The scapegoating of Card. Castrillon

Time has jumped into the fray, commenting on the lifting of the excommunications of the four… well… let’s be honest… the one SSPX Bishop Williamson.

Time’s Rome correspondent hasn’t reported Catholic events and issues concerning traditional expressions of Catholicism with perfect clarity or depth, e.g., his coverage of Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum here and here.

Let’s see what he does here, with my emphases and comments.

The Cardinal Behind the Pope’s Lefebvrite Flap
By Jeff Israely

Wednesday, Feb. 04, 2009

With pressure mounting after his controversial reconciliation with a breakaway church group, Pope Benedict XVI has ordered one of the bishops of the arch-traditionalist Lefebvrite movement to publicly retract his statements denying the Holocaust. [It might have been more of an ultimatum than an order.] The Vatican issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon saying the Pope had not been aware of the claims by Richard Williamson — one of four Lefebvrite bishops [I think they might have included the name of the group, rather than just the label "Lefebvrite"] brought back into the fold late last month after 20 years of excommunication — that Nazi gas chambers didn’t exist and no more than 300,000 Jews died in concentration camps.

"Bishop Williamson, in order to be admitted to the episcopal [bishop] functions of the Church, must in an absolutely unequivocal and public way distance himself from his positions regarding the Shoah," the statement said, using the Hebrew word for the Holocaust. (See pictures of Holocaust survivors sharing their memories.)

The sudden ultimatum, which came less than 24 hours after unprecedented public criticism was voiced by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, [This is misdirection.  The writer seems to be drawing a cause and effect relationship between these tow events.  I am not sure that is entirely the case.] raises more questions than it answers. Why did it take so long? [What is he suggesting here?] How will Williamson specifically and the Lefebvrites in general react? Could this scuttle the Pope’s high-stakes gambit to end the excommunication of the breakaway bishops, [ummm… Jeff… he did lift the excommuncations.  That part can’t be "scuttled".] leaving him permanently damaged both inside and outside the Vatican walls? But perhaps the starting point would be to ask: Who is steering the ship for Benedict during what is turning into the most turbulent crisis of his papacy[Now THAT is a good question!  Someone is asleep at several switches.  And the "third loggia" seems to be the culprit in this collision.  But is this the "most" turbulent crisis?  Perhaps the aftermath of the Regensburg Address was hotter.  Someone died in that one, as a matter of fact.]

It must first be clear that the Pope himself badly wanted the rapprochement with the Lefebvrites, a throwback movement that uses the Latin-rite Mass and shuns any attempt to have dialogue with other religions. [hmmm…. shuns "any" attempt?  I think that might mischaracterize the position of the SSPX.  I belive the SSPX doesn’t want to compromise Catholic teaching in order to have diaolgue.] Although he doesn’t agree with all their views — and certainly not Williamson’s Holocaust-denying — Benedict had hoped that by undoing the excommunication, the Lefebvrites would eventually accept the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council and become a new force for contemporary conservative Catholicism in the West. (Read "Germany Confronts Its Dark Past.")

But if Benedict is the inspiration behind the move, few inside the Vatican doubt who is its executor. A few days after the surprise signing of the Jan. 21 papal decree that overturned the excommunication, one well-placed Vatican official noted, "It has every appearance of being the work of Castrillón." [Will he now be the scapegoat?  Card. Castrillon has displayed a strong desire to make headway with the SSPX: that is his job, after all, – a job his last two predecessors seem to have entirely ignored.  Some might say that Card. Castrillon has a tendency to leap and then look, but he has done something.]

Vatican insiders know Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos well. The steely-eyed Colombian Cardinal, 79, served for nine years as head of the Congregation for Clergy, where in 2002 he drew the wrath of victims of American-priest sex abuse for denying that the Catholic Church had any particular problem with pedophiles in its ranks. [Look what Israely is doing here.  He is tarring Card. Castrillon with that old brush.  Never mind that other dicasteries are involved.  As a matter of fact little of importance can happen these days without the über-dicastery, the Secretariat of State, getting its fingers into the recipe.  If the SecState is going to have that power, then by golly it can also shoulder the responsibility.] But most of all, Castrillón is a dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist. [That is not intended as a compliment.] He was named by Pope John Paul II as the go-between in relations with fringe traditionalist groups like the Lefebvrites, whose official name is the Society of St. Pius X. [He gets to it at last.] Castrillón pushed hard for Benedict to expand the use of Latin-rite Mass, which the Pontiff did in 2007. [So… it was Castrillion’s Iago to Benedict’s Othello…]  Four years earlier, Castrillón had presided over the first officially sanctioned Latin-rite Mass in Rome since the Second Vatican Council, held at the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The following year, it is worth noting, disgraced Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Bernard Law was named Archpriest of the same basilica, which has been the site of subsequent Latin Masses.  [More misdirection.  Just as he did above, he has connected the pedophilia thing to the traditionalist thing.  And he is doing this not so much because they were Vatican PR debacles but because he wants the reader to connect Catholic tradition with the filth.]

The past two years, working independently from other established Vatican dicasteries, [Huh? Card. Castrillon is President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the curial office which has competence in this matter.  And the PCED collaborates with the CDF and, at least in the case of the excommunications the Cong. for Bishops.] Castrillón was busy hammering out the details to make way for the reconciliation with the Lefebvrites. Other top Holy See officials were, by all accounts, shut out from both the substance of the accord and its timing and presentation to the outside world[Let’s turn the clock back a bit and consider what Archbp. Piero Marini wrote in his book on the work of the Consilium, and their methods in pressing over-reaching liturgical reforms upon a Church which was not calling for them.] That it coincided with the airing of a television interview with Williamson in which he espoused his views of the Holocaust could be chalked up to bad luck. [Or [INSERT ORGAN MUSIC] … maybe it wasn’t such a coincidence?] But the British-born bishop has said similar things in the past, as have several other Lefebvrite members; the fact that nothing was done ahead of time to try to assuage Jewish concerns doomed the release of the papal decree.  [Because everything the Church does as an internal matter has to assuage everyone’s concerns.  Okay… okay… this is the modern, information age.  They were simply blind to this dimension and they have really paid for it, as have many others caught in the crossfire.]
According to the Vatican official, Castrillón was bound to forge ahead as he pleased. Born in Medellín, Colombia, he has displayed courage, tenacity and a willingness — even an eagerness — to mix church and state. [Interesting… he picks on this point.  This is part of the concern of the SSPX regarding the Council’s teaching on religious liberty in Dignitatis humanae.] He has gone deep into Colombian jungles to mediate between leftist guerrillas and right-wing death squads, and once, while still a bishop, he showed up at the house of cocaine king Pablo Escobar disguised as a milkman. Revealing himself, Castrillón implored Escobar to confess his sins, which, presumably at some considerable length, the vicious gangster did. "Anyone who’s had interaction with him will tell you he’s an imperious [person] who acts first and worries about the consequences later," says the Vatican official. "Sometimes I don’t think he even cares about the consequences."  [See?  However, he did not put the pen in the Pope’s hand, or that of the Prefect of the Cong. for Bishops, and then move the paper around under it.]

Castrillón expressed surprise when it was revealed that Williamson was a Holocaust denier. Some Catholic blogs have castigated Castrillón for not doing enough of a background check while vetting the Lefebvrites. One of the Cardinals closest to Benedict, and a former student, Archbishop of Vienna Cristoph Schonborn, took the unusual step of criticizing his fellow Cardinals of the Roman Curia, saying that "some collaborators of the Pope" had let the Pontiff down. [Perhaps.  There are a couple alternatives here.  They let the Pope down, or the Pope knew what was going on and made the decision to move ahead anyway.  Either way, there should have been some ground work laid for the outside watching world.] The consequences for Benedict have been a 10-day avalanche of criticism — other Lefebvrites have come out of the woodwork with controversial statements — culminating in a call from the German Chancellor for the German Pope to react more sternly to Williamson’s views on the Holocaust. It is unclear if Castrillón had anything to do with Wednesday’s ultimatum. [Willingness to blame, but then not to give any credit?]

During this whole kerfuffle, I have had the nagging suspicion that the real reason many people are so upset with Pope Benedict over this move is that they sense that the SSPX would have a small but important role in clarifying a burning issue.

How do we interpret the documents of the Second Vatican Council?

In continuity with the centuries of Church teaching?  As a new starting point or rupture with the past?

Pope Benedict’s approach to the Church’s teaching and tradition bespeaks an obligation to interpret the Council in light of the other Councils, that is to affirm rather than deny certain truths of the Catholic faith which stick in the craws of secularists and progressivists, the legions of the dictatorship of relativism.

I also sense within the offices of the curia a strong desire to scapegoat a Cardinal who actually tried to get something done, thus violating a cardinal law (sorry…) of the Holy See: do as much nothing as possible.

There is a culture of fear in the Vatican about how to use the media.  There is deep dysfunction regarding the tools of communication.  They think that if they release any information then… people might read and react to it.  But then they have to spin when people read and react the information which inevitably must comes forth.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Flabellum says:

    The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, took the unprecedented step of condemning the Pope over his decision to lift the excommunication of Williamson.

    The Cardinal, in a letter to Dr Jonathan Sacks the Chief Rabbi, a copy of which has been released to The Daily Telegraph, expressed his deep regret at the effect of the Vatican’s move.

    In the letter the Cardinal wrote: “I am writing to express my dismay at the effect of the Vatican decree… Specifically I naturally deplore the comments made by the Englishman, Rev Williamson, in his denial of the full horror of the Holocaust. His statement and views have absolutely no place in the Catholic Church and its teaching.”
    (H/t ‘Daily Telegraph’)

  2. Robert says:

    On a worldly level, it’s been those leaders (Reagan and Thatcher in particular) who have been able to withstand media attacks and move forward regardless who rose to greatness, while those concerned about their media image failed. I pray (and suspect) that the Pope realizes that condemnation by the mainstream media is an indication one is taking the right course.

  3. Nathan says:

    God bless Cardinal Castrillon, he has worked so hard for us. I’m not up on intra-Curial politics, but it seems interesting that the press focus is on Cardinal Castrillon as opposed to Cardinal Re, who signed the decree. The Dicastery for Bishops has been a key player in the two major public embarassments to Pope Benedict–the 2006 appointment of Archbishop Wielgus to Warsaw, and now the handling of the Bishop Williamson controversy. In both, apparent failure to research and properly prepare for the media reaction was the problem. What gives?

    In Christ,

  4. Credo says:

    Wow, that is quite the bashing session Israely has going on in that article. He should be ashamed of himself.

    As soon as I see an aricle that doesn’t mention Vatican II in it, then I’ll believe that these people honestly care about protecting the dignity of the Jewish people. Wake up, Jews! You’re being used as an excuse by the media and dissenting Catholics to bash the Catholic Church.

    They don’t really care about people minimizing the holocaust, they care about their own anti-Catholic agenda. It is the media, dissenting Catholics, and liberals who are the most guilty of dehumanizing the Jewish people here and they are the fools for not realizing it.

  5. nw says:

    You nailed it, Father! And that’s the reason why no one cared about a possible rapprochement in 2001-2002. Cardinal Ratzinger’s part of the dialogue to bridge the gap between the SSPX’s positions and the Council, implicitly sidelining the received interpretation of rupture and revolution, would have been relegated to the pages of Communio.

    Anyone want to tackle the problem of anti-Semitism in the SSPX? Why was *that* not a problem for the media, Cardinal Kasper, etc.? I’ll post later if I time…

  6. chironomo says:

    The media, the Left (of all faiths!)and an uncountable number of other “groups” around the globe have been, and will continue to be critical of the Catholic Church in general and the Pope in particular. It is not as though the Times has been a staunch supporter of the Church, and suddenly this event has given them reason to question their unflappable support! What is the point of being concerned about criticism coming from your enemies? Isn’t that to be expected? I’m sure if Williamson hadn’t said the things he did, the “crisis” right now with the lifting of the excommunications would be the SSPX’s position on female altar servers, or their position on any number of other traditional views.

    Williamson’s statements are reprehensible, on that we all agree, but this has just been a convenient excuse for public “indignation” by those who are, and who always have been critical of anything connected to the Catholic Church.

  7. TJM says:

    Time is not a credible news source and may not be with us much longer anyway. I cancelled that looney magazine 5 years ago because I could no
    longer stomach its left-wing bias and propaganda. tOM

  8. little AMU person says:

    It appears that the Pope and the Vatican are giving in to pressure by demanding that Bishop Williamson publicly recant his views as a condition of his remaining within the Church (at least as a Bishop):

    “Bishop Williamson, in order to be admitted to the Episcopal functions of the Church, must in an absolutely unequivocal and public way distance himself from his positions regarding the Shoah [Holocaust].”

    This seems absurd. The Pope has no juridiction over questions of truth that lie outside of the realm of faith and morals as conditioned by revelation. Insisting that a Catholic must hold a certain view on a historical matter such as the Holocaust in order for him to function as a Bishop seems an abuse of his authority. Is he not going beyond his due function. This whole episode could go down in history as another Galileo scandal. As Catholics we are free to hold whatever views on historical matters that lie outside of the deposit of faith that we sincerely believe to be true. I’m inclined to believe that Bishop Williamson will, as a matter of integrity, refuse to recant any sincere beliefs that he holds concerning the Holocaust and not give in to irrational bullying of “the Vatican establishment.” Again, it seems to me conscience and the moral law require him to do so. Am I missing something?

  9. Such silliness on the part of the press. First of all, part of the mission of the Church is to reconcile schismatics to her fold, and then to correct and admonish those who teach ideas contrary to the faith. When Bp. Williamson made his stupid statements he did so while out of communion. Reconciliation is in the process and let’s wait and see what the outcome is. Shame on the Cardinal of Westminster for his stand. Frankly his actions aren’t much better than the statements of Williamson.

  10. chironomo says:


    From VIS:

    VATICAN CITY, 5 FEB 2009 (VIS) – The Secretariat of State of the Holy See,
    published the following note yesterday afternoon:

    “In the wake of reactions provoked by the recent Decree from the
    Congregation for Bishops lifting the excommunication on the four prelates of
    the Society of St. Pius X, and with reference to declarations denying and
    reducing the Shoah pronounced by Bishop Williamson, a member of that
    society, it is felt appropriate to clarify certain aspects of the issue:

    1. Remission of the excommunication

    “As has previously been explained, the Decree from the Congregation for
    Bishops, dated 21 January 2009, was an act by which the Holy Father benignly
    responded to repeated requests from the superior general of the Society of
    St. Pius X.

