Benedict Undermining His Own Legacy

The lifting of the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson by Pope Benedict XVI caused a firestorm of protest from Jews … Continued

The lifting of the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson by Pope Benedict XVI caused a firestorm of protest from Jews and liberal Catholics. Jewish leaders expressed shock and hurt because Bishop Williamson had denied the reality of the Shoah (Holocaust) that exterminated millions of Jews. Catholic liberals complained that Williamson and the three other bishops of the St. Pius X Society have still not accepted the Second Vatican Council.

The complaints against Bishop Williamson are on target. He is a Shoah denier and does not accept Vatican II. His views on women are also anachronistic. He disapproves of women in pants and says women should not go to universities. This is a man who would be happier living in the 19th century, like many members of the Lefebvre movement who have not recovered from the French revolution. Oh yes, he also believes that the World Trade Center was destroyed by explosions, not by airplanes.

Three aspects of this debacle need to be separately examined: the decision to lift the excommunication, how it was made and how it was communicated to the world.

The Decision

The media has described the decision to lift the excommunication of Bishop Williamson as the pope “rehabilitating” him, “returning him to the fold,” and “embracing” him. None of this is true.

The four bishops, along with Archbishop Marel Lefebvre, were excommunicated because Lefebvre ordained them as bishops without the approval of the pope. They were not excommunicated because of their beliefs about the Shoah or Vatican II. They were excommunicated because they were ordained bishops.

Lifting the excommunication says nothing about their beliefs. It is the ecclesia equivalent of a “cease fire” not a peace treaty. The bishops are still suspended from ministry, they are forbidden to act as bishops or even as priests. Long and difficult negotiations will be needed to bring about any reconciliation between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X. There is a very good chance that these negotiations will fail.

As one who believes that the Catholic Church should be a big tent with room for different views, I do not criticize the pope’s attempt to reach out to the Lefebvrites. In my view, lifting the excommunications was a judgment call, and I would defend the pope’s right to make that decision. My disappointment is that while the Vatican is enthusiastic in wooing the right, it has no patience with the left. Only the right side of the cafeteria is open.

Why is the Vatican putting so much effort into reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X? The real reason is because these men are bishops. If they were simple priests, the Vatican would not give them the time of day. The Vatican is caught by it own theology that sees these men as validly if not licitly ordained. As a result, these bishops can ordain more bishops and the schism can go on forever.

If the bishops ordain more bishops, they will again suffer excommunication. If the bishops refrain from ordaining new bishops, the schism ends when these four bishops die even if they are not reconciled with the pope. If lifting the excommunication is the price for keeping the bishops from ordaining more bishops, then in the view of the Vatican it is a cheap price to pay.

The Decision-Making Process

This latest controversy and others that preceded it (like his Regensburg address) point to a fatal systemic flaw in the Benedict papacy that is destroying his effectiveness as pope: He does not consult experts who might challenge his views and inclinations.

No one disputes the fact that Benedict is a brilliant theologian, but he is surrounded by people who are not as smart as he is and who would never think of questioning him. How do you challenge someone who you think is the smartest man in the world?

A smart person surrounded by less than smart people will always get in more trouble than an average person who consults smart people who are experts in their fields. The fact that Walter Kasper was not consulted on lifting the excommunication is just another in a long line of examples.

The firestorm that followed the decision should have been foreseen and prepared for. Unnamed sources in the Vatican are saying that they did not know that Williamson was a Shoah denier. Haven’t they heard of Google?

In any other organization, heads would roll after so many disasters, but in the Vatican, loyalty still trumps competence. The pope needs a good chief of staff who would make sure this kind of thing does not happen.

Communicating the Decision

Finally, the way in which this decision was communicated to the world was a disaster. Benedict still acts like a German professor who can demand the undivided attention of his students. He has little PR sense. He needs people to protect him from himself.

Special efforts should have been made to communicate the decision to Jewish leaders. For example, after explaining to them that the decision did not represent an endorsement of the bishops’ views, the Vatican could have argued that during its dialogue with the Society, it would try to change the Lefebvrites’ views on Jews. It could argue that it is better for the Jews if the church acts as a check on the Lefebvrites than if they are simply left to fester by themselves. This argument and other arguments might not have worked, but Jewish leaders would have known that the Vatican takes their feelings seriously.

The Vatican still believes that all it has to do is announce a decision by the pope and everyone will greet it with enthusiasm. One-page press releases will not do it. Most large American universities have more sophisticated media offices than does the Vatican, which is the headquarters for a 1.1-billion member organization. Simply setting up a YouTube channel will not do it either. The Vatican needs a sophisticated and modern communications strategy.

