Priest sorry for ‘offensive’ Holocaust remarks

By Rick Morton
Social Affairs Reporter
The Australian
January 5, 2019

Father Rod Bower has apologized: “I acknowledge that my attempt to explore this issue was clumsy and I am sorry for the offence caused.”

After speaking with Jewish leaders, Anglican priest Rod Bower has apologised for “offensive” ­remarks in which he suggested offshore processing of asylum-seekers was the first step on the way to the Holocaust.

The Gosford Anglican Church rector erected a sign at the end of last year with the message “Manus is how the Holocaust started”, which drew ire from moderate and conser­vative Jewish groups. After discussions with community leaders, including NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff, Father Bower said in a statement: “Several days ago, I attempted to ­explore something of the sociological phenomenon of ‘otherising’ and dehumanisation I have observed in the way Australia has dealt with asylum-seekers.

“In so doing, I mentioned the Holocaust and some sections of the Jewish community found this deeply offensive. I acknowledge my attempt to explore this issue was clumsy and I am sorry for the offence caused.”

Mr Alhadeff said he was pleased at the outcome.