Ironic, yes, but significant

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.

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30 Responses to Ironic, yes, but significant

  1. Mike says:

    What would be most useful, to me at least, would be a “Vatican II Syllabus of Errors” along the lines, say, of “Quanta Cura”

  2. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    Kaspar’s words are pretty charitable considering Fellay has said Kaspar is not even a Christian. You can find that on youtube.

  3. TJB says:

    I have to wonder if the Pope was thinking more of future generations in the SSPX than the present one, when he lifted the excommunications. I’m as hopeful about a full union as the next guy, but lets be honest, anyone who knows the men in the SSPX knows that they will not budge even an inch from their positions. However, a continued effort toward communion by Rome may make the ground more fertile for dialog with future generations. I think the Pope wants to at least get things moving in the direction of communion, so that hopefully somewhere down the road it can eventually be achieved. Before the lifting of the excommunications is seemed things were moving in the direction of a permanent schism and now things appear to be at least moving in the right direction.

  4. Ioannes Andreades says:

    “It was a gesture to favor the reconstitution of the unity of the Church.”

    Is the remission of excommunications now just one tool in a shed of gestures? Rereading the Holy Father’s reasons (as in the press release) for lifting the excommunication, it was as a response to Bishop Fellay’s statement, “…we continue firmly resolute in our desire to remain Catholics and to put all our strength at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept her teachings in a filial spirit. We firmly believe in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this reason the current situation causes us much suffering.” I can’t imagine that an excommunication was lifted as a feel-good gesture. It was in a response to a concrete request on behalf of four individuals with solicitude for the spiritual welfare of these four souls. Yes, this lifting allows for a variety of new hopes that involve the SSPX movement as a wholse, but the hopes are not the reason for lifting the excommunication.

  5. Cardinal Kasper hasn’t helped matters at all.

  6. Joe says:

    one small point. Cardinal Kasper is responsible for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, under which falls the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. The Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue under Cardinal Tauran deals with non-Christians except for the Jews.

  7. Brian Mershon says:

    Vatican II was not dogmatic. The discussions will be short-lived because there is very little about Vatican II that one has to “accept” as a matter of faith and morals. Very little. Like a house of cards in fact.

    Someone should tell Cardinal Kasper.

    My prediction. The formal regularization will happen within a month.

  8. Patrick says:

    Also, acceptance of “the Holocaust” has nothing to do with the Catholic Faith.

    Bishop Williamson’s comments are no more important than if he said the University of Colorado Buffaloes won the 1990 College Football National Championship, when we ALL know it was, in fact, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

    That’s about how important “the Holocaust” is to the Catholic Faith. That is, not even at all. It is a non-topic, and +Williamson’s only mistake was to even agreeing to talk about a non-event, without specifying that it is a rather trivial matter.

  9. James Isabella says:

    Patrick wrote:
    “Also, acceptance of “the Holocaust” has nothing to do with the Catholic Faith.”

    Now, I don’t know if Bishop Williamson is an anti-Semite or not, but his Holocaust comments strongly point in that direction. If he is, then he is not only insulting our Jewish brothers and sisters, but our Lord and Lady as well.

    It seems to me that this would be a grave sin… one that he would need to repent of before he re-entered full communion with the Church.

  10. Joe says:

    Whether we like it or not ‘holocaust denial’, whatever it might have meant originally, has taken on a life of its own in today’s world. Anyone who speaks publically has to keep that in mind. I have a friend who is a priest who asked a custodian in a religious institution how his “little (illegitimate child)” was doing. Father was quite innocently asking after the state of the child that this unmarried man had and was raising. Father was quite innocent, and was fired within hours. I would think a Bishop has enough work to do without going into areas that he should know will make his job more difficult without any ocmpensatory gain.

  11. Susan Peterson says:

    Joe,

    Are you saying that your priest friend asked the custodian how his little b——
    was doing? Innocently? I know time travel is impossible, so I have to presume that your priest friend is newly arrived from, say, Africa and speaks English as a foreign language, poorly, and looked up this word in an outdated Swahili to English dictionary. Otherwise there is no way that this could be done innocently. And I think you must know it.
    Or did you make up this story to make a point about holocaust denial?
    It is just so unrealistic that I find it difficult to believe.
    Susan Peterson

  12. Rob says:

    STUDY THESE TWO VIDEOS TO SEE HOW THESE TWO MEN ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT THEY BELIEVE:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCNrjrkiS_I

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykd-syzZ4ZY

  13. Liam says:

    To call the Holocaust a “non-topic” that is a “rather trivial matter” boggles the mind.

    It’s far more important than the choice of Missal.

