My supposition is that a Cardinal would not take this action without at least a nod from the Vatican. Still, it is a brave statement that had to be made. We hope it will have a bandwagon effect on other precincts. Bravo.
Cardinal Mahony bans Holocaust-denier from L.A. archdiocese
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cardinal Roger Mahony on Tuesday took the unusual step of banning Holocaust-denying British Bishop Richard Williamson from any Roman Catholic church, school or other facility in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
"Holocaust deniers like Williamson will find no sympathetic ear or place of refuge in the Catholic Church, of which he is not — and may never become — a member," said a commentary signed jointly by Mahony, head of the nation's largest archdiocese, and two officials of the American Jewish Committee.
"The cardinal wishes to send a clear signal to the Jewish community that Williamson is not a member or even welcome in the Catholic Church until he renounces his views," said Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the archdiocese.
"The cardinal also wanted to signal that he is in full agreement with the Vatican that Williamson must apologize for and distance himself from his views," he added....
Mahony's ban was contained in a commentary published in the online edition of The Tidings, the archdiocese's newspaper. The cardinal stated that the ban would remain "until he and his group comply fully and unequivocally with the Vatican's directives regarding the Holocaust."
The commentary was also signed by Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, U.S. director of interreligious affairs of the American Jewish Committee, and Seth Brysk, the committee's Los Angeles executive director.
There is no indication that Williamson, who is currently living in Britain, is planning to visit Los Angeles, but the commentary noted that "many religious and civic leaders have used his situation to acknowledge the Holocaust and to affirm its unique and terrible place in history."
The ban resulted from Mahony's meeting two weeks ago with Greenebaum and Brysk.
Greenebaum said he requested the meeting to discuss the Vatican's flip-flopping position on Williamson.
The cardinal took him aback by suggesting the ban, Greenebaum said.
"It took me by surprise a little bit," he said. "It's a very strong, very welcome statement."
Religion experts said Mahony's ban is largely symbolic, but believed to be unprecedented.
"I don't know how it would be enforced," said Philip A. Cunningham, director of the Jewish-Catholic Institute at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. "But having positive relations with the Jewish community is important to the cardinal."
Mahony said he plans to visit the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem this year.