On Friday, the Vatican’s spokesman discarded an apology from Bishop Richard Williamson over remarks he made diminishing the extent of the Holocaust.
Bishop Williamson, who has been at the center of a storm of controversy due to his comments, issued an apology yesterday.
Reacting to Williamson’s apology, the Vatican’s spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, faulted the bishop for issuing his statement in the form of an open letter. "This is not a letter directed to the Holy Father or to the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei Commission," Fr. Federico critiqued.
In his Thursday statement, Bishop Williamson said, "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."
He also added that during his interview on Swedish television that he only gave the "opinion [...] of a non-historian," a perspective "formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available, and rarely expressed in public since.
"To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologize," he wrote.
However, Fr. Lombardi stated on Friday that Williamson’s statement fell short of the retraction that the Vatican has asked for.
"The bishop’s statement doesn’t seem to respect the conditions established in the note from the Secretary of State, dated February 4, 2009, which stated that he must also distance himself in an absolute, unequivocal and public manner from his positions regarding the Shoah," Fr. Lombardi said.