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Bishop: Vatican told of Holocaust denier

VATICAN CITY, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A Swedish bishop says he alerted the Vatican before the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson was lifted to statements he had made denying the Holocaust.

Anders Arborelius, the bishop of Stockholm, described his actions as routine, saying the Vatican is always told of "issues relating to the church," The Italian news agency ANSA reported.

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Williamson, excommunicated because of his allegiance to a traditionalist archbishop, said in an interview on Swedish television in January that only 200,000 to 300,000 Jews died in World War II concentration camps and "not one of them in a gas chamber." Three days after the interview, Williamson's excommunication was lifted, returning him to good standing with the church.

A Vatican spokesman said Wednesday that Pop Benedict XVI was unaware of Williamson's views at the time.

The pope's action angered many Jews. In March, he sent an unusual letter to bishops acknowledging he should have been more careful, taking steps like checking the Internet where Williamson's statements were available.

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