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.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on