    “His Holiness wished to remove an impediment that hindered the opening of
    a door to dialogue, and he now awaits a similar readiness to be expressed by
    the four bishops, in complete adherence to the doctrine and discipline of
    the Church.

    “The extremely serious penalty of excommunication ‘latae sententiae’,
    which these bishops incurred on 30 June 1988, formally announced on 1 July
    of the same year, was a consequence of their illegitimate ordination by
    Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

    “The remission of the excommunication has freed the four bishops from a
    serious canonical penalty, but it has not altered the juridical position of
    the Society of St. Pius X which, at the present time, enjoys no canonical
    recognition within the Catholic Church. Even the four bishops, though
    released from excommunication, have no canonical function in the Church and
    cannot legally exercise a ministry within her”.

    2. Tradition, doctrine and Vatican Council II

    “An indispensable condition for any future recognition of the Society of
    St. Pius X is their full recognition of Vatican Council II and of the
    Magisterium of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and
    Benedict XVI.

    “As already affirmed in the Decree of 21 January 2009, the Holy See will
    not fail, in ways considered most appropriate, to join the parties concerned
    in a profound examination of outstanding issues, so as to be able to reach a
    full and satisfactory solution to the problems that gave rise to this
    painful split”.

    3. Declarations concerning the Shoah

    “Msgr. Williamson’s views on the Shoah are absolutely unacceptable, and
    firmly rejected by the Holy Father as he himself said on 28 January when,
    referring to that brutal genocide, he reiterated his complete and
    indisputable solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters who received the First
    Covenant, affirming that the memory of that terrible event must ‘induce
    humankind to reflect upon the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers
    the heart of man’, adding that the Shoah remains ‘an admonition for everyone
    against oblivion, negation and reductionism, because violence against a
    single human being is violence against all’.

    “In order to be readmitted to episcopal functions within the Church,
    Bishop Williamson must absolutely, unequivocally and publicly distance
    himself from his views concerning the Shoah, which were unknown to the Holy
    Father at the moment he lifted the excommunication.

    “The Holy Father asks all the faithful to accompany him in prayer, that
    the Lord may illuminate the path of the Church. May all pastors and faithful
    increase their commitment in support of the delicate and onerous mission of
    the Successor of the Apostle Peter, the ‘custodian of unity’ within the


  11. Irish says:

    TJM: “Time is not a credible news source and may not be with us much longer anyway.”

    From your keyboard to God’s ear.

    What a pathetic piece of rubbish passing for journalism. As I read, I felt a little wave of empathy for celebrities who are chronicled in tabloids.

  12. Sal says:

    While Williamson did hand the critics a stick to beat Pope Benedict (and now Cardinal Castrillon), the notion that we might re-evaluate the documents of the Second Vatican Council really is what’s behind all this, as Fr. Z suggested.

    And those time-serving weasels in the Curia should be ashamed of themselves for sitting on their hands and for piling on now. They haven’t lifted a finger to help the Pope, only to undermine him. And I’m including bishops and monsignors here, too, not just Cardinals.

  13. Somerset '76 says:

    During this whole kerfuffle, I have had the nagging suspicion that the real reason many people are so upset with Pope Benedict over this move is that they sense that the SSPX would have a small but important role in clarifying a burning issue.

    How do we interpret the documents of the Second Vatican Council?

    That’s exactly it. There’s your ballgame right there. Small in size the Society may be, but their theses – and the gravitas with which these are asserted – are hefty indeed … especially as anyone familiar with the details knows that the Society stands alone in making many of their assertations, and that no one in the present era has actually addressed them with any real authority or credibility. One example: who besides them still affirms the Kingship of Christ in the social and political sphere as did Pope Pius XI in Quas Primas? Is this notion just some Constantinian warping of the Faith … or is it indeed part of the Divine Patrimony, which the Church is therefore obliged to stand for in all ages, including one like ours hostile to the very idea?

    I urge consideration of the point that Dr. Brian Sudlow made recently in his The Sensible Bond blog: that while it is incumbent upon the Society to accept that the final arbiter of all discussions is Pope Benedict XVI, it is incumbent upon the Holy See to acknowledge whatever is of intellectual integrity and substance behind the Society’s theses.

  14. depeccatoradvitam says:

    It seems clear that the fear of tradition has “Old Scratch” and his minions scrambling. As someone mentioned recently, something is going terribly right. Putting PR and such aside as just plattitudes and worldly ones at that, something is indeed going right. The possiblility of emerging from the murky shadows of muddled teaching, mis-represented truths and fear of fears true orthodoxy and Catholic Idenity marked first and foremost by clear, unequivocable Tradition and led by the true magisterium lock-step with unity of the true Church of Christ must have all the hangers-on and “Old Scratch” who has his puppet hand slid into them all shaking.

    The Prince of Lies can do much when the lamp is not fully lit and up on the lamp stand. But when we turn up the light, call out His name, and tell it from the rooftops, souls may be stolen away from the darkness.

    Pray for the Holy Father, and the good and true sons of the Church and for those striving to return to the fold. Indeed, as The Holy Father said, the church may need to get smaller in order to grow. But to grow from a vibrant root She shall.

    Optimism. Have hope, do not be afraid. With Him on our side whom shall we fear?

  15. Joshua says:

    First Latin rite Mass since Vatican II? Was not aware that even the Novus Ordo had not been done, oh wait.

    Also the FSSP has been there longer than that. Stupid idiots. Maybe first Pontifical Mass in a Papal Basilica, but not first traditional Mass

    “He has gone deep into Colombian jungles to mediate between leftist guerrillas and right-wing death squads, and once, while still a bishop, he showed up at the house of cocaine king Pablo Escobar disguised as a milkman. Revealing himself, Castrillón implored Escobar to confess his sins, which, presumably at some considerable length, the vicious gangster did. “Anyone who’s had interaction with him will tell you he’s an imperious [person] who acts first and worries about the consequences later,” says the Vatican official. “Sometimes I don’t think he even cares about the consequences.””

    Well is this supposed to be a BAD thing? It sounds like something a saint would do

  16. chironomo says:

    Somerset ’76 –

    “ is incumbent upon the Holy See to acknowledge whatever is of intellectual integrity and substance behind the Society’s theses.”

    And THAT is the real issue. The fear of (insert name of favorite progressive-cause group)is that the issues of Vatican II will be discussed in terms of intellectual integrity and substance. Which of the progressive positions will hold up under such scrutiny? They (again… insert name of group) know full well what the documents SAY, and what they MEAN. Up to know, they have relied upon what people FEEL about them. To consider them in terms of tradition and actual Church theachings will be a disaster for the Left. Bring it on!

  17. Corleone says:

    Why is an author named “Jeff Israely” given any credibility as a reliable source for the Catholic church anymore than I am on Judaism? [OVER THE LINE. Don’t ever come around here again with that sort of thing.]

