Society of St Pius X & Vatican II

Dialogika Resources

Letter from the Director General of the Israeli Rabbinate to the Holy See


H.E. Cardinal Walter Kasper
Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with Jewry

Your Eminence,
I am writing to you on this very important day, the 27th of January, which was declared by the UN as the international day of commemorating the Holocaust. I am sure that you will understand our sorrow and pain concerning the recent events.

The reactions to the news of the Pope's lifting the excommunication ban on the member of the Society of Saint Pius X has caused great consternation here in Israel and throughout the Jewish world, in particular because of the fact that one of the four bishops involved, Richard Williamson, is an open Holocaust denier.

Even if the move in itself was not intended in any way to relate to the Church's relationship with the Jewish People, when it involves the embrace of someone who publicly expresses such odious and outrageous opinions, then it definitely does affect our relationship. The Chief Rabbinate's Commission under the Chairmanship of Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen has deliberated on this matter and believes that without a public apology from Bishop Williamson and recanting his deplorable statements it will be very difficult for the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to continue its dialogue with the Vatican as before. You will appreciate that under such circumstances it would be wiser for us to postpone our next meeting in Rome at the beginning of March until this matter is clarified. Please convey this message also to the highest authorities of the Holy See.

Yours sincerely,

Oded Wiener,
Director General of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel