NEW YORK (JTA) — Holocaust deniers cannot be considered Catholic, the Vatican’s envoy to Israel said.
Antonio Frank apparently was referring to Pope Benedict XVI’s reinstatement of Bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied the full extent of the Holocaust and says there were no gas chambers. Frank’s statement Monday was an apparent bid to temper tensions ahead of a papal visit in May.
The pope’s reinstatement of Williamson sparked an outcry among Israelis and Jews across the world.
Frank was speaking at a conference held by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the Vatican on the actions of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust.
Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev expressed satisfaction at Frank’s comment, saying the conference was a step toward "building trust and creating dialogue, in the wake of the latest crisis with the Vatican."