Tempers may have already calmed down, but Cardinal Joachim Meisner is fueling the controversy over criticism of the Pope by the Chancellor in the case of Holocaust denier Richard Williamson. In an interview, he criticized Angela Merkel's scolding as the "biggest blunder" and urged her to apologise to Pope Bendedict XVI.
The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner insists on an apology from Merkel.
The background is the public criticism of Merkel about the rehabilitation of Holocaust deniers Richard Williamson. "I can only say: display substance and apologise, Madam Chancellor," Meisner told the "Bild"-Zeitung.
What is happening with the Pope?
At the beginning of February Merkel publicly requested clarification from the Pope. Meisner says that he found the public scolding the Pope to have been "one of the biggest mistakes". The tone was totally unreasonable. He knew of many Catholics and Protestants who are leaving the CDU for this reason. The Chancellor was obviously not informed by her employees that the requested clarification had been made by the Pope one week earlier.
Merkel had unusually harshly criticized Benedict XVI in the debate about dealing with the Holocaust and asked for a clarification. The Pope must "very clearly" declare that he does not accept denial of the Holocaust, and that there must be "a positive dealing with Judaism ... as a whole", she said. The Pope had repealed the excommunication of Holocaust deniers Richard Williamson, and thus a storm of outrage in their own church is triggered.
"This carping at the Pope makes us ridiculous all over the world "
The cardinal stressed that contrary to widespread opinion, the Pope had not rehabilitated Williamson as a Holocaust denier." "The Pope knew nothing of the unspeakable utterances of Bishop Williamson. And the lifting of excommunication is not a rehabilitation. Certainly at times one can make mistakes. There were breakdowns in the Vatican," he said. But the Chancellor had made a mistake. On the particular criticism of a German Pope from Germany Meisner commented with the words: "Many Germans do not realise how ridiculous this carping at the Pope makes us all over the world."
In haste prior to taking my wife to hospital- more soon.