Pope Lifts Excommunication of SSPX Bishops

Pope Lifts Excommunication of SSPX Bishops January 24, 2009

By way of a letter of December 15, 2008 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Bernard Fellay, also in the name of the other three Bishops consecrated on June 30, 1988, requested anew the removal of the latae sententiae excommunication formally declared with the Decree of the Prefect of this Congregation on July 1, 1988. In the aforementioned letter, Mons. Fellay affirms, among other things: “We are always firmly determined in our will to remain Catholic and to place all our efforts at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept its teachings with filial disposition. We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this the current situation makes us suffer so much.”

His Holiness Benedict XVI – paternally sensitive to the spiritual unease manifested by the interested party due to the sanction of excommunication and trusting in the effort expressed by them in the aforementioned letter of not sparing any effort to deepen the necessary discussions with the Authority of the Holy See in the still open matters, so as to achieve shortly a full and satisfactory solution of the problem posed in the origin – decided to reconsider the canonical situation of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta, arisen with their episcopal consecration.

Based on the faculties expressly granted to me by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, in virtue of the present Decree, I remit from Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta the censure of latae sententiae excommunication declared by this Congregation on July 1, 1988, while I declare deprived of any juridical effect, from the present date, the Decree emanated at that time.

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  • The video of Williamson denying the Holocaust is worth watching. to see sheer depravity in action. This is one issue where I fundamentally disagree with Benedict.

  • jonathanjones02

    We should always rejoyce in reunion. The Holy Father said:

    “This gift of peace, at the end of the Christmas celebrations, is also intended to be a sign to promote unity in the charity of the universal Church and to try to vanquish the scandal of division.”

    in response to:

    “We are always firmly determined in our will to remain Catholic and to place all our efforts at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept its teachings with filial animus. We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this the current situation makes us suffer so much.”

    This is excellent news.

  • Enjoy the nutters 😛 Think your local TLM has peculiar people ? There’ll be some new, strange blood LOL

    Williamson is an utterly deranged freak who’d be in prison in Austria or Germany. He’s also a stand-up comedian – did you know the Sound of Music was porn, that girls have no business going to college or wear pants (and, one can surmise, especially not going to college wearing pants).

    I think your pope likes to shore up the ranks of the “true believers”; that they are some of the most unpleasant people you’ll meet is secondary. In my blogging days, I frequently ran into them. Hatred of Jews is very common (or “Judeo-Masonic conspiracies”) as are endless rants on three paragraphs of a document from 548 AD. It’s the remnant (pun intended) of an odious old Catholic variation, and now you got the darlings back 😛 Not to mention frequent dabbling in white supremacy and the like. ….and cheering on all kinds of idiocies and atrocities from Catholic history.

    But, take heart – they’ll never show up in a regular parish.

    To even deal with such a ridiculous, fanatical – and small – outfit speaks volumes about the current pope. I can’t even think of anything that has to do with Jesus in the fever swamp of the perennial malcontents. A motley crew of Republican reactionaries, monarchists, fascists, families with 12 kids all dressed in stuff cut from the same Little House on the Prairie cloth. It’s bizarre. To give this kind of clout to the uber-Catholics marginalizes a church even more that used to make great progress (music and architecture notwithstanding heh) toward doing things that actually make a difference in someone’s life. The “young fogeys” are back to a pietism that is entirely l’art pour l’art. Sure, music matters, but not when it comes with aspirations to revive Generalissimo Franco (still dead).

  • Gerald:

    Jesus ate with sinners, and so it is inspiring to see the pope go to such efforts to dialogue with this group as well as bring them back into the fold. Although there are certainly some positions that are problematic, they are much more likely to be addressed within the Church then outside of it.

    Interestingly enough, I’ve talked to some of these people and your tone in that comment reminded me of them.

  • MD

    Who needs enemies with friends like Williamson?!!?

    Vatican relations with Israel have just suffered a severe blow.

  • We should always rejoyce in reunion

    No, not always. There is such a thing as a false communion.

  • jonathanjones02

    Yes, always, when the successor to St. Peter welcomes the acceptance of the Apostolic spiritual authority protected and guided by the Holy Spirit and first granted to the Apostles.

  • Mickey Jackson

    Somehow, I don’t think Benedict will fail to make it very, very clear that Bishop Williamson needs to clean up his act before full communion is achieved. Honestly, I can see a situation where the three other bishops return to Rome, and Williamson ends up going off on his own as another “independent” bishop. We must pray very, very hard that all four of them are reconciled to Holy Mother Church.

    By the way, this is not without precedent. Pope Paul VI lifted the excommunication of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople in 1965, and the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are still not in full communion. The remission of excommunication is only the first step in a very long process of reconciling doctrinal differences. Let us pray that the bishops of the SSPX recognize the legitimacy of Vatican II in the light of Sacred Tradition (which is, after all, the only way that ANY Ecumenical Council should be viewed).

