Pope Benedict lifted the excommunications of four dissident Catholic Bishops on Wednesday, including one of a holocaust denier, Bishop Richard Williamson. Williamson has said,

I believe there were no gas chambers … I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps … but none of them by gas chambers.

His views are also generally archaic: he believes women should not wear pants, that Jews aim at world dominion, and has accused the Vatican of being “the power of Satan.” More on that here

Richard Williamson on Swedish TV

Lovely stuff. A Vatican spokesperson claims that the lifting of the excommunication is kosher because Williamson and four other bishops were not kicked out of the church for their views, but rather because they were consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre without papal consent. But I have to ask, does that matter? Is it okay to allow characters like this in just because their extremist views were not the reason they were initially kicked out? And Williamson’s views are extreme– yes, even for the Catholic Church.

(h/t: Andrew Sullivan)