SSPX Bp. Williamson comments on the lifting of the excomm’s.

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

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159 Responses to SSPX Bp. Williamson comments on the lifting of the excomm’s.

  1. hopeful says:

    His supporters tout the good Bishop’s superior intellect and great writing and speaking ability. I can’t help but find him arrogant, in writing, speaking and in person. Humility befits a bishop of the Church better than proud arrogance. I have known some amazingly brilliant priests, in and out of the SSPX. None behave in the manner of +Williamson.
    He is free to hold whatever opinion he wants on secular matters (re: #’s of dead in the Holocaust) but instead of flaunting his “intellect” in front of the world he needs to think of consequences. Being prudent is not being a coward or bowing to the secular media. It’s putting the good of souls first, and being fully One with Holy Mother Church is good for souls.

  2. JayneK says:

    I know that he is pretty unpopular in a lot of places, but somehow I like Bp. Williamson. Perhaps I have a soft spot for him because of his stand against feminism. Maybe I admire the courage it takes to be outrageously outspoken. I hope to see him and the SSPX fully united with the Church.

    I am pleased that our Pope is overseeing this process of reconciliation. He brings great mercy and intelligence to the task. Yet another thing to add to my list of reasons to be thankful for Pope Benedict XVI.

  3. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    all in all, not bad for Bishop W though. Compare these remarks to others he has made and the tone is an improvement. Maybe it is some posturing for some of their supporters. The glass is 60% full now. Continued prayers for the next part of this process.

  4. Geoffrey says:

    Thank you, Father. This very much needed your clear commentary! Thank you!

  5. Justin says:

    The Vicar of Christ comes out of this process looking humble, gracious and willing to go that extra mile. In short his behaviour has been nothing short of Christlike. Bishop Williamson, on the other hand, just seems a little too arrogant, a little too self-righteous, a little too – here, here’s how we can teach the Church, as opposed to thanking the Holy Father for the opportunity to sit at his feet and learn from him about Christ, Peter, and episcopal leadership.

    I’m glad the excommunications have been lifted. I wish the response of the SSPX leadership would just emanate more joy at the great privillege and blessing it is to be able to learn from, and to be able to discuss with the Roman Pontiff.

    Language like “neo-modernist Rome” should have no place in a response by a Catholic bihsop to the lifting of an excommunication against him.

    Acknowledge the importance of Tradition as a remedy for the crisis in the Church, acknowledge not just the primacy of the Pope but also the supremacy of the Pope, accept the fact that you have a lot to learn from your fellow bishops. A little humility can only please the Blessed Mother.

  6. Brian says:

    This has been a painful chapter of the Church’s history. Many Catholics who love the Church’s Tradition, but have been ostracized and called schismatic for many years are wounded, bitter, suspicious and at risk of schism and sedevacantism.

    Bishop Williamson speaks for many such people. His strident tone in “accepting such reconciliation with the Conciliar Church” will help to reassure these Catholics that he and they are maintaining their commitment to Truth and their integrity as they reconcile with the Church. His tone is offensive to many, but this important statement from Bishop Williamson will help to bring these Catholics into full Communion with the Church.

    Like him or not, Bishop Williamson is going to be Bishop Williamson. I am not so sure that that is a bad thing.

  7. ED says:

    Whether we like to hear it or not disobedience has been the way to be rewarded in the post-Vatican 2 Church. First in the Novus Ordo both communion in the hand and no Kneeling were not allowed then as the disobedience grew out of control the Holy See eventually had to “legalize” as an option on the books. Now we see the SSPX going ahead and consecrating 4 bishops and after years of their stubbornness the Holy see caved in. This will also have to take place if Communist China is ever free because there are many many illicitly consecrated bishops in China not just 4. THese 4 will be a long needed voice in the hierarchy from prelates who aren’t afraid to attack the failures of the church, i’m sure they will give the liberals and modernists many headaches in the years ahead. For that i say DEO GRATIAS!!! There were stipulations that the SSPX wanted (1) to remove the excommunications and (2) to be able to attack and challenge the Vatican 2 documents and see that they coform to TRADITION. I’m a FSSP attendee but i’m glad their STRONG voice will challenge the status quo. How ironic the disobiendient SSPX has 4 Bishops the obedient FSSP 0. Facts don’t lie.

  8. Johnny Domer says:

    This is the reason why the consecrations were so bad…LeFebvre consecrated two men who were 30 years old (Fellay and Alfonso de la Galarata), and then Tissier de Mallerais and Williamson, both of whom are really radical (I feel like Tissier de Mallerais is just as hardline as Williamson is, he just writes fewer articles in English). Basically, I just feel like he consecrated four yes-men who would tow the party line. Now, what happens if all four of them aren’t reconciled? The schism will continue forever. Williamson will consecrate more bishops, and I bet Tissier de Mallerais will follow him, and I’m going to guess those men they consecrate won’t exactly be mild and eager to reconcile.

    We need to pray pray PRAY for softened, generous, forgiving hearts all around.

  9. Momcilo says:

    In what ways, if any, does this affect the SSJK?

  10. Paul Haley says:

    I just wish that Bishop Williamson would not speak out on such matters while Bishop Fellay is conducting the negotiations. Would that the good bishop would show more prudence in his public discourses.

  11. schoolman says:

    Something tells me that +Williamson will not be chosen as an SSPX representative for talks in Rome.

  12. Anna says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,
    Often the flaws we see in others are the exact same flaws we possess ourselves. Do you ever stop to consider that to many YOU seem just as arogant as you think Bishop W and the SSPX are? Be careful how you judge the intentions and hearts of others. What you see as arrogance, God may see correctly as a childlike and simple confidence in the past definitive teachings of the Church. A person of absolute certitude in Catholic Tradition comes across as being arrogant in their certaintly, but in reality, it is humility – a complete trust in Church that is cannot contradict itself, and one must maintain steadfastly what the Church has always taught.
    God bless you.
    Anna

  13. ED says:

    With all the loony liberal bishops in the Church today , i’m sure you can stand one Bishop Williamson!!!

  14. John Enright says:

    I don’t think that the bishop is completely lucid. His denial of the Holocaust, for example, shows that he is not in touch with reality. I hope and pray that he comes around.

  15. Anyone who follows the writings of Bishop Williamson can see this statement is rather different from his usual style…calmer, more…grace-filled?

  16. One thing I would say is, God places all people for a purpose. Its like mother angelica was talking one day, she asked God to help her learn patience. Well the first thing that happened in the day set her off. Bishop Williamson is God teaching us patience. At the same time he is spouting off, it helps the rest of the church better itself. almost like a prophet of old. He is more or less “Challenging” us to do God’s will. Thus, he does have his purpose, as do we all.

    That being said, it will be interesting how he is dealt with from here on out by his superior. I seriously doubt the SSPX wants the excommunication to be reinstated for outright defiance of the pontiff and magisterium. That would just at the start be embarrassing, and at ends a catastrophe to the process. I am praying for both sides, for the Williamsons, and the “Spirit of Vatican II” folks, that they dont end up ruining this.

  17. paul says:

    I certainly will pray for this man, his views on the holocaust are deeply disturbing to say the least. 6 million Jews were put to death during the Holocaust as well as many other people- Catholics included. I consider myself a traditional Catholic and any anti-semitism has no place in the life of a Catholic. Read Pope Pius X1 statements “spiritually we are semites”. Also Jesus’s own mother was jewish as well as his foster father Joseph. All of us were implicated in the death of Christ because He died for all men.

  18. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Father,

    I agree with the Bishop when he speaks of tradition being excommunicated. Many Catholics never look at the actual reason for an ecclesial penalty, but rather use the penalty as a reason to dismiss the point of view of the one being punished. You mentioned Fr. Feeney in an earlier post. Most Catholics will tell you he was excommunicated for teaching that non-Catholics could not be saved outside of the Catholic Church. Yet he was never accused of any erroneous teaching by Roman authorities. He was the one that accused Archbishop Cushing of being an heretic. He was “excommunicated” for refusing to go to Rome (I put “excommunication” in quotes because unlike the SSPX he immediately filed a complaint of nullity with Rome, which had to be answered within 60 days or the complaint was granted – the complaint was never answered. Also the decree of regularization for Fr. Feeney said any sanctions which MAY have been in place are remitted). My point is that I have met many conservative Catholics that will tell you the SSPX bishops were excommunicated for rejecting the teachings of Vatican II. This is of course wrong, however, it is based on a correct impression. I am convinced that many in Rome at the time of the excommunication, wanted it to appear that the excommunications had a great deal to do with the rejection of Vatican II, implying that if anyone was to question Vatican II or even its implementation, they were no more Catholic than the excommunicated SSPX. This is what I believe the bishop was referring to.

  19. beng says:

    Papa Ratzinger will respect differences. He wrote about his own reservations!]

    What Fr. Z said.

    Anyone can find me where Benedict XVI wrote about his own reservation?

  20. Tradition says:

    Anna,

    You write, “Often the flaws we see in others are the exact same flaws we possess ourselves.”
    Are you suggesting that Fr. Z has flaws? I thought it was part “Catholic Tradition” to always think well of another? Or do you presume correct a priest in a public forum instead of a private forum. Remember Mat. 18? At least you could have provided some evidence for Fr. Z somehow manifesting these “flaws”.

    You write, “Do you ever stop to consider that to many YOU seem just as arogant as you think Bishop W and the SSPX are?”

    I suspect that you think that Fr. Z is accusing Bp Williamson of arrogance. When did Fr. Z ever use the word “arrogant”? He did not another poster did.

    You write, “Be careful how you judge the intentions and hearts of others.”
    When did Fr. Z judge anyone’s “intentions or hearts”? He did not. He commented on the public words of a public figure.

    You write, “A person of absolute certitude in Catholic Tradition comes across as being arrogant in their certaintly, but in reality, it is humility – a complete trust in Church that is cannot contradict itself, and one must maintain steadfastly what the Church has always taught.”
    Are you confusing the fides qua with the fides quae?

    I agree with “hopeful”, I have heard Williamson preach and frankly I cannot see why so many find him to be a great orator. The only thing I can imagine is that Americans are impressed by an accent.

  21. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    If the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church are not to become simply “company men” and “yes men” then there has to be the opportunity for them to disagree with the Pope and his actions – in the context of fidelity to tradition – without the automatic assumption that they are in the wrong for doing so. That means that the assumption of dialogue cannot be that Fr. Z is simply right in the the answers he gives to the various questions about the Society’s status – e.g., that their marriages are invalid – simply because he repeats the Roman line. We know what they think already. Williamson seems to be a cook and to raise his points in a haughty manner, no model of dialogue by any means. But the service that sspx could render to the Church is to restore some balance in favor of tradition and a downgrading of reliance upon the Vatican answer to every question. This is the great weakness of the Catholic Church (also a strength), its dependency on the living oracle as the solution to nearly all disagreements in theory and practice. The Church should repose upon a consensus of traditional Christianity and refer to it in debate – the Pope should not have to always create and recreate the consensus through his acts. When it goes too far in that direction, there is no corrective when the Pope gets it wrong, as several modern Popes notoriously did. And we are still stuck with the consequences.

  22. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    I wish people would be more precise when they call Bishop Williamson a holocaust denier. You make it sound like he does not believe the Jews were rounded up, and sent off to concentration camps. The bishop believes that 200000-300000 Jews were killed by the Germans, and that the gas chambers they have discovered could not have been used has killing chambers because of the lack of proper seals on the doors, exhaust fans and chimneys. Unfortunately, this topic is off limits so the only allowable version of events is the official one. Many people become suspicious of any story that is not allowed to be investigated and tested for accuracy. I imagine Bishop Williamson is such a person. I also think he is the type of person that can not shut up, even when he knows he should. It reminds me of Ron Paul spending his time on Meet the Press debating whether the Civil War was necessary to end slavery, and whether Lincoln was a good president. He must have known it would hurt his campaign, he just could not help himself.

  23. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    Sorry, I meant “kook” not “cook.” Maybe someone can find some humor in that slip.

  24. Justin says:

    See my problem is how the SSPX keep banging on about how much they have to teach the Church without any acknowledgment whatsoever that they have a thing or two to learn from the Pope! It’s like well what’s the point for asking for the excommunications to be lifted in the first place.

    The true Tradition always places oneself below Peter in matters both doctrinally and disciplinary.

    Seemingly, the excommunications have been lifted without any expression of contrition from the offending party? Instead the line seems to be – we were right all along.

  25. Marc says:

    Kudos to you, Father Zuhlsdorf, for exercising the patience to deal with Mons Williamson’s text.

    I wonder (not knowing except superficially about the Lefevrist communities) who are their serious theologians who are likely to go to the Holy See to discuss the ‘quaestiones disputatae’?

  26. Anthony says:

    Remember, the SSPX needs to keep its hard line deep pocketed benefactors happy. I’m not saying they need to cater their position to their benefactors, but the 4 bishops know that they can’t just “return to Rome” without causing a fissure. In 1983 several SSPX priests went sedevacantist and formed the SSPV, I’m sure the bishops of the SSPX want to avoid this. They should work slowly in an effort to bring the entirety of their great society onboard with Rome rather than jumping to quickly and letting some of their members fall overboard into sede land.

  27. Marc says:

    I just can’t resist to reply to Christopher Sarsfield that, yes, when someone is alleging that only perhaps 200,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazi regime, he is denying ‘the Holocaust’.

    This isn’t the place for that, however, and i won’t address the subject here again.

  28. Daniel A. says:

    “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, so too now nobody can any longer say that Catholics holding to Tradition are ‘outside the Church.’” -Bp. Williamson

    “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.” -Fr. Zuhlsdorf

    I’m not sure if that is what Williamson is trying to say here. He could be referring to the fact that Traditional Catholics (of all varieties) are often mocked and criticized, usually by being assumed to be schismatics, sedevacantists, and other such people who are indeed outside the Church. What with the SSPX bishops being acknowledged as being “within the Church” (though obviously not fully), even the most dedicated liberal Catholic will not be able to say “oh, you must be like those excommunicated people” upon learning that one is a traditional Catholic.

  29. R&R says:

    Why does everyone keep calling Williamson a bishop? My understanding is he was never elevated to the rank of bishop by the Vatican and is not a Catholic bishop now. If he calls himself a bishop, it must by definition be of a different denomination (SSPX, a protestant group). I.e., he is not a Catholic.

    If he is now a Catholic again, he is by definition not a bishop.

  30. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    Why can’t the Holy See and the Society simply disagree about who was right and who wrong in the matter of the consecrations? It is hardly a point of faith. If the answer is that, well, this is the Catholic Church so it is always wrong to go against the Pope – then what is there to discuss? I guess for some of you that is the point.

  31. RC says:

    For R&R:
    Agreed, Williamson does not licitly hold the title of “bishop”, but Cardinal Re used it in the decree, so everyone else may as well use it.

    For Nicknack:
    Who’s right does matter: contumacy in an offense tends to provide a reason for not lifting penalties. OTOH, the lack of public sorrow from the four bishops in the SSPX doesn’t seem to be stopping Pope Benedict.

  32. Antiquarian says:

    Interestingly, on the webpage where the SSPX links to the press releases concerning the lifting of the excommunications, directly beneath them is a link to the pre-existing page where they claim the excommunications were not valid and that therefore, the bishops were never excommunicated at all.

    I realize that this is what they’ve been saying all along, but again, diplomacy might have suggested not placing the link there, now.

    http://sspx.org/bishop_fellays_excommunications_texts.htm

  33. Daniel A. says:

    R&R, he was validly but illicitly consecrated (ordained) a bishop. That is, he has validly received the full sacrament of Holy Orders, and is thus, in reality, a bishop. Yes, this was done illegally, but it still works, being done in a technically correct manner. It is thus not analogous to an Anglican bishop\’s consecration or that of a WomanPriest.

    Unless and until reconciliation occurs, he is a suspended bishop without an assignment.

  34. He’s a bishop, plain and simple. Being suspended a divinis doesn’t change that, or the fact he is properly addressed as a bishop. He lacks a pontifical mandate, he lacks jurisdiction of any kind, he lacks plenty of things…but the title is appropriate, since he is beyond question a validly consecrated bishop in possession of the fullness of Holy Orders.

  35. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    RC, I agree with you what who’s right could matter, but can we disagree about things that matter in the Catholic Church even when the Pope has taken sides? The policy that many commenters here seem to prefer is that reunion be based upon the assumption that Lefebvre was wrong and that therefore an apology from the sspx is in order prior to full reunion. Ironically, THIS Pope may not agree with that. I hope the papalists here will be ready and willing to go with THAT!

  36. Paule says:

    OH BOY! You people need to calm down!

  37. Jason Keener says:

    I hope Bishop Williamson tones it way down. Most of us sympathize with the SSPX, but this whole approach about the SSPX now going to the Vatican to finally correct the errors of big bad Modernist Rome is going to get old quick. I hope Bishop Williamson doesn’t overplay his hand, for the sake of everyone who is interested in a renewal and restoration of Tradition.

    Benq,

    In the past, Pope Benedict did have some critical comments about the Council. For example, Pope Benedict stated that certain parts of “Gaudium et Spes” are “downright Pelagian,” particularly in the treatment of free will in article 17. (Avery Cardinal Dulles article “Ratzinger to Benedict”). As Joseph Ratzinger, the Pope also expressed concerns that “Gaudium et Spes” was overly optimistic and unbalanced.

    As Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict also wrote: “Not every valid council in the history of the Church has been a fruitful one; in the last analysis, many of them have been just a waste of time. Despite all the good to be found in the texts it produced, the last word about the historical value of Vatican Council II has yet to be spoken.” –Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology (Germany, 1982; Ignatius Press, 1987), p. 378

  38. You know there are LOTS of valid but illicit bishops out there – just read the Wikipedia entry for Pierre Martin Ngô ?ình Th?c sometime. Ask yourself what difference there is between any of these bishops and the SSPX Four.

  39. C.L. says:

    Not in theological fact but in appearance, all of this reminded me (a little) of Pope Honorius attempting to reconcile the monophysites by approving of a policy of silence in relation to the reconciled group’s new, perduring heresy.

  40. Michael Thoma says:

    I’m beginning to think Bishop Williamson never really corrected his Anglo-protestant mindset. Even in his response here there is a venomous tone. I wonder if he really believes his anti-Papal/antiVC2 diatribes or if he is simply stuck at being protestant, even while Catholic. (The conspiracy theorist in me thinks perhaps he’s the Church of England’s response to the Pastoral Provision.. )

  41. Mark Ma says:

    I just want to concur with Anna’s early post about the possibility that certainty in the Faith can come off as arrogance. How many secularists call Catholics arrogant when we use our faith to justify certain political positions? I won’t presume to judge a Bishop either way, but it’s an interesting observation by Anna and I wanted to mention it.

    Also, why are people calling the Bishop antisemitic for questioning Holocaust numbers? Antisemitism is discrimination, prejudice, or hostility against Jews. Challenging historical claims does not constitute prejudice, and believing something that a particular group does not agree with is not equivalent to being hostile against that group.

    Now, I don’t agree with the Bishop’s statements about the Holocaust — I’ve done no substantial research about the death toll and therefore don’t have an opinion about it. But for those of you who have examined the historical records and reviewed the arguments on both sides, and conclude that the death toll of 6 million is correct, you might consider using more precise language to describe the Bishop’s position. You might believe that he is “wrong” or “ignorant” but there is no justification for using “antisemitic.” Frivolous use of “Antisemitism” could dilute the word’s meaning, leaving us without a suitable term with which to condemn truly deplorable bigotry.

  42. shadrach says:

    Michael Thoma has got it in one. It’s always sounds hollow when people without the genius of Evelyn Waugh, or his real humility, attempt to imitate his saeva indignatio. I’ve seen this phenomenon more than once among circles that correctly value liturgical tradition. Still, ut unus simus…

  43. hopeful says:

    My original comment may have been harsh. I respect +Williamson’s love of Christ and His Church. I respect a good many of his views, but not all. Just because one doesn’t care for his delivery it doesn’t make him less right. That said, +Williamson likes to shock, he likes to get a rise out of people. He seems to thrive on it. That is all well and good when he is trying to get people to consider the destination of their eternal soul, to take a hard look at their sinful self. It is another situation when he is doing it because of the shock value of what he says, or likes firing back.
    He should stand strong for the Faith and the TLM and sacraments, and leave the negotiating and public appearances to +Fellay who has some sensibility.

    I’m just a simple laywoman. I don’t know much. I just know that when I converted I thought I was converting to One Catholic, Holy and Apostolic Church. I can’t tell you how sad it made me to see just as much infighting among Catholics as there is/was between Protestant denominations.

  44. Mark Ma asked:

    Also, why are people calling the Bishop antisemitic for questioning Holocaust numbers? Antisemitism is discrimination, prejudice, or hostility against Jews.

    Actually, they are calling him antisemitic for (1) claiming that at most 300,000 Jews died at the hands of the Nazis; (2) claiming that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is authentic, even though the full details of this forgery’s origins are known; (3) claiming that the Jews are fighting for world domination “to prepare the Anti-Christ’s throne in Jerusalem”.

    Of course, some people restrict the term “anti-semitic” to dislike of Jews for racial reasons alone. If this is your preferred definition, then Archbishop Williamson’s views might be more accurately described as “subscribing to the belief in a powerful world-wide Jewish conspiracy.” Consider, for example: historians have the names of the Jews who were sent to the camps. Virtually all historians agree that 5,900,000 Jews died in these camps. If Williamson believes that at most 300,000 died there, then what happened to the other 5.6 million? They must have been smuggled off to a secret location, where they lived the rest of their days without ever being discovered, while their relatives searched for them for years and finally concluded they were dead. Why would they do that? And why would all the countries of the world accept the claim that six million Jews had been killed? There’s no way that this could be possible unless you suppose the existence of a massive conspiracy that has utterly changed the course of world history.

  45. What a pompous, arrogant, self-aggrandizing fool this man is. I will certainly be offering many Rosaries, asking Our Lady to ensure that this man never holds any position of authority in the Catholic Church. Good grief, what a joke.

  46. R&R,

    Williamson and the other three are rightly called bishop because they were consecrated by two men with the power to do so. Their consecration means that they have valid apostolic succession and maintain all the faculties of a bishop. However, those faculties remain in suspension until otherwise noted by the Vatican.

  47. Braadwijk says:

    I mentioned it earlier, and there you have it. Right in the tone of his letter and his choice of words regarding the Church today you have everything that is wrong with the SSPX this side of the ocean, not to mention what a loose cannon Williamson tends to be. There’s this nonsense mentality about going to the rescue of the Church, as if the SSPX were the Church’s one salvation. It would be no surprise at all to see Williamson throw a tantrum after the first set of meetings and split the society for the sake of coming “to the rescue of the Church”.

  48. nicknackpaddywack:

    No one is assuming Lefebvre was wrong. That he was wrong is a matter of fact, not assumption. He violated a direct proscription from the Vatican and illicitly consecrated four bishops. That is wrong, objectively so. There is no assumption involved.