  • Yes, always, when the successor to St. Peter welcomes the acceptance of the Apostolic spiritual authority protected and guided by the Holy Spirit and first granted to the Apostles.

    So… “always”…, as long as certain conditions are met.

    So, as I said, not “always.” (What you said was We should always rejoyce (sic) in reunion.)

  • jonathanjones02

    If you would like clarification on what seems to me to be an obvious qualification, given the inclusion of the two quotes and the fact that return to the vocation of priesthood would not occur without Apostolic approval, then….there you go. Consider it qualified I suppose.

    (And thank you for the spelling correction. Can’t have misspelling on quickly typed blog commentary.)

  • OK, some of you really need to watch this video- it’s about 5 minutes in length. Gerald is quite right about Williamson– the guy would be jailed if ever he set his foot in Germany.

    http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=2716

  • My commentary here:

    http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/blog/2009/01/vatican-lifts-excommunications-on-sspx.html

    I’ve heard reports of about 1 million followers of the SSPX worldwide; there are also a number who are scandalized by Williamson’s anti-semitism; my prediction is that there will be a split within the movement itself.

    This analysis from Carlos Palad of Rorate Caeli

    http://www.haloscan.com/comments/stribe/3546702718202758022/#255643

    is a good aid in discerning what this means, and more importantly what it does not.

  • Greg

    Morning’s Minion,

    What does excommunication have to do with belief in the Holocaust?

  • Nashi

    “A woman can do a good imitation of handling ideas, but then she will not be thinking properly as a woman. Did this lawyeress check her hairdo before coming into court? If she did, she is a distracted lawyer. If she did not, she is one distorted woman.”

    Good to have such a fine man back in the fold.

  • “What does excommunication have to do with belief in the Holocaust?”

    BELIEF in the Holocaust ? uh….. WTF ?

    That said, it should. No organization should harbor scum like that.

  • digbydolben

    As soon as we can get our hands on him, we here in Germany will arrest and imprison this reprobate. And the Pope and his “Society of St. Pius X” can chew on that!

  • Mickey Jackson

    Michael Denton makes a good point. Judging by the raw hatred that seems to be present on this thread, I don’t know how some of you guys can with a straight face accuse Traditionalists of being uncharitable. You need to actually do your research and see for yourself what, exactly, Benedict has done, and more importantly what he has NOT done. As is so often the case in matters relating to the Church, the reality is nothing like what has been reported in the media.

    Have none of you heard of the parable of the lost sheep? How about the prodigal son? The Holy Father lifted the excommunications not to automatically let the SSPX back in, but to tell them that they will be welcome to return should they reconsider some of the views they have espoused in the past that are in conflict with the living Magesterium of the Church. As I said earlier, this is similar to the situation with the Orthodox, who, because of an act of mercy by Pope Paul VI, are no longer excommunicate, but due to significant unresolved doctrinal differences are still not in full communion with the Holy See. Unless you want to venture the argument that Benedict is an anti-Semetic Holocaust denier who secretly hates Vatican II and wants to do away with it, it is not too big of a stretch to assume that Rome will lay down the law on these matters once the dialogue begins in earnest. The only purpose of lifting the excommunications was to start just such a dialogue.

  • Mickey Jackson

    And incidentally, all of this talk about how Bishop Williamson should be arrested is a tad disconcerting coming from people who claim to be liberals. Who was it that said, “I despise your views, but I’ll die for your right to express them”?

  • I have many reactions to this.

    I don’t think any Catholic says they hope for no reunion; I would hope not, at least. However, I think many hope it is done with some various questionable practices, thoughts, and desires from people within the SSPX are dealt with. While I would not have handled the situation this way, hopefully the good will shown will result in some surprising responses in return. Pray and hope.

    On the other hand, the reactions I have seen from the SSPX so far are not promising. We will see. It could change.

  • digbydolben

    Mr. Jackson, I, at least, NEVER claimed to be a “liberal”; I am, if anything, a Tory, in the European context, and here in Germany the views expressed by Bishop Williamson are considered to be a dangerous threat to the civil polity. He would be arrested as a subverter of public order and decency and fined–as he should be, if he ever dares to set foot in this country.

  • Williams ends readings of “The protocols of the elders of Zion” with “Verbum domini”.

    I suggest reading the material on SSPX, V, -1 and so forth presented by the southern poverty law center. Hatred of Jews, white supremacy and the like are all too common. Back in the day I had to ban quite a few of them after they started lecturing on how the holocaust was really exaggerated etc. And, of course, Jews and Masons ruined the mass 😛

  • Zak

    I am hesitant to question the judgment of the Pope, but I was hoping this would not take place, at least until they had accepted the legitimacy of Vatican II. Beyond the timing and Williamson’s total craziness, I agree with George Weigel (in today’s NYTimes) that this risks inviting in cafeteria Catholics of the far right.

