British Born 'Holocaust Bishop' Returns To UK

Sky News/February 25, 2009

A Roman Catholic bishop expelled from Argentina over "deeply offensive" comments about the Holocaust has returned to the UK.

Richard Williamson declined to answer questions from the press at Heathrow

Richard Williamson arrived at Heathrow this morning where he was met by armed police guards and a large media pack.

He declined to answer questions from the press as he was taken to a waiting car.

The bishop is reported to have questioned the number of Jews who were deliberately gassed as part of Nazi policy during World War Two.

He had been resident in Argentina at the St Pius X seminary near Buenos Aires, but was given 10 days to leave by the country's government.

The Vatican has ordered him to retract his comments and and the Catholic Church in England and Wales has said he must do so before he can "enter into full communion with the church".

In a Swedish television interview last November, Bishop Williamson claimed that historical evidence was "hugely against six million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler ... I believe there were no gas chambers."

He added: "I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in the Nazi concentration camps but none of them in gas chambers."

The Argentinian government branded his view "deeply offensive."

Sky News reporter Enda Brady, who was at Heathrow when Bishop Williamson arrived, said: "In Germany this is a big story and many reporters have travelled over from there.

"The interview he gave to Swedish television was filmed in Germany and because denying the Holocaust is a criminal offence in Germany, an investigation is under way.

"He is back in London and is going to stay with some supporters.

"We will see if he has more to say to clarify his comments in coming days."

The bishop is a member of a breakaway sect of the Catholic Church which is unhappy with the Vatican.

In 1988 he was ordained by a renegade French bishop without permission from the then Pope John Paul II.

Soon after he was excommunicated and remained so for more than 20 years.

The Church and Pope Benedict XVI have come under severe criticism for the decision - taken before his comments were broadcast - to lift the excommunication on him.

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