I don’t have the Italian yet, but it seems that the editor of the Holy See’s L’Osservatore Romano, believes that the Holy Father lifted the excommunications of the SSPX bishops not just because of the context of the Week for Christian Unity, but because of the 50th anniversary of John XXIII’s calling for the Second Vatican Council.
Here is the money in a French translation of Vian’s editorial in L’Osservatore Romano:
Un geste qui aurait plu à Jean XXIII et à ses à successeurs, et une offre claire que Benoît XVI, pape de paix, a voulu publier en coïncidence avec l’anniversaire de l’ annonce de Vatican II, avec l’intention claire de voir bientôt assainie une fracture douloureuse.
Think about the irony.
The lifting of the excommunications seen as a fruit of the Council.
In the meantime, His Eminence Walter Card. Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue (therefore dealings with non-Christians, for example Jews) made a comment about SSPX Bp. Williamson’s opinions about the extent of the massacre of Jews during WWII. He didn’t seem very happy about the whole thing.
"They are unacceptable words, stupid words. To deny the Holocaust is stupid and it is a position that has nothing to do with the Catholic Church"
Hard to disagree.
About the lifting of the excommunications:
"It was a gesture to favor the reconstitution of the unity of the Church. It is only a first step, because a series of themes must still be discussed. It is necessary to see in what way they accept the Council. It remains to be seem what will be the status of the SSPX. … Benedict XVI expressed himself about this problems with extreme clarity. I understand that the opinions of Williamson can cast a shadow on relations with Judaism, but I am convinced that the dialogue will continue. We have good relations with them."
One of the things we must pray pray pray about is that in the discussions, the reps of the Holy See will not insist unreasonably that the reps of the SSPX accept points rising from the Council’s documents (and also their misapplication) over which people of good will can sincerely disagree. If the the SSPX reps express concern over what they see as ambiguities in the Council’s documents, and they make their case, then in fairness the ambiguities, and therefore out freedom in their regard, ought to be taken into due consideration.