Page last updated at 21:31 GMT, Thursday, 19 February 2009

Argentina expels Holocaust bishop

Richard Williamson's views on the Holocaust

Argentina has ordered an ultra-traditionalist British bishop who denies the Holocaust to leave the country or face expulsion.

The interior ministry said Roman Catholic Richard Williamson had been given 10 days to leave Argentina.

Earlier this month the bishop was removed from his post as the head of a breakaway seminary in Argentina.

A row erupted in January after the Pope decided to lift Bishop Williamson's excommunication on an unrelated matter.

The Vatican said the Pope had been unaware of Bishop Williamson's views and had since ordered him to recant.


Argentina's interior ministry said on Thursday that Bishop Williamson "has concealed the true motive for his stay in the country".

Bishop Williamson's residence, the Nuestra Senora Corredentora seminary in La Reja, January 2009
Bishop Williamson had been based at a seminary in La Reja

He had said he was an employee of a non-governmental group rather than declaring "his true activity" as the director of a seminary, the ministry stated.

Bishop Williamson's views on the Holocaust have provoked outrage.

"I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against, six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler," he said in a recent interview for Swedish TV.

The controversy made headlines worldwide after the Pope lifted an excommunication order on the bishop and three of his colleagues who were appointed by a breakaway archbishop more than 20 years ago.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who died in 1991, had rebelled against liberal reforms in the Church, such as restrictions on the traditional Latin Mass.

Pope Benedict later met American Jewish leaders at the Vatican in a display of solidarity with victims of the Nazi genocide.

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