Holocaust denial = bad. Rape and abuse of children = not so bad.

Israel has cut ties with the Vatican because Pope Benedict XVI decided to reinstate Bishop Richard Williamson. Williamson famously denied the Holocaust in an interview with Swedish Sveriges Television, conducted in November, 2008 and aired in January, 2009.

From Wikipedia’s Williamson page:

  • He has called Jews “enemies of Christ” and urges their conversion to Catholicism. He has also stated that Jews aim at world dominion.
  • He denied the existence of gas chambers and has claimed that not 6 million, but 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps: “I believe there were no gas chambers…I think that two to three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps…but none of them by gas chambers.” – Richard Williamson

I don’t get Holocaust deniers. I put them in the same category as HIV deniers—those who deny that HIV is the cause of AIDS. Some of them claim that HIV exists but isn’t the direct cause of AIDS, and some deny that HIV exists all together. Sadly the most recent case of this deadly viewpoint is Christine Maggiore, an HIV-positive woman who gave birth to an HIV-positive daughter. In 2005 her daughter died, at three years old. The coroner ruled the cause of death was AIDS-related pneumonia. Maggiore refused antiretroviral drugs while she was pregnant, and she breast-fed her daughter. In December, 2008, Christine Maggiore also died.

You can’t deny AIDS. Over 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981. All evidence—all good, reliable, trustworthy, scientific evidence—reveals the truth about HIV and AIDS.

Just as all evidence reveals the truth about the Holocaust. Holocaust deniers don’t generally deny that the Holocaust happened at all. I’m sure they’d love to do that, but then how to explain the overwhelming evidence? Rather, they admit that something happened to the Jews (and others), but it wasn’t that big of a deal; they deny that it happened on the scale and scope that history reports. Like the aforementioned bishop, they may claim that only a few thousand or few hundred thousand people died, that there was no government mandate to exterminate Jews, and that concentration camps and mass-murder methods were not employed.

Ummm…people, this was not that long ago! This is not ancient history. Nor did it occur before recorded history. There is historical evidence: Written evidence. Physical evidence. Videos, audio recordings, and eyewitness testimony. Government documents. This was about 65 years ago. People are still alive who lived through it. And not just Jews living in Nazi Germany—people who witnessed this atrocity the world over have attested to its veracity. So it’s not a vast Jewish conspiracy, as deniers claim.

And so I ask: How could you possibly deny it?!

Okay, back to the subject at hand: This bishop Richard Williamson denied the Holocaust and the pope decided to give him a second chance. You know, the pope? Joseph Ratzinger? The guy who was a member of Hitler Youth?

Clearly this rant is all over the place—AIDS and Holocaust deniers, the stupid-ass bishop and the pope…. But I’m getting to my main issue.

Do you happen to know how many Catholic priests have molested children?

This is a very difficult statistic to nail down. There are no “true” numbers because the Catholic Church had an actual policy of keeping all of these cases hidden. Rather than removing priests from service and having them stand criminal trial (or at least get psychiatric attention!), they simply moved them to another diocese, to a fresh new batch of children. Generally with rape and child molestation, the majority of cases go unreported. That, coupled with the Vatican’s policy of secrecy, means we may never know exact numbers; statistics range from 2% to 16% to 45% of priests having performed “sexual misconduct.” That’s a huge range, but it’s safe to say, based on surveys, investigations, grand jury reports, books, and films, that for many decades thousands of priests have molested and/or raped tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands?) of children.

(By the way, it’s not just the Catholics.)

The first thought I had when I read about Israel officially severing ties with the Vatican was, “Now? Over this? Why not years ago, over the repeated rape and abuse of children?!?”

I think Holocaust deniers are batshit crazy. And I don’t particularly care if any country, state, or person respects or even acknowledges the Vatican as an authority (or whatever it’s supposed to be). But the state of Israel has decided to put its foot down with the Vatican over an issue, and I am disheartened that the issue they chose is one bishop’s deranged delusions and not the Church’s systemic policy of allowing the rape and abuse of children.

Years ago when the deluge of unequivocal information about the Catholic Church’s abuses came to light, all of society should have denounced the Vatican’s actions. Certainly purportedly good and righteous religious folks and institutions should have taken a stand.

I know everyone has their hot-button issue, and for Israel it is understandably the Holocaust. But the message as I see it is that one crazy bishop’s antisemitic ramblings made the Israeli leadership angry enough to cut ties with the Vatican; however, the sexual abuse of thousands of children didn’t rankle them in the same way.

By the way, here are some more fun facts about Richard Williamson (who will henceforth be known as “crazy uncle Richie”). Oh, he does believe 9/11 was an inside job! ‘Nuff said.

  • He opposes the wearing of trousers or shorts by women, and has urged greater “manliness” in men.
  • He promoted conspiracy theories regarding the Kennedy assassination and the September 11 attacks, claiming that the latter were staged by the US government.
  • He denounced the film The Sound of Music as “soul-rotting slush” and stated that “by glorifying that romance which is essentially self-centered, [the film] puts selfishness in the place of selflessness between husband and wife, and by putting friendliness and fun in the place of authority and rules, it invites disorder between parents and children.”

– Courtesy of Wikipedia’s page on Richard Williamson

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Just an interesting note on something you mentioned:

    “The first thought I had when I read about Israel officially severing ties with the Vatican was, “Now? Over this? Why not years ago, over the repeated rape and abuse of children?!?”

    The Catholic church is not alone in this as you said; it applies to Jewish communities as well. The NPR just ran a story on it-


  2. I TOO still would rightfully rather see pastor first live a sermon instead of too often now merely preach it to others and I really do think it is so farcical how some sinfully, proud evangelical pastors are ready to condemn others, to gossip about, to now preach about the other person’s sins but someone how they can’t seem to deal with their own false abuse of others, their own sins, and their own false pride.. http://postedat.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/get-real-now/

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