The SSPX’s Bishop Williamson responds to the lifting of the excommunication.
Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments.
The "Re-Incommunication" [Does this seem a little flippant? I don’t think this would be my headline after my excommunication was lifted by the Vicar of Christ? Maybe this is just … I don’t know what it is… ]
Eleison Comments LXXXII
As of course a large number of readers already know, a Decree dated Jan. 21 from the Congregation of Bishops in Rome (not Ecclesia Dei) "remitted" the "excommunicating" Decree of July 1, 1988, so that the four Society of St. Pius X bishops then declared to be "excommunicated" are now "re-incommunicated". In my opinion this latter Decree is a great step forward for the Church without being a betrayal on the part of the SSPX.
It is a great step forward for the Church [hmmm… the lifting of my sanction is a step forward for the Church. Aren’t we great!?] because if the Church’s problem ever since Vatican II has been a separation of Catholic Authority from Catholic Truth, with this Decree Catholic Authority has taken a decisive step back towards their re-union. [If that has been the Church’s problem. I am inclined to agree to an extent. I just disagree that this fellow, or these bishops, are the embodiment of the corrective.] Just as after the Motu Proprio of July, 2007, nobody could any longer say that the true rite of Mass was banned by Rome, even if they can still behave as though it is, [indeed, sadly the case] so too now nobody can any longer say that Catholics holding to Tradition are "outside the Church". [No! That does not follow. Bp. Williamson, et al., were not excommunicated for doctrinal differences. They incurred the censure by their own actions in allowing themselves to be consecrated against the explicit will of the Roman Pontiff! When he says that the lifting of the sanction now justifies doctrinal positions, or adherence to Tradition in any reasonable sense, he is wrong.] Certainly a number of Conciliarists will go on behaving as though they are, but they clearly no longer have the Pope on their side only. The difference is enormous! [Yes, it is but not in the way he means.]
Of course there is still a long way to go before the neo-modernists in Rome, conscious or unconscious, realize – if ever! – how they mistake the Faith, but as the old proverb says, "Rome was not built in a day", and it will not be repaired in a day. Nevertheless "Half a loaf is better than no bread" – ask a hungry man! [I hope he didn’t just suggest that this is just a crumb from the Holy Father’s table.] – so meanwhile let us know how to thank God for this major shift of the rudder of the Conciliar Church. [Not a little self-important here… ? Okay… it’s a pep talk. I’ll give him that.] Let us then thank the Blessed Virgin Mary whose intervention will have been decisive, thanks to the nigh on one and three quarter million rosaries [Amen.] offered to her for this intention, by a number of yourselves amongst others. And let us thank and pray for Benedict XVI and all his collaborators who helped to push through this Decree, despite, for instance, a media uproar orchestrated and timed to prevent it. [Okay, let’s accept that he wasn’t trying to throw a spanner into the gears, as it seemed he was. If he was so eager for this new development, what did that interview that caused the recent fuss say about his prudence? I wonder if he knows how he is coming off? Take that head line he wrote for this piece. To be fair, a guy can argue what he concludes about the Jews and WWII. He can sift his evidence and make his conclusions. He is free to do that, and it doesn’t touch the Church’s doctrine. But express those galactically unpopular view in front of a microphone and running video camera?!? What on earth was he thinking?]
However, by asking for and accepting such reconciliation with the Conciliar Church, is not the SSPX threatening to lead the way back into Conciliarism? In no way! No doubt some Conciliarists in Rome are hoping that the Decree will serve to draw the SSPX back into the fold of Vatican II, [Frankly, I think there is predecent for the Holy See not to insist on too many disputed points, about which men of goodwill are free to disagree. With Pope Benedict in charge, they will not be driven to the wall on very many points stemming from Vatican I documents. Papa Ratzinger will respect differences. He wrote about his own reservations!] but the Decree itself, as it stands, commits the Society to nothing more than to entering into those discussions [Right! Brick by brick… step by step. That is how this must proceed. With grace and elbow-grease.] to which the Society committed itself in 2000 when it proposed the liberation of the Mass and the ending of the "excommunications" as preconditions in the first place.
Then are such discussions without danger? Certainly not! But St. Peter says we should always be "ready to satisfy every one that asks you for a reason of that hope which is in you" (I Pet. III, 15). [Good choice here.] How can the SSPX not rejoice in the opportunity to lay out in Rome, before the Roman authorities themselves, the profound doctrinal reasons which we believe to be at the root of the Church’s present distress? [Perhaps the most important thing he wrote in this piece. I agree completely. If they are sincerely interested in the truth and the Church, then they should want to rush to the discussion, ready with their arguments but with humility. Humility.] Woe unto us Catholics of Tradition if we were not ready to give reason for that hope which is in us for the rescue of the Church! [O brother!] So continue to pray the Rosary, [I will certainly follow this admonition, in all good will.] dear Catholics, for the possible realization and outcome of such discussions, so that they may serve first, last and foremost, the interests of God, of God, of God. Kyrie eleison.
La Reja, Argentina