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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Vatican: Oops

The Vatican has demanded that Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson undeny his denial as a condition for reinstatement.
The Vatican also said in a statement Wednesday that Pope Benedict XVI didn't know about Bishop Richard Williamson's views when he agreed to lift his excommunication and that of three other ultraconservative bishops last week.

The statement was issued by the Vatican's Secretariat of State a day after the German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the pope to make a clearer rejection of Holocaust denials.

On Friday, Willismaon expressed regret to the pontiff for the "distress and problems" he caused by denying the Holocaust.
I don't understand why the Pope decided to reinstate these people and why he decided to reinstate them now. But it certainly should have been checked beforehand. Coming on the heels of the head of the Vatican Council for Peace and Justice calling Gaza a concentration camp, it's going to take a little more than Williamson recanting to restore an awful lot of people's opinions of the Catholic Church.


At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's OK. My opinion of the Catholic Church has not changed in years.

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Bill said...

The Vatican bungled this horribly, but it's incompetence rather than malice. The Roman buraeucracy (predominantly superannuated nuns) have moved a bit beyond parchment and quill pens- but not by much. It's unfortunately entirely plausible that they would be clueless about Williamson's scummy opinions.

What you've got to understand (and I say this as a Catholic Judaeophile) is that the 1988 exommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre and the four priests he elevated to the episcopate was based on that very act, in defiance of a Papal order not to go ahead (Lefebvre had been for over a decade under a ban against performing any priestly functions). In other words, the affair had *nothing* do do with holding dirtbag political opinions. Holocaust denial has actually been ruled a sin by the Church- but sin is not a basis for excommunication.

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Robertcw72 said...

The Vatican is about as useful as the UN!

At 9:20 PM, Blogger Captain.H said...

"The Vatican bungled this horribly, but it's incompetence rather than malice."

I won't disagree with that point about Vatican incompetence but it's only one of a long series of acts and statements that show the leadership of my former Church is (what I term) infected by intellectually and morally befuddled Euro-thinking. Appeasement, denial of reality, moral equivalence, shamelessness are all part of this.

If Gaza is a "concentration camp", and for that matter likewise the Arab areas of the West Bank, it's one of the Arabs' own making. In Carl's article "Gaza's 'great food shortage'?", there's the classic juxtapositioning of the before and after Israeli withdrawal photos of those wonderful fruit and vegetable greenhouses that Israelis built in Gaza. If I remember correctly, those greenhouses once supplied a significant amount of the fresh produce for both the Gaza and Israeli markets.

The after Israeli withdrawal photo is a perfect visual metaphor for what "Palestinians" do. I've no doubt, all the former Jewish homes built in Gaza are now ruins or homes for Hamas "leaders". Anything of real value and benefit is turned into the proverbial Tacitean wilderness.

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Bill gets it right.

This is an attempt to heal a long split from the Church's traditional side. The Pope's lifting of the excommunications was a religio-politico maneuver which I predicted shortly after he was elected.

This group claims to be within the Catholic church but has been functionally outside. By simply putting them back inside officially, it challenges them to begin actually behaving as part of the Church, rather than as outsiders.

They have become in some ways very comfortable acting on their own and as the years went by, it began to seem less and less likely that this important breach should be healed. It was important to get it done for the sake of all the Catholics inside this organization and the prelude to all this had been very carefully planned and worked up to over a couple of years.

To let the *sshat Williamson ruin it all would have had disastrous consequences for the whole venture. He is on the outs even in his own organization and the combination of the Pope's action and this brainless interview has actually turned opinion even inside the SSPX decisively against Williamson.

That means that the anti-Semitic tendencies inside this group are actually HURT by the Pope's action and all that ensued.

It's sad that those who don't understand internal Catholic politics get the impression of an endorsement of anti-Semitism. But that has nothing really to do with what happened and the net long-term effect is the opposite of the impression created.

God's blessings on our Elder Brothers before the God Who Is.

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Captain H.

More than that. There were significant exports from Gaza when Israel ran the greenhouses, including most of the strawberries and roses in Europe .

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Ivan said...


The Bishop was excommunicated as his ordination was in defiance of the Pope. He has since expressed his remorse and desire to be reconciled with the Catholic Church. The power of excommunication is such that it threatens to deny eternal life to Bishop Williamson. That is how serious an issue excommunication is for us Catholics. (You of course may choose to laugh at it.) The Pope, being a humane man has lifted his excommunication order as an act of mercy, seeing Williamson's obvious distress. The original order had nothing to do with the Holocaust, but his reinstatement as a Catholic of good standing is for the sake of Williamson's soul. It should also be noted that these days the Pope wields excommunication only in cases where a priest or bishop teach what is contrary to the dogmas of the Catholic Church. I was quite happy to see the excommunication lifted both for the sake of Williamson's soul and for the fact that it demonstrated that obvious idiots ( Williamson is apparently a 9/11 truther too) continue to hold office in the Mother Church.


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