The sad thing is that Pope Benedict is saying and doing many great things, but these media disasters are undermining his papacy. His words about peace, justice, refugees and the economic crisis are not being heard. Benedict wants to be a pastor and teacher, but he needs people who know how to run an organization and communicate in the 21st century, and he does not have them. The Vatican’s model for the papacy is still the absolute monarchies and royal courts of the past. That model simply will not work today.

  • thatguy

    Granted, the Vatican could be a little more PR savvy. But it would make little difference to the largely anti-Catholic US media that communicates by headlines rather than content. Much in the same way this article conveys criticism of the pope, yet for a wholly different reason than is the current focus. The opening of the article clearly exonerates Benedict, yet that isn’t the conclusion. It seems Rev. Reese is riding the present wave of disapproval to assert his own thinly veiled discontentment with the pope because he is not a liberal like Rev. Reese.

  • FrFoster

    Actually the your numbers dont add up. Are you forgetting that traditional catholic seminaries are on the increase big time and we have just this week gained 500 priests from the society of st pius x and over a million new faithful parishioners from sspx too not to mention the 2,000 new priests of the fssp and the 1000 priests of the institute of christ the king not to mention the 5,000 seminarians in their seminaries plus their parishioners too. Notice also most traditional catholic parishes are full of the young people for the future church.also the diocese of campos is now all traditional catholic,imagine , a whole diocese in tradition in union with the pope. So all in all I think we should be thanking our pope for the thousands and thousands of people who have joined the church over the past three years.The sspx has been catholic for years but just not together enough.But now it is and a catholic revival is on the way,liberals, watch this space. Benedict has rehabilitated williamson, so what any christian would, Christ said to forgive and what are add like this doing just fueling a fire which is showing up liberal priests and lay people and showing that they hate this man,pope benedict ! which to any intellect would show a certain amount of ‘schism’ If your not with him your against him, shounds good eh, but the truth of the matter is your going against the magisterium of the church so really the anti- benedicts are in schism, So for thoese priests fuelling this controvacy like it, or get out.

  • Farnaz2

    There is nothing that could have been said to “Jewish leaders,” nothing that could have been done by anyone that would have made this psyochopath’s recommunication (his word) acceptable to ANYONE, for whom psychopathy has no place in the clergy. That would be ANYONE, regardless of religion, creed, ethnicity, etc.

  • themoderate

    Dear Fr. Reese,Glad to see your clear and well thought out voice here again. In regards to:”His views on women are also anachronistic.”When do you think the Catholic Church will ordain women? Isn’t that overdue? The exclusion of women in not scriptural. Nowhere does Jesus say that priests should be only men. Wasn’t it adopeted to avoid hereditary bishoprics? Is that still an issue?

  • CCNL

    All religions are historically and theologically flawed as seen from hindsight, modern knowledge and common sense. The RCC is no exception. B16 should be cleaning up the flawed mess but he is just making things worse basically because of his Three B Syndrome i.e. being Bred, Born and Brainwashed in the RCC.

  • norriehoyt

    “… in the Vatican, loyalty still trumps competence.”Perhaps Pope B should change his name to

  • Farnaz2

    Tom, Nothing could be said, neither to “Jewish leaders” nor to Jews en masse. The simple, unpleasant fact, is that Williamson is one of many such priests whose names I posted elsewhere on this blog. The Vatican continues to refuse to settle the law suit of Vatican Bank, which contains the loot stolen by fifteen hundred Fransciscan torturing murderers of Jews, Serbian Orthodox, and Roma.The Vatican has yet to open its Shoah period files to full public scrutiny despite endless requests. The “NT” (sic) has, as you know, been taken to task not only for its endless inaccuracies but for its antisemitism, this by eminent Catholic and Prostestant theologians, most recently, twelve Orthodox Christian clergy.Throughout this blog, there are countless posts by Catholic and other Christian antiJewish racists. Until the Vatican makes a concrete effort (see above), to rid itself and the world of the blight of antisemitism, to let us Jews live in peace, the Vatican can say nothing that will have much meaning to us. It’s been two thousand, years, Tom. If not now, when?

  • CCNL

    The Vatican and other religious governing bodies should remember and observe with prayer all Holocausts/Massacres/Atrocities not just one.

