Now that American Muslims have been thoroughly demonized in the last presidential election, Pope Benedict XVI seems keen to open another religious rift, between Catholics and Jews.

He is reinstating Bishop Richard Williamson, who does not believe 6 million Jews were gassed by the Germans during the Nazi regime, he says it was more like 200,000, not a holocaust at all. See the interview above, taped just this past November and aired last week in Sweden.

Benedict is also broadening the use of "a Good Friday prayer calling for the conversion of Jews" and reinstating three other hard-line bishops in an effort to bring right-wing schismatic groups back into the fold, according to the Times.


The pope's flack said the church doesn't share Williamson's views. But that Benedict, whose service in the Hitler Youth is said to have been involuntary, did not go further in his denunciations of Williamson has reportedly not sat well with Jewish leaders, who were already developing reservations a couple of years ago when Benedict visited Auschwitz:

[The pope] made no mention of his personal experience during the war... He also did not explicitly ask for forgiveness on behalf of Catholics or Germans. Some Jews will likely be left unsatisfied by Benedict's avoiding the topic of his homeland's potential collective responsibility for the Holocaust, placing the blame on a "ring" of Nazi criminals who also victimized the Germans.

..."He speaks like [the Nazis] just dropped in out of nowhere," [Rabbi David] Rosen said. "That's just a little bit facile."