    I knew some SSPX folks at Georgetown, and they ranged from very conservative to anti-Semitic, sede-vacantist wingnut. For many of them the Tridentine mass was the big thing – they would worship at an SSPX parish some weeks, and at the DC indult parish other weeks. They petitioned Campus Ministry to ask the archbishop to grant an indult to the University and were rejected. For that kind of SSPX person, it seems the Pope’s actions already should have been sufficient to draw them away from SSPX, without having to undo the excommunication. Maybe the Holy Father is concerned about them ordaining other bishops and continuing the schism, but even now that could happen, since there’s little chance of Williamson being rehabilitated, since he’s not too likely to change.

  • I doubt Williamson would be arrested in Germany right now. Didn’t you all hear the story a couple of weeks ago when the POLICE of the German city of Duisburg removed Israeli flags from private property during a pro-Palestinian protest march in the city. Officers broke down the individual’s door and removed the flags from his balcony because it was upsetting the anti-semitic crowd below, a crowd who was chanting “Death to the Jews.” While the police chief eventually offered an apology, the department initially defended its decision stating that “the right thing has been done here.

    So the German government itself is currently caving to anti-semitic hysteria. Check out the complete story and video at http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,601122,00.html

  • Holocaust denial is not heresy, or in any way a schismatic act. It is insane and morally despicable, of course, but “insane and morally despicable” isn’t the criteria for heresy. Those who support abortion rights are heretical; those who deny the historicity of the Holocaust are insane moral monsters, but they aren’t heretics.

  • As has been noted previously, lifting the excommunications does not imply that SSPX is back in full communion with the Catholic Church, nor that any of their views are any less problematic. The Bishops were not excommunicated because of their views on the Holocaust, but because they were made bishops contrary to the orders of the Holy See.

  • As for the calls to have Bishop Williamson thrown in jail, I wonder how those who think this is a good idea would react if Israel were to apply a similar policy in the West Bank and Gaza.

  • phosphorious

    “Those who support abortion rights are heretical; ”

    Really? Supporting abortion rights is heretical?

  • David Nickol

    Those who support abortion rights are heretical; those who deny the historicity of the Holocaust are insane moral monsters, but they aren’t heretics.

    Zippy (or anyone),

    Are there currently any Catholic bishops anywhere in the world who are “insane moral monsters”? This is not a rhetorical question. I am asking for information.

    I have heard Bishop Williamson speaking (on Youtube videos) about 9/11 and also read his assertions that the World Trade Center towers were not toppled by airplanes but by explosives placed in the buildings, that the Pentagon was not hit by a plane on 9/11 but a missile fired by the US military, and that several of the 9/11 hijackers are known to be alive. He says the events of 9/11 were perpetrated by the United States government as an excuse for invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Are there any Catholic bishops who have made anti-Semitic statements and repeatedly preached sermons full of crackpot theories? (In the sermon I heard Williamson making on 9/11, he himself says people ask him why he keeps bringing this up in sermons.)

    My question is whether Williamson is getting some kind of special treatment by being accepted back into the Church without also being disciplined in some way. Or are there other bishops that can be pointed to who spout wildly offensive (but not heretical) ideas of whom Rome is content merely to say, “We reject what they are saying, but it is not a matter of Catholic faith or morals, so we are taking no action”?

    I am guessing that if Williamson had never been outside the Church, something would have been done to shut him up. So I am wondering if bringing him back without shutting him up constitutes some kind of tolerance that would not be afforded to any other Catholic bishop. But I don’t really know, so I am putting this as a question.

  • digbydolben

    I wonder how those who think this is a good idea would react if Israel were to apply a similar policy in the West Bank and Gaza.

    This is perhaps the most ironically clumsy remark I’ve read on these threads in weeks: Israel HAS a “similar policy”; it’s called the vast, enclosed prison-camp of Gaza and the wall behind which the Zionists shut off the Palestinians from any sort of rapprochement or dialogue that would promote peace between these peoples.

    However, a “dialogue” between this mad, racist bishop and the modern Germans I know would indubitably end in his being beaten to a pulp! (Jailing here would be, in other words, for his own protection!)

  • This is perhaps the most ironically clumsy remark I’ve read on these threads in weeks: Israel HAS a “similar policy”; it’s called the vast, enclosed prison-camp of Gaza

    And yet you support the policy in one case, yet object to it in the other. That’s the irony.

  • Blackadder, you’ve stepped over the line. As much as Williamson repulses me, I would not want hm to face the kind of collective punishment meted out by the Israeli state against Gaza. Besides, as Anscombe noted in her famous essay, for a state to punish it must be legitimate. The Israeli pseudo-occupation of Palestine is wholly illegimate. One final point: I assume you are away of differences in culpability in moral theology. For a rich comfortable Brit to deny the Holocaust is a different thing entirely than an oppressed Gazan, who sees a Israeli army that abuses the symbols of the Jewish religion.

