Socialist Worker

Pope Benedict and a history of bigotry

Issue No. 2136

The Roman Catholic church has never been averse to taking reactionary positions on a whole range of political issues.

But even critics of the church will have been taken aback by Pope Benedict’s latest move – revoking the excommunication of four bishops associated with the Society of St Pius X (SSPX).

The SSPX is a breakaway hardline Catholic organisation that opposed the Vatican II church reforms of the 1960s. It was founded by Marcel Lefebvre, a fascist sympathiser.

One of the four bishops welcomed back is Richard Williamson, an unrepentant Holocaust denier who recently told a Swedish television reporter that “there were no gas chambers”.

The pope’s decision – coming in the same week as Holocaust Memorial Day – compounds the Catholic church’s already shameful record of antisemitism.

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What We Think
Tue 27 Jan 2009, 18:47 GMT
Issue No. 2136
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