November 7, 2011

Jewish groups have called on the Vatican to suspend reconciliation talks with a traditionalist group after one of its bishops argued that the Jewish people were responsible for the death of Jesus.

"Comments like these take us back decades to the dark days before there was a meaningful and mutually respectful dialogue between Jews and Roman Catholics," Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in a statement Oct. 19.

He was referring to comments by Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Society of St. Pius X, who said recently in his online newsletter that the killing of Jesus "was truly deicide, the killing of God" and that "only the Jews (leaders and people) were the prime agents of the deicide" because they clamoured for his crucifixion.

Williamson, one of four bishops whose excommunication was lifted in 2009 by Pope Benedict, became well-known for his remarks denying the Holocaust.

He has since been told by the Vatican that he will not be welcomed into full communion in the Church until he disavows and publicly apologizes for those comments.