  • Mickey Jackson:

    First of al, these people are not traditionalists. Traditionalists are fond of the extraordinary form of the Mass (as am I: am I a traditionalist?). This is a group of heretics who rejects the legitimacy of the 21st council, and that is why they should not be readmitted to full communion. The French bishop also has called Pope Benedict a heretic for various things he has writen.

    Second, “liberal”? I’m getting really tired of pointing out that Americans simply do not use this word correctly. And no, I am not a liberal in any sense of the word.

    And yes, Zippy is technically correct, but the loathsome opinions of these guys is surely an argument against re-admission to full communion, no?

  • Jimmy Mac

    I wonder if the SSPX would agree with either of these 2 ideas (and I think I know the answer without asking …..)

    “We are not on earth to guard a museum, but to cultivate a flowering garden of life.” Pope John XXIII

    People’s true character is revealed at the moments when they have untrammeled power–not when they’re hemmed in by political expediency. Cathleen Kaveny

  • digbydolben

    And yet you support the policy in one case, yet object to it in the other. That’s the irony.

    This is a good example, Mr. Blackadder, of why you and most Americans who call yourselves so are actually NOT “conservatives”–or, at least not one in the traditional sense of the word (“Tory”) here in Europe.

    Let me explain: during the orientation for new teachers at my international school, the principal proposed this scenario: “What if a student said, in the middle of some class discussion regarding the Holocaust, ‘Well, they DESERVED it!’? What would you do?” Some of the younger American teachers said something along the lines of “Well, I’d try to calm the situation in the classroom and I’d counter the child’s point of view, but I’d not want to discourage the child from expressing his opinions on other occasions, regarding different situations and problems.”

    The principal said, “No, that’s NOT what we’d want you to do; we want you to SILENCE the child, and inform him immediately that expressions of such views will NOT be tolerated in this school.” All of the younger American teachers in the room immediately looked at me with expressions of hopelessness because they knew that I’d been an expatriate before, and it was obvious they wanted me to explain their viewpoint to her.

    The principal is an Irishwoman who has directed schools in the Middle East and is new at her job in Germany.

    I said to her, “Ms.________, you have to understand that, for Americans, it is free speech, which is SACRED, and my new American colleagues here think that honouring that value is a greater priority than refraining from giving offense to those damaged by the tragic events in Europe in the last century. And they might also be mindful of the possibility that the student in question could be an American and used to expressing eccentric opinions whenever he liked.” Then, I turned to the younger American teachers and said, “I think the correct thing to do in the instance proposed by the principal would be to ask the child, ‘Do you understand why here in Europe, given its history, what you’ve just said is so offensive, so inflammatory?'”

    It’s HISTORY and CULTURE, Mr. Blackadder, that ideology-mad, so-called “conservatives” in America like you refuse, in almost all instances, to consider. You totally ignore Emerson’s maxim regarding “a foolish consistency” being the “hobgoblin of little minds,” and press on with your mostly “liberal,” mostly “free market” agenda, seeking to impose it everywhere in the world, entirely oblivious of the cultures or the collective experiences of the people you’re trying to impose it on.

    The situation in Gaza is of an entirely different order and comes out of an entirely different context than the European reaction against racist genocide and ethnic cleansing and the two populations have been affected differently by their experiences. And the bishop in question would be merely fined for his “hate speech” here in Germany; he wouldn’t be bombed to death, and watch his family being bombed to death by the minions of corrupt politicians who commit genocide to win the votes of angry, despairing people whom it is their responsibility to make calmer, more resolute (as Churchill did for Brits in the Blitz), rather than to panic and whip into a murderous frenzy.

    The two situations are entirely different, but, like the average American blowhard who wants to apply his own political culture and its values to every foreign circumstance, you insist on the exact equivalence. You should be contemplating the results of your weltanshaung from the rubble of Gaza or of of a bombed Afghani village, rather than from your armchair in America.

  • phosphorus:
    Supporting abortion rights is heretical?

    Yes. Opposition to any legal right to abortion is doctrine, to which all faithful Catholics must give assent (see Evangelium Vitae). Supporting abortion rights is not merely despicably evil, but is also heresy.

    David Nicol:
    I have no idea what the answer to your question is. “Maybe” is my intuition, FWIW. But if the question is “are there any moral monsters who are not excommunicated on that account” I think the answer is a definite yes.

  • Daniel H. Conway

    Good. Let them rejoin.

    For the longest time, the Catholic left got its share of ridicule by being referred to as “moonbats.”

    Now the right wing is increasing the number of relatives they’d like to keep upstairs when company comes with the normalization of the SSPXites.

    Bring’em back. I’d love to have them at the church picnic. Should be a blast.

  • Cynthia Gee

    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.

  • …and it is just as anti-life to be a Holocaust-denying racist as it is to be pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage.

