Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Catholics condemn ‘media campaign’ against pope

Two German Catholic groups on Friday appealed to fellow members of the faith to back the pope in the row over a Holocaust-denying bishop, condemning what they see as a ”manipulative media campaign”.

”The opponents of the pope, including unfortunately even prominent bishops within the church, will stop at nothing to stop him steering his steady course,” the Pro Sancta Ecclesia group wrote in an advert in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily.

”All the more reason for Catholics who are true to their beliefs and to the church to rise up against these attempts, stand behind the pope and support him with prayer and work, word and deed,” the group added.

There has been a ”manipulative media campaign” against Pope Benedict XVI with ”excessive blasphemy,” the group said, vowing to stand squarely behind the pontiff.

In a separate advert in the same paper, the German Catholic Forum called on all Catholics to ”stand unequivocally at the pope’s side” and rejected ”any political interference in internal church matters”.

The pope’s decision to lift the excommunication of Richard Williamson — a British-born bishop who denied the nazis used gas chambers to kill Jews — caused outrage in his native Germany.

The row prompted a highly unusual intervention from Chancellor Angela Merkel who called on the Vatican on Tuesday to clarify its position.

In a climbdown the next day, the Vatican called on Williamson to recant his position but did not reverse its decision to lift his excommunication.

Merkel on Thursday praised the Vatican’s statement, describing it as an ”important and good signal” and a ”step forward” in the dispute.

Her uncompromising approach to the controversy won Merkel widespread praise in Germany — where denying the Holocaust is illegal. Bishops, Jewish groups and media editorialists lined up to laud Merkel’s comments. — Sapa-AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Basic web lessons for South Africa: Government hacks point to...

Recent cyberattacks at the department of justice and the space agency highlight the extent of our naïveté

If the inflation-driving supply strain in the US lasts, it...

In South Africa, a strong trade surplus, buoyed by robust commodity prices, will cushion our economy against pressure arising from US policy

More top stories

Coal gets the cold shoulder as coal power fleets on...

Only Gambia has a plan that, if everyone acted the same way, would see global heating kept to below 1.5°C.

The sugar tax is working. Experts say we should double...

The financial and public health cost of diabetes, as well as diabetes-related blindness and kidney failures, is being overlooked, health advocates say

Coups are always a bad idea – even the popular...

Why are coups happening more frequently? The most significant trend is the deepening democratic deficit across many African countries, and a corresponding decline in effective enforcement of democratic norms

Almost two million voters register for local elections

Young people make use of online portal and women account for more than half of the total registered
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×