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Catholic group expels priest over Holocaust remarks

An ultra-conservative Roman Catholic society that has come under fire over a member's denial of the Holocaust has said it had expelled another priest who cast doubt on Nazi gas chambers.

world Updated: Feb 07, 2009 10:29 IST

An ultra-conservative Roman Catholic society that has come under fire over a member's denial of the Holocaust has said it had expelled another priest who cast doubt on Nazi gas chambers.

The decision by the Italian chapter of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X to cut ties with Floriano Abrahamowicz came a week after the priest criticised the Vatican and said gas chambers were used for "disinfecting". "For some time Don Floriano Abrahamowicz has expressed positions different that those of the Fraternity Saint Pius X," the group said in a statement on Friday.

"The decision to expel him, as painful as it is, has become necessary to avoid a further deterioration of the image of the fraternity and so that its work on behalf of the church is not hurt," it said. In an interview published last week, Abrahamowicz told the daily La Tribuna di Treviso: "I know that gas chambers existed at least for disinfecting but I can't say whether they caused deaths because I haven't explored the question in depth."

Abrahamowicz also denounced the 1960s Vatican II reforms as "worse than heresy." His remarks came amid a spiraling diplomatic row over Pope Benedict XVI's decision to rescind the excommunication of Richard Williamson, a British-born bishop and fellow Saint Pius member.