Pope Benedict on Saturday rehabilitated a traditionalist bishop who denies the Holocaust,despite warnings from Jewish leaders that it would seriously harm Catholic-Jewish relations and foment anti-Semitism.
The Vatican said the Pope issued a decree lifting the excommunication of four traditionalist bishops who were thrown out of the Roman Catholic Church in 1988 for being ordained without Vatican permission.
One of the four bishops,the British-born Richard Williamson,has made a number of statements denying the full extent of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jews,as accepted by mainstream historians.
In comments to Swedish television broadcast on Wednesday,he said I believe there were no gas chambers and only up to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps,instead of six million.
Before the excommunication was lifted,leaders in the Jewish community,including groups of Holocaust survivors,said such a move would be a dangerous blow to half a century of interfaith dialogue. Romes chief rabbi said Williamsons rehabilitation would open a deep wound.
On Friday,the Vatican launched its own YouTube channel,showcasing clips of Pope Benedict XVI in a bid to both engage with the digital generation and better control the papal image online.