  49. Adeodatus says:

    The Holocaust Denier writes from Agentina. That’s rich.

    It’s true that being a Denier in itself does not constitute a heresy. But Anti-Semitism does (it’s either outright blasphemy or some species of Docetism or Nestorianism). I’m afraid I don’t see any basis other than Anti-Semitism to deny the Holocaust. Maybe a couple philosophers from the Mossad could show him the error of his ways. I’ll donate a pair of pliers to the cause. They can leave his mouth intact so we can all remember why the SSPX is so repulsive.

  50. Michael Thoma says:

    Ruth Gledhill adds intrigue to my Anglo-protestant conspiracy theory:
    http://timescolumns.typepad.com/gledhill/2009/01/church-of-england-clergy-host-holocaust-denial-bishop.html

    Why would this man be willing to use non-Catholic altars to celebrate the Holy Mass? From a denomination collectively far more liberal than most Catholic parishes? All the while viciously denouncing (dare I say “protesting”)anything post-1962 Catholic?

  51. Allena says:

    Anna,
    “Dear Fr. Z.,
    Often the flaws we see in others are the exact same flaws we possess ourselves. Do you ever stop to consider that to many YOU seem just as arogant as you think Bishop W and the SSPX are? Be careful how you judge the intentions and hearts of others. What you see as arrogance, God may see correctly as a childlike and simple confidence in the past definitive teachings of the Church. A person of absolute certitude in Catholic Tradition comes across as being arrogant in their certaintly, but in reality, it is humility – a complete trust in Church that is cannot contradict itself, and one must maintain steadfastly what the Church has always taught.
    God bless you.
    Anna”

    ummm, so what did you just do? It seems to me, that you could apply your own advice to yourself quite fastidiously. As we say here in the sticks, “Clean up yor own front porch afore ya go hollerin bout th’ neighbor’s.” :) Generally, I think your advice could be quite good, but dear Father Z didn’t do those things, and I don’t think he was uncharitable/arrogant either.

  52. Mark Ma says:

    First, I’m going to apologize for not reading carefully. I somehow missed that Anna’s statement was directed at Father Z. This confusion could have been avoided if I read her salutation. I apologize, and would like to say that I don’t support in any way Anna’s remarks regarding Father Z. The general principle that people can mistake certainty for arrogance I agree with, but I don’t think that applies to Father Z’s post.

    Mr. Lawrence King stated:
    “Of course, some people restrict the term “anti-semitic” to dislike of Jews for racial reasons alone.”

    Yes, I prefer to use this definition. Holding conspiracy theories about groups of people may be erroneous or imprudent, but it is not racism. If the Bishop wants to contest historical numbers, or posit some sort of conspiracy, then the validity of his claim can be contested but it isn’t antisemitism unless his claims can be shown to arise from a hatred of Jews just because they are Jews.

    Anyway, in his recent interview, he gave some explanations and cited some sources, which I haven’t had the time to look up. They might well be faulty, but he might believe them to be valid, and so his beliefs don’t seem to obviously stem from hatred.

    There doesn’t seem to be a reason to call questionable scholarship “antisemitism” when we have other words for it. Doing so dilutes the meaning of antisemitism, and also levels a harsher-sounding charge by merely changing the definition of a word. Currently, the Merriam-Webster defines antisemitism as discrimination or hostility, and using it that way facilitates communication.

  53. Matt says:

    I think it is sad that people feel the need to disparage a Bishop of the catholic church. Whatever the Bishop’s views of the holocost are they are his views. These views are not a doctrine of the church. They may be offensive to some.

    The SSPX and even cardinal Ratzinger at the time felt there was great error that could come from the council. If it were not for the SSPX there would be NO moto proprio. There would be no more latin mass. There would be no one to shine a light on the errors that are happening. The SSPX may seem arrogant to many, but if you know your catholic faith well you will see much truth in what they teach. There have been anti-popes in the past. There ARE masons in rome now who want to destroy the church.

    There IS room for much discussion and disagreement about many issues in the church. The SSPX will NEVER apologize. The pope knows this. He also know that the strong traditional beliefs of the SSPX will stir many in the church hopefully back towards tradition and less towards innovation.

  54. Cynthia Gee says:

    Much as I’d like to see Williamson and his cohorts in the ultra-Right return to the fold, to allow them to do so without repentance on their part is, in my opinion, tantamount to extending the hand of fellowship to the prochoice/progay marriage factions of the ultra-Left.

    My point is, there is a ditch on either side of the road, and it is just as anti-life to be a Holocaust-denying racist as it is to be pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage.

  55. Matt says:

    For all those spouting hate at Bishop Williamson and the SSPX please view the following:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR5XT2Vtn6w
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiijwaPghT4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCPGKBb5e60
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVnSLWzjsf4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cngzaBcHqCo

    Watch them all and then tell me how much of this you have witnessed yourselves. This is but a mere shadow of what is happening world wide. It is why the SSPX will never repent. They want a return to traditional catholic teaching and values. They will never apologize for holding true to the catholic faith of the thousands of saints and faithful over the last several thousand years.

    I await the day that the Papal Court will be restored and we will see a full pontifical high Mass celebrated by the Pope. I am not sure I will live to see that day, but I pray for it.

  56. Greg Smisek says:

    His Excellency said: “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!”

    It seems to me that the sentence can be parsed in two very different ways:
    1) By testifying to their hope, Catholics of Tradition will effect the rescue of the Church.
    2) Or the hope which they hold and are to profess is precisely the expectation that God will (soon) rescue His Church from the crisis at hand.

  57. Ben says:

    NO, he is not just expressing a very unpopular view on the holocaust, what he does is CRIMINAL. period. if he ever comes back to germany, he could get maximum five years in jail for that. i think he is not just arrogant, he is evil.

  58. Matt says:

    Any government that bans speech, however unpopular, is a facist state. Like it or not Germany is not a free country where one is free to say what he pleases without worry of state reprisal. Sounds similar to 70 years ago, no. Bishop Williamson is expressing his opinion. If you want to make him a criminal for it, then you are no better than those who criminalized the speech of Jews 70 years ago.

    Let Bishop Williamson believe what he wants, however misguided. It is better to pray for him than to criminalize him for his views.

  59. Martin says:

    Ben: criminal? why? Because some secular states have absurd laws?

  60. elliot says:

    ‘Because some secular states have absurd laws?’

    Boy…is that an understatement. I live in Germany, a country where it’s forbidden to kill a dormouse(a small rat with a cute bushy tail) but killing babies in their mother’s womb is perfectly acceptable. Go figure..

  61. Martin says:

    Elliot… yes, as you say, go figure…
    And on the other end, Bp. Williamson is a “criminal” by the simple act of uttering words, whereas killing a live baby is not considered a crime. Kyrie Eleison…

  62. C.L. says:

    It is why the SSPX will never repent. They want a return to traditional catholic teaching and values. They will never apologize for holding true to the catholic faith of the thousands of saints and faithful over the last several thousand (sic) years.

    And they do this by disobeying Peter?

    My own view: I love Benedict XVI and am very happy about Summorum Pontificum. The motu proprio, however, is unlikely to restore glory to Catholic worship in most of the Western world because it is, in essence, a take-it-or-leave-it model of restoration. Most of the hierarchy appear to be leaving it, not taking it. Benedict should really follow up SP by announcing the phased abolition of the novus ordo – a form which has been a total, unmitigated disaster throughout the world. The Holy Father obviously believes the TLM is the best and most beautiful liturgical form – he has constantly referred to his decision to restore it as a gift – but he allows the second-best version (complete with the vandalised churches and vandalised rubrics and vandalised sacramentals that are its buttresses) to go on. Why? One Mass, two Rites? Come on. Even from the standpoint of building a church or designing its sanctuary, this liturgical dualism is nonsense. We seem to be heading towards a re-divided church: in the one branch, protestantised Catholics will continue to see their casual ‘liturgy’ as the true Mass; in the other, Catholics of Summorum Pontificum will see the TLM as normative. I’m not sure the pope has been decisive enough on liturgy.

  63. Joan says:

    With this story and a zillion interpretations flying all over the web, thank goodness we have Fr. Z to explain things to us clearly!

  64. Anne says:

    “…to allow them to do so without repentance on their part is, in my opinion, tantamount to extending the hand of fellowship to the prochoice/progay marriage factions of the ultra-Left…”

    Cynthia, you mean sort of like the warm embrace the Church gave to Tony Blair?

  65. Picard says:

    I neither agree with Mons. Williamson re the content of his interview (I believe that there were more than 300.000 killed etc.) nor re the prudence of it. In contrary, I think he is wrong (re the facts) and imprudent. And imprudent notwithstanding/regardless of if he was right or not (re the facts). Even if he would be right or at least if he is deeply confident that he is right (and I do not assume the contrary) he was very imprudent, I think.

    So re this I agree with F. Z. and others.

    But I have to agree with some other previous commentators: He is NOT a criminal. It is NOT ok to call Msgr. Williamson an “antisemit”. “Antisemitism” is not the only possible reason to put into question the sent. communis of historical teaching. There can be other reasons (and in fact are others, that move Msgr. Williamson, as everybody can see if he reads carefully some Willimason´s texts and interviewes: it becomes clear that he is not antisemitic.)

    And the discussion here shows how brain-washed we all already are
    – an that there are some good reasons to justify, advocate or at least excuse such an interview (although I still think it was imprudent) – and that may be the reasons Msgr. Willimason himselfe was moved and affected by – and made him feel to be justified to give such an imprudnet interview:

    To show the dishonesty, inconsitency and shallowness/superficiality of modern society:

    It is a scandal that some people call Msgr. Williamson (or men like him) an antisemit or that they think that he is so a bad man – only because he has some erroneous or only perhaps erroneus HISTORICALAL VIEWS. And that you can not discuss free in a free state.

    Don´t we live in a free state, with the right of freedom of opinion?? [answer no – only if you proclaim a right to abort your baby, only if you deny that JEsus lived or arose, only if you….: then you have the right of freedom of opinion and speech. We are not all equal. There are some who are more equal…., get the point?! – That´s Williamsons+ point].

    It shows exactly what Msgr. Williamson wants to show: the inconsistency, dishonesty and mendacity of modern society and state: you can deny the historicity [is this an English word?? – the historical fact/truth] of the rising of JEsus, of the fact that our LOrd lived at all, you can blaspheme, you are allowed to be pro-choice, pro-abortion,… you can … you are allowed .. .. – nearly all: but you are not allowed to question the “holy number” and “profan dogma” of 6.000.000!!

    Btw.: Once more this discussion shows how manipulated we are: some of the comments proclaimed this number (6 Mio) as undoubtful fact – but also “non-revisionsist” historicans put this number in question, some speak of 4 Mio, …
    So that´s the point Milliamson+ has, You see?!

    And explains his behaviour (although I still believe it was wrong and imprudent) – got the point?!

  66. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB says:

    Dear Fr Z,

    You are very patient, even gentle, in your comments on Williamson’s statement. Alas, I find his statement obnoxious. It more than merely smacks of triumphalism and self-congratulation, and its mocking references to the “neo-modernists in Rome” and the “Conciliar Church” make it clear he still views the situation as “us” (the good guys, the real Catholics) and “them” (the bad guys, the Conciliar modernist Church which holds the reins of Catholic Authority divorced from Catholic Tradition). You give him the benefit of the doubt, accepting that his statement is a pep-talk to his followers – agreed. A proper, constructive, and Catholic pep-talk would be to encourage his flock to embrace this development and to prepare to take its place as a constructive member of the Body of Christ, witnessing by their lives as well as their worship to the beauty of holiness. Such holiness requires, among other things, filial submission to the Pope.