    That being said, this really is a tempest in a tea=kettle. I sincerely think the Vatican should have just gone on business as usual. I don’t know the exact reasons why they are continuously acting on it, other than there ARE apparently outside pressures at work here (my guess is coming either from Germany or Israel).

    As I said on another thread, I really don’t like the feeling of watching the church being dictated to by secular forces. It really smacks of the cold war era.

  18. Great post Fr. I have to admit that all this talk about the Church failing in its communication or realizing that were in the information age is getting old. The only reason this is an issue is the media and the jewish leaders that play the media. Its the reality that they want to portray and they did not do it now, they wold just do it later.

  19. little AMU person says:

    chironomo, or anybody,

    “In order to be readmitted to episcopal functions within the Church,
    Bishop Williamson must absolutely, unequivocally and publicly distance
    himself from his views concerning the Shoah”

    How is this NOT an abuse of authority? How are Catholics NOT free to hold whatever views on historical matters, outside of the deposit of faith, they sincerely believe to be true?

  20. Gravitas says:

    “But most of all, Castrillón is a dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist.”

    So did this reporter do any research what so ever? I mean, seriously! I don’t know a single traditional Catholic who wouldn’t choke reading that sentence.

    We love our cardinal, but come on, let’s get real.

  21. Creagh says:

    there’s a disconnect here:

    i think we are witness to a momentous power struggle in the vatican right now. the pope vs. the old guard.

    the tone of the letter lifting the excommunication from the pope differs dramatically from the tone of the sec of state. within 24 hrs of + williamson’s statements being aired, the sec of state publicly releases conditions for sspx re-integration. its like obama says let’s talk to iran and hillary goes ahead and launches a full blown attack. +williamson’s comments are a diversion from the real issues. there’s a disconnect here.

    firstly – this is a delicate matter and should be handled by people closest to the negotiations hoyos and re; not the sec of state.
    secondly – pre-conditions have always existed for negotiations between sspx and the pope, 2 of which have been met, the 3rd v2 needs to be talked about.
    thirdly – by publicly stating pre-conditions the sec of state sabotages the whole negotiation process.

    we all know v2 is vague and ambiguous and needs clarification not only for sspx but all catholics.

    we must pray very much for the pope.

  22. crazylikeknoxes says:

    AMU: I sure Catholics qua Catholics are free to hold whatever views they wish on historical matters, outside the deposit of faith. But I believe it is Pope Benedict’s prerogative to choose bishops as he sees fit. Certainly the pope could, and should, consider a priest’s views on a number of issues, as well as his personal character and abilities, before appointing that priest to a particular office.

  23. mpm says:

    Dear little AMU person,

    Bishop Williamson was ordained illicitly in 1988, was excommunicated, and
    has now had that penalty remitted. The episcopal order cannot be undone.
    The Pope approves episcopal assignments, however, i.e., “functions.”

    If and when Bishop Williamson comes back into full communion with the Catholic
    Church he will be a bishop; but that does not mean that he will be given an
    episcopal assignment.

    If the Pope does not think he has the prudence to be able to control his
    tongue, the Pope is within his rights not to approve an episcopal assignment
    for him. Prudence, and self-control, are virtues. It is important for all
    Christians to grow in virtue, and the more public a role in the Church one
    has, the more the need for that virtue.

    Some might look upon this statement as a rebuff, but if Bishop Williamson
    takes it to heart, it cannot hurt his vocation to sanctity, and might even
    become a cause of edification for all of us.

    Pray for Pope Benedict’s intentions!

  24. DarkKnight says:

    Why does no one at the Vatican simply state:
    “Insensitivity to our elder brothers the Jews? How can they accuse us of not understanding the Shoah when our priests, nuns and consecrated brothers were dying in the same camps and their bodies cremated in the same ovens.

    “How can we express any greater solidarity than give sanctuary to as many Jews as possible and then to die alongside of them?

    “What more could anyone ask of us?”

    That would shut them up!

  25. Franzjosf says:

    A few thoughts:

    1. I am a dyed in the wool Traditionalist, Cardinal Castrillon is not. He has publicly stated that though he appreciates the TLM, he most often says the Novus Ordo. At best, he is a friend to Tradition, who battles for us sometimes. I certainly appreciate him for that.

    2. Requiring Bishop Williamson to distance himself from his holocaust positions has nothing to do with dogma; it is a question of the excercise of prudential judgment, from the Vatican perspective.

    3. “In order to be readmitted to episcopal functions with in the Church…” Interesting admission from which we can glean that the Holy Father expects that the SSPX bishops will indeed have episcopal functions when the canonical status is regularized. That’s good news.

    4. Did you all see the editorial over at Rorate Caeli. A Canadian priest opines that what is required to be ‘held and believed’ about the council. He concludes that the SSPX already believe these things.

  26. Ed says:

    Fr. Z – “Who is steering the ship for Benedict during what is turning into the most turbulent crisis of his papacy? [Now THAT is a good question!”

    It certainly is a good question; a good simple answer, too.

    The Holy Spirit is at the helm, as always, or it doesn’t matter who else might be.

    “According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.” “Spe Salvi” Pope Benedict XVI

    What if we simply stand in the Light of the Holy Spirit, trusting God, trusting Pope Benedict XVI to clarify his intentions, if necessary. Media narratives are not Truth, so there’s no reason to hang our hopes, or fears, on media jingo. Is there?

  27. Matt says:

    The statement that Bishop Williamson must publically comprise his secular beliefs in order to execute his office is absurd. At most the magesterium should say they do not agree with his beliefs and that Bishop Williamson’s views are his own.

    This type of talk from the Vatican only proves to the SSPX and the faithful that many in the magesterium are only interested in power, control and coercion. While I don’t agree with Bishop Williamsons estimates of how many people were killed and how, he should be free to hold those views (Probably keep them to himself or his inner circle of friends).

    We truely are beginning to see who in the hierarchy is opposed to the Pope and who wants to destroy the church through relativeism from within. I truely hope the Pope has the courage and inspiration to move ahead on his own without worrying about these self important prelates.

    I feel outside of myself with disgust and dispair. In Madison, WI we have the university voting to allow second term abortions at univeristy facilities. Our Bishop is silent. He does not stand with those who call this outrage murder. Where is the exercise of his teaching office in the public? It is absent.

    What do we have in Rome? Our spiritual leaders dictating non dogmatic facts that we must profess in order to be in communion and spread the faith? This is madness.

  28. Mary says:

    Oh, DarkKnight, it’s true. St Maximilian Kolbe died at Auschwitz before the Jews were even taken there. St Maximilian, St Edith Stein, St Pius X, St Catherine of Siena, pray for us!

  29. Steve K. says:

    Interesting though the attempt at lifting fire from the Pope and pouring it on Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. Here again we see the Enemy’s fingerprints – division and isolation. Just as the Enemy predominantly attacks Catholics in this society by separating and isolating them from Catholic cultural milieus, hence cut off from sources of strength that would help one better resist his assaults, so we see the attempt to cut off the Holy Father from allies and support within the Church. It also allows the enemies of the Church to claim that they are loyal to the Pope, that their quarrel lies merely with underlings who are harming the Boss.

    Diabolical, as always.

  30. Credo says:

    FYI, in favour of the SSPX, the webmaster has taken down articles referencing Judaism. A very positive move on the part of the SSPX.