    Well, again, not really. It is despicably wrong to engage in Holocaust denial, to be sure, but denying that the Holocaust historically occurred and saying racist things isn’t of the same gravity as advocating an ongoing and present policy of murdering the Jews. The latter would be analogous to supporting abortion rights, if it were in fact occurring. Abortion rights supporters are engaged in an objectively more grave evil than Holocaust deniers, and yet you don’t see the Vatican excommunicating (say) Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy.

    So while I tend to agree with the “ditches on both sides of the road” theory, until politicians who support abortion rights are excommunicated wholesale it would be inconsistent to excommunicate Holocaust deniers as such.

  • S.B.

    The situation in Israel (bad) is entirely different than the situation in Europe (good)? That’s a interesting way of putting things, considering that the main reason Israel was established in the first place was because so many Jews had sought a place to get away from murderous Europeans.

  • “the main reason Israel was established in the first place was because so many Jews had sought a place to get away from murderous Europeans.”

    And in doing so they uprooted and evicted a pre-existing society. The founding of Israel was really a consequentualist act, was it not?

  • S.B.

    No, it’s just a funny attitude that Europeans adopt towards Jewish people:

    “Now that we, or our fathers, killed so many of you and drove you into a different country in a region full of people that hate you, we’ll feel all smug about how morally superior we are to the tactics that you use to defend your new country. After all, it was a long time ago that our Viking or Norman or Gothic or Germanic or Anglo ancestors conquered various regions, and so we don’t even have to think about the moral implications of how we got our own country. Just the Jews.”

  • blackadderiv

    the bishop in question would be merely fined for his “hate speech” here in Germany

    That isn’t really true. David Irving, for example, was sent to prison for Holocaust denial. In any event, regardless of whether Williamson would actually be jailed for his views in Germany, you clearly said that he should be jailed: “As soon as we can get our hands on him, we here in Germany will arrest and imprison this reprobate.”

    As for whether the Gaza situation is different, the argument for repressing Holocaust denial, as I understand it, is that if such statements are allowed, this could lead to violence against Jews. I’d say that that argument carries a lot more force in Gaza than it does in Germany.

    Frankly, if the goal is to avoid mistreatment of Jews, I’m not sure that Germany is the best place to look to for advice.

  • digbydolben

    He would be jailed (“imprisoned”), Mr. Blackadder, held for trial or released on bail until his trial and then, upon conviction, forced to pay a heavy fine. That’s what my German friends assure me WILL happen to him, if he comes here.

    Your fellow Irving disseminated his views much more widely than Williamson has and after repeated warnings to desist.

    Also, the Jews of Germany are not illegally seizing land, pushing largely unwilling “settlers” unto the illegally seized land or committing genocide upon a civilian population in an indiscriminate fashion, disproportionate to whatever “harm” has been inflicted upon their own population.

    Just compare for five minutes, will you, the behaviour of the British people in response to the Blitz or to IRA “terrorist” bombing with the behaviour of the panicked, vengeful Israeli population. Of course, I agree that it is a matter of “leadership”: the barbarous Zionists have the corrupt Olmert as a leader, the Hamas government have religious fundamentalist murderers and the British had Churchill and Heath.

  • digbydolben

    And you said nothing, Mr. Blackadder, about my allegation that, properly speaking, you are not any kind of “conservative” at all, but, rather, a pro-capitalist ideology fanatic. I believe that that’s because you actually KNOW that the true “conservatism” which is in line with Christendom’s orthodox teachings is of the European, “Tory” sort, and NOT of your American one-size-fits-every situation variety.

  • blackadderiv

    He would be jailed (”imprisoned”), Mr. Blackadder, held for trial or released on bail until his trial and then, upon conviction, forced to pay a heavy fine. That’s what my German friends assure me WILL happen to him, if he comes here.

    Really. I thought you said that Bishop Williamson’s jailing would be necessary to avoid his being beaten up. To quote you again: “However, a “dialogue” between this mad, racist bishop and the modern Germans I know would indubitably end in his being beaten to a pulp! (Jailing here would be, in other words, for his own protection!)”

    But perhaps you’ve calmed down somewhat since making these statements (or, at any rate, now realize that their implications are something you’d like to avoid).

    And you said nothing, Mr. Blackadder, about my allegation that, properly speaking, you are not any kind of “conservative” at all

    That’s because I don’t really care. Call me the most unconservative man whoever lived if you like. Just don’t call me late to dinner. To much attention, in my opinion, is given to the question of whether a given view is really conservative, or progressive, or liberal, or whatever, instead of considering whether or not it is correct.

  • digbydolben

    Once again, Mr. Blackadder, I’m only trying to relate to you–to your apparently unbelieving ears–what are the REAL SENTIMENTS of the German people among whom I live regarding pro-Nazi hate-speech. They take it very, very seriously: it wouldn’t be the police who’d “beat him to a pulp”; it’d be people like my own students, who are not ordinarily violent at all, but WHO WILL NOT TOLERATE public displays of pro-Nazi sentiments (which “Holocaust-denial” is considered to be).

