Particularly embarrassing for the Vatican is the fact that one of those rehabilitated, Bishop Richard Williamson, told Swedish television just days before the pope’s decision that there had been no gas chambers in German concentration camps during World War II and that “only 200,000 to 300,000 Jews” died in the camps, instead of the 6 million figure widely accepted by historians.
Do you find it strange that part of the Bishop’s denial has to do with numbers? As he should know, the loss of a single life to hatred such as the Nazis propounded is more than enough; that 200-300,000 lives are lost in a historical calamity is immense. The actual figure of at least six million stands, and refers to an immensity that humanity has had difficulty in mourning. We are locked inside an interminable melancholia.
Many say that Benedict was not aware of Williamson’s position on the Holocaust and that his decision represents a failure of his advisors. According to a story in Wednesday’s Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet, some in the Vatican are even accusing the Swedish television station responsible for the Williamson interview of being part of a conspiracy to damage the pope. The station denies the accusations.
The words came from the Bishop’s mouth. He was not forced to say them, nor was he was influenced to say them. They came from his mouth. He said them, he meant them. He can’t recover these words. That’s it. That the Vatican shifts responsibility onto a paranoid fantasy of persecution exercised by the television station speaks volumes about the level of contrition over the Pope’s decision itself.
Roman Catholic church: look into thyself.
Angela Merkel has done the right thing.