    All of this may actually do some good for both sides in just getting things moving along. These same ridiculous people will make another stink when their is full reconciliation, so why not just get it all done and over with once and for all? No need to prolong the agony for those of us who have to listen to all of this foolishness. Let people whine all they want, they’ll get over it!

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Vatican came out in the midst of all of this and said that full communion has been established?

  31. Tominellay says:

    …ho hum…TIME Magazine is pushing an agenda…

  32. RichR says:

    I still remember what Ratzinger said when asked about the criticisms he received in the press on some of his perceived hard-line decisions. He basically said, “If I don’t read something negative about myself in the papers every week, I need to examine my conscience.” [A story which came from yours truly. Indeed, this is a good man and humble. You could stop him in the hallway and pick his brains. Challenging him on a point was the most fruit of exchanges. He understands the press and criticism, and can recognize when it is respectful and when it is not.]

    Classic. I love this Pope.

  33. mpm says:

    Dear Matt,

    “While I don’t agree with Bishop Williamsons estimates of how many people were killed and how, he should be free to hold those views (Probably keep them to himself or his inner circle of friends).”

    I think you answered your own question. At times, one must bite his tongue.

  34. Rose of Lima says:

    Dear Matt,

    I believe that the scandal Bishop Williamson has brought on the Church is more than enough reason for the Holy Father to make the request “In order to be readmitted to episcopal functions within the Church, Bishop Williamson must absolutely, unequivocally and publicly distance himself from his views concerning the Shoah…”

    Bishops represent the Church in public forums and their private lives are always looked into by people trying to stir the pot. Therefore, Popes have the right and responsibility to reprimand the Bishops that have promised fidelity to the Catholic Church and the Chair of St. Peter.

    The best thing we can do is pray. There can be a lot of healing here if we all humble ourselves and are docile to the Holy Spirit. God bless.

  35. IvoDeNorthfield says:

    I agree with Franzjosf: Bp Williamson can “distance himself” from the views that he expressed without claiming to believe something that he does not. He can say that it is inappropriate for a Bishop to express such views, which is true. He was, in effect saying that the numerous witnesses of the gas chambers (and of the 911 attacks) were lying. If you’re going to say something that inflammatory and controversial, you’d better have very good proof (much better than he presented, anyway); and, more importantly, before you begin presenting your evidence, you should request that you be relieved of your duties as Bishop, and perhaps even priest, so that you can present it to the public without giving ammunition to the enemies of the CHurch. The CHurch is already reviled by many because of her counter-cultural teachings; those teachings need not be compromised by being associated with irresponsible statements about WWII.

    On the other hand, the current controversy does make the SSPX-ers’ point for them: misguided ecumenism, based on an interpretation of V2 documents that does not follow the hermeneutic of continuity, is bad for the CHurch. Look at the situation that it has caused in Germany and England: Catholic prelates are rebuking the Pope for bringing Catholics into communion with the Church, because of offense caused to Jewish sensibilities! “Sorry Holy Father, those Catholics must remain in canonical limbo, no matter what the cost to their immortal souls, because Rabbi such and such doesn’t like the looks of them.” Had Joseph Heller been a Catholic novelist, he could not have come up with a more absurd story.

  36. Mickey says:

    The Church really has to be ready to respond more quickly to the press. Silence in the 21st century is deafening…and it’s one of the reasons the Bush Administration had so much difficulty: they were always responding and not driving the discussion.

    I’m not suggesting for a second that the Curia should become TMZ or People Magazine…but the Holy Father is better served when his staff is able to respond quickly and even anticipate the discussion.

    It’s the difference between taking advantage of a “teaching moment” and a smear campaign…

  37. irishgirl says:

    Darkknight-you hit it on the head!

    Clear, concise, and not a lot of gobbledegook!

    That said it all!

    RichR-I like your “Ratzinger quote”, too!

  38. Carlos Palad says:

    St. Josemaria Escriva often asked people to pray for the closure of anti-Catholic
    news rags. I guess we should all pool our prayers and ask the Lord to finally
    send Time and Newsweek to the dustbins, to which they belong.

  39. Bruce says:

    “Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another.”
    Gilbert K. Chesterton

  40. Peter says:

    As I read this article I kept wondering to myself, “when does the albino Opus Dei monk come in?” Sheesh. So much for journalistic integrity.

  41. Romulus says:

    The Church really has to be ready to respond more quickly to the press.

    As the liberals so often love to say, “we are the Church”. Yes, the hierarchy has its job to do in getting its story out, but rapid response to published smears is where the laity must play an important part.

  42. Pierre Ronsard says:

    I may be wrong on this. But who can forget how much Pope Benedict XVI has tried to foster Jewish-Xtian relations. In France in particular the Jews are now being given a hard time over the action of Israel in Gaza. Of course, Catholics need not have been involved in the upsurge of attacks on Jews in that country. But they can hardly remain aloof. If there was ever a moment when Jews need friends in recent months it is now. Israel’s action is being roundly condemned the world over.
    But what was the Jewish response to the good offices of the Pope in their behalf over the past few months. We read in the Jesuit monthly Popoli in January 2009 that Elia Enrico Richetti, Chief-Rabbi of Venice criticized the Holy Father and blames him (especially his liberalization of the Latin Mass and his reformed Prayer for the Jews on Good Friday. The Italian rabbinate unilaterallysuspended relations with the Vatican. And Richetti blamed the Pope.
    It is difficult for me to believe that the Pope did not know about Bishop Richardson’s beliefs. It is also hard for me not to believe that this is a response not only to Richetti but also to Year Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa who after being invitedby Pope Benedict XVI to address the Synod of the Bishops proceeded to launch another attack on the papacy. Of course, the Vatican diplomatic machine will make appropriate remarks disavowing Bishop Williamson’s unfortunate remarks.
    Yet, the message is clear if the Jews have ears to hear. The Pope has been gracious to them almost to a fault. But where is the gratitude? If anti-semitism is phylogenetic rather than sociogenetic as many Zionists believe, the Popes graciousness doesn’t matter. There is nothing he can do to improve Jewish-Xtian relations. Yet, it is difficult for a non-zionist like myself to accept the phylogenetic thesis. For this reason, the Jews need friends, why alienate those you have?

  43. stb says:

    I understand (somewhat) the motivation behind the request to retract comments of Williamson.

    One thing troubles me, though: if he really believes in what he said, by forcing him to retract, one is forcing him to lie.

    If he does not truly believe in what he said, he is a liar already.

    You cannot force someone to change his beliefs – can you?

    So what is the point of all of this?

  44. Simon Platt says:

    Perhaps the mst surprising part of this post to me is that Fr. Z. lets this chap Israely get away with using “the Latin-rite Mass” many times without correction. I suppose that can only mean that Father thinks it’s one of the least of Israely’s errors here. I suppose he’s right. [yes]

    There seems to be a tradition of ignorant Rome correspondents among British newspapers. Is it the same in the US?

  45. now i am angry says:

    I was hopeful, now I am angry. [breathe slowly]

    I am angry at +Williamson for not keeping his mouth shut on an issue that is not dogmatic/doctrinal.

    I am angry at the MSM and non-Catholic political and religious figures who think they have a right to tell the RCC what to do.

