Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Pope mars Holocaust for remembrance

The actions of Pope Benedict XVI just days before Holocaust Remembrance day have sparked angry reactions from the Jewish community in Bournemouth.

Pope Benedict lifted the excommunication of four bishops on Saturday, including the notorious British Holocaust denier Richard Williamson. Rabbi Adrian Jasner from Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation said: "It's sad and leaves a dirty taste in the mouth."

The Jewish community across Bournemouth joined with the travellor and gay communities on Tuesday to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Rabbi Jasner who leads worshipers at Wooton Gardens added "What is the Catholic church trying to prove here? To what extent will they go to bring everyone back in? It casts a real stain on the souls of those who were murdered by the Nazi at Auschwitz."

When interviewed by a Swedish TV station, Richard Williamson claimed that there were no Nazi gas chambers. Jasner said: "It's incredible and appalling with the facts laid bare."

Pope Benedict, himself a former member of the Nazi youth, made a statement on Tuesday in an attempt to smooth things over, describing his "full and indisputable solidarity" with the Jews.
But Rabbi Jasner said "I find it hard to come to terms with a statement like that."

The Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth spokesman, Barry Hudd tried to explain the reasons behind the move: "The removal was more of a bureaucratic thing, it was important for negotiations for them to return to the Catholic church."

Hudd added "It had been planned for a long time but in view of the circumstances the timing was unfortunate."

To contact the Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation visit

To contact the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth visit

To contact the Pope visit

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