Card. Castrillon is little inclined to shoulder the blame – rightly

His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, had an interview with the Spanish language El Tiempo.  He made comments about the lifting of the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops, especially Williamson’s.

Card. Castrillon seems very little interested, and rightly so, in taking full blame for the controversy.

He is an excerpt with my emphases and comments.

La polémica con el obispo

Monseñor Castrillón era el encargado de dialogar con los cuatro lefebvrianos excomulgados y su labor fue criticada por permitir su reintegro a la Iglesia sin que Williamson se hubiera retractado primero de sus palabras.

El hecho, en el que se vio involucrado el cardenal colombiano, generó gran escándalo mundial a principios de febrero pasado, pues la comunidad judía rechazó que se le diera el perdón papal a quien negó la existencia de las cámaras de gas durante el régimen nazi en Alemania.

EL TIEMPO ¿Cuál fue su papel en la mediación con los lefebvrianos a quienes se les levantó la excomunión?

Monseñor Darío Castrillón: Tenía que hacer los diálogos, pero no significa que era yo solo el que estaba dialogando con (Bernard) Fellay (jefe de la Fraternidad Sacerdotal San Pío X de los lefebvrianos). Tuve siempre en torno a mí todo el grupo necesario dentro de la Santa Sede para cada uno de los pasos. Cuando hablábamos de las excomuniones no fue un diálogo de Castrillón con Fellay…, no, no, no. Yo no negocié con nadie. Fue la Comisión de Cardenales, incluido Ratzinger (el Papa Benedicto XVI), porque de esto comenzamos a hablar cuando él no era Papa. No hubo ni un solo acto que no se hiciera colegiadamente. [The Cardinal wasn’t alone.  And I understand that there was a Commission of dicasterial heads headed by Card. Bertone, before the lifting of the excommunications.]

¿Cómo se enteraron de las palabras de Williamson en las que niega el Holocausto?

Cuando hubo una reacción grande del mundo hebreo y de obispos de las áreas más sensibles (Alemania, Suiza y Austria), oficialmente nos enteramos. Llegó una comunicación el 5 de febrero a nuestras manos. Pero a los lefebvrianos no los excomulgaron por motivos de doctrina, sino porque habían sido ordenados sin permiso.

¿Hubo un ‘jalón de orejas‘ cuando el portavoz del Papa, Federico Lombardi, dijo que usted tenía que saber lo que había dicho Williamson?

El no dijo exactamente eso y si lo dijo es un absurdo, una idiotez, porque no se trataba de estudiar la vida de estos obispos. Lo único que había que saber es que fue ordenado por (Marcel) Lefebvre sin permiso.

¿Para levantar la excomunión no hacía falta que Williamson se retractara?

Nadie le iba a pedir retractación porque el Santo Padre ni nosotros sabíamos lo que había dicho.

Si lo hubieran sabido, ¿hubieran pedido su retractación antes de levantar la excomunión?

Yo pienso que no, porque es un problema histórico no moral. Por prudencia el Santo Padre hubiera podido decir que esperaran un momento. Me parece que hubo una imprudencia del portavoz de la Santa Sede en la declaración que le dio a ‘La Croix’, porque no tiene por qué entrar en juicios sobre personas ni decir que un cardenal tiene que saber algo que no tiene por qué saber. Si alguien tenía que saber eso es el cardenal que se encarga de la vida de los obispos, el cardenal Re[interesting]

¿Es consciente de lo que el portavoz dijo?

Francamente no me ha interesado. Él me escribió una carta pidiéndome excusas. Hemos sido muy buenos amigos.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. j says:

    Of course, everyone assumes “blame” is there. Certainly the press could have been handled better, and instruction to Bishops prior to the lifting of the excommunications. In the press and blogosphere, it is assumed there is “blame” for the mistake of generosity to the SSPX. There isn’t. Just a better media treatment was needed.
    His Holiness’ priorities are still where they should be, on avoiding schizm, saving souls, and reuniting the Church. Disappointing the media is unfortunate, but not really such a horror.

  2. Monty De La Torre says:

    Very interesting indeed! It seems that Cardinal Hoyos was set-up as the fall man in this whole case, which is very sad but is only indicative of our fallen human nature, even in the upper tiers of the Curia.

  3. Rachel says:

    could it be translated into english????

  4. Sieber says:

    Press 1 for English; marque dos por Espagnol!

  5. Prof. Basto says:

    Why is re reffered to as Monsignior? He is a Cardinal!

  6. J. Wong says:

    Here is a rough translation I made:

    The controversy with the bishop

    Monsignor Castrillón was the one in charge of the discussions with the four excommunicated Lefebvrists and his work was criticized for having allowed their reintegration into the Church without first having Williamson retract his statement.

    The event, in which the Colombian cardinal was involved, generated great world-wide scandal at the beginning of February, due to the Jewish community’s disapproval of that the papal pardon granted to a denier of the existence of gas chambers during the Nazi regime in Germany.

