Sunday, 25 January 2009

Are you with Pope Benedict?

My quotations from reactions from the French and German Bishops to the news of the lifting of the excommunications of the four Bishops of the SSPX has received wide attention. I quoted selectively not to downplay the obvious reluctance expressed in these statements but to highlight the extraordinary expressions of "hope" or "welcome" that would have been unthinkable before the Holy Father's instruction to the Congregation for Bishops. Here is another quote, this time from Archbishop Kurt Koch, President of the Swiss Bishops' Conference (Econe is in Switzerland) says: "I hope and pray that this reconciliation will happen." (Cf. Swiss Bishops' Conference statement - H/T Cathcon)

Meanwhile, the secular media has put out exactly the headlines that we all knew would issue forth. E.g.:
BBC: Pope move ignites Holocaust row
Reuters: Pope rehabilitates Holocaust denier
Independent: Pope readmits Holocaust-denying priest to the church

These headlines are very much to be expected after the disgraceful remarks of Bishop Williamson to Swedish TV denying the holocaust. I must own up here to an inaccuracy on my part. On Friday I contradicted Ruth Gledhill's assertion that the interview was given "this week" and said "It has been splashed all over the internet this week." In fact, the interview was also only broadcast on Swedish TV last week.

There is an interesting nugget in the posts of La Cigüeña de la Torre who said on Friday (the day before the publication of the news of the lifting of the excommunications) that
The bomb has exploded. Once again, Cardinal Re has used this humble blog to publicize news of great importance. I can only reiterate my warm gratitude.
I wrote earlier that I did not understand why Cardinal Re would use a blog to spread news. It appears I failed to understand a long-running joke that La Cigüeña has, using "Cardinal Re" as the spoof ID for his source.

It is interesting, though, that someone did leak this information in advance. I was going to quote from a story from one of the major news agencies that mentioned a not insignificant Vatican dicastery expressing concerns that they had not been consulted. Looking up the web pages this evening, I find that the reference has been edited out. Hmmmm.

Clearly not everyone at the Vatican is happy. No surprise there, then. Pope Benedict has certainly made a risky move. He knew about Bishop Williamson's utterly reprehensible views (which the official Vatican press spokesman has unambiguously repudiated) but presumably also knew that there was no prospect of eradicating such tendencies within the SSPX before the move to effect reconciliation. He has perhaps judged it better to get the Fraternity on board and take the media flak, hoping that the extremist elements will fall away, not wishing to be associated with a Pope and a "Conciliar Rome" that they have railed against. Meanwhile, the more sensible elements of the SSPX will see that regular jurisdiction is a pressing and urgent need.

Joseph Ratzinger has long experience of the Vatican at the highest level. For my part, I trust him to act with prudence, making the best possible moves at the highest level to promote the good of the Church. Let us pray that all those who are working for him in the papal court will also trust both his judgement and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
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