Pope Benedict XVI has been surprised by the violent outburst of German political and church leaders over his decision to bring back into the fold four formerly excommunicated bishops. When it became clear that Bishop Robert Williamson had told Swedish television he did not believe there was a Holocaust and accounts of the death of Jews during World War II were greatly exaggerated, the follow up to the remarks shocked Vatican leaders. Furious reactions came from European leaders, particularly, comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who made clear her disgust with the decision to allow the return of Bishop Williamson. She told the Vatican, “This should not be allowed to pass without consequences” and “the pope and the Vatican should clarify unambiguously that there can be no denial(of the Holocaust)”
There is growing evidence the Pope was shocked to learn about the Williamson views concerning the Holocaust and now is in a defensive mode. He is demanding that Bishop Williamson openly recant his views about the non-killing of Jews in the Holocaust. Chancellor Merkel has been placed in an awkward position. She is leader of Germany which conducted the Holocaust and the Pope is a German. She felt compelled to take a strong stand.