    EL TIEMPO: What was your role in the mediation with the Lefebvrists whose excommunication was lifted?

    MONSIGNOR DARIO CASTRILLON: I had to enter into dialogue, but that does not mean that I was only the one that was having a discussion with (Bernard) Fellay (head of the Lefebvrist’s Society of St. Pius X). At every step, I was always surrounded by those from the Holy See that had to be there. When we spoke of the excommunications, it was not a dialogue of Castrillón with Fellay…, no, no, no. I did not negotiate with anybody. It was the Commission of Cardinals, including Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), since we began the talks when he was not Pope. There was no not one act that was not made collegially.

    How did you hear of Williamson’s Holocaust denying statement?

    Through the great reaction of the Jewish world and of the bishops of the most sensible areas (Germany, Switzerland and Austria)… ……..But to the Lefebvrists were not excommunicated due to issues dealing with doctrine, but due to their ordination without permission.

    Were any `ears pulled’ (any repercussions) when the spokesman for the Pope, Federico Lombardi, said that you had to know what Williamson had stated?

    He didn’t say that exactly and if he did, it was non-sense, because the issue was not the study the life of these bishops. The only that needed to be known was he had been ordained by (Marcel) Lefebvre without permission.

    In order to lift the excommunication. wasn’t the need of Williamson’s retraction necessary?

    No one was going to request a retraction because neither the Holy Father nor we knew what he had said.

    Had you known, would you have requested a retraction prior to lifting the excommunication?

    I don’t think so, because it’s a history issue and not a moral one. Out of prudence, the Holy Father could have asked us to wait a bit. It seems to me that it was an imprudent act of the spokesman of Holy See when he spoke to `La Croix’, as he should not be passing judgment on individuals nor to be stating that a cardinal should have been aware of an issue, an issue that there was no need for he (the cardinal) to have been aware of. If somebody had to know, that would be the cardinal who is in charge of bishops, Cardinal Re.

    Are you aware of what the spokesman stated?

    Truly, I have not really cared. He wrote a letter to me asking me to forgive him. We have always been good friendly.

  7. EDG says:

    Prof Basto, “Monseñor” is just the title used when addressing or speaking about a bishop in Spain and Latin America. It doesn’t mean he’s a “monsignor” in the US usage.

  8. EDG says:

    Monty de la Torre: They (the liberal wing) have been after Cdl Castrillon for ages because he’s orthodox. I’m sure the Pope knows the truth.

    One thing that I don’t think Americans understand is that Spain and its colonies are extremely Catholic, even by modern standards, and one of the major occupations of any Catholic country is that of “handicapping” bishops and members of the heirarchy. That is, you have your favorites, you see how their career is going, you bet they’re going to get promoted (or not), etc. Once upon a time, when Spain was even more Catholic, this was practically a more absorbing hobby than doing crossword puzzles. It’s still a concern, although now of vital interest mainly to bloggers and their readers. However, it’s also somewhat interesting to the Spanish government because the current government is always seeking ways to attack the Church or to prepare itself in the event that a strong, orthodox bishop is appointed to some Spanish diocese, so the readership is probably wider than it would be in the US for similar blogs. Gossip is very important in this setting and I can’t say that the hobby is entirely dead.

    In this case, while we’re dealing with a situation that has nothing to do with Spain (Castrillon is Colombian, El Tiempo is a Colombian paper, and at the same time much of this whole storm involves Italians), what you are seeing is a very typical Catholic-country insider attack.

    The only thing I found a little odd was the reference to Cardinal Re. There is a Spanish blogger who receives regular reports from “Cardinal Re,” and I always assumed this was not the real Cardinal Re but a pseudonym for someone who was an orthodox and somewhat indignant Vatican insider, probably a Spaniard, engaging in the favorite Spanish sport of Vatican political handicapping. Now I’m really puzzled!

  9. Dominic says:

    What I found interesting yet again is that Cardinal Hoyas said they weren’t excommunicated because of Theologybut because of the ordinations. Now this bids the question is there a necessity to recant on their beliefs if they infact weren’t excommunicated because of them.

  10. Sal says:

    This is very interesting, especially in view of the
    fact that Cardinal Kasper said he was “not consulted.”
    From this account, it appears that he was. And
    Cardinal Re complained that he had “only a few
    hours” to sign the decree lifting the excommunications.
    Well, it shouldn’t have been a difficult task, if
    all of these heads of dicasteries had already been

    These two cardinals, and others, have some
    ‘splaining to do.

  11. jwsrjwsr says:

    “is there a necessity to recant on their beliefs if they in fact weren’t excommunicated because of them.”

    Yes, if they wish to function as Priests or other ecclesiastical officers. If they want to be Catholics, no. There is a difference between being just a run-of-the-mill Catholic, which now all SSPX-ers are, and having faculties, between excommunication and censure (BTW, Bp Williamson is, at present, prohibited from speaking on history by THE SSPX ITSELF, a form of censure)

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