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Merkel, Yad Vashem welcome Vatican statement as chancellor faces criticism

Catholic World News - February 06, 2009

The chairman of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, welcomed Wednesday’s Vatican statement calling upon Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X to retract his statements on the Holocaust. “When the highest moral authority of the Church states that Holocaust denial is unacceptable, that is a vital message for the entire world,” said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev.

As German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the statement as an “important and good signal,” she faced criticism for publicly calling upon Pope Benedict to speak out against Bishop Williamson. “Much of what is being imputed to the pope is almost malicious, and certainly not fair,” said Norbert Lammert, the speaker of the parliament. Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich also criticized the chancellor. “The pope took a clear position against any form of Holocaust denial,” he said. “To suggest that the pope would tolerate anti-Semitism is outrageous.”

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