    I am REALLY angry at the Catholic prelates who are siding with the secular media and governments and not with the Holy Father.
    This CYA distancing of themselves from the Vatican is disgusting. If they have a reservation they should keep it private and air their concerns to the Vatican. The irony (and hypocrisy) of these finger pointers screaming about obedience in one breath and political correctness in the other is to obvious to be missed.

    I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. The SSPX had a good chance to be regularized. I knew it wouldn’t be without some bumps in the road but I truly thought it was going to happen. Something I thought I would never ever see. Now I am starting to despair. I don’t know how far they can push +Fellay and +Williamson before they say “Enough!” and revert back to the ‘we resist you to the face’ posture.

    I am so sad.
    I think I need to stop following this situation blow by blow and just pray.

  46. Antiquarian says:

    One point that some here are missing is that nothing in the vatican statement implies that Williamson must retract in order to be in communion with the Church– it is the exercise of episcopal functions that rely on him demonstrating prudence and sanity. The Holy Father is again subtler than many allow, since as Williamson almost certainly will not retract, neither will he be admitted to any episcopal duties (which does indeed imply that otherr SSPX bishops may be).

    This in some sense solves the problem of what to do with him when and if regularization takes place. He can stick to his guns and retire somewhere, where he can fulminate against the USA’s responsibility for 9/11, against the Jews, and against Rodgers and Hammerstein to his heart’s content.

  47. chironomo says:

    Little AMU Person…

    Not sure why you directed you response at me, but I’ll comment anyway.

    It’s not an abuse of power, but I think it is unreasonable (and unrealistic) to ask someone to cease holding a personal view. To ask them to cease expressing such views publicly would be perfectly reasonable. In the case of a Bishop, particularly a now-very-visible Bishop, I would hope that some discretion would be practiced. Bp. Williamson seems to have not ever heard the word “discretion”…

  48. Kradcliffe says:

    *“In order to be readmitted to episcopal functions within the Church,
    Bishop Williamson must absolutely, unequivocally and publicly distance
    himself from his views concerning the Shoah”

    How is this NOT an abuse of authority? How are Catholics NOT free to hold whatever views on historical matters, outside of the deposit of faith, they sincerely believe to be true?*

    The Church didn’t ordain him a Bishop. They didn’t hire him, so to speak. He will always remain a Bishop, of course, but they don’t have to give him a job. He can remain suspended. I imagine a priest who says offensive and stupid things in public won’t be ordained a Bishop.

  49. Jordanes says:

    stb said: One thing troubles me, though: if he really believes in what he said, by forcing him to retract, one is forcing him to lie. If he does not truly believe in what he said, he is a liar already. You cannot force someone to change his beliefs – can you? So what is the point of all of this?

    Bishop Williamson is not being required to go against his conscience, nor is he being forced to change his beliefs. There are no thumbscrews being applied, no threat of auto da fe, nor has he been shown instruments of torture. His excommunication being remitted, he is just being informed what the Holy Father expects of him before he would be approved for an episcopal assignment. If he cannot in good conscience retract his views, he will not be given an assignment. If he fraudulently recants in order to obtain an episcopal assignment, then he would be defiling the inner sanctum of his conscience. If he sincerely changes his mind and disavows what he has said, there should be no obstacle to him serving the Church as a bishop.

  50. Adeodatus says:

    Said Father Z:
    “I belive the SSPX doesn’t want to compromise Catholic teaching in order to have diaolgue.”

    Father Z, I think I’ve finally figured you out. [Nooo… I suspect you don’t have a clue.] You seem to adhere to orthodoxy and yet you seem to sympathize with the Feeneyites or even make galactically bizarre statements such as the one quoted above. But I think I’ve got it.

    Obviously, the *very existence* of the SSPX is a compromise of Catholic teaching. When they decided to raise the scarlet banner of revolution against the Holy See they compromised Catholic teaching. When they slander and defame the righteous name of Pope John Paul the Great they compromise Catholic teaching. When they heaped Anti-Semitic calumnies upon the race of Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David and Jesus of Nazareth they compromised Catholic teaching.

    Such men pretend to the Patristics but what could they say to Pope St. Clement I? They are the picture of wayward Corinthians. To say that the SSPX doesn’t want to compromise Catholic teaching is like saying the Lutherans don’t want to compromise Catholic teaching. Luther would have said the same.

    In reality, we have two gangs of traitors bearing their venomous knives against the back of the Church: the Left and the Right. Father Z, I have no doubt that you righteously scorn the Left. And yet you collaborate with the traitors of the Right by your sympathetic opinions. But why? I say that it is because the Left’s brand of treason aesthetically offends you (as it should), but the Right’s does not. [No clue at all.]

    If that is the case then you are living in an aesthetic mode, beyond good and evil. I hear that has been the fashion of the last century, but I’ll have none of it. [And I will no longer have any of you.]

  51. dominic1962 says:


    That has a ring of the “Improperia” to it. Nice.

  52. Corleone says:

    RichR – I’m with you; I LOVE this pope.

    Adeotatus – unfortunately you don’t seem to be aware of the history behind the SSPX. They were created initially with full consent of the Vatican and the preceding pope. It wasn’t until the SSPX let their emotions and pride get ahead of them that they became scornfull of the church and were subsequently excommunicated. Another example of pride coming before the fall. But they were began (as were the Jesuits as another example) with the best of intentions.

    Now that the SSPX are coming back into the fold with humility and obedience, it is not just for you to label them as traitors. In fact it is quite deceitful. I was no fan of the SSPX and abhored the venom I heard coming from their ranks. But if they renounce their former “treachery” as you put it, then we as Christians are obligated to forgive them in the spirit of the Prodigal Son. That’s the way it is.

  53. dominic1962 says:


    Get off your self-righteous high horse. You obviously have not looked into the issue with any seriousness.

    1. Consecrating bishops without a papal mandate is not the same thing as perpetrating all the looney heresies that the progressives have after Vatican II. The Pope is reaching out to them, the SSPX are trying to respond in kind to work out the issues. You can sit back like the older brother and whine about your “loyalty” and the younger brother’s evil, but we all know how that story goes…

    2. Disagreeing with prudential actions of a Pope is not a compromise of Catholic teaching. They never said JPII was not the real pope, etc. etc. Enough of the neo-con JPII cult of personality, he would not have approved.

    3. Bishope Fellay and Fr. Schmidberger have clearly stated that the SSPX does not support anti-semitism. Some people in the SSPX might, so might some folks in the wider Church but this is certainly not Catholic teaching. Get over it.

    4. If you actually look at what the SSPX and Archbishop Lefebvre have said, they want clarification on Vatican II. Have they gone off the right path with imprudent zeal in the past? Yes, but now we are working to amend these issues. The issues with the SSPX do not really touch on doctrine, they touch on implementation of Vatican II and the ways in which post-Conciliar strains of thought have varied from those of the post-Conciliar Magisterium. I think if we could have all sat down and had a serious discussion about this without all the progressives trying to poison the well and all their useful idiot cheerleaders smearing the SSPX and all traditionalists as schismatics we probably wouldn’t have had this problem.

    Pope Benedict is trying to prevent this whole issue from turning into another Great Schism. We have said that it was partly our fault for the schism between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox, I think it would be safe to say that with this issue as well.

  54. Sid says:

    To “now I am angry”:

    So am I, and my anger goes further. The remarks of those who are supposedly on our side that will lead to an identification of the EF with Antisemitism and Judeophobia and Holocaust denial will bring the progress of the EF to a dead stop and put us back where we were in 2006. And this after all the effort that so many of us have made to help advance the EF.

    My anger extends to Kradcliff. Contrary to what he says, the Church is always permitted to pronounce judgement on the historicity and morality of ANY historical event by applying her moral categories to a historical situation, and such a judgement is binding upon Catholics. And for her to do so is hardly an abuse of her authority. She has pronounced judgement of the Shoah as an appalling crime of great extent. Catholics are not free to judge otherwise and still be Catholics. Or will Kradcliff now have us believe that the Church has abused her authority by condemning slavery, Jim Crow, the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, and abortion – none of which are part of the deposit of faith (which deals with revelation, e.g. the dogmas on the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, etc), and all of which violated and violate natural law, the moral teaching of the church, and are thus worthy of excommunication and every Catholic’s loathing condemnation? Archbishop Rummel, pray for us!

    Ironically, on the historicity and morality of the Shoah, Bishop Felley and the Society stand with Holy Father. Does Kradcliff consider these men to have abused their authority?

  55. dominic1962 says:

    The difference between slavery et al. and Bishop Williamson’s comments is that slavery et al is a moral issue in and of itself. Williamson did not say that the Holocaust was a good thing, he just said he didn’t buy into the “official” figures of how many people died there. Big difference.

    The moral issue with the Holocaust, of course, consists of the killing of innocent people. Murder is immoral. Something like the immorality of abortion also touches on the same issue-murder. Race slavery touches on issues like unjustly denying the worker his wages or forcing someone to do something against their wiil

    If Williamson denied the immorality of mass murder, OK, then he would certainly be in direct conflict with Church teaching. If he denies a historical detail, he is not. Or, please explain how not believing the accuracy of a statistical figure is the denial of the moral principles against murder.

  56. Maureen says:

    Seems to me that this media frenzy will not die out until the entire traditionalist segment of the Church is irredeemably tarred with the “antisemitic” brush. That way any movement in a conservative direction is automatically discredited. (Reminds me of the “expose” that the SPLC did on conservative Catholic communities in the U.S.)
    The people behind this frenzy want to destroy the Church and apparently this, like the pedophilia scandal, is a charge that they feel that they can run with. Nothing that the Pope, the SSPX, or Bishop Williamson himself, does will be enough to satisfy their blood lust.
    Personally, I think, that announcing that Bishop Williamson needed to recant his holocaust beliefs before he could assume his priestly functions was a mistake. Such a requirement could have been made and enforced privately.
    As it now stands, the hounds having tasted blood, will likely require more.

  57. Corleone says:

    Dominic – while I didn’t opt for your tone in response to Adeodatus, I definitely agree with your content. And believe me, it took a couple of deep breaths.

    Sid – to be fair, the left, Jews and atheists alike have always associated the EF with anti-Jewish sentiment. Nothing new here. Williamson could be burnt at the stake tomorrow and they’d still feel the same way and dig up all the old standards (i.e. Pius X “did nothing for the Jews”, the good Friday prayer contains “perfideous Jews”, the old calendar names saints who were anti-Jewish etc). In other words, they will believe what they want to believe and appeasing them will simply not do. So, it’s best not to worry about them.

  58. Jordanes says:

    Sid said: My anger extends to Kradcliff. Contrary to what he says, the Church is always permitted to pronounce judgement on the historicity and morality of ANY historical event by applying her moral categories to a historical situation, and such a judgement is binding upon Catholics.

    Your anger is completely misdirected. Those weren’t Kradcliffe’s words, those were little AMU person’s words. Kradcliffe only quoted them in order to refute them.

  59. Prof. Basto says:

    It seems that even inside the Vatican some people (e.g. Cardinal Re) are trying to make Cardinal Castrillón the scapegoat here:

    “The paleo-liberal Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Giovanni Battista Re, appears to be pretty upset about the circumstances of lifting the excommunication of the four-Lefebvre bishops.

    The Italian business daily, ‘Italia Oggi’ reports.

    They currently wondering in the Vatican about the question of whether someone had created “hidden pitfalls” in the lifting of the excommunication by the Pope.

    The answer to this question allegedly was answered was given to those who last Sunday sat in a bus organized by the Vatican.

    Once a year, two buses transport Vatican prelates from St. Peter’s Square to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, where the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul the Apostle takes place.

    On one of the front seats of one of these buses is the voice of Cardinal Re has been heard loud and clear: “This Pasticción!”

    The expression was a parody of the name of the president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, Dario Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, who was in his mind.

    The Italian word “pasticcione” means chaotic person or bungler.

    According to the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, the –- gas chamber statements (which the anticlerical media highly welcomed) by Bishop Richard Williamson, and the subsequent festival of outrage was entirely the fault of Cardinal Castrillón-Pasticción.

    He was in a hurry to lift the excommunication as he did not wish to miss the historic opportunity of ending the conflict with the Society of St Pius X.

    “I, too, had only a few hours to view the document ” – is Cardinal Re claimed in the bus.

    The cardinal also seems to know the reason for the actions of Cardinal Castrillón:

    “Everyone knows Castrillón is shortly 80 years old and goes into retirement. If the matter is not immediately completed, he would no longer be able to claim it as his own work.”

    The wrath of Cardinal Re was apparently directed also towards the author of the decree – the president of the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts, Bishop Francesco Coccopalmerio – ” who has to struggle so much with the Italian language.”

    Cardinal Re would have preferred to have waited for one month – “and to give the news when the new statute for the Lefebvre supporters was ready. That would have been something completely different and we would have made no such fauxpas. ”

    The Cardinal was one of those present when the question was asked whether anyone had known about the interview of Bishop Williamson: “But how come” – he replied: “That was all well known to Castrillón-Pasticción. But he probably said nothing, and certainly underestimated the consequences. ”

  60. Jordanes says:

    Adeodatus huffed: Father Z, I think I’ve finally figured you out.

    Guess again. The Book of Proverbs says one of the definitions of a fool is someone who rushes to judgment without all the facts. It’s a mighty good thing you’re not involved in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. Over the past few days here you’ve been engaging in strident, overheated and hyperdogmatic rhetoric that you’d never tolerate from a member or adherent of the SSPX.

    I hear that has been the fashion of the last century, but I’ll have none of it.

    Does that mean you won’t be commenting here any more?

    Switching subjects now, I note that the Associated Press and mainstream media in the U.S. have completely botched the story of Cardinal Bertone’s statement yesterday. They’re claiming that the Vatican has abruptly reversed itself and decided that Bishop Williamson will stay excommunicated until he racants his Holocaust denying. That only goes to show that the ability to read and comprehend human language is not a requirement for being a journalist these days. I wonder if the AP writer even bothered to read what Cardinal Bertone said, or if he just rehashed and garbled something from Reuters (who are as infamous for botching the news as the AP now is) or another European media outlet.

  61. Rob F. says:


    It is sometimes helpful to make a distinction between doctrinal and disciplinary teachings.

    You are correct that the very existence of disobedience to authority among the Feeneyites and Lefebvrites is a compromise of Catholic teaching, which emphasizes obedience. However, neither the Lefebvrites nor the Feeneyites before them ever preached doctrinal heresy.

    The Feeneyites of Stillwater have been reconciled to the church without ever renouncing their doctrine. Fr. Zed is certainly entitled to hope for a similar outcome for the Lefebvrites, as are we all.

  62. Brian says:

    It seems to me that secualrists and liberals are so unecessarily incensed about
    this because they are starting to see–with abject horror–that the Church is
    pretty much over that unfortunate hiccup known as “The Spirit of Vatican II”; and
    this, in turn, is what is causing them to desperately grasp at any cudgel with
    which to bash our heroic Holy Father–who is the prime impetous behind a Church
    who is starting to recognize that she is not nearly as mediocre as the secs/libs
    want her to be. She is ancient, beautiful, and majestic. Let them throw their
    tantrums; the eyes of the world have always been blind.

  63. Edward C. says:

    Quick question… I’ve never until this whole Williamson thing heard the word “Lefebvrites”, only their official real name the SSPX or FSSPX for that matter. Has the word always been around? In any case, it makes them sound like a personality cult worshiping the image and words of the late archbishop. I really hope it doesn’t stick, that’s not their M.O.

  64. Rob F. says:

    Edward C.:

    I believe that “Lefebvrite” is a somewhat more recent and perhaps somewhat more disparaging version of the older and more common term “Lefebvrist”. The term “Lefebvrist” has been in use since at least the beginning of the so-called schism.

    I probably should have said “Lefebvrist” in my post above, but I liked the rhyme with “Feeneyite”, especially since I was drawing an analogy between the two. Needless to say, one should not press the analogy too far.

  65. Ottaviani says:

    Adeodatus: When they slander and defame the righteous name of Pope John Paul the Great they compromise Catholic teaching.

    The funniest thing I have read all week…

  66. Sid says:

    “please explain how not believing the accuracy of a statistical figure is the denial of the moral principles against murder.” Dominic1962 ignores that the Church not only condemns murder, but she has also condemned the Shoah and acknowledged its extent. She has condemned Holocaust denial AND has condemned those who deny its extent. As for a “statistical figure”, I once came close to punching out a Marxist who told me that “only” sixty thousand people died in the French revolution. And denying the use of gas chambers isn’t a “statistical figure”.

    What is more – and this must be repeated loud and clear – defenders of Williamson are now opposing Bishop Felley and the Society itself, who have forcefully distanced the Society from Williamson’s remarks. The defenders of Williamson are in fact defaming the overwhelming majority of the Society’s members who are good decent people, who haven’t an antisemitic bone in their bodies, and who don’t agree with Williamson’s remarks. To compound the irony, Williamson apologists are now opposing Williamson himself, who has asked to be thrown over.

    “Jews and atheists alike have always associated the EF with anti-Jewish sentiment,”Corleone says. AND NOW WILLIAMSON HAS GIVEN THEM AMMO, AS SOME WRITEBACKERS HERE!!!

    My apology to Kradcliff for attributing to him views of AMU. I just wish Kradcliff had used quote marks.

    Folks, keep up this defense of Williamson, and you can kiss the EF good bye.

  67. Rose says:

    The defense that Bishop Williamson was only questioning the numbers and not denying the Holocaust and not expressing antiSemitism in a public forum, is absurd; on the face of it, sure, he was questioning the numbers but there is little doubt, given his past conduct and statements, that Bishop Williamson was expressing (as he has so often in the past) a
    deep-seated antiSemitism and because of that, he should not be permitted to represent or transmit the Church’s teaching, which are the primary functions of a Catholic biship. The Bishop’s so-called gesture of humility is more a self-serving cover for what he knew would be inevitable and just. One need not expect him to distance himself; he should however retire and keep his silence and reflect on how much harm he has done.

  68. prof. basto says:


    Regarding the attempt to use Cardinal Castrillón as scapegoat Rorate Caeli has a very interesting piece, that contains part of an interview in which even the Holy See Press Office’s own Director, Fr. Lombardi, is attempting to put the entire blame on the shoulders of the President of the PCED, thus attempting to evade his own responsability as head of the Vatican media apparatus. Please take a look:

    ****** quote begins *******

    Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos in the eye of the storm

    From an interview granted by the director of the Holy See Press Office and head of Radio Vaticana, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, to French daily La Croix:

    Could it [the commotion caused by the Decree lifting the excommunication] have been avoided?

    Honestly, the delicate point is to know who knew the opinions of this man. When it is proposed to the Pope to lift the excommunication of four Bishops, it is not an important number, as [it would be] if they were 150. They are known, these four Bishops. Undoubtedly, the people who managed this situation were not aware of the gravity of the opinions of Mgr Williamson. It is true that the negotiations were conducted with Mgr Fellay. But the positions of the other Bishops were not taken into consideration. What is certain is that the Pope ignored it. If there was someone who should know it, it is Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos.

    [RORATE CAELI’S] NOTE: It is unpleasant to say so, but Father Lombardi is being disingenuous. If the Pope did not know, many may be blamed; but if Lombardi did not know, even though his office was in charge of preparing the note presenting the decree, then he should blame himself. He is the Pope’s leading man in all media-related matters. He, personally, or the scores of employees in the most inefficient communications operation in the Church (the Holy See Press Office/Radio Vaticana apparatus, all under his personal control and the biggest financial drain in the Vatican) could have just searched Google for any of the several problematic texts written by Bishop R. Williamson, some for his own blog… Or he could have just searched in the files of the new business partner, Youtube.

    Most of those involved knew some of these strange opinions, and Lombardi should, too – it is not as if anyone was hiding anything. And everything had been available for years to anyone with an internet connection – the only new information was the interview, strangely released on the very day on which the decree was signed. Few expected that the media would inflate this story for such a long time, but Lombardi should not try to scapegoat his own incompetence in the complex task of using search engines…

    Please, pray for the only effective president that the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” has ever had, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos. Many are trying to scapegoat him now – at a pivotal moment in which his presence is most needed.

    ***** end of quote *****

    I hope the attempt to scapegoat Card. Castrillón fails. The pope won’t be deceived. Let us pray for the Pope and for Card. Castrillón.

  69. ssoldie says:

    God bless and keep our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos who’s love for the bride of Christ,is unquestionable.

  70. dominic1962 says:

    The point is that one cannot posit a historical event as a matter of doctrine. We can say that such a belief is out of his realm of expertise and that he shouldn’t say such things, but then we should change the conversation to that point. Some say that the excommunications should not have been lifted for his statements, well, that’s not the point.

    Furthermore, I’m not defending what he said. Rather, the whole incident has been blown way out of proportion.

    Basically, it would be more useful and productive to have a good sit down discussion with Williamson, or like Fellay did, silence him. There is no point in having all the usual suspects lament on how offended they are and various members of the Church and society at large to flick invectives at him and jump on the trashing bandwagon. Don’t you think that to a person like him (someone that is more than likely enamored with conspiracy theories), all this media attention and such just “proves” his point? The best way to deal with such people is to deny them this sort of attention. We all know that sort of claim is kooky, why get all in a huff?

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