiner addressed the letter to Cardinal Walter Casper, chairman of the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, saying he had canceled a meeting scheduled for March in Rome, the newspaper reported.

Pope Benedict last week attempted to heal a decades-old rift between the Church and a band of ultra-conservative bishops belonging to the Society of St. Pius, which opposed changes in Catholic doctrine made in the 1960s. Benedict lifted excommunications that had been imposed on the four, including that of Richardson, who has told interviewers he doesn't believe any Jews died in Nazi gas chambers.

The Post said Williamson has also reportedly endorsed the anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion and claims that Jews are bent on world domination.

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