    This really is make-or-break time for the SSPX – either they come back on board or they are doomed to be sectaries and schismatics and will die the death that such branches inevitably suffer cut off from the Vine of Christ’s Body (to mix my ecclesial metaphors). The reform of the reform in the Church is well underway without them, and Catholic Tradition has always been found in her. They can either be part of the process or be consigned to irrelevancy. If they set themselves continually in material opposition to the Pope they will not be Roman Catholics.

    We have much to pray about.

    Pax!

    Hugh OSB

  67. UBI PETRUS IBI ECCLESIA

    Respect and obedience to the Roman Pontiff are the hallmark of Catholic Christianity since he is the Vicar of Christ on earth. While his infallibity is limited to faith and morals, his primacy (papal authority) is supreme, full, immediate and universal (canon #218 in 1917 Code & #331 in 1983 Code) (Catechism #882) V2 Lumen Gentium #22)

    Hence, even though non-infallible, papal authority must be respected and adhered to with a submission of mind and will by the faithful (clergy and laity alike). Consecrating bishops or being ordained a bishop without papal mandate is an ipso facto automatic excommunication. It is an act of defiance against papal authority no less serious than the repudiation of papal authority by King Henry VIII and the English Bishops (except St. John Fisher) in 1534 which resulted in the Church of England (Anglican).

    Even when church authority has been unfair, look at the example of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. He was unjustly and unfairly censured for something he did NOT do. Did he rebel against authority? No. Did he do something to excommunicate himself? No. He quietly obeyed and was later VINDICATED and even CANONIZED. Some priests have been unfairly and unjustly penalized with censures. Canon law allows them to contest these in an ecclesiastical court. Defending your rights is different than flagrantly repudiating the authority over you.

    While many have similar sympathies to the plight of the SSPX (clergy and laity), the defiant act of consecrating bishops and of being ordained a bishop without papal mandate are SEPARATE issues. Many disagree with a lot of the INTERPRETATION and IMPLEMENTATION of the Second Vatican Council but it was legitimately convened by a legitimate Pope. Some liturgical-nazis have abused the documents of V2 by isolating and separating the LETTER of the law from the SPIRIT of the law. The Spirit of Vatican II is found in the actual letter, i.e., the full documentation of the Council.

    I pray for full reconciliation of the SSPX, from the bishops to the priests to the laity. A personal prelature would be fantastic. I also pray for HUMBLE and RESPECTFUL obedience to the Roman Pontiff, not just when we agree with him, but ALL THE TIME. A house divided cannot stand, Jesus said, but one which is united can sustain all storms and adversities. We have ONE visible head of the Church on earth and the Bishop of Rome is that man, no matter who he is at the time. Deo gratias, we have been blessed with two GREAT popes in succession (JP2 and B16)

  68. It’s a good thing the various watchdog groups for anti-Semitism have apparently not managed to read the Breviarium Romanum. I’m sure Leo, Ambrose, and Augustine would all be declared anti-Semitic before too long.

  69. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    Yes even in the new Liturgy of the Hours “official prayer of Church” there are occasional unmistakable references to Jewish conversion in the intercessions.

  70. Brian Mershon says:

    “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27′Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

    28″The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

    31″ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ “

  71. joy says:

    I’m just glad the vision of Don Bosco was of the HOLY FATHER steering the barque of the Church, and not four other guys…

    If this is his ‘more moderate’ tone, then we can pray that even more moderation takes place along the way. Unity is key to re-evangelizing the world. How can we show God’s love to the world when we can’t even get along with each other?

    Maria, Mater Ecclesiae, ora pro nobis!

  72. “I’m just glad the vision of Don Bosco was of the HOLY FATHER steering the barque of the Church, and not four other guys…”

    Brilliant!

    Great analysis and commentary, Father Z!

  73. JPG says:

    God Bless you , Fr Triglio, as succinct a summary as can be given.
    JPG

  74. Ann says:

    One of your early comments, by JayneK,got me thinking. She said, “Perhaps I have a soft spot for him because of his stand against feminism”. With all due respect, this is a little like saying “I have a soft spot for Joe Stalin because of his stand against capitalism.” Williamson’s reprehensible views on the Holocaust, have, quite rightly, been made much of. But he is also on record as saying, for example, that women should not have a higher education. This flies in the face of the Catholic Church’s long and noble tradition of advancing the position of women – look at the great Abbesses, look at the female Doctors of the Church, look at the religious orders established for the education of women when secular society was still consigning them to the kitchen. Sure, this isn’t grounds for excommunication and we can just laugh and call Williamson a loony – if it were not for the fact that I’ve noticed that some people on the extreme traditionalist wing of the Church and the SSPX have a certain sympathy with his views, if not going quite so far. Otherwise, he would long ago have been condemned and ostracised by his own colleagues. It would be a crying shame if the glories of Catholic traditional liturgy and devotion were restored but with add-ons which have nothing to do with Catholic tradition at all. I trust the Holy Father to know what he is doing but I just wonder how many “mini Williamsons” there may be in the shadows hoping to mould the Church in their own image.

  75. RP says:

    There has been a suggestion by some that the recent lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops is tantamount to the Pope saying that the consecrations were justified. Surely, such an interpretation is false. The teaching of the Church on this matter is unambiguous. In his 1958 encyclical concerning the Church in China (Ad Apostolorum Principis) Pope Pius XII clearly taught that it was forbidden under any circumstances to consecrate bishops against the Pope’s wishes. Such consecrations were “gravely illicit i.e criminal and sacrilegious”. It is interesting that both Pope Pius XII in Ad Apostolorum Principis and John Paul II in Ecclesia Dei both refer to the teaching of the First Vatican Council which binds Catholics to submit to the authority of the Pope not just in matters of faith and morals, but also in matters of discipline and government.

  76. Patrick says:

    In this letter Bishop Williamson exposes his own erroneous view of the Church. It is clear that he believes that it is he who saves the Church, and not the Church who saves him. It’s a totally un-traditional, un-catholic view of the Church.

    Brian M,

    You analogy works only if the prodigal son comes back to the Father saying things like, “Hey, here I am back to make your life better. You know the whole time I was squandering your money, I was right and you were still wrong. You should kill the fatted calf to welcome me back!”

    Oh, but that’s not what he did. He humbly returned and asked the Father if he could work as a mere servant. When I read Williamson’s letter above, I don’t get a “please, Holy Father, take me back as a lowly servant” vibe. He shows up telling the Father how great he is and how the Father is wrong about many things. There is no comparison between the prodigal son and Bishop Williamson.

  77. Roland de Chanson says:

    I expect that the modifications to the 1962 missal could eventually strike a sour note with the SSPX. The recent modification (yet again!) of the Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews was an act that not only failed to placate an ever implacable rabbinate and media, but may give rise among the SSPX to the suspicion that the 1962 Missal is merely a talking point for further bowdlerization and eventual subsumption into the Novus Ordo. A cacoethes demutandi remains virulently endemic among the liturgical tinkerers, for whom the salubrious dictum primum non nocere should be sufficiently wise counsel.

  78. Sid says:

    Rev. Fr. Z:

    Now that the MEF is restored (though not widespread enough!), and now that the excommunications are lifted, it seems that what remains to be obviated for the Society are doctrinal points with reference to V2.

    I would welcome, in my ignorance, a listing of exactly what are the doctrinal issues of V2 to which the SSPX objects — what Williamson calls “the profound doctrinal reasons which we [the SSPX] believe to be at the root of the Church’s present distress”.

    E.g., I once read the statement of a SSPX member,and by report a former priest of the Society, that the Blood Liable is “the consistent teaching of the popes”, even though Nostra aetate said — praise God! — that the Blood Liable was no such thing whatsoever.

    And folks, don’t start a rabbit hole on the Blood Liable! I’m asking for a listing of points, asking it respectfully from Fr. Z, and asking respectfully that it be a different item in his blog.

  79. Rob says:

    Generally speaking, Bishop Williamson’s letter, The ‘Re-Incommunication,” is a moderate response to the Holy Father’s removal of the order of excommunication. What is most distasteful in his response is his sentence:” 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.” When Bishop Williamson writes, ‘ a media uproar orchestrates and timed to prevent it,” he is clearly referring to the media uproar over his comments posted all over the world, for example in the website Telegraph.co.uk in the article written by Damien Thompson, “Pope ‘to lift SSPX excommunications’ just as Bishop Williamson denies Nazi gas chambers,” Jan 22, 2009. In that article which accompanies the video of Bishop Williamson answering questions and explaining his views on the Nazi Holocaust, death of Jews, and gas chambers, etc. it is perfectly clear what Bishop Williamson thinks and believes. It was the words which came out of his mouth which caused the so called to use his words, “media uproar orchestrated and timed to prevent it.” Now, Bishop Williamson, aside from being a bishop, is also a graduate from the University of Cambridge, with a degree in literature. He has also been a seminary professor and a writer of books. So, how is it possible that an expert on words could involve himself in a “media uproar orchestrated to prevent it” [the lifting of the excommunications]? It cannot be believed for one second that he said anything he did not want to say, nor when he said it. Furthermore, look at Bishop Fellay’s words, Bishop Williamson’s boss, who wrote in a letter to the Swedish television station, Sveriges Television AB-SVT, on January 21, 2009, ” Although it had been understood that the interview [ the television interview of Bishop Williamson on the Swedish television station] would deal with religious issues only, the reporter asked the bishop’s opinion concerning historical matters.” [ THE HOLOCAUST] ” It is obvious that a bishop can only speak about questions of faith and morals with any ecclesiastical authority. If he deals with secular issues,” [ like THE HOLOCAUST] “he is personally responsible for his own private opinions.” Bishop Fellay then goes on to craft the dispensation of Bishop Williamson’s actions and words given during the interview by writing and implying that the fault lies with the television station and the interviewer when he writes, ” with the obvious intention of misrepresenting and maligning the activity of our religious Society. Such vile attempt will not reach its goal…. to bring the true Catholic faith and sacraments to Swedish Catholics…” So here we see the truth. Bishop Williamson, a scholar, answers questions freely about a secular matter, the Holocaust, perhaps knowing or not knowing the interviewer’s intention, though that fact is irrelevant. What is certain is that the interviewer, knew of Bishop Williamson historical comments on Jews, Holocaust, gas chambers, etc. Even if the interviewer would trying to corner the Bishop to speak about those matters that is not relevant. So then, I ask, why did Bishop Williamson engage in this dialogue? Why didn’t he say, ‘ look sir, I am here as a Bishop of the Catholic Church and I would like to spend time discussing the Church, the work of the SSPX, I would prefer not so speak about such matters.’ Was there some one behind the Bishop’s chair twisting the Bishop’s arm to force him to speak about the Holocaust and Nazi gas chambers? Why did he participate willingly, or did he?, speaking about things his boss says are his own opinions and not a matter of faith or morals? Why then does he blame the media for simply reporting on what he said, twisting reality and concocting a story that the media was trying to prevent it? And Bishop Fellay, why does he come to the aid of Bishop Williamson indirectly chastising him a little but then swiftly twisting and redirecting the focus away from Bishop Williamson and the SSPX by wagging a finger at the vile television station which had “…the obvious intention of misrepresenting and maligning the activity of our religious society. ” One hand washes the other. Two Pinnochios?

  80. Clare says:

    Father is right that the SSPX bishops were not excommunicated for holding to tradition; they were excommunicated because they were consecrated bishops without a papal mandate. There’s a big difference! See this article: http://catholicexchange.com/2008/05/03/112453/ for more discussion of this.

