Holocaust Denier Blessed by Pope, Cursed by S. Florida Jews

This week Pope Benedict XVI reinstated Bishop Richard Williamson after 20 years of excommunication from the Catholic Church. Williamson' excommunicable offense was being consecrated without the Vatican's consent (which sounds like some hardcore Da Vinci Code shit, right?) but the offense that's caused an international uproar is Williamson's denial that the holocaust happened. The church says Williamson will be "rehabilitated."

That's not good enough for members of the South Florida Holocaust Documentation and Education Center in Hollywood. They want an apology.

This afternoon I spoke with Rita Hofrichter, an 81-year-old volunteer at the Holocaust center who lost her entire family in concentration camps Auschwitz and Treblinka. She told me, "For me to hear there were no gas chambers and no chimneys and no cremator is like someone denying my family ever existed."

Here's Williamson on video. Full statement from the Holocaust center after the jump.

"The Holocaust Documentation and Education Center of Hollywood, Florida firmly and unequivocally denounces the contentious and recent decision of Pope Benedict XVI to revoke the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson. How can Pope Benedict even consider reinstating Bishop Williamson, a so-called man of faith, who rejects and mocks the teachings of the Second Vatican, publicly denies the Holocaust, and, above all, desecrates the authentic memory of all those who were there?

Our South Florida Survivor community, which is the second largest in North America, is tremendously pained and shaken by this reprehensible action.

The Center calls for the Pope to revoke his decision to reinstate Bishop Williamson and to issue a statement of regret and reflection to all the Survivors, Liberators, and Rescuers, who have kept the memory alive so that their tragic and horrific past would not become our children's nor grandchildren's future.

For almost three decades, the Center, in solidarity with the Archdiocese, has devoted its efforts and goals to the Legacy of the Holocaust so that Never Again for all people becomes more than an empty promise."

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Michael J. Mooney