These games are tiring. As Papa Ratzi tries to undo the heinous international PR disaster resulting from the lifting of the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson  by requesting that Williamson reject his Holocaust denial fantasy, the bishop thumbs his nose at Benedict.

Richard Williamson is one of four bishops from the ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X whose excommunication was lifted by the Vatican last month. The decision sparked outrage because Williamson had said in a television interview he did not believe any Jews were gassed during the Holocaust.

On Wednesday, the Vatican demanded that Williamson recant his denial before he can be admitted as a bishop into the Roman Catholic Church.

Williamson made clear he does not plan to comply immediately, and rejected a suggestion that he might visit the Auschwitz death camp, the weekly Der Spiegel reported.

…The magazine suggested that he could make a personal visit to Auschwitz, set up by the Nazis in occupied Poland, which stands as the most powerful symbol of the Holocaust. More than 1 million people, mostly Jews, died there.

Williamson replied: “I will not go to Auschwitz,” Der Spiegel said.

If you surf over to Der Spiegel, the publication reveals other incredible bigotry bleating from his boyz that won’t help the Prada-loving former Hitler Youth Pope win friends or soothe the already-angry people around the globe.

Take Father Franz Schmidberger, a member of SSPX [Society of Saint Pius X] headquarters in Germany. He went on German radio on Thursday to censure German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her critical comments about the pope’s handling of the scandal and about the need to clearly condemn Holocaust denial. “She doesn’t understand, after all, she’s not Catholic,” he said. Then he turned his attention to the Prophet Muhammad. He had “sexual contact with an eight or nine year old girl,” Schmidberger said according to a statement released in advance of the interview’s broadcast. “In today’s terminology, we would certainly call that child molestation. But I don’t want to belabor the point, I haven’t specifically studied the issue.”

His position on the Prophet’s biography is one that is highly controversial — and one that certainly isn’t new. One year ago, a right-wing populist politician in Austria got in trouble for giving voice to the same viewpoint. And it certainly isn’t the kind of stance that will further dialogue among religions. That, though, is clearly not a concern of Schmidberger’s. Indeed, he also made his feelings about Judaism clear. “Christ explicitly sent his apostles into the world to convert all peoples, including the Jews, to him,” he says.

Schmidberger also said that Holocaust deniers are welcome in the Catholic fold and that the removal of the excommunication was “absolutely necessary” because “faith has become extremely diluted and we are living in a neo-heathenish society.” How about that? And more:

On Saturday Rome announced that Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner would be auxiliary bishop in Linz, the capital of Upper Austria, a decision that has angered many within the Austrian church and beyond. The priest has a knack for inappropriate comments, writing back in 2005 in a parish newsletter that Hurricane Katrina was an act of “divine retribution” for New Orleans’ permissive ways. “This was not the sinking of any city but that of a people’s dream city with the ‘best brothels and prettiest prostitutes,'” he wrote.

The same man warned children in 2001 against reading J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books because the tales of a boy wizard were “spreading Satanism.” Then in 2004 Wagner said that it was no coincidence that the Tsunami disaster had occurred at Christmas, inferring that it was punishment for “rich Western tourists” who had fled to “poor Thailand.”

As you can imagine, all this BS isn’t going over well. The blistering, lengthy “A German Pope Disgraces the Catholic Church” also illuminates the many blunders and affronts to other religions under Benedict.

Many others in the religious community began to vent their anger on the Internet early last week. The religious forums on Web sites like “myKath.de” have been inundated with comments. “As of last Saturday, who even takes excommunication seriously anymore?” asks one contributor to the forum. Another outraged Catholic writes: “Williamson is committing a crime in Germany (denial of the Holocaust), while his flock looks the other way and the pope rewards him by making him a bishop in the Catholic Church. What happens if Williamson sets off a bomb in a synagogue? Will the pope appoint him as a cardinal then?”

…Benedict decided to issue the decree lifting the excommunications without consulting with the relevant offices of the Curia. Vatican sources say that the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity was not consulted. “It was the pope’s decision,” German Cardinal Walter Kasper, the chairman of the council, explained. Kasper, a former companion of the pope now somewhat saddened by his friend, has since submitted his letter of resignation.

And the obvious:

The pope, says one member of the Curia, has surrounded himself with a team of yes-men, devoid of any critical voices. The team even shields the 81-year-old pontiff from unfavorable reports in the media. “As a rule,” says the official, “he is only presented with excerpts from the international press. And in many cases, his staff members say: No, no, we cannot show him that article.”

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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