Holocaust row bishop returns to Britain

A British-born Roman Catholic bishop who was asked to leave Argentina after making "deeply offensive" comments about the Holocaust arrived back in Britain today.

Bishop Richard Williamson flew into London's Heathrow airport from Buenos Aires where he was met by a crowd of international media and an armed police guard.

The bishop, who was given 10 days to leave Argentina by the country's government, declined to answer questions from the press as he was taken to a waiting car by police officers.

Those meeting the bishop, including other Roman Catholic priests, also declined to comment before the vehicle sped away.



The bishop had been resident in Argentina until this week at the St Pius X seminary in the capital.

But after remarks he made in a Swedish television interview were broadcast, the government branded his view "deeply offensive".

He claimed in the interview last month 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 Vatican has ordered Bishop Williamson to retract his comments and the Catholic Church in England and Wales has said he must do so before he can "enter into full communion with the church".

The bishop would not discuss his plans now he has returned to the UK and no one from the Catholic Church was available to comment on whether he would be allowed to work.

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

He was ordained in the late 1980s by renegade French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and has angered many groups with his hard-line traditionalist views on women and the direction of the church.



The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have already condemned Bishop Williamson's views on the Holocaust as "totally unacceptable" and have stressed that the lifting of his excommunication was for unrelated matters.

A spokesman for the Catholic bishops conference of England and Wales said today that he had "absolutely no idea" where Bishop Williamson was going following his arrival in Britain.

He said: "He does not fall into the jurisdiction of any of the England and Wales bishops because he is not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

"He will have to make his own arrangements, whether that is with a Catholic priest or with somebody else.

"From the hierarchy's perspective, he has got nothing to do with the bishops of this country."

Also there to meet the bishop was documentary-maker Michele Renouf, who said she wanted to represent and support him in getting his views across to the public.

She said: "The Holocaust has become a religion and to deny its central tenets and saints is blasphemy."

She said it was "a disgrace" that there could be no reasoned debate on the issue in this country.

The former socialite has become increasingly known in recent years for an association with those who deny the Holocaust and supported historian David Irving during his trial in Vienna for Holocaust denial.

Last year she helped put together a legal team for Australian academic Frederick Toben after he was arrested at Heathrow airport.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas