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Chief Rabbi says Vatican Needs to Examine its Conscience

Contact: David Nekrutman, 516-986-3074

MEDIA ADVISORY, Jan. 25 /Christian Newswire/ -- Upon learning of Pope Benedict XVI's lifting of the excommunication of Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin said "the Pope has muddied the waters of truth and compromised his own religion, specifically the Gospel of John 8:32, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Bishop Williamson has mentioned on national television that there were no gas chambers and the highest estimates of Jews killed during the Holocaust were up to 300,000.

The Chief Rabbi of Efrat and recent founder of the first orthodox Jewish center to religiously dialogue with Christians (Ohr Torah Stone: Center for Jewish Christian Understanding & Cooperation - CJCUC) added that "this was more than a near fatal blow to the advancement of Jewish-Catholic relations; it's staining the essence of sacrament within the church."

"With the re-introduction of the Latin Mass last year that calls for the conversion of Jews, senior Vatican official Cardinal Renato Martino of the Peace & Justice Commission sharply criticizing Israel's actions and comparing the Gaza Strip to a concentration camp, and now the Pope admitting a Holocaust denier into the hierarchy of the Catholic Church should concern Jews worldwide," Riskin commented. Noting that the Pope plans to visit Israel this year, Riskin said "that how will he walk into Yad Vashem and plant a wreath for the six million, when he just reinstated a bishop who denies that very historical fact within the greater truth of the Shoah? It is time for the Vatican to examine its conscience."