  14. Patrick says:

    “It seems to me that this would be a grave sin”

    Disputing that 6,000,000 Jews died at the hands of the National Socialists in the “concentration camps” is a “grave sin”? So, is it your position that belief in “the Holocaust”, as popularly defined and accepted, is a Doctrine of the Catholic Faith? Why do you believe this to be so?

  15. craig says:

    “Also, acceptance of “the Holocaust” has nothing to do with the Catholic Faith. … It is a non-topic, and +Williamson’s only mistake was to even agreeing to talk about a non-event, without specifying that it is a rather trivial matter.”

    A non-event?? Trivial matter?? Please, step aside quietly and let someone else handle evangelization, if this is to be your mindset.

    Jews have been subject for centuries to attacks, pogroms, persecutions, etc., in Christian Europe and in Christian parts of the Near East. It’s a painful subject for them, not least because they perceive the local Church to have been an occasional instigator, even a beneficiary.

    It is true that the historicity of the Holocaust is not a Catholic dogma de fide. Neither is the historicity of certain priests buggering minors and certain bishops covering for them. But because both the Holocaust and the sex abuses are extremely well-documented and witnessed facts, indisputable to the honest inquirer, deniers are rightly perceived by the broader community as either postmodernist, sociopathic, or self-interested. All three are poisonous to spreading the gospel.

    Besides, the Church professes the historicity of the Apostles’ Creed; she proclaims that “the truth will set you free”. She thus has a particular duty to avoid rewriting history to make it more flattering — the repentant sinner is more believable than the one who pretends he has never sinned.

    Because of past sins of commission and of omission (and no, I’m not saying the Church caused the Holocaust), the Church cannot simply ignore a “prince of the Church” who denies history about either of these situations. Millstones, necks, etc.

  16. Liam says:

    And bearing false witness is a violation of the Decalogue. And deciding to believe in non-evidence may be sign of a lack of good faith in forming one’s view of what is false versus true.

  17. Dan says:

    “Kaspar’s words are pretty charitable considering Fellay has said Kaspar is not even a Christian. You can find that on youtube.”

    What prompted Bishop Fellay’s remarks? Were they based upon remarks and/or actions undertaken by Cardinal Kasper? Or did Bishop Fellay simply decided one day to simply utter that the Cardinal isn’t a Christian?

  18. Mark P. says:

    So, is it your position that belief in the Holocaust, as popularly defined and accepted, is a Doctrine of the Catholic Faith? Why do you believe this to be so?

    Because our Lord himself was Jewish and his people suffered unbearable torment. Because Justice demands it. Because to believe otherwise is to align oneself with hate.

  19. Patrick says:

    “Because our Lord himself was Jewish and his people suffered unbearable torment.”

    Jesus is an Israelite (“Jewish” today implies a follower of the Talmud, from the traditions of the Pharisees), and His people are those baptized into His Church, founded upon the Rock, Peter.

    To say that Jesus’ people are the Jews is heresy. You, sir, are not a Catholic, but a heretic.

  20. Joe says:

    Dear Susan,
    Yes, it was done in all innocence, by a born-and-bred native English speaker. He did not mean anything perjorative or tendentious by the term b******. But my point is he should have known better. I think you and I are saying the same thing, but you from the perspective of ‘no one would possibly be stupid enough to say that’ and me from ‘how could he have been so stupid as to have said that?’

  21. dominic1962 says:

    To all those who are so ready malicious motives to Bp. Williamson, let’s remember judge not lest you be judged. No one can know his intentions or his soul, so don’t even bother.

    Second, if any of you bothered to actually watch the interview, Bishop Williamson does not deny the Holocaust, but based on his reading of the Leuchter Report and such, he thinks that the numbers have been exagerated as it would have been impossible to gas that many people. There are reports that counter the evidence in that report, so I’d say its questionable. However, regardless, questioning the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust is not the same as the outright denial of the Holocaust by neo-Nazis.

    Third, the Holocaust is over-we cannot do anything about it. As horrible as the Holocaust was, we do have more important things to worry about in the Church because there are things happening now. Bp. Williamson’s decision to speak on such a topic was most unfortunate, but in all reality, the only real injustice involved in this is that the liberals will trot out strawmen of “anti-semitism” to color the SSPX with.

  22. James Isabella says:

    dominic1962 wrote
    >>>”To all those who are so ready malicious motives to Bp. Williamson, let’s remember judge not lest you be judged. No one can know his intentions or his soul, so don’t even bother.”

    A convenient reply. How about “You shall know a tree by its fruits.”?

    >>>”However, regardless, questioning the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust is not the same as the outright denial of the Holocaust by neo-Nazis.”

