This letter (from Mlive.com) is important, and as such I have decided to post it in its entirety:
Reinstated bishop who denies Holocaust is sign of church changesThere are enough fundamentalists in the world, Pope Nazipants. Why don't you join one of their churches and leave Catholicism alone?
by Harry Vischer Jr.
The current controversy regarding the Holocaust in Germany during World War II, was it fact or fiction? It is being led by persons such as Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Williamson who was first excommunicated, then reinstated, then placed into limbo and lay persons such as movie actor Mel Gibson and his father Hutton Gibson. They each claim that it never happened even though there is solid evidence that it did.
Auschwitz-Birkenau is a camp that comes to mind. The commandant, Rudolph Hess, even bragged that he could gas 2,000 Jews in one half hour but complained that the ovens slowed the process down. Sadly, professing Christians stood silently by during that period and it is professing Christians who are in denial now.
I have German blood, I profess Christ, I cannot accept the claim of these, but I can understand it.
Born and raised in a German settlement in the United States, not once did I hear condemnation of what was being done by the Hitler group. What was heard was that Jews killed Jesus and the Bible said that they are forever to carry that guilt.
It was about that time when I began to question the accuracy of the Bible, whether in its entirety it was as God might wish or if man's interpretation had, on occasion, been substituted.
Not possible, say those claiming only through a belief in Christ Jesus could eternal life be achieved.
That meant that Jews, Muslims and all other faiths that did not accept that would be condemned to hell, something that just does not make sense to me.
At the age of 36, I chose the Roman Catholic faith as my way to reach a Christian ideal. At the time I was told that the church advocated tolerance and professed that life after death was possible for non-Christ believers.
At the time, Pope John XXlll had recently died but his dream of change was in progress. It was a joyful time for me. Not only did I like Catholic people but a love of Christ could exist without a feeling of guilt when living life to its fullest.
Liberation theology was the norm among the many religious people I came to know. It felt good to touch the poor rather than just preach to them.
But then, in the 1980's something changed. For me, it began when Pope John Paul condemned liberation theology in South America. Then, quietly, the laity was more restricted and I felt that there was a movement afoot to return the church to the days of pre-Vatican 2.
The death of John Paul and the elevation of Benedict XVI revealed that the church I loved was being replaced with the type of church that I had left so many years ago.
In 2000 and 2004, my bishops backed George W. Bush for president. Even though I disagreed, to remain in good standing, I decided to go along to get along, which I deeply regret now.
In 2008, it was too much when a Michigan bishop pronounced all who voted for a candidate who was pro-choice were to be considered intrinsically evil. I had to object and did.
I wrote a Viewpoint, printed in this newspaper. What I feared became reality. I was informed that I would no longer be able to receive the Holy Eucharist, so I left.
Has this caused anger? No, just a sadness, a sadness for all who are being led backward to a time that our prophet, John the XXlll wished to lead us away from.
John, the common man who became the common man's pope, who proclaimed that it was not enough to just preach to the poor, they must be touched as well.
He eased relations with Jews. He acknowledged that yes, they could receive eternal life without believing in Christ Jesus, but today the concept that only acceptance of Christ as the true son of God is being instituted.
This has opened the door for persons like Williamson to claim that the Holocaust is a sham.
...I want Pope John XXIII back.