The Vatican is scurrying to make peace with the world’s Jewish communities after Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to rehabilitate Richard Williamson, a British-born bishop who has denied the full extent of the Holocaust. But what else is there to know about Williamson? Quite a bit, it turns out.
The ultra-conservative Williamson, 68, was thrown out of the Roman Catholic Church in 1988, not for Holocaust denial but for being ordained without the Vatican’s permission. Last month, the pope lifted the excommunication in a manner that made him look more interested in healing the Church’s schism than in considering the impact of Williamson’s reinstatement on Jews and others. Cardinal Walter Kasper, the influential liberal prelate responsible for the Church’s religious relations with Jews, acknowledges that the Vatican mishandled the affair. Read more