His Excellency Most Rev. Michael Evans, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of East Anglia has commented on his website about the lifting of the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops.
Shall we have a look? My emphases and comments:
STILL IN SCHISM AND VIEWS REJECTED [Has His Lordship really not heard that the Holy See does not consider the SSPX formally to be in schism?]
There has understandably been much reaction, mostly very negative, to the news of the lifting of the excommunication of four bishops associated with Archbishop Lefebvre’s Priestly Fraternity of St Pius X, particularly in relation to one of those bishops, Richard Williamson, who has denied the full reality of the Holocaust, suggesting that ‘only’ 300,000 rather than 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, and none in gas chambers. Dismay and anger sums up the response of many, especially members of the Jewish community, but also ordinary faithful Catholics.
The media presentation of the lifting of the excommunications has certainly helped to distort the meaning of this gesture [Catholic media included, as well as the erroneous statements of some high ranking churchmen] by the Holy Father, who wished to remove one important impediment standing in the way of opening the door to dialogue with this schismatic group [again, the Holy See does not consider the SSPX to be in formal schism, though that is the fear as time passes] which has long refused to accept key teachings of the Second Vatican Council. The media has generally confused ‘lifting an excommunication’ with ‘reconciliation with the Catholic Church’, and therefore suggested that these four bishops and their groups are now fully restored to the Catholic Church. This is not the case. [The fact is, the lifting of the excommunications means that those four men may now enter a church and go to confession or Last Rites, and if they are in the state of grace receive Communion like everyone else.]
In recent years, various excommunications have been lifted as first steps in the hope of ending schisms and enabling unity. The lifting of the excommunications between Rome and the Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1965, by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, was a good example: this great gesture of friendship has not yet led to full communion between the two Churches. [The problem is that the Orthodox were a real Church in formal schism. The SSPX is neither in the eyes of the Holy See.]
Although the lifting of the excommunication has freed these bishops from a grave canonical penalty, it has not changed the juridical situation of the Priest Fraternity of St Pius X, which does not have canonical recognition within the Catholic Church. The four bishops, although no longer excommunicated, have no canonical function within the Church and cannot licitly exercise ministry within it.
The Holy See has made clear that an indispensable condition for any future recognition of the Fraternity of St Pius X is the full acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the teaching of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. This is a vital point! [And it is a point which hasn't been made very clear, either. It is hard to know what "acceptance" means.]
The positions of Bishop Williamson on the Holocaust are absolutely unacceptable and firmly rejected by the Holy Father. In order to function as a bishop in the Church in the future, [why would he have to do that?] he would have to distance himself – in an absolute, unequivocal and public way – from his present position on the Holocaust.
The Lefebvrist movement is schismatic, [But it is not in schism. It might be schismatic in the sense that it is tending toward schism if this goes on, but it is not in schism formally, according to the Holy See.] and cannot be restored to full communion with the Catholic Church until it accepts the teaching of the decrees of the Second Vatican Council and the Magisterium of all Popes after Pope Pius XII as well as those they accept before then.
Your Excellencies… please get this straight? Otherwise, it was a fairly sound letter.