A British Catholic bishop — ordered expelled from Argentina last week for denying the existence of the Holocaust — has left the country, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday.
Bishop Richard Williamson, who made his controversial statement in an interview with Swedish television last month, left for London, England, the Interior Ministry said. He was ordered on February 19 to leave Argentina within 10 days. In the interview with Swedish television, Williamson said, “I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against — is hugely against — 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler. “I believe there were no gas chambers,” he said. Williamson made headlines in January when he and three other ultra-conservative bishops were welcomed back into the Roman Catholic Church more than 20 years after Pope John Paul II excommunicated them on a theological question unrelated to the Holocaust. Williamson’s rehabilitation sparked condemnation from Israel, American Jewish leaders and German Chancellor Angela Merkel among others.
Holocaust-denying bishop ordered to leave Argentina
Holocaust denier strains Catholic-Jewish relations
Holocaust denier removed as head of Argentine seminary
Vatican: Bishop must recant Holocaust denial
The Vatican has pointed to several statements by Pope Benedict XVI condemning the destruction of European Jewry. Benedict also has said he did not know of Williamson’s views on the Holocaust when he lifted the excommunication. The Vatican has said Williamson will not be allowed to perform priestly functions until he recants his Holocaust denial. Williamson has apologized for “distress” his remarks caused the pope, but he has not retracted them. A German court refused this month to intervene on behalf of Williamson, who is facing prosecution for denying the Holocaust — a crime in Germany.