Italian holocaust-denying priest is expelled
An ultra-traditionalist Roman Catholic group has expelled an Italian priest who recently said he believed gas-chambers at Nazi death camps were only used to "disinfect" inmates and cast doubt on the veracity of the Holocaust, dpa reported.
The Italian branch of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) said Father Floriano Abrahamowicz was expelled due to "serious disciplinary reasons," the ANSA news agency reported citing a SSPX statement issued Friday.
Abrahamowicz made the remarks last month when he defended a Society of Saint Piu X (SSPX) bishop, Richard Williamson, who said he did not believe any Jews were gassed during the Holocaust.
Due to his Holocaust-denial claims, British-born Williamson has been at the centre of a controversy over Pope Benedict XVI's decision to revoke a 1988 excommunication against him and three other bishops belonging to SSPX.
"Father Floriano Abrahamowicz for some time had expressed positions different from those officially held by the Society of Saint Pius X," the SSPX statement said.
"The decision to expell him, though painful, was rendered necessary to avoid the further distorting of the image of the Society of Saint Pius X and it work to serve the Church," it added.
Abrahamowicz, who is based in Italy's north-eastern Veneto region, told ANSA he was "astonished and hurt" by the expulsion order.
Besides his Holocaust remarks, Abrahamowicz caused also stirred controversy when he was quoted as saying in an Italian television interview that the Second Vatican Council, the 1960s meetings which paved the way for liberal reforms in the Roman Catholic Church, was "worse than heresy."
The SSPX has long been at odds with the Vatican over the Second Vatican Council Reforms, but Benedict's decision to pardon the four bishops was seen a sign that the renegade group was willing to reconcile with Rome.