World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder on Wednesday welcomed the Vatican's call on Bishop Richard Williamson to publicly recant statements denying the existence of gas chambers in the Nazi death camps and belittling the Holocaust.
Wednesday's decision followed a controversial debate about revoking the excommunications of four bishops, including Williamson, and doubts about the stance of the Catholic Church concerning the future of inter-faith dialogue.
Lauder said: "The Vatican was badly advised to revoke the excommunication of the four bishops. Unfortunately, there is evidence that Bishop Williamson's blatant anti-Semitism is not an isolated case within the Pius X Brotherhood.
"Therefore, we call on Pope Benedict XVI to urgently address these concerns and to ensure that the achievements of four decades of Catholic-Jewish dialogue are not being damaged by a small minority of people who want to divide rather than unite."
The WJC president warmly welcomed the Vatican's call on Bishop Williamson to publicly recant his Holocaust denial or face consequences. "This was the sign the Jewish world has been waiting for. The revisionist and anti-Semitic statements of Bishop Williamson and other members of his group are not just despicable and false. They touch upon the very joint convictions held by Christians and Jews alike.
"If not dealt with properly and swiftly, some previously marginalized individuals may be once again allowed to sow the seeds of conflict between Catholics and Jews. Holocaust denial must not go uncensured, and anti-Semites should not be allowed to have a say in the Church," Lauder pointed out.
He expressed the WJC's desire overcome to current crisis and to continue talks with the Vatican. "This is in our mutual interest, because our people expect us all to tackle the problems of the future, not the past" the WJC president said.
The World Jewish Congress is the international organization representing Jewish communities in over 80 countries around the world. The WJC serves as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people to governments and international organizations.