  • usapdx

    ROMA SHOULD OF SAW THE LIGHT BACK IN 1517 OF THAT PRIEST MARTIN LUTHER AND CHANGED FOR THE BETTER AWAY FROM ECONMICS, POLITAL, AND CONTROL. THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE RELIGION OF THE CHURCH BUT THE LEADERSHIP OF THE CHURCH. WHY IS IT THAT THE MEMBERSHIP DO NOT KNOW THE CHURCH’S HISTORY? HOW MANY HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED BY THEIR CHOICE? HOW MANY BELIVE IN ALL ( 100% ) OF THE CHURCH TEACHINGS? HOW MANY GO TO SUNDAY MASS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO? WHY ARE SO MANY VOTEING WITH THEIR FEET? HELLO.

  • Farnaz2

    Fedup13. Subsequent to the brouhaha over Williamson, Pope Benedict appointed another priest of extremely controversial if not insane ideas, Gerhard Maria Wagner, as auxiliary bishop in the Austrian city of Linz. Wagner has come out with such idiocies as saying that Katrina was God’s punishment of New Orleans for its loose ways, and that the Christmas tsunami of 2004 was punishment for “rich western tourists” who had “fled to poor Thailand”. Ratzinger seems to be incorrigible!Thank you for your post. Wagner is a nasty piece of work.

  • dolph924

    So Joe, the Nazi Youth Pope, doesn’t care that one of his brethren in the brotherhood of the pointy hats is a Holocaust denier? Go figure!

  • kelpius

    OK, he makes his point. But why does Fr. Smartypants, S.J. have to resort to cheesy coded ethnic stereotypes, q.e.d.: “Benedict still acts like a German professor who can demand the undivided attention of his students.” He must know that was not the Prof. Ratzinger’s style. If he had been such a feared authoritarian, his seminars wouldn’t have been standing room only. Seems Fr. Reese watched too much Hogan’s Heroes as a youth. He could have dumped on the Vatican PR chief Fr. Lombardi instead. Ah, but it’s Fr. Lombardi, S.J. so he gets a pass. Man-o-man, watch out for snakey Jesuits hanging out at the Wash. Post’s anti-religion blog!

  • furtdw

    Didedoodah wrote:”It really doesn’t matter anymore. The Catholic Church. like all churches, is on the road to irrelevance.”************************************************Congratulations! You join the pantheon of those who have been foolishly making that prediction for some 2,000 years now. Nero tried.Hate to ruin your Sunday but the church will be here till the end times.

  • jm817

    I agree with Fr. Reese about the lack of outreach to the left. So it seems as if the pro-female priest group needs to get a bishop willing to ordain a woman as a bishop????

  • pgeorge46

    Bishop Williamson has been maintaining that he finds no historical evidence to 6 million Jews being gassed by the Nazis. What kind of evidence is he looking for?Granting that he is not convinced of the historical truth of the Holocaust at the present moment, how can he be convinced without a more convincing proof to be unearthed in the future?Is it possible to make the lifting of excommunication DEPEND on the acceptance or not of a historical truth or not of an event – in this case the Holocaust? What if Williamson denied that the Inquisition (as it is commonly understood and interpreted today) ever happened? Will he be disciplined for that?These are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind as I read Reese’s article.

  • JeffRandom

    TerrifiedAmerican:Your statement “… the Pope, who, according to the church, is Christ’s manifestation on earth” is incorrect.According to the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope is Christ’s human representative only – certainly to be respected but not to be worshipped.

  • zjr78xva

    Comparing the Lefebvrites to cafeteria Catholics is rank nonsense. Lefebvrites accept the whole of tradition up to the Second Vatican Council. The cafeteria crowd wildly distorts Vatican II while rejecting everything else. Big diff.Better PR may be necessary but it’s insufficient. No matter what the pope does, news organizations will continue to engage in highly selective editing, deliberate distortions and outright lies.

  • TomfromNJ1

    Indeed to deny that 6,000,000 Jews died at the hands of the Nazis is not a sin but stupidity. And one is not excommunicated for stupidity. But if this man (and others) are to be brought back into the Church, it should certainly be with the condition that they ordain no more. Any of these people connected with the SSPX group is ipso facto against the teachings of the Church. I agree with the comment that for some reason the pope has less trouble reconciling with those on the right than on the left which makes no sense to me because were Jesus alive today, He would certainly be criticized for being to the left (I can just hear it — “He doesn’t even have a home,” “He has no job and lives on money from others,” “He criticizes the established religious authorities and did you see what He did to those ‘hard working’ small businesmen — the money changers in the Temple?” “He wants us to sell what we have and GIVE to the poor — why this will take away their will to work and …,” “He refuses to speak in favor of tax cuts as in “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s…,” ” And then there was that story about the workers going out into the field and all getting equal pay — why the Man is a socialist,” “despite the fact that the law clearly called for the death penalty (by stoning), He let that woman taken in adultery go free to say nothing of the woman at the well — He is soft of sexual sins,” etc. etc.So while I think there are sinners on the right and the left (and I did not even get into the community living in Acts), I have little doubt of where Jesus would have come down.

