Germany Criticizes Pope's Decision On Bishop Criticism continues to escalate over Pope Benedict's decision to rehabilitate an ultra-traditionalist bishop who denies the Holocaust. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on the pope to clarify that the Vatican does not tolerate any denial of the Holocaust. Pope Benedict is from Germany, where Holocaust denial is a crime punishable with prison terms.
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Germany Criticizes Pope's Decision On Bishop

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Germany Criticizes Pope's Decision On Bishop

Germany Criticizes Pope's Decision On Bishop

Germany Criticizes Pope's Decision On Bishop

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Criticism continues to escalate over Pope Benedict's decision to rehabilitate an ultra-traditionalist bishop who denies the Holocaust. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on the pope to clarify that the Vatican does not tolerate any denial of the Holocaust. Pope Benedict is from Germany, where Holocaust denial is a crime punishable with prison terms.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Criticism continues to escalate over the Pope's decision to rehabilitate Bishop Richard Williamson who claims there were no Nazi gas chambers. Williamson was rehabilitated with three other bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X, which rejects the reforms of the second Vatican Council.

B: Pope Benedict is inflicting great damage on Germany. He must reverse himself and apologize. And yesterday, in an unusual move, Chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in one what had been up to then an inter-religious debate.

ANGELA MERKEL: (German spoken)

POGGIOLI: The Papal decision has caused dismay also within the Vatican. Cardinal Walter Casper, the official in charge of relations with Jews, vented his frustration that he had not been consulted in an interview with Vatican radio.

WALTER CASPER: (Through translator) I'm watching this debate with great concern. Nobody can be pleased that misunderstandings have turned up. The stakes in the management of the Vatican administration have certainly also been made. I want to say that very clearly.

POGGIOLI: And Father Eberhard von Gemmingen, head of the German Service of Vatican Radio, defended the Pope but added that many Catholics are disappointed with Benedict because they have the impression that he has made too many concessions to what he called a fascist-like group.

EBERHARD VON GEMMINGEN: (Through translator) Here at Vatican Radio I can only say please pray for the Pope and his top staff. A misunderstanding and debacle like this can never be allowed to happen again.

POGGIOLI: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome.

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