    Recently, in these parts, some “skinheads” tried to conduct a demonstration against mosque-building in the ancient city of Cologne. They obtained a permit for a demonstration and were all set to march, under police protection. Instead, the PEOPLE of Cologne turned out and took action to prevent the “skinheads” from even ENTERING their city, whether legally or not. The “skinheads” could only rent a barge and pass down the Rhine, beside the city, shouting their Nazi slogans.

    I don’t need to “calm down” to tell you, quite honestly, that the bishop would probably be beaten up, if he appeared to recite this line in public.

  • “It is just as anti-life to be a Holocaust-denying racist as it is to be pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage.”
    ok….again…
    “It is just as anti-life to be a Holocaust-denying racist as it is to be pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage.”

    My relatives getting married = murdering 6 million Jews.

    You have to be religious to be that immoral, it’s not something humans are born with. She couldn’t be more disgusting if she tried.

  • *denying

  • digbydolben

    Gerald, I think that you and I both can endorse EVERY WORD of this:

    So Bishop Williamson’s views are canonically irrelevant. So what? Or, more to the point, why ARE they irrelevant?

    If the Bishop denied the existence of the ‘sin’ of abortion by saying it didn’t exist … or the ‘sin’ of homosexuality saying those who called it sinful were wrong, would they be ‘personal’ opinions? Would he be welcomed into the Church? (For an enlightening view of just such a situation, see the wikipedia entry on Bishop Jacques Gaillot who was demoted to Titular Bishop of Parthenia for promoting the rights of gays).

    Why is it a ‘personal’ opinion to deny the shoah or the facts behind 9/11, but not ‘personal’ opinion to approve of homosexuality? It seems a terribly selective view of ‘sin’ (if not, indeed, a rationalization), to call sex related issues a matter of dogma, and issues related to genocide and fascism ‘personal’ opinions.

    That’s one of the problems plaguing the Catholic Church. Its morality is almost exclusively sex related. It has no mechanism for dealing with the real world. When crimes like genocide and mass murder are ‘personal’ opinion, but issues dealing with sex are part of the ‘culture of death’, the institution has lost its bearing and has failed in its leadership role. It’s become an instrument of oppression rather than guidance. The very things it chooses to call ‘sin’ vs. ‘personal’ tell us about the mindset of those making the distinctions.

    And they are ugly distinctions indeed.

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/01/benedicts-catho.html

  • grega

    Mr. digbydilben,
    I think you give modern day Germans certainly plenty of credit.
    I am excited that the Germans you associate with give you the kind of vibe you describe. I have actually a similar very positive experience here in the US – go figure. I am German (born, raised near Cologne actually) living here in the US – this is a great free country and the American people as far as I am concerned are overall wonderful folks.

    People are people – yes plenty of really supernice and ‘sensitive’ Germans – seak them out and enjoy their company but germans of course fill the whole spectrum.
    I can assure you the good Bishop in question would get cheers in some quarters in Germany.

    The laws of the land are as you describe – but unless Williamson creates public outrage chances are he will enter the European community/Germany without problems.
    Correct me if
    I am wrong – but the kind of people who would beat somebody up at first sight are the kind of people neither you nor me would be proud to associate with actually.
    You also might want to consider that after all the Pope currently is German – either he deliberately wanted to “miss” the details of “Bsp” Williamsons fairly public opinions regarding various issues or he finds such opinon’s not relevant in the religious context.

    The way the media is these days the Vatican lost this one in terms of PR from the get go – and as far as I am concerned they do deserve to get a beating for including Williamson.
    But hey they have had a tin ear for a while – remember they found that Cardinal Law
    was deserving of a symbolic roman parish.

  • digbydolben

    Grega, you have no idea what that “symbolic Roman parish” did for the reputation of the Roman Catholic Church in certain circles in America. I remember a lot of indignant Catholics telling me they wished that Bill Clinton were still around, to DEMAND that the Vatican extradite Law, to stand trial in America for protecting known criminals.

  • Elihu Yale

    I have been lurking for a few weeks.

    I will not be back.

    This blog is full of children. Petulent, insecure, entitled children.

  • S.B.

    Its morality is almost exclusively sex related.

    Well, that’s got to be one of the most ignorant things anyone has ever said.

  • phosphorious

    Yes. Opposition to any legal right to abortion is doctrine, to which all faithful Catholics must give assent (see Evangelium Vitae). Supporting abortion rights is not merely despicably evil, but is also heresy.

    So the church does not distinguish between a sin and the legal treatment of that sin? It’s impossible, without being heretical, to be believe abortion to be despicably evil, but think that prohibition is ineffective and harmful?

  • I’d say the relevant problem with your church in this regard is the nifty “intrinsic evil” bit. It helps conservative Catholics to dismiss the pope on everything except those sex-related rules. Conservatives like curtailing sex via rules, so that doesn’t faze them. Abortion opposition gives them a high horse and a one trick pony. Not to mention, it doesn’t cost anything to oppose abortion. As a result, you get some of the most heartless people believing they’re the best Christians. They’ll dismiss pretty much the entire Catholic social teaching, nay ridicule it, and think that’s just fine, because, after all, it’s not dogma. It is a rather lawyerly approach to Christianity.