    Personally, I’m already placing bets on how long it takes Bishop Williamson to walk out all over again. Keep in mind that he was an Anglican and converted directly into the SSPX under Archbishop Lefebvre. He has therefore never learned an important facet of being a Catholic: obeying church authority even when you personally disagree. This man is still a protestant, through and through.

  81. Sid says:

    I hasten to add that I am in no way suggesting that the Blood Liable be such an doctrinal issue for the SSPX, or that fine folks of the Society be believers in the Blood Liable.

  82. boredoftheworld says:

    The comparison isn’t between Bp. Williamson and the Prodigal as much as it is between the elder son and the rest of us.

  83. Elizabeth Hanink says:

    I like your commentaries and always find them useful, even today. While most of what you said is direct and fair, I think you should, in this case at least, skip the snideness. It is unbecoming to you and not helpful to the cause of reconcilliation.

  84. Adam says:

    The move by Benedict to remove the excommunication of John Paul II seems good,BUT the words of one of those bishops has now created a storm of protest, due to his views on the Holocaust. Iran’s leadership must be viewing this closely.
    But you have to ask, whom has the pontiff consulted on this move? Why was Williamson’s views allowed to disrail the pontiff’s act? The vatican now has an almighty roar from Israel and jews outside which may well disrupt the pontiff’s Israel visit this year.
    The vatican insiders do not seem to have seen this coming and you really have to wonder about communications between the Sec of state on the Papal household.
    Since the advent of Bertone there have been numerous blunders which did not occur under the previous occupant. Catholics and others may well ask who runs the State office and how much does the Pontiff rely on them for advice?
    This latest blunder looks bad, reads bad and indeed looks horrendous to the world.
    The pontiff needs to get Williamson to Rome and speak to him about this matter and demand a retraction. Isn’t that the least the bishop could do, given the mercy and love shown by Benedict XVI to him and the other excommunicated bishops.

  85. Rob says:

    Disciplinary matters concerning Williamson are the responsibility of his superior, Bishop Fellay. Should Williamson be found subversive and divisive he should be removed. A man, a bishop, who goes around the world telling people Jews were not gassed in the gas chambers and shows videos to his constituents and his clients claiming that George Bush and the U.S. government were behind the destruction of the World Trade Center and the murder of U.S. citizens will surely see his career end… it is inevitable. Truth and justice will be had. The things he says are a dis-grace to the SSPX and make mockery of the Catholic Religion.

  86. Jerry says:

    I am surprised that in all these comments no mention is made of the “necessity” argument which is the backbone of the SSPX position, for Tradition to survive the consecrations had to be done — there would be no continuation without bishops to ordain traditional priests.

    Jerry O.

  87. There is only one “worldwide conspiracy,” and it’s not a Jewish one, but the conspiracy of the enemy of all our souls.

    It is a very curious thing about the Jews–such a tiny group, and yet they have had so much influence, bearing the revelation of the one, true God, and giving the world its savior. The Lord God chose them, not because they are the greatest of nations, but because they are the smallest–and God’s gifts are without repentance. That the Jewish people endure to this day, despite all, despite their seemingly having “finished” their work (Jesus came), suggests God has a role for them to play in the drama of salvation, which is consistent with St. Paul’s words in his letter to the Romans.

    It is also a very curious thing how persistent and irrational is the hatred and venom against the Jewish people; has any other people been such targets–other than Christians? It makes sense to me that the same “conspiracy”–i.e., the enemy of our souls–is directed against both the Body of Christ, and the Chosen People who gave Him to the world.

    Therefore, quite apart from the nonsensicalness and irrationality of so much hatred of the Jews, I would avoid associating with such things for fear of whose dread influence one may be submitting to.

  88. meg says:

    This letter was for insiders, not outsiders, that is why is doesn’t read well to the ears of outsiders.

    Yes, Bishop Williamson needs some PR help, regardless of what his views are. But we cannot as Catholics judge what his intentions are/were.

    I am no expert on this subject by any account. But I do know this: the priests at my FSSP chapel had to go to Rome to sign papers agreeing, from what I understand, that they believe the NO Mass is valid, and agreeing to say the NO Mass under certain circumstances. The day they go through with this is the day this parish will empty.

    For 20 years many, many beautiful Catholics were/are denied the TLM because of the falsehoods coming from Rome about it’s abrogation.

    I don’t have the stomach for the whole SSPX situation but sometimes I wish I did; I have many friends who do. It must be incredibly liberating. For their children, traditional Catholicism is as natural as breathing. Gorgeous Masses, holy priests. Just under 2 million rosaries said in 2 months to the Blessed Mother, with the results they wanted.

    Why would they ever compromise?

    If the FSSP caves, guess where you’ll find me?

  89. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    It is relevant to point to the example of saints who suffered unjustly rather than disobey popes. The problem is that the popes control the modern canonization process and will never declare anybody a saint who didn’t do what they said. Naturally, it is a similar situation with the quotations from the catechism and cannon law. They write it, so you can be sure it will say they have absolute authority over the church and that it is (practically) always wrong to disobey them. Alas, Fr. Trigilio is correct that this is Catholicism. And that is why the SSPX has always been in a strange position. They believe that too, but they believe that this authority was instituted for a purpose, one that has not been served by the conciliar popes. Any of us can imagine what it would be like for us to be in something like what they took to be their position. What if the Pope ordered you to disavow faith in Christ? Nothing in Catholic theology denies this possibility. Should one obey even then? Indeed, because of thoughts such as these not even Popes will say there are absolutely no circumstances under which disobedience to a Pope might be required. The sspx faced a difficulty – ordain more bishops or they were finished, the movement against VII and the changes – or certainly their group at the least – would have been done. I for one am glad that one bishop at least was able to stand up and say “no” to the popes who cooperated in the destruction of the Catholic tradition. But, yes, in Catholicism such an action always has the element of the tragic or the quixotic. The man in white holds all the cards. And we have seen what it hath wrought.

  90. Yes even in the new Liturgy of the Hours “official prayer of Church” there are occasional unmistakable references to Jewish conversion in the intercessions.

    Comment by Piers-the-Ploughman — 26 January 2009 @ 7:41 am

    The fact we are being told who we can and cant pray for, is silly (and that’s the nicest way I can put it)

    You know, I dont recall anyone making the stink about mormon baptisms of the dead or the native american who prays tot he great spirit for the land I live in(Even though I believe in a Trinitarian Deity), yet we seem to take it on the cheek when someone is like “DONT YOU DARE PRAY FOR ME”. I honestly wonder what some of those people do with their free time, besides be so angry. I dont find praying for the conversion of Jews anti semitic, any more then I find praying for the conversion of Islam through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, anti arab. Its what we do, we are Chrsitians, we pray for people.

    All the more reason to keep praying for them, I suppose.:)

  91. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB says:

    Dear Jerry,

    Perhaps the reason why the “necessity” has not been raised is that there never was any “necessity” other than that of preserving the FSSPX as a separate and independent entity. I will not deny that there many difficulties and trials for orthodox (and not just Traditionalist) Catholics in the 1970s and 1980s (and beyond), but to ordain bishops in defiance of the Pope is tantamount to an act of schism. The vast majority of the orthodox stayed within the Church and what they have sown they reap today in the reforms of Pope Benedict XVI. In every age there is some trial that the Church has to face, without exception. The trials test our fidelity. The faithful are rewarded for their refusal to say “I will not serve”. It may take time in coming, but the reward comes. In the meantime we carry our cross daily in the hopes of hearing at the Last: “Well done good and faithful servant”.

    Fr Hugh OSB

  92. Sid says:

    By report, the North American Superior of the FSSPX, Father Arnaud Rostand, had a letter of his read in all SSPX chapels yesterday, as I just have been informed.

    Is a copy posted somewhere? Can someone send a copy to Fr. Z for fisking?

  93. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB says:

    PS Please excuse the omitted words in my previous post – haste makes waste!

  94. Paul says:

    Rob,

    Why are you addressing these to people who haven’t said anything about the holocaust???

  95. Brian Mershon says:

    Strong rumor is this is a done deal Feb. 2. Vatican Source: “Vatican II is not a dogma of Faith.?

    After all of these circumlocations by priests, bishops, popes and theologians all of these years to make the Council seem “relevant” to our spiritual lives.

    “Vatican II is not a dogma of faith.” That should be the headline.

    Dissident Catholics here who are not in full communion with the letter or the spiritu of the current magisterium.

    Long live Pope Benedict XVI. Long live Tradition! Deo Gratias for Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Bishop Bernard Fellay!

  96. Rob says:

    ANSWER:

    “Ecumenism is another thing, yes, it was said that he (Benedict XVI) despised Assisi, but we are not sure, and now he has gone into the synagogue many times, with the Jews, so… It is not clear…because he has an inclination towards the Jewish religion.”

    -Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais

    Colton, California, 21 April 2006
    Stephen L.M. Heiner
    On behalf of the Remnant

  97. I seldom agree with Fr. Z., but he is certainly right to point out that Benedict would never insist “on very many points stemming from Vatican I documents.” :D

  98. RBrown says:

    I am no expert on this subject by any account. But I do know this: the priests at my FSSP chapel had to go to Rome to sign papers agreeing, from what I understand, that they believe the NO Mass is valid, and agreeing to say the NO Mass under certain circumstances.
    Comment by meg

    I taught in the FSSP seminary, and I never heard that.

    There was a time, however, when there was a dispute over the right of FSSP priests to be able to say the Novus Ordo. This arose in France due to about 15 FSSP priests who wanted at times to concelebrate using the 1970 Missal.

    The Vatican said (in Protocol 1411) that a priest who enjoyed the privilege of using the Missal of 1962 didn’t lose the right to use that of 1970.

    Of course, this created problems for the FSSP, which was created to provide mass acc to the 1962 Missal.

  99. romanthescribe says:

    I really think Rome needs to clarify that the SSPX was in the wrong about the consecrations and not just let things be. I know many here will probably disagree, but this is a matter of historical record that future generations will look upon. If it is not made clear that disobeying a papal order not to consecrate bishops is objectively wrong (a sacrilege in Pius XII’s estimation), this will set a terrible precedent for the future.

  100. Joe says:

    Matt, I looked at the youtube videos you posted. The videos show a mix of things that would be considered abuses of the Novus Ordo as well as things that could be considered faithful Catholics doing what the Church has asked of them.

    But more significant than what the videos showed are the responses they provoked. Leaving out the anti-Catholic ones, we read that the Novus Ordo Mass is without grace, that priests ordained in the current Roman rite are not real priests, that Vatican II PURPOSEFULLY unlocked the door to the devil, John XIII was a satanist, etc. This is the spirit of schism that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos was warning. To be clear, I am not saying that all, or even most, attendees of SSPX Chapels have that schismatic spirit, and neither did the Cardinal, but I think it is safer to avoid such a spirit altogether.

  101. Bernie says:

    TO ALL ATTACHED TO THE SSPX IN WHATEVER DEGREE:

    PLEASE do not buy Mr Mershon’s uncharitable analogy, a LIE, and a tactic that only serves the purpose of dividing Christ’s body no different from what modernists often do. May God have Mercy.

    Here is what this brother of yours, not any better nor more pious than you, just a sinner who loves the Church has to say:

    I am glad our (mine AND yours) Holy Father did what he did. Hope you are too. And I hope you are eager to admit your mistakes (despite the many great things to which you have adhered) as I have admitted mine. And I am eager to learn and receive the many wonderful things you have to teach me. We are not envious of you. Just prudent as we all seek unity and correction of our errors, mine and yours. We hope that you are returning to be a faithful son not a master.

    Yours in Christ,
    Your brother, Joe Catholic.

  102. Brian Mershon says:

    Hey Bernie,

    Not quite certain what you are referring to because your comments make no sense in light of the Scripture passage I referenced.

