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Press Release

Vatican's Demand That Bishop Publicly Recant Holocaust Denial A "Major Positive Step Forward"

New York, NY, February 4, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed as a "major positive step forward" the Vatican's demand that Bishop Richard Williamson publicly and unequivocally recant his Holocaust denial if he is ever to regain his clerical responsibilities in the Church.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We sincerely appreciate that Pope Benedict XVI heard our pain and anguish over the acceptance back into the Church of a Holocaust denier.   TheVatican's statement is a major positive step forward for the relationship between the Church and the Jewish people.  We await Bishop Williamson's disavowal of his Holocaust denial in what the Vatican said must be an "absolutely unequivocal and public manner."

We welcome, too, that the Vatican has reaffirmed a full and vigorous implementation of the Second Vatican Council reforms, including Nostra Aetate, the 1965 Church document that rejects the deicide charge against all Jews, declares anti-Semitism a sin, rejects proselytizing of  Jews, and calls for improving relations between Catholics and Jews.

The Vatican's statement makes clear that theSociety of St. Pius X (SSPX) must accept thereforms of the Second Vatican Council and the positive teachings about Jews by the last four popes, including Pope John Paul II, before they can be fully accepted back into the Roman Catholic Church.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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