The Nazi Pope cancels the excommunications of four Holocaust-deniers. Raise you're hand if you're surprised...

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Joseph Ratzinger.

Even if he weren't a member of the Hitler Youth, the name alone sends shivers down a Jewish spine. So nobody was really surprised when he cancelled the excommunication of four Holocaust-denying bishops punished by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

Some highlights of the NY Times article:

-In 1988, the four Holocaust-denying Bishops were excommunicated by Pope John Paul II because they resisted the modernizations codified at the Second Vatican Council. Among these were the inclusion of the vernacular in the Mass to make it more accessible, and official recognition (at last) that the Jews didn't kill Christian children and drink their blood. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger reached out to the bishops, helping them continue their ultra-conservative, and anti-Jewish views.

-Recently, the Pope continued his concessions to the group, approving a more traditional version of the Mass that implores Jews to convert to Catholicism. (The version had been replaced during Vatican II in a fit of friendliness toward Jews.)

-One implication of the Pope's Holocaust-denying actions is that Israel will cancel its papal invitation for later this year.

So it looks like the Pope really screwed himself over on this one, after convincing everybody for years that he "hadn't really supported the Nazis." But then again, what did you expect from a guy named Joseph Ratzinger?

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