    I thought it was self explanatory (the eldest son in the parable of the Prodigal Son), but apparently it was not.

    Many “conservative” and “orthodox” Catholics here and in other forums are raising cane about the fact that the Pope has done what is in justice and in mercy for the SSPX bishops.

    Many here obviously disagree with the Pope, as the eldest son did in the parable when his father (the Pope) welcomed back the repentant son (the SSPX) and showed mercy and had a big feast for him.

    That is exactly what I intend to do. Hold a feast in celebration of the welcoming back officially the prodigal son.

    The prodigal son demanded justice for his brother, but mercy for himself. The analogy appears to be more widely apropos than I expected.

    Deo Gratias for Pope Benedict XVI and the Bishpops and Priests of the SSPX! Thanks be to God that during this week of Christian Unity (really exemplified on this board)we can welcome back with open arms 1 million faithful (who have really been Catholic all along), 4 bishops and 500 priests and other associated religious.

    Some here obviously have deeply-held psychological problems and very poor catechetical training.

  103. Maureen says:

    Re: Archbishop Thuc’s illicit consecrations

    Those guys have all incurred latae sententiae excommunications, too. (Well, except any Protestants or schismatic folks. You can’t get excommunicated when you were never part of the Catholic communion in the first place.) You don’t have to be sent any paperwork to be excommunicated, when it comes to latae sententiae. And yes, it’s a horrible scandal that so many illicitly ordained and consecrated men are walking the world. [And they are not reconciled with the Church except ut laicus, "as if they were laymen". ]

    Re: SSPX illicit consecrations

    The fact that the excommunications were remitted and not totally nullified, and the rest of the judicial language, as well as the language about the action being a gift and a mercy, is fully sufficient indication by the Vatican that what was done was wrong. More than that, the Vatican chooses not to say in order not to rub the SSPX bishops’ noses in it. If people don’t want to read or investigate, that’s their problem. And really, although the Vatican does often write loosely, we’ve all seen people ignore perfectly plain meanings and legally tight writing, too. At a certain point, there’s no sense worrying about what other people will read into it.

    People nowadays love to read black as white, and purple as orange. You can’t really stop them, unless you send out the Swiss Guard Ninja Elite Remedial Reading Comprehension Squad.

  104. Bernie says:

    The analogy with the prodigal son is a LIE. It does not apply though is a good refrain for those interested in taking this amazing time in Church history to spin things and promote even more division and lack of trust.

    1) Whoever one may think the older son is (probably the so-called papalists, EWTNers, “those awful converts”) the truth is that they are NOT resisting the Pope’s decision. Quite the contrary. Once again we hear tremendous support and obedience from the corners of so-called “conservative catholics”.

    2) Some (not all) have shown arrogance not the humility of the prodigal son.

    But I am confident these are a minority and I too have been arrogant many times. I’ve needed my Father’s Mercy so often. I am no better and that is precisely why I am joyful and hopeful that soon the Church will have many, if not all, attached to the SSPX in Her boat, and not for a moment should I think I am better than them.

    DO NOT buy this analogy. It will do nothing but fill your heart with hate and contempt.

  105. Scarlett says:

    Not entirely relevant to the theme of this post and the comments thread, but has anyone noticed how appallingly the media is covering this? I just sent a polite but indignant e-mail to CNN after seeing this absurdly misleading article: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/01/26/pope.holocaust.denial/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

    I’m not surprised to find biased articles lacking in nuance when it comes to Church news, but to be so intentionally misleading is so irresponsible and dishonest I had to say something (and I’d usually never complain like that).

  106. Maureen says:

    Re: “reservations” by Cardinal Ratzinger

    I think that Cardinal Ratzinger never expressed reservations about the validity of the Council or the Vatican II Council documents.

    His problem was and is with the implementation. Bad implementation started while the Council was still going and hadn’t decided anything. He mentions going home to West Germany for a break from his peritus duties, and finding some monk friends doing weird crazy stuff at Mass while claiming it was all obeying the Council. Even though they knew he was there and a major influence, they refused to believe him when he said that wasn’t what the Council fathers had in mind. At all.

    Implementation, even the official kind, was often pulled out of loopholes in Council documents and people’s butts. It was made up out of whole cloth and pet theories of people’s professors. It often had absolutely nothing to do with actual events and documents of the Vatican II Council, while the actual decrees and documents were largely ignored, mistranslated, or just too inaccessible and bulky for normal people to get through. That is what people are entitled to have “reservations” about, not the actual holy and binding Church Council.

    So yes, Cardinal Ratzinger makes comments here and there throughout his writings, sometimes just floating speculations and sometimes what seems like serious proposals. Things come up in the interview books. But he believes in the Council itself, whether or not he thinks a lot of the implementation was totally messed up.

    Also, he still thinks that you should “say the black, do the red” until Church policies can be changed. Since he was one of the people in a position to start changing them into forms more like what Vatican II meant them to be, no doubt it was easier for him to believe in the possibilities and basic goodness of the Council.

    But if the SSPX hadn’t run off, a good many of its personnel might also have been in positions to change things for the better, even if only in small humble ways. Our little pope would have had more allies in his long campaign of influence and persuasion. It is sad that he didn’t. It is to be hoped that he soon will.

  107. Bernie says:

    Brian,

    Sorry, but the analogy does not apply. If anything it serves as

    1) a warning to Catholics who may be tempted to (or have) act(ed) like the old son.

    2) an admonition to SSPX to be humble and TRULY desire a REPENTFUL return not simply a “told-you-so-we-were-always-right” return.

    Sorry, your analogy is flat out wrong. What you seem to suggest is VERY different. It equates catholics with the old son (despite the abundant evidence in contrary) and SSPX as a humble and immaculate prodigal son.

    I will ignore your last sentence. It does not do you or me any good.

  108. Brian Mershon says:

    Bernie: Whoever one may think the older son is (probably the so-called papalists, EWTNers, “those awful converts”) the truth is that they are NOT resisting the Pope’s decision. Quite the contrary. Once again we hear tremendous support and obedience from the corners of so-called “conservative catholics”.

    Bernie, I think a quick read of “conservative” Catholic sites both here and elsewhere, George Weigel’s comments in the NY Times today, and a host of other comments shows clearly th contempt and hatred (not to mention the self appointed spritual directors and doctrinal czars giving advie to the Pope and the SSPX bishops on “what they need to do”).

    The arrogance and bravado is mind-boggling. I hope some do a serious examination of sconscience.

    Thanks be to God for Pope Benedict XVI and his intentions. Thanks be to God for Bishop Bernad Fellay.

  109. Breier says:

    Brian,

    The analogy is not apt. Where has the SSPX repented? Where has the SSPX said, “Father I have sinned against heaven and earth?” They haven’t. They think they were always in the right; they’re not sorry for anything.

    As I said before, I’d be more apt to say the SSPX sees the Holy Father or “Modernist Rome” as the Prodigal Son.

    Please provide any evidence where any leader of the SSPX admits that the 1988 consecrations were incorrect.

    I don’t think you’ll find any. People aren’t objecting to the reconciliation of a repentant individual. They have problems with the reconciliation of an unrepentant individual! That’s false ecumenism.

    Now we’re not privy to the private discussions. Maybe there has been some softening of hearts we haven’t heard about. But your Prodigal Son analogy just doesn’t work.

  110. meg says:

    RBrown – this is one time I hope to be wrong!

    I’ve heard it said Pope Benedict would be happy with a hybrid Mass, made up of some parts old and some new. Do you know if this is true? This is the kind of thing the SSPX is afraid of.

    It seems to me that the biggest problem with VII is that it left chinks in the armor, it left the Church unprotected in fundamental ways. How else to explain the enormous levels of abuse that occurred? And why retain any of it if that’s the case?

  111. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    You are wrong, Maureen. First, Ratzinger did express reservations about the vii documents themselves, not only the implementation. Evidence of this is available, well, earlier in this thread:

    “In the past, Pope Benedict did have some critical comments about the Council. For example, Pope Benedict stated that certain parts of “Gaudium et Spes” are “downright Pelagian,” particularly in the treatment of free will in article 17. (Avery Cardinal Dulles article “Ratzinger to Benedict”). As Joseph Ratzinger, the Pope also expressed concerns that “Gaudium et Spes” was overly optimistic and unbalanced.

    As Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict also wrote: “Not every valid council in the history of the Church has been a fruitful one; in the last analysis, many of them have been just a waste of time. Despite all the good to be found in the texts it produced, the last word about the historical value of Vatican Council II has yet to be spoken.”—Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology (Germany, 1982; Ignatius Press, 1987), p. 378″

    Do you hear that, Maureen, some Councils have been wastes of time! Ratzinger also says in “Salt of the Earth” that many Popes were obviously not picked out by the Holy Spirit. That’s a future Pope talking. There’s lots of room for disagreeing with valid Popes and Councils in Ratzinger’s mind, it’s you Catholics who need to catch up.

    Also, I think you’re being “pie in the sky” in thinking that if the sspx hadn’t “run off” they’d now be in positions of power. Even now there is little chance of persons holding there views having such positions, back then the chance was zero. They didn’t “run off” – Lefebvre engaged in act of desperation, essentially, because of how bad the situation appeared to him. rightly or wrongly, he correctly judged, in my opinion, that the Vatican’s goal was to contain and eventually eliminate his movement via the “negotiations” and restricting him to one approved episcopal consecration. Please read some history.

  112. Bernie says:

    Brian: the comments you mentioned do not show contempt and hatred. Prudence and an account of the work that needs to be done. You depict things differently. Your posts suggest that the return has been in full, that the lifting was a declaration of unity not a first step towards regularization which still demands the necessary steps and repentance from the sspx. Every tiny gesture of Rome in the past has meet strong criticism from the sspx. Do you regard that as hatred and contempt. Wasn;t the SSPX always careful, prudent not to accept things that would poison the soup (“the little bit of poison” analogy I heard ad infinitum from the sspx regarding say Campos or the FSSP). Same deal here sir. The SSPX has a tremendous amount of asset to bring but needs to get rid of the little bit of poison that is still there. It needs to be fully and humbly the modern embodiment of the prodigal son, to then render your analogy correct.

  113. Fr. Angel says:

    To Tradition who posted above and said: “frankly I cannot see why so many find him (Williamson) to be a great orator. The only thing I can imagine is that Americans are impressed by an accent.” LOL. Yes, I think this is true at times. Bishop W’s blunt words are also a plus for many Americans who find most bishops to be poor at getting to the point.

    Christopher Sarsfield: “the gas chambers they have discovered could not have been used has killing chambers because of the lack of proper seals on the doors, exhaust fans and chimneys.” Catholic priests who were condemned to Dachau concentration camp were ordered to shove bodies into the crematoria after they were removed from the gas chambers. They later testified to this. Are they liars? Also, let’s not insult the Germans. Do you really think that the German ingenuity and efficiency would have built anything that wasn’t a very good killing machine, if a killing mechanism is what they wanted at the time? The Nazis themselves testified as to the various experiments done at exterminating humans in the 1930′s before the gas chamber was decided upon.

    But as others have said, this is not the main point of the indignation. The Bishop’s comments are extremely offensive and give the impression that Jews should just “get over it” and quit making much ado about the Holocaust. It is like the Socialists in Spain saying that the extermination campaign against during the Civil War was really no big deal. Whether he is anti-semitic or not I do not know, but I do find his comments about the Holocaust to be unChristian, uncharitable, and irreparably damaging to the cause of traditional Catholicism.

    The wide reports his comments have garnered and the impressions they have made have put all of us somewhere between fringe and loony bin in the minds of people who know little of traditional Catholicism.

