Pope lifts excommunication for holocaust denier

spanish inquisition. monty python

Andrew Sullivan

This vile anti-Semite and Holocaust-denier has just been allowed back into the Catholic Church.

Unbelievable. But if you really grasp how reactionary Benedict is, not terribly shocking.

I am truly, deeply ashamed of my church for this action and hope this provokes such an outcry it is reversed.

Benedict is beyond reactionary. Before becoming Pope he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith AKA the Holy Office of the Inquisition and was known as “the Pope’s enforcer” and “God’s rottweiler.”


  1. The Catholic Church is as outmoded an institution as you’ll find on the planet. It is rift and rent with hypocrisy, hyperbole and hyperventilation.
    If Homo sapiens evolves past organized religion it might actually survive on the planet.

  2. Every spirtual teaching faces a paradox: without a structure it can’t spread beyond the circle of its teacher/founder, yet the structure by nature is in conflict with the teaching. I’m not Catholic, but I’ve found a great deal of good in the Catholic Church (think for example Liberation Theology).

    Protestants in the U.S. split and splinter, sometimes over the smallest detail of theology, but the Catholic umbrella includes liberals, conservatives, radicals, progressives, and moderates– all cohabitating under the same banner. In that light, the Vatican rep’s comments make a lot of sense: “They are his personal ideas . . . that we certainly don’t share but they have nothing to do with the issue of the excommunication and the removal of the excommunication.”

    There are holocaust deniers in many religions. That doesn’t make them right, nor does it make the religions that permit their membership wrong. It just means that (gasp!) we have to tolerate people with ridiculous views– which we will have to do unless the penalty for stupidity is death.

  3. However as the Church sets it self up as a leader of morals and ethics it sets a standard which millions will follow and this action does not condemn what are the opinions of this individual. Others therfore may see this as saying that there is nothing wrong in these opinions.

  4. Gosh Ace, when I say things like “evolves past organized religion it might actually survive” I get slander, libel, hear words you never hear in the bible…

  5. There’s a moral issue to be sure. They excommunicated Fr. Tissa Balasooriya for teaching that Mary was the first female priest. But that’s a matter of theology and therefore threatening to the Church. The holocaust is a matter of history, and deniers may be immoral, but they aren’t theologically dangerous.

    Imagine a church that cast out all the sinners: it’d be empty!

    • Yes, but at the same time Benedict is busily casting out all the gays. I’m not talking theology here, but rather the rapid rightward shift in ideology he is fostering.

      All he had to do was issue a mildly worded statement that he didn’t approve of their political views but welcomed them back because of Christian charity. But he didn’t.

      And the hard right wing of the Church is rejoicing about all of this too.

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