An Italian website, which quoted an Italian bishop as saying Jews were behind the criticism of the Catholic Church over sex abuse claims, has upheld the quotes.
The Catholic website Pontifex published comments from Bishop Giacomo Babini, 81, the emeritus bishop of Grosseto, Tuscany, in which he said he believed the current attacks raging against the Catholic Church were a “Zionist attack”, proven by the “powerful and refined” nature of the criticisms.
He reportedly said: "They do not want the Church, they are its natural enemies. Deep down, historically speaking, the Jews are God killers."
The American Jewish Committee, which spotted the comments, described them as “slanderous stereotypes, which sadly evoke the worst Christian and Nazi propaganda prior to World War II."
But the Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI) denied the bishop had ever given the interview. Bishop Babini said: "Statements I have never made about our Jewish brothers have been attributed to me."
However, Pontifex later published a statement, standing by its story and declaring that for “men of the church”, denying previous statements was “a habit”.
It also claimed that Bishop Babini had made other antisemitic statements earlier this year which he had never denied, and said it wanted to “refresh the memory” of the CEI.
It quoted the Bishop as saying on January 25 that "The Jews are not our closest brothers, they overslept on the arrival of Christ and the Old Testament; in doing so, they then chose not to be our closest brothers."
It also quoted the bishop as saying that Jews use the Holocaust “like a club”.