ADL chief: Pope Bendedict's condemnation of Holocaust denial not enough
Abe Foxman says as long as church does not excommunicate Holocaust-denying bishop, issue will fester.
Abe Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, sought to temper the enthusiastic responses expressed by Jewish leaders following their meeting on Thursday with Pope Benedict XVI over the reinstatement of a bishop who denies the Holocaust.
"The problematic and controversial chapter of the church and the matter of Holocaust denial do not end with the pope's declaration condemning Holocaust denial," Foxman told Haaretz.
Foxman, who was present at the meeting in the Vatican, refused to echo the compliments which other Jewish leaders feted the pope over his forceful denunciations of Holocaust denial.
"A meeting between Jews and the pope is always an important, historic event," Foxman said. Yet, "as long as the church allows an anti-Semitic bishop who denies the Holocaust to continue in his post under the aegis of the church, this means that the church is saying one thing yet doing another."
Foxman, himself a Holocaust survivor, seeks to emphasize that he appreciates the pope's condemnation and his moving statements on his planned visit to Israel. Yet, in his words, "you cannot say that you are against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial when you allow an anti-Semitic bishop and Holocaust denier to continue serving in the clergy."
"The church gave the bishop enough time to recant," Foxman said. "But he asked for forgiveness only from the pope and he said he is waiting for proof that indeed six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and the Nazis used gas chambers."
"Holocaust denial is a crime by law in key countries," Foxman said. "Only after the church recants from the rehabilitation and restores his prior standing as excommunicated can we say that the matter of the church and Holocaust denial has been solved."
The ADL is the largest Jewish organization active in the United States.