    Why is Bp. Williamson even addressing this issue? Of what possible use is this to the spread of the gospel? Is the point that the Nazi final solution wasn’t as bad as its made out to be? The only people I ever hear try to make a point of this (the number of Jews killed), are people who are predisposed to hating Jews… and there are not a few of these types among extreme traditionalists.

    >>>”Bp. Williamson’s decision to speak on such a topic was most unfortunate, but in all reality, the only real injustice involved in this is that the liberals will trot out strawmen of “anti-semitism””

    Then call me a liberal, because I believe that anti-semitism is a real and a grave sin. This type of bad Christian witness frustrates the work of the Holy Spirit among the Jews.

    Let me be clear with you, centuries of Christian hate and violence have turned the sweet name of Jesus into curse for the Jews (I know this first hand). We need to make doubly sure that we don’t intentionally or unintentionally put more barriers to conversion before them.

  23. Patrick says:

    James Isabella, you need to learn to separate hatred of Talmudism (the Jewish “religion”) from the people that follow it.

    I hate Talmudism.

    I don’t hate any person.

    I hate their false religion, it’s doctrines, it’s morals, everything about it.

    I have a “Final Solution” to rid the world of the “Jews”:

    THEIR CONVERSION TO THE ONE TRUE FAITH, FULLY CONTAINED WITHIN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.

    As a matter of fact, at the end of Time, everyone will either be Catholic, or suffering for an eternity in Hell. There won’t be any more Jews, nor Protestants, nor Hindus, nor Muslims, nor Buddhists, etc. There will be ONLY Catholics.

  24. prof. basto says:

    Holocaust denial is a form of Anti-Semitism.

    Anti-Semitism is condemned by the Catholic Church.

    If what I read is correct, Bp. Williamson’s brand of Holocaust denial even disputes that gas chambers were used to kill prisioners in death-camps.

    I would like to know, then, if Bp. Willamson, for instance, disputes the martyrdom of St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross (born Edith Stein), or her canonization. Her hagiography states — as is widely known — that she was murdered by being gased in Birkenau. In those gas chambers that, according to Bp. Williamson, did not exist.

    Holocaust denial indeed be a position that does not violate any Catholic dogmas. (After all, the historicity of facts — with a few exceptions linked to the Faith — is not a part of the Catholic doctrine. It belongs to the realm of history, not to that of religion.) But it sure is a stupid and absurd position, that smacks of anti-semitism.

    It is not an excommunicateable offense, and so the excommunications – that had to do with a different matter – were rightly lifted, and now Bishop Williamson should be laicized and should spend the rest of his life as a layman in the Church.

    After all, nobody appointed him a Bishop, and even when full reconciliation comes, the Pope is not obliged to accept Bishops that the Holy See never appointed. No-one doubts the validity of the consecration, but it cannot be doubted that Rome has exclusive powers to appoint and regularize Bishops, and it may opt never to regularize Williamson’s status in the Clergy, instead opting for his laicization.

  25. Phil (NL) says:

    Prof. Basto,

    I couldn’t have put it any better.

  26. Patrick says:

    “Holocaust denial is a form of Anti-Semitism.”

    POPPYCOCK!

    Holocaust denial is simply a politically incorrect view of history. One can deny “the Holocaust” up and down, and not have single strand of hatred for the “Semitic race”.

    Absurdity. However, I’ve come to expect it from the brainwashed.

  27. prof. basto says:

    Patrick,

    Such an absurd view of recent history — history witnessed by people who are yet alive, history attested by piles of bodies, by crematoria, by Nazi documents — badly veils the subjacent reason for the holding of such a view: Anti-Semitism.

  28. JayneK says:

    “Why is Bp. Williamson even addressing this issue?”
    Because an interviewer asked him about it. The interviewer questioned Bp. Williamson on a remark he made many years ago, even though this was not supposed to be in the interview. So the Bishop told the truth about his views, almost certainly knowing they would be unpopular.

    While I can see how unfortunate his comments are, I also see a certain courage and integrity. I dare say he could have been more prudent, but I feel a great deal of sympathy for him.

  29. Liam says:

    We await an English translation of L’Osservatore Romano repudiation of Williamson’s comments today, along with the reaffirmation of the binding nature of Nostra Aetate and the Church’s teachings as applied to anti-Semitism (or even masqued under the erstwhile neologism of anti-Talmudism).

  30. Liam says:

    And Williamson was not merely imprudent. Imprudent implies that he is telling the truth but should simply refrain from doing so. Williamson gravely harms the Church in a variety of ways with his wing-nuttiness. Even given his irregular position vis-a-vis the Church. Traditionalism needs to be saved from his ilk, clearly and unequivocally.