  114. meg says:

    Comment by Nicknackpaddywack:

    “Lefebvre engaged in act of desperation, essentially, because of how bad the situation appeared to him. rightly or wrongly, he correctly judged, in my opinion, that the Vatican’s goal was to contain and eventually eliminate his movement via the “negotiations” and restricting him to one approved episcopal consecration.”

    This is critical to understanding the situation and what many are missing in their assessment of the SSPX. Like it or not he was under fire from the Vatican – and the Vatican went on to let the Faithful believe the TLM was formally suppressed, depriving millions, no?

    Please practice charity toward the SSPX whether you agree with them or not. Don’t claim to know someone’s intentions – this is unchristian. I’ve seen some wild and deeply uncharitable claims flying around the web these past few days, made by people who have culled all of their information blogs alone.

  115. Fr. Angel says:

    The third paragraph in my post should correctly read: “It is like the Socialists in Spain saying that the extermination campaign against the Catholic Church during the Civil War was really no big deal.”

  116. boredoftheworld says:

    So many of the opinions in this discussion can be summed up as “If only I was pope” or variations of “If only Benedict XVI knew what I know”. This is a tendency I have to watch out for in myself so it really confuses me when I’m not the one doing it.

    People really seem to be hung up on the point that the bishops of the SSPX haven’t publicly recanted and yet they are no longer excommunicated… weird, because the pope doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.

    Look again at the parable of the Prodigal Son… the older brother came in from the field and heard the party, he asked a servant what was going on and the servant said “Your brother has come home!” I don’t remember seeing “and your little brother rolled around in the mud saying mea culpa”. The older brother knew nothing of what went on between his father and younger brother, only that the boy was back and that was too much for him to accept. The similarities are so obvious that many people must be missing the forest for the trees.

    What I’d really like to know is what this means in the diocese of Lincoln Nebraska.

  117. Jordanes says:

    Brian Mershon said: I think a quick read of “conservative” Catholic sites both here and elsewhere, George Weigel’s comments in the NY Times today, and a host of other comments shows clearly th contempt and hatred (not to mention the self appointed spritual directors and doctrinal czars giving advie to the Pope and the SSPX bishops on “what they need to do”). The arrogance and bravado is mind-boggling. I hope some do a serious examination of sconscience.

    I haven’t had a chance to read comments from so-called “conservative” Catholic sites, and I doubt I’ll get a chance to do that (my computer crashed this weekend, have to borrow time on other computers), but I’m inclined to doubt that too many of them will be clearly showing contempt and hatred. Most I expect will accept and submit to what the Pope has decided, even if some of them express concerns or reservations. And after all, if the SSPX may express its concerns and criticisms of the Pope and the Church, surely “conservative” Catholics must be permitted to do the same.

    Regarding “Weigel’s comments in the NT Times today,” the only thing I could find at their website was this single paragraph in their (predictably slanted) story about the remission of the excommunications:

    “George Weigel, a biographer of John Paul II, said he was troubled by Bishop Fellay’s implication in his letter that the schismatic group represented the tradition, while ‘the rest of us are, somehow, the true schismatics.’”

    Weigel’s comment doesn’t sound too objectionable (apart from the perennial and fruitless debates about whether or not the SSPX is schismatic, which apparently is not the view currently in favor at the Holy See), and it can’t be said to show contempt and hatred. But what Weigel actually said – and of course it’s doubtful he said only that brief remark – is not known. The NY Times certainly cannot be trusted to accurately and fairly represent facts.

    As for your prodigal son analogy, I don’t think it can be said that the prodigal son “demanded” justice for his brother, but mercy for himself. He begged mercy for himself, demanding nothing, and did not address his brother’s situation at all. Anyway it is always good when excommunications are remitted and Catholics are reconciled. Regardless of one’s beliefs and opinions regarding the Church’s doctrinal and liturgical traditions, one simply must see Saturday’s decree as wonderfully good news.

  118. Jordanes says:

    Duh. Forgot to scroll down the page the rest of the way so I could see ALL of Weigel’s comments in that NY Times article:

    He added: “It is not easy to see how the unity of the Church will be enhanced unless the Lefebvrists accept Vatican II’s teaching on the nature of the Church, on religious freedom, and on the evil of anti-Semitism, explicitly and without qualification; otherwise, you get cafeteria Catholicism on the far right, as we already have on the left.”

    Well, the “Lefebvrists” shibboleth is bound to be galling, since it’s not meant descriptively like “Benedictine” or “Franciscan” or “Dominican,” but it intended to convey that the SSPX is schismatic or sectarian. Still, allowing for Weigel’s debatable opinions about the status and nature of the SSPX, his general point is not contemptuous or hateful. It’s actually a pretty good point, I think. Critical appraisal of Vatican II’s documents and teachings is appropriate, and frankly very necessary, but there will be a problem if there is a categorical renunciation of Vatican II’s more controversial teachings. Contra Weigel, it doesn’t necessarily require an acceptance that explicit and without qualification, though. I guess it depends on what Weigel might think would be explicit and without qualification, because the Holy Father might not require it to be as explicit as Weigel might prefer.

  119. Maureen says:

    \”let’s accept that he wasn’t trying to throw a spanner into the gears, as it seemed he was.\”
    From what I understand the original interview was done in October and it was re-aired when strong rumors surfaced about the lifting of the excommunication being lifted. It is likely that someone was trying to scuttle the lifting of the excommunication but I think that it is highly unlikely that it was the Bishop.

  120. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB says:

    Dear boredoftheworld,

    No, the prodigal son did not roll around in the mud saying “mea culpa”. He DID say “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son.”

    Please show me any trace of that spirit in the statements of the FSSPX bishops the last couple of days. The analogy only works if the prodigals are repentant, seeing their error. Since there is little sign of that thus far, we would do well to ditch the prodigal son analogy. It just doesn’t work.

    I rejoice that the SSPX faithful might (for it is not quite yet accomplished) rejoin us in full and unimpaired communion. For the bishops my joy is diluted. Be that as it may, the ball is on their side of the court.

    Fr Hugh OSB

  121. Cynthia Gee says:

    ED wrote, “With all the loony liberal bishops in the Church today , i’m sure you can stand one Bishop Williamson”

    And two wrongs now make a right? I don’t think so.

    As for the prodigal son analog, I ageee with “Breier” and others, who see that as a FALSE analogy.
    Breier writes,
    The analogy is not apt. Where has the SSPX repented? Where has the SSPX said, “Father I have sinned against heaven and earth?” They haven’t. They think they were always in the right; they’re not sorry for anything.

    As I said before, I’d be more apt to say the SSPX sees the Holy Father or “Modernist Rome” as the Prodigal Son.

    Please provide any evidence where any leader of the SSPX admits that the 1988 consecrations were incorrect.

    I don’t think you’ll find any. People aren’t objecting to the reconciliation of a repentant individual. They have problems with the reconciliation of an unrepentant individual! That’s false ecumenism.

    Exactly. It’s a GREAT thing to welcome people back into the church — but the Prodigal son in the Bible was REPENTANT.

    Would the father of the prodigal son have welcomed him so warmly, had the lad had come home with a couple of prostitutes in tow, with the express intention of throwing out his father and brother, and turning the family estate into a wh***house?

  122. I have to say that I do like Bishop Williamson to some extent. At least he has a little fire in the belly and ain’t afraid to shake things up!

  123. Ottaviani says:

    Fr. Hugh: Please show me any trace of that spirit in the statements of the FSSPX bishops the last couple of days.

    I take it you haven’t seen the latest interview with Bishop Fellay which Fr. Z has pointed out at Rorate Caeli?

  124. Charlotte says:

    When Father Z posts responses like this and then adds HIS comments and emphases, I can’t grasp the original intent and message of the original. It’s hard not to see the arrogance that Anna suggests exists.

  125. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB says:

    Dear Fr Z,

    No, I had not seen Fellay’s Swiss interview. Having just read it, I must say that I am heartened by the more moderate and reflective tone on religious liberty, more moderate than the tone I often hear from SSPX faithful in conversation (and yes I converse quite regularly with them). Moreover, the clarification on ecumenism, to wit they have problems with the means not the ends, is also very promising. Naturally, I am most pleased to see him distance himself and the SSPX totally from the words emanating Williamson’s big mouth, though I think it is within in his competence to condemn their utterance as he is Superior-General of the Society. But I quibble.

    Yet I am still to see clear signs of that repentant and filially-submissive spirit that would be the apt attitude to the Pope’s magnanimity. Maybe I am missing something!

    Pax.

    Fr Hugh OSB

  126. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB says:

    Oops – sorry, my previous post should have been addressed to Ottaviani!

    Mea culpa.

    Fr Hugh OSB

  127. boredoftheworld says:

    Reverend Father Hugh and others who aren’t seeing this the way I do,

    The point is that in this parallel of the parable WE do not represent the father (or indeed the Father), WE are the older brother and it’s none of our business WHAT the father decides to do for our brother.

    Is the older brother entitled to complain about the mercy (or even justice) shown by the father? Indeed not and there’s another parable about wages given to laborers that may be applicable in this case.

    The analogy works because it isn’t about the younger son but about the elder. Are we given to understand that the father owed an explanation to his older son? Did the older son enjoy the authority to lay conditions or question the younger?

    Focus on this with me, there are actually people saying that this merciful act is undeserved as if we were the dispensers of mercy, or even of justice. It is not the reaction of the bishops of the SSPX that should matter to us, it is our own reaction that should all but scare the crap out of us.

    Since the pope didn’t include a list of ifs and buts it’s a little disturbing to see everyone else piling on.

  128. Brian Mershon says:

    Bored of the world must be a convert since he seems to understand the simple meaning of the parable. Bravo for you! As a former Protestant, you must have actually READ and meditated on your Bible passages rather than just incensing them and carrying them in procession.

    Second, for those of you who have said: “Not we’re not privy to the private discussions. Maybe there has been some softening of hearts we haven’t heard about.”

    And for Father Jugh too, and others. This is called presumption. It is a sin against the theological virtue of hope.

    What in the world makes you think that everything that has gone on has been shared publiclty? who died and made you Pope.

    Have you not read the 1983 Code of Canon Law that says one has to subjectively sin in order for a penalty to be valid against him? Don’t you get it? It is not that difficult!

    You guys want the SSPX to do public penance. How about you guys start first by casting the first t stone–or walking about in penance in sack cloth and ashes outside of the Church for years for your public sins?

    After all, this is what we are talking about here. The supposed public sins of others that have obviously been remitted.

    “as we forgive those who trespass against us”

    Something like that I think.

    Bored of the world gets it. Amazing. Leave it to those converts–well, at least some of them.

  129. Patrick says:

    boredoftheworld,

    You’re right. It’s our job to view the little brother with suspicion.

    Sure, Dad let him move back home even though he never said he was sorry, and even though he still says there was nothing wrong taking Dad’s money and squandering it on hookers and drink, I guess we should welcome him back. Whatever. Sure, we should be cordial to him. But until he actually acts like he loves and Dad and regrets his evil actions, then I’m keeping my room locked and not letting him borrow any of my stuff. He’s my brother and I have to love him, but I can still think he’s a jerk for the way he treated Dad, and I certainly don’t have to trust him, in light of his unrepentence.

  130. Brian Mershon says:

    Patrick, You’ll probably be the perfect Father and older brother.

  131. meg says:

    OK, I guess I’m dense. The prodigal son left of his own accord, but the SSPX was kicked out, no?

    So, the prodigal son comes back with his tail between his legs, of course. The SSPX is being, in a sense, invited back into the fold.

    So, I ask in all honesty, why should they repent – what would they be repenting for? The Pope knows what he’s doing, leave the poor man alone with his decision.

