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JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel's chief rabbinate severed ties with the Vatican on Wednesday to protest a papal decision to reinstate a bishop who publicly denied 6 million Jews were killrd during the Holocaust.
The Vatican and the state of Israel have had their own relationship since establishing diplomatic ties in 1993ed during the Holocaust.
The Vatican quickly distanced itself from Williamson's comments and said removing the excommunication by no means implied the Vatican shared his views.
Williamson and three other bishops were excommunicated 20 years ago after they were consecrated by an ultraconservative archbishop without papal consent—a move the Vatican at the time called an act of schism.
Benedict said Wednesday he had lifted the excommunication because the bishops had "repeatedly shown their deep suffering over the situation."
The German-born Benedict expressed his "full and indisputable solidarity" with Jews.
He recalled his visits to the Auschwitz death camp—including as pope in May 2006—and the "brutal massacre of millions of Jews, innocent victims of blind racial and religious hatred."