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'Holocaust bishop' arrives in UK
Richard Williamson ordered home by Argentina after denying Nazi's use of gas chambers.
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2009 13:02 GMT
Williamson was given 10 days to leave Argentina by the government or risk expulsion [AFP]

A British Roman Catholic bishop who caused outrage by denying the extent of the Holocaust has arrived in London after he was ordered to leave Argentina, where he had headed a seminary.

Richard Williamson touched down at Heathrow on Wednesday surrounded by an armed police guard and camera crews, but declined to speak to the media.

The 68-year-old ultra-traditionalist bishop has been at the centre of controversy after he denied the use of gas chambers on Swedish television in January.

"There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies," he said.

Williamson also said he believes no more than 300,000 Jews died in Germany's Nazi concentration camps.

The number of those killed in the Holocaust that is widely accepted is six million people.

Future plans

Last week, the Argentine government gave Williamson 10 days to leave the country after his views "deeply shocked Argentine society, the Jewish people and all of humanity".

Argentina has one of the world's largest Jewish populations outside of Israel.

Williamson, a member of the Saint Pius X Society, headed a seminary near Buenos Aires until earlier this month.

Christian Bouchacourt, a senior official for the society, said he did not know what Williamson had planned for the future.

"I don't know anything at all. That now depends on him and his superior general [a senior Catholic official]," he told the AFP news agency.

"I think it will all be done discretely and kept 'in the family'."

Holocaust denial is not a specific offence in Britain, and the country's interior ministry has not commented on the case.

Religious schism

Last month, Pope Benedict, the head of the Roman Catholic church, angered Jewish leaders and many Catholics by lifting the excommunication of Williamson and three others in a bid to heal a 20-year-old schism within the Church.

The schism began in 1988 when the four were ordained without Vatican permission.

World Jewish organisations and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, have criticised the pope for rehabilitating Williamson.

The Vatican later ordered Williamson to retract his comments, but Williamson said he needed more time to review the evidence.

Source:
Agencies
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