Cardinal Egan Speaks Out on Holocaust

Poland's Bishops Praying for Benedict XVI

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NEW YORK, FEB. 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Edward Egan of New York reiterated his support for the Jewish community in the United States and his condemnation of anyone who negates the extent of the Holocaust.



The archbishop said this yesterday during his weekly radio program "Conversation with the Cardinal," referring to the uproar in the Jewish community last month after Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication for Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X.

Bishop Williamson, who claimed on Swedish television that gas chambers weren't used to kill Jews during World War II, was one of four bishops of the society who were excommunicated in 1988 when Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ordained them to the episcopacy without papal approval.

“Yesterday," said Cardinal Egan, "the Vatican condemned in the clearest terms a statement made by an illicitly consecrated bishop by the name of Richard Williamson in which the evil of the Shoah was questioned or at least minimized. As Archbishop of New York, I add my voice to that of the Holy See and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in rejecting Williamson’s words as hurtful, baseless, and outrageous.

"It is my prayer that all of our Jewish brothers and sisters understand that we in the Catholic community here in New York hold them in the highest esteem, and look forward to continuing to cooperate with them in countless good works for our community and our nation.”

Polish episcopate

Meanwhile, the episcopal conference of Poland sent a letter of support to Benedict XVI today in which they expressed their gratitude to the Pontiff for taking steps toward unity with the Society of St. Pius X.

They said the Holy Father's move to open the "door of dialogue" was "an act of great courage and genuine pastoral charity."

The Polish episcopate said they hoped an equal willingness will be seen on the part of the society, and that they will accept the Second Vatican Council and the recent magisterium of the Church.

The bishops also assured the Pope of their prayers: "The Church in Poland constantly supports the Successor of Peter in his concern for all the Churches and prays to the Lord that every step toward reconciliation of the Christian faithful may bring forth fruit."