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Catholic World News

Prominent Belgian writer: Pope lying about knowledge of Williamson

February 19, 2009

Vision Book Cover Prints

In remarks that appear on Israel’s leading news site, the brother of former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, who led his nation from 1999 to 2008, charges that it is “a lie” to assert that Pope Benedict did not know about Bishop Richard Williamson’s position on the Holocaust when he lifted his excommunication. From 2001 to 2005, writes Dirk Verhofstadt, Cardinal Ratzinger was a member of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, where he “was in the front row, witnessing the doings of the later rehabilitated bishops, including Richard Williamson. It is almost impossible that he did not know what Williamson thought, wrote, and said.” In addition, says Verhofstadt, the day before the lifting of the excommunications, Rome’s chief rabbi, “reported to the Vatican that the rehabilitation of Holocaust denier Williamson would lead to a ‘deep wound’ between the Church and the Jewish community.” Verhofstadt is correct in asserting that Rome’s chief rabbi, along with other Jewish leaders, was quoted in media reports on the day before the January 24 public announcement of the lifting of the excommunications of four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X. While acknowledging that the decree lifting the excommunications was dated January 21-- by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, and not by the pontiff, as Verhofstadt asserts-- Verhofstadt fails to acknowledge that the decree went into effect immediately on January 21, and not on January 24, and that the Swedish television interview with Bishop Williamson was aired at 8:00 in the evening of January 21-- in all likelihood, several hours after the decree had gone into effect.

 


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