Merkel rebukes Pope Benedict

The controversy of Pope Benedict XVI reinstatement of excommunicated, Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson with German Chancellor Angela Merkel joining those condemning the decision: Ms Merkel called on the German Pope to make a “very clear” rejection of the views of Bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied that six million Jews were gassed in Nazi concentration ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
588847_090203_benedictmerkel5.jpg
588847_090203_benedictmerkel5.jpg

The controversy of Pope Benedict XVI reinstatement of excommunicated, Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson with German Chancellor Angela Merkel joining those condemning the decision:

Ms Merkel called on the German Pope to make a "very clear" rejection of the views of Bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied that six million Jews were gassed in Nazi concentration camps. In a highly unusual rebuke to the pontiff, she said that she did not believe there had been "sufficient" clarification.

"This should not be allowed to pass without consequences," Ms Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, said. "This is not just a matter, in my opinion, for the Christian, Catholic and Jewish communities in Germany. The Pope and the Vatican should clarify unambiguously that there can be no denial and that there must be positive relations with the Jewish community overall."

The controversy of Pope Benedict XVI reinstatement of excommunicated, Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson with German Chancellor Angela Merkel joining those condemning the decision:

Ms Merkel called on the German Pope to make a “very clear” rejection of the views of Bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied that six million Jews were gassed in Nazi concentration camps. In a highly unusual rebuke to the pontiff, she said that she did not believe there had been “sufficient” clarification.

“This should not be allowed to pass without consequences,” Ms Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, said. “This is not just a matter, in my opinion, for the Christian, Catholic and Jewish communities in Germany. The Pope and the Vatican should clarify unambiguously that there can be no denial and that there must be positive relations with the Jewish community overall.”

I’m not sure, but I don’t recall any secular democratic leader criticizing the Pope this way before. Merkel’s rebuke also followed a statement by German Catholic theologian calling for Benedict to step down. That doesn’t seem particularly likely, but it does seem significant that this controversy shows no sign of slowing down after more than a week.

If you haven’t already, definitely check out John L. Allen’s counterintuitive take on Benedict and Obama.

Photo: JULIA FASSBENDER/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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