ADL Condemns Brazilian Archbishop's Statement On Holocaust; Says Church 'Must Take Strong Action' Against Deniers

New York, NY, March 31, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned the words of a Brazilian Catholic Archbishop who suggested in a magazine interview that "more Catholics than Jews have died in the Holocaust, but this is usually not told because Jews own the world's propaganda."

The League said the remarks by Archbishop Dadeus Grings ofPorto Alegre, Brazil, highlight the continuing fallout from the widely publicized case of Bishop Richard Williamson, the schismatic priest who declared that no Jews were killed in the gas chambers during the Holocaust.

"We warned last month that every day that goes by in which Bishop Williamson fails to publicly recant his Holocaust denial only gives license to others to engage in Holocaust denial," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor.  "Now we see another Catholic cleric distorting the Holocaust." 

The incident involving Archbishop Grings, who has a history of Holocaust denial, marks the third time in as many months where a Catholic clergyman has publicly denied or diminished the Holocaust.  It comes as Pope Benedict XVI prepares for a historic visit to Israel next month.

"The church must take strong and public action against these Holocaust deniers who represent the Catholic Church to the world," said Mr. Foxman.  "It is especially important that Pope Benedict make it clear that there will be consequences for those clergy who engage in Holocaust denial."

Bishop Williamson was one of four bishops, members of the ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X, whose excommunication was rescinded by the Vatican in January, triggering a global firestorm of outrage after his remarks on the Holocaust became public. 

Also in January, Italian priest Father Floriano Abrahamowicz, also a member of the SSPX, was quoted in an Italian newspaper stating that, "I know the gas chambers existed – at least for disinfecting – but not whether they caused deaths or not."

Holocaust denial is an insidious form of anti-Semitism. Pope John Paul II called anti-Semitism "a sin against God and man."  In the wake of the Bishop Williamson affair, Pope Benedict XVI made clear in a meeting with world Jewish leaders that there is no place in the Church for denial of the Holocaust.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.