Bishop apologizes for Holocaust remarks
February 26, 2009

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Bishop Richard Williamson apologized for making comments minimizing the Holocaust, but he did not recant them.

“The Holy Father and my Superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy,” Williamson said in a statement published Thursday by the Zenit Catholic News Agency.

Pope Benedict XVI sparked a furor last month when he reinstated Williamson and three other excommunicated bishops, all members of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, just days after Williamson told Swedish TV that he believed “that the historical evidence is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler.” He said no more than a few hundred Jews died in Europe during World War II.

This week, Williamson expressed regret for making the remarks.

“Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them,” he said.

Williamson concluded, “To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologize. As the Holy Father has said, every act of unjust violence against one man hurts all mankind.”

The founding chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, Menachem Rosensaft, called Williamson’s apology unacceptable.