    Using a condom is deemed inherently evil, starting a war is not. Augustine thought masturbation was worse than incest, because the latter was open to contraception…..

    Really all you need to know. Such a morality is bound to praise Bush. And now you just got more of those lovelies =) SSPX makes Opus Dei look like Bp. Gumbleton.

  • It’s impossible, without being heretical, to be believe abortion to be despicably evil, but think that prohibition is ineffective and harmful?

    That is correct.

    In the case of abortion specifically – not sins generally, but abortion specifically – it is not merely a heresy to propose that abortion is not a grave mortal sin. It is also a heresy to support a legal right to abortion.

    Read Evangelium Vitae, where you will also be given the reasons why this is the case, having to do with the relation between legitimate public authority and the common good, and the fact that a right to abortion destroys the very capacity of public authority to support the common good.

  • Christine

    Andrew Sullivan (quoting a reader):

    It seems a terribly selective view of ‘sin’ (if not, indeed, a rationalization), to call sex related issues a matter of dogma, and issues related to genocide and fascism ‘personal’ opinions.

    What sloppy reasoning. Facilitating the death of innocents is unquestionably a sin. Questioning, based on historical evidence (faulty as it may be), whether or not certain events took place is not a matter of “sin”, but of free enquiry.

  • digbydolben

    Questioning, based on historical evidence (faulty as it may be), whether certain events took place is not a matter of “sin,” but of free enquiry.

    We in Germany reject that, and know it to be what it actually is: a provocation to exonerate genocide and exculpate the Nazi party, as a preliminary to legitimizing it politically and restoring its political viability.

    Benedict knows it, too; he’s German. He’s comfortable with that, but would be uncomfortable with the likes of Michelangelo or W.H. Auden.

    The Zionist State could do a lot of us a favour and disinvite him to Jerusalem. That way, at least, some of you right-wing American Catholics could see clearly what he’s doing to Catholicism in Europe; it seems he’s determined to “purify” it by shrinking it. John XXIII must be spinning in his grave.

  • Joseph

    Benedict admires Michelangelo.

  • radicalcatholicmom

    “Good. Let them rejoin.

    For the longest time, the Catholic left got its share of ridicule by being referred to as “moonbats.”

    Now the right wing is increasing the number of relatives they’d like to keep upstairs when company comes with the normalization of the SSPXites.

    Bring’em back. I’d love to have them at the church picnic. Should be a blast.”

    Daniel: Absolutely hilarious!

  • digbydolben

    Radicalcatholicmom: Maybe it WON’T be a “blast” for you when you see that Benedict XVI Ratzinger is much more comfortable with them than he is with Bishop Jacque Gaillot (see above).

    And the only reason Benedict admires Michelangelo is because he’s probably never read one of Michelangelo’s sonnets to Tommaso Cavalieri.

  • Christine

    “Benedict is comfortable with that.”

    With what, exactly? Genocide? Some people are comfortable with the sin of slander, providing no evidence whatsoever for their absurd accusations.

  • Christine

    Oh, and I’m sure Pope Benedict is quite aware of Michelangelo’s sexuality; it doesn’t prevent his admiring the man’s artistic abilities.

    But let’s just call a spade a spade: your comments reveal you have no respect at all for the Holy Father, that you don’t trust him, that you think he is a liar and anti-Semite–which is why it’s a waste of time to engage someone like you.

  • digbydolben

    I don’t trust him, but I don’t think he’s a liar at all: I think he’s being quite honest about his priorities. Also, I don’t think he’s an anti-Semite per se but I also believe that he personally feels no affinity whatsoever with the post-Vatican II dialogue with the Jews or with the modern Church’s renunciation of “successionism” regarding Judaism. He seems to wish for the restoration of that prayer John XXIII banished, about the “conversion” of the “perfidious Jews.”

  • digbydolben

    And even John Allen, of the National Catholic Reporter is willing to agree that the word coming out of the Vatican, feigning “surprise” that Benedict’s action should be equated with “anti-Semitism” is “disingenuous”:

    http://ncronline3.org/drupal/?q=node/3180

  • Cynthia Gee

    Now get a load of who DOES approve of Williamson… this guy quotes the good bishop at length, too:
    http://www.stormfront.org/forum/showthread.php?t=144886

  • Zak

    Digby,
    In many religions, one covenant, and in his engagement with the writings of Rabbi Jacob Neusner, Benedict shows a far more nuanced and sympathetic reading of Judaism than you give him credit for. He also has never suggested that he disagrees with John XIII’s decision to change the prayer. He does not accept the pre-Vatican II supercessionist arguments.