    BTW, the comparisons with whore houses, etc. are truly beyond the pale. For shame.

  132. 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

  133. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB says:

    Dear Brian Mershon,

    Do you actually read what you write before you post it? The sequence of thought in your last post is not very easy to follow. The clearest elements are your insults and cheap jibes. I can only hope the rendering of my name as Fr Jugh was a typo and not some cheap shot in light of the Williamson debacle.

    In the meantime I suggest that you re-read canon law and the principles that govern its application as you seem not to understand them at the moment. A canonical penalty relates to the external forum not the internal – the Church cannot judge a man’s soul only his actions, insofar as they affect the welfare of the Church. So whether the bishops are subjectively in the right or not is beside the point in question: they were consecrated in defiance of canon law and justly incurred the penalty. The Pope has magnanimously remitted the censure of excommunication without requiring (nor yet receiving from what I have seen so far) an act of penitence from the bishops. The ball is in their side of the court.

    And the parable of the prodigal really should be left aside, as discussion of it has produced more heat than light. It makes me wonder, though, how many in the FSSPX hold with the old view that scripture was best left in the hands of those who had studied it and could interpret it in accordance with the mind of the Church, rather than allow it to be used as a weapon with which to beat those not on the same side of the argument.

  134. Breier says:

    Brian,

    This has nothing to do with one’s sympathies re: traditionalism. I happen to be highly sympathetic to the SSPX. But your prodigal son analogy is still lame, and it doesn’t work.

    A good cause doesn’t justify a bad argument.

  135. Cynthia Gee says:

    Meq wrote,
    “So, I ask in all honesty, why should they repent – what would they be repenting for? The Pope knows what he’s doing, leave the poor man alone with his decision.”

    You’ve never read any SSPX literature, have you? They were tossed out on their ear in the first place for DISOBEDIENCE, and after that they went on to malign the Pope himself, and to deny his legitimacy — in some places they have referred to Pope John Paul II as an impostor and a agent of Satan, and that’s just the beginning.

    “BTW, the comparisons with whore houses, etc. are truly beyond the pale. For shame.”

    Your argument isn’t with me here, Meq, it’s with St. Luke. Go read the Gospel — Luke is the one who brought the harlots into this, nearly 2000 years ago.

  136. Brian Mershon says:

    Fr. Hugh, “I can only hope the rendering of my name as Fr Jugh was a typo and not some cheap shot in light of the Williamson debacle.”

    You have got to be kidding me. Unbelievable.

    Simply unbelieavable.

    Don’t know about the SSPX Sacred Scripture questions. You would have to ask them. I attend a diocesan parish both on Sundays and daily Mass.

    Fr. Hugh, the SSPX argument based on the subjetive dispositions is from the Code of Canon law. Unlike other amateur canonists here, I do not pretend to be one.

    Here are the relevant canons–again, not pretending to be a canonist.

    http://www.sspx.org/sspx_media_brochure.pdf

    This entire affair will be settled shortly. Then, I guess the howling will REALLY begin.

    The Prodigal Son analogy applies in spades here. It is so obvious with eyes to see and ears to hear.

  137. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB says:

    Dear Brian,

    In light of your jibes about we who incense our scriptures and carry them in procession, and asking who made us pope, my hope about the typo was hardly unbelievable. Your reaction implies my hope was justified. Enough said.

    I am not going to argue about Canon Law – the true arbiter of Canon Law is neither me, nor you, nor the SSPX, but the Holy Father operating through those organs of the Vatican he utilises for the purpose. He has remitted the excommunications (though not suspension a divinis) for the bishops. Enough said.

    As for your dogmatic assertion about the parable of the prodigal and its applicability here, I apologise for all of us who, unlike you, are blind and deaf to the word of God. The naughty side of me is tempted to quote you, however – “who died and made you Pope”!

  138. Simon Platt says:

    Fr. Hugh and all,

    I for one am touched by the parable now as always. Never having been in the position of the prodigal, it always speaks to me as the elder son.

    I think boredoftheworld expressed his points very well and, as an added bonus, with great charm.

  139. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB says:

    We may well indeed be the elder brother – maybe. And certainly it behoves us to ensure that we do not spurn the repentant sinner and hold in scorn the Father’s loving mercy.

    But this is the point many of us are trying to make – the prodigal was REPENTANT; as yet the bishops have not given any sign that I have seen that they are too. This is why so many of us do not accept the analogy.

    I am not sure if I can make this any clearer. If someone else can, please do. I am sick with a bad cold and cannot pretend to any eloquence or force of argument today. I can say that the news of the lifting of the excommunications lifted my spirits immensely.

  140. meg says:

    Cynthia Gee said:

    “You’ve never read any SSPX literature, have you? They were tossed out on their ear in the first place for DISOBEDIENCE, and after that they went on to malign the Pope himself, and to deny his legitimacy—in some places they have referred to Pope John Paul II as an impostor and a agent of Satan, and that’s just the beginning.”

    You certainly didn’t get that from their own literature unless you are “paraphrasing”. If you are truly interested, get both sides of the argument from solid sources. Skip the hyperbole.

    Anyone who loves the TLM will be familiar with JPII’s “issues” – but that is not the point of this discussion. For your own edification, ask around and inform yourself.

    Whether you agree with their methods or not, the SSPX was doing what they thought was right. Charity is needed here and I don’t hear it coming from you or many other posters. I don’t attend their Masses but have many friends who do and know firsthand what they are saying and how they feel about the faith. They adore it and are most afraid of “compromise”, not out of pride but for the sake of the Mass alone.

  141. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB says:

    Oh Meg, be careful with your argument – “the SSPX was doing what they thought was right”. The same can be said of all the great heretics in the history of the Church: they ALL thought they were right, and the Church was wrong.

    Those who act to cut themselves off from the Church are doomed to bear sterile fruit. Thankfully for the SSPX the Pope has moved to begin to heal that breach, precisely it seems because he can see that their hearts are in the right place. In my many discussions with SSPXers I see those with whom I have talked indeed really seek the best for the Church and the Truth of its doctrine. Once back in the bosom of the Church their arguments will have all the more force, and be all the more salutary.

  142. meg says:

    “…he [the Pope] can see that their hearts are in the right place. In my many discussions with SSPXers I see those with whom I have talked indeed really seek the best for the Church and the Truth of its doctrine.”

    Well, Father, I’m glad we agree here, anyway! :) This was my main point and it can’t be said often enough at this critical time.

  143. Justin says:

    I don’t understand the argument that the SSPX bishops don’t need to publicly repent for their disobedience to the Roman Pontiff and we shouldn’t express reservations because we can’t see what happened behind closed doors.

    I’m betting the same people espousing these arguments, would argue quite rationally, that Tony Blair does need to make a public statement of agreement with the Church and an expression of his regret for his prior anti-life stance.

    Just like Mr Blair, the act of defiance by the SSPX bishops were public, and as such deserves a public expression of regret – even more so than Mr Blair, because these bishops are ordained to teach us in the faith. Not to do publicly express remorse for their defiance, could be construed as the sin of scandal.

  144. Charlotte says:

    Matt:
    The problem with those 5 YouTube videos is that 75% of the pictures and video are obviously pre-1980, or at latest, the mid-1980′s. That’s more than 20 years ago, plus! I’m not saying that some of the stuff discussed in those videos isn’t happening… Still, there has been a lot of change swinging back to holiness, or at least normality, and to imply that everything in the Novus Ordo realm is an unholy debacle is unfair and untrue.

  145. boredoftheworld says:

    Justin,

    I so desperately do not wish to be anything other than charming* when I suggest this but: Have you transmitted your instructions to the Pope?

    The bishops of the Society do not need to publicly repent because the Pope has not required it. We should not express reservations about what may have happened behind closed doors for the very reason that it (whatever it was or wasn’t) was behind closed doors and therefore obviously none of our business. I am quite sure that if His Holiness needs our counsel he will request it.

    *Simon Platt’s comment prompted my wife to say “I suppose a sledgehammer can be charming”. I don’t know where she comes up with this stuff.

  146. Justin says:

    boredoftheworld – your argument would then negate all previous exhortations by Catholics on this blog or otherwise, that Tony Blair recant his previous stance in express opposition to Church teaching particularly on abortion, now that he has been received into the Church (because we can’t know what happens behind closed doors). It has always been a tradition (small t), that public wrongs and the greater likelihood of scandal require a response that is public. And considering that these Bishops have indeed made public statements (admonishing modernist Rome no less) following this act of mercy by the Holy Father, surely a public expression of regret for the action which incurred the penalty in the first place and a resolve towards good can only be edifying for the faithful, particularly for those priests and faithful whom the bishops claim spiritual authority over.

  147. rljfp says:

    My two cents worth,

    Mr. Mershon you must be doing something correct to have everyone jumping all over you! Keep up the good work (I enjoy your insight into issues like these). Last July I related to the folks on this blog about a certain bishop who gave my family the boot about 25 years ago for bringing to the bishop’s attention serious liturgical abuses and a certain life style of the pastor of our former parish–my family was “persona non grata” in the diocese. The only “parish” that would take in a family of 11 was a SSPX chapel and how the pastor and congregation welcomed us. I ended my blog this way: ” I am happy to say I have a grandson with the FSSP and another with the SSPX, and a daughter in a Traditional convent. All of my family (71 grandchildren) has somehow kept the faith and feel equally at home at an Indult parish Mass and at a SSPX Mass. If you hear that there is much rancor between the priests of the FSSP and the SSPX don’t put much stock in it. You’ll find crackpots in the SSPX, the FSSP and many in NO parishes. Is it time to regularize the situation? Yes, it is and it will be done in a charitable way and the Holy Father will embrace the SSPX bishops as brothers—without rancor or accusations. I might add that both my grandsons received a blessing from Benedict XVI during an audience (and the Holy Father knew the one is a priest with the SSPX). If the Holy Father can be so full of grace and love how can we be any different?” I rather think of the Holy Father as the Good Shepherd going after his one lost sheep–the SSPX– instead of the prodigal son and the bickering that is focused here on who is right and who is wrong!! Does the Holy Father care? And all the prelates and abbots and religious who seem to be indignant about this: put your own affairs in order, Please!

  148. Cynthia Gee says:

    Justin wrote,
    “Just like Mr Blair, the act of defiance by the SSPX bishops were public, and as such deserves a public expression of regret – even more so than Mr Blair, because these bishops are ordained to teach us in the faith. Not to do publicly express remorse for their defiance, could be construed as the sin of scandal.”

    Justin, I agree wholeheartedly. Sauce for the goose, and sauce for the gander.

  149. Brian Mershon says:

    rljfp,

    You are a great blessing to the Church. You and your wife have done yeoman’s work. Your place is secure in heaven.

    Thanks be to God for you and for your generosity. You will be richly rewarded by God.

  150. hollingsworth says:

    I am new to Fr. Z’s site. I really don’t know who Fr. Z is. And, to tell you the truth, I don’t really care. It would appear, however, after a cursory reading of his comments upon Bishop Williamson’s reactions to the Motu Proprio and other subjects, that he feels he enjoys a postion which allows him to offer authoritative criticism of the former’s remarks. Fr. Z seems to be quite comfortable in bringing judgment upon Bishop Williamson. That’s certainly OK with me. In my opinion Bp. Williamson is a good and holy man who speaks his mind. I wish there were more like him.

  151. little gal says:

    Are you the same hollingsworth who frequented the defunct Closed Cafeteria?

  152. hollingsworth says:

    “Are you the same hollingsworth who frequented the defunct Closed Cafeteria?”

    It is certainly possible. I didn’t know the site was defunct.