Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Pope who is destroying the Church: Benedict the XVI should retire before doing more damage

Most Catholics in Europe do not regularly go to Mass.

I used to think ill of their lack of support for the Church until the aboslute revulsion Europe has expressed over Pope Benedict's recent lifting of excommunication against a Catholic bishop who has maintained that only 200,000 to 300,000 of our Jewish brothers and sisters died in the Holocaust.

And the bishop even had the audacity and evilness to claim that none of these deaths were in gas chambers.

Pope Benedict's far turn to the Right is removing the Roman Catholic Church as a credible player on the world stage. This Pope needs to retire.

Here is coverage of this story receiving little attention in the American media from the Drudge Report:

Attacks on Pope Benedict XVI's decision to lift the excommunication of a Holocaust denier escalated Monday, with one theologian calling on him to step down as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Criticism following the pope's January 24 announcement has been particularly cutting in Germany, where denying the Holocaust is a crime punishable with a jail sentence.

"If the pope wants to do some good for the Church, he should leave his job," eminent liberal Catholic theologian Hermann Haering told the German daily Tageszeitung.

"That would not be a scandal, a bishop has to relinquish his position at 75 years, a cardinal loses his rights at 80 years," he said. Pope Benedict is 81.

Meanwhile, a senior Vatican official acknowledged the Vatican administration may have made "management errors" with the decision to lift excommunication against four bishops, including Richard Williamson, whose comments sparked the controversy.

"I observe the debate with great concern. There were misunderstandings and management errors in the Curia," said Cardinal Walter Kasper, who is in charge of the Vatican department that deals with Jewish relations.

"The Pope wanted to open the debate because he wanted unity inside and outside," the German cardinal told Vatican Radio.

He also noted that "these bishops are still suspended."

An international uproar followed the decision to rehabilitate Williamson, an English bishop who has dismissed as "lies" historical evidence that six million Jews were gassed by the Nazis during World War II. Jews and Catholics alike have produced widespread criticism.

"A pardon that tastes of poison," wrote Franco Garelli, an expert in religious history, in Italy's daily La Stampa Monday.

"The trouble caused by this complicated affair is evident not only outside the Church but within it," wrote the academic, who spoke of the "profound discomfort stirred up by the lifting of the excommunication in numerous Catholic circles."

Back in Germany, high-ranking Catholic officials said the pope risked losing vital support.

"There is obviously a loss of confidence" in the pope and "rehabilitating a denier is always a bad idea," the bishop of Hamburg, Werner Thissen, told the daily Hamburger Abendblatt on Monday.

The bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Gebhard Furst, meanwhile spoke of his "uncertainty, incomprehension and deception" in the national Bild.

In France, home to Europe's largest Jewish population, chief rabbi Gilles Bernheim denounced Williamson's remarks as "despicable" in an interview with Le Monde.

Williamson claimed that only between 200,000 and 300,000 Jews died before and during World War II, and none in the gas chambers.

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