  • digbydolben

    Zak, I’m quite familiar with Benedict’s “engagement”–if you want to call it that–with Neusner, and I’d call the whole tone of it pessimistic and tragic.

    “Sympathetic”? I’d call it “pitying,” rather than “sympathetic.”

    He has never come out and admitted that he disapproves of John XXIII’s suppression of the prayer, but he’s come within inches of restoring it to the liturgy.

    And his “dialogue” with Neusner strongly indicates that he believes in “supercessionism.”

  • I’ve always thought it to be an extraordinary case of chuzpah – to steal the Jews’ book, write a sequel and then turn around and call the Jews faithless. I am surprised this is not a more common notion.

  • David Nickol

    Gerald,

    When I was in Catholic school (1950s to early 1950s), it always seemed to me that the appropriate way to think of the Judeo-Christian tradition was that the Jews missed the boat and the Protestants jumped ship.

    It seems to me it’s only recently that Catholic Biblical scholars (for example, Joseph A. Fitzmyer in The One Who Is to Come) are arguing that the Hebrew Bible is not full of prophecies of Jesus that the Jews failed to notice and won’t acknowledge today.

  • Brian

    “He seems to wish for the restoration of that prayer John XXIII banished, about the “conversion” of the “perfidious Jews.””

    No he doesn’t. At least get your facts right before accusing the Holy Father.

    The new prayer, already approved btw, reads as follows:

    Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men. (Let us pray. Kneel. Rise.) Almighty and eternal God, who want that all men be saved and come to the recognition of the truth, propitiously grant that even as the fulness of the peoples enters Thy Church, all Israel be saved. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

  • digbydolben

    “Israel” IS “saved.” Their covenant with Yahweh pre-dates the Christian one and is not superceded by it. God has made a “separate peace” with the Jews, and they don’t need Jesus Christ to be “saved.”

  • Yahweh is a rather unpleasant, ill-tempered, genocidal fellow. I’d not invite him over for dinner.
    What I like about my Macs is that I don’t need to do anything to be saved. I am saved automatically.

  • Zak

    Digby,
    That is not Catholic theology. It may be what you believe, but it’s absurd to require the Pope to hold that Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation. Thtough him all are saved who are saved; that is an essential Christian belief that the Church has not jettisoned, even if the mystery of how salvation through him works is not fully understood.

  • David Nickol

    Thtough him all are saved who are saved; that is an essential Christian belief that the Church has not jettisoned, even if the mystery of how salvation through him works is not fully understood.

    Zak,

    Well, the Christian belief is that Jesus Christ is God, and so everything that happens in all of Creation happens in and through Him.

    It seems to me that what often happens in the Church is that a rather harsh human understanding is softened to be made more reasonable and acceptable. Consequently, things have gone from “baptism is necessary to salvation,” to “there is baptism of blood and baptism of desire” to a hope and trust that those who cannot possibly be baptized or desire to be baptized or suffer martyrdom (for example, stillborn babies) are saved through God’s mercy. However, the doctrine that baptism is necessary for salvation still stands.

    Perhaps what is called for is more humility and less pretending to know with certainty how people are saved (or what being saved actually means), or what God’s plan for Jews or Buddhists or even Catholics is.

    Certainly there has been a profound change in the Catholic attitude about Jews just in my lifetime, although it seems to me that it was two steps forward with John Paul II and one step back with Benedict XVI.

  • Brian

    Digby,

    Supercessionism is not the question here. To my knowlegde, Benedict has never entertained that questionable theory, held by a few Church fathers and very few Catholics today. VII is clear about the special relationship the Jews have with God. The question is wether or not we should pray for the salvation of all men, including the Jewish people. The Church teaches that no one can be ceratin of anyone’s slavation (or lack thereof), let alone their own. We can hope for the slavation of all, but this hope is actualized through prayer.

  • John Pat

    Whow what a website! I see that most of the writers here are left of center. It seems every one down on the catholic church, pope, clergy and tradition! Say what you must but remember the words of Our Lord: GO THEREFORE AND BAPTIZE ALL NATIONS IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT! Jesus did not exempt anyone or anyone nation. That means all, not just the pagans. Take a look around you in europe and america …. are we not all pagans? Pro Abortion Prez, cabinet full of tax evading elitist, ways and means congressional fraudsters, housing collapse headed by a frankfurther from liberal mass. How many died in WWI and WWII saving the skins of europe and elsewhere. Each culture survives by fighting and laying down their lives for their countrymen. To aid the enemy of one’s nation is collaboration. Why should one group of people claim before the world that they are the only ones to suffer, who helped prosecute their own before the enemy and claimed they did it to survive! I am glad I am not of that perfidious group of people. Shame on those who would hold the world hostage and wein they are misunderstood. Read deeper into the history of Eastern europe … see who lied, converted, pretend to be chosen to strangle legitimate heirs of the Holy Land. If you don’t believe in God, you believe in nothing, and thats where most of mankind is heading!