The first reactions to the new declaration are not exactly positive: The Vice-President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann has rejected the apology of Bishop Richard Williamson for his Holocaust denial as a "third-class regret".
"Williamson takes his false theories about the Holocaust and its denial in no way back, but he regrets only that his words have had a harmful effect," said Graumann in conversation with "Handelsblatt.com".
Williamson had also stated his opinion had been formed 20 years ago "because of the then existing evidence" "As if 20 years ago the existence of the Holocaust was placed in doubt," Graumann is outraged, adding: "No: this thoroughly messed up declaration by Williamson unfortunately takes nothing back, admits rather in the conclusion that he holds Holocaust denial, which he has already given pathologically full expression to for many years, again as upright. "
For Graumann, the theme to "not in any way removed from the table, but more topical than ever." He made again in this connection sharp criticism of Pope Benedict XVI. The excommunication of Williamson despite the Holocaust-denial, as well as three other traditionalist bishops of the ultra-conservative SSPX was withdrawn. "This fatal mistake of the Vatican has unfortunately ongoing validity," said Graumann.
Williamson apologised on Thursday in a declaration published in London for his controversial statements about the Holocaust. He asked all who were sincerely shocked because of his words, " for forgiveness before God," which was reported by the Catholic Internet agency "zenit.org" quoting the statement. Williamson had about four months ago claimed that there was no historical evidence for the existence of gas chambers and not six million Jews, but 200 000 to 300 000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis.
Pope Benedict XVI and Bishop Bernard Fellay had invited him to rethink the remarks which he had made four months before to Swedish TV because of their very serious consequences were it was. He says, "Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them."