  • captn_ahab

    I would like to ask the reverend Father if he thinks their excommunication would have been lifted if they advocated, on Swedish TV or other places, for a woman’s right to choose, contraception for Catholics,or same sex marriage?I would like to ask the Father if he thinks the Pope would not have known about these things before he made his decision regarding them?

  • therev1

    Well said Rev. Reese.

  • stadtbear

    Thank god for the Anglican communion. May it NEVER reconcile with the superstitious, manipulative, unChristian Roman Catholic Church.

  • Va_Lady2008

    Leaving out, for the moment, my thoughts at why the Pope took the action he did, let us examine how he was able to do so. As you point out, no one around the Pope thought to question him because of his theological brilliance.Whether theologically brilliant or not I cannot say. However, I will share the following, which I have always found to be true:First rate people surround themselves with first rate and in at least one significant respect smarter, wiser, faster or better people.Second rate people, on the other hand, tend to surround themselves with people who won’t make their status obvious.Putting this “rating system” into effect, we have no choice to conclude that the Pope must be, somehow, second rate. The holocaust denier problem is NOT just a misstep, nor is it the first time. It represents a pattern.

  • journeyer58

    As a loyal Roman Catholic, I find it offensive and disheartening that the Holy Father would choose to end the excommunication of the Society of Saint Pope Pius X. These men, whose views are surely known to someone in the Vatican, have flouted the authority of the Holy Father, are extremely vocal about their views and do not acknowledge the Second Vatican Council as a legal and moral obligation.

  • FedUp1

    1. Fr. Reese doesn’t seem to be aware of the fact that Vatican-Lefebvrist negotitions have been conducted for a long time, headed by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos of the `Ecclesia Dei´ commission originally established to attend to Lefebrist defectors. 2. Pope Benedict XVI’s action re the Lefebvrists is difficult to understand given that these adamantly oppose the conclusions of Vatican II. Hence the issue of lifting the excommunication has much deeper implications than the opinions of Williamson and Abramowicz, who recently called Vatican II a “cesspool” and “heresy”, thereby gaining expulsion from the Lefebvrist ranks. At issue is their acceptance of Vatican II. Williams, for example, in his letters to supporters and friends calls the post-conciliar Catholic Church, the “Newchurch,” to signify that it has fallen away from traditional Catholicism.3. Subsequent to the brouhaha over Williamson, Pope Benedict appointed another priest of extremely controversial if not insane ideas, Gerhard Maria Wagner, as auxiliary bishop in the Austrian city of Linz. Wagner has come out with such idiocies as saying that Katrina was God’s punishment of New Orleans for its loose ways, and that the Christmas tsunami of 2004 was punishment for “rich western tourists” who had “fled to poor Thailand”. Ratzinger seems to be incorrigible!4. After studying Ratzinger’s positions as cardinal and as pope, I have reached the conclusion that he is a Lefebvrist at heart, though it is said, with some reason, that he owes his election to the Papacy to the efforts of Opus Dei. However, I see no contradiction between the two. Note also that Georg Gaenswein, his personal secretary, taught for years at the Opus Dei university in Rome.4. Last but not least, in regard to Ratzinger, we should not forget that according to reliable reports, he did his best to pressure US Catholics to vote for Bush/Cheney in 2004.

  • mharwick

    The moronic Holocaust denier may as well preach that the earth is flat. If that is an example of a reinstated Bishop then the Roman Catholic Church should be ashamed. The Pope asked the Bishop to distance himself from his remarks. The Pope should have excommunicated the Bishop. No amount of hypocrisy and recantations can erase the facts.

  • clonedlamb

    Farnazz, I really, really appreciate your brave lonely persistence in attempting to alert head-in-sand Catholic appologists about Cardinal Montini’s (Paul VI) grisly DELIBERATE funding of the CATHOLIC Nazi Croatian genocide of a MILLION Serb “heretics” in WWII. Montini should have been hung at Nuremburg. Sadly, no major U.S. media source will touch this story because Montini’s Nazi ratline to the U.S. has taken over the GOP, America’s biggest corporations, and our news media. I can’t even get liberal media or feminist organizations interested in this MONSTROUS scandal. You yourself should also google Hidden from History on Catholic, Protestant, Canadian and CIA rape, forced abortions and infanticides to cover up priest molestations, torture, and extermination of 100,000 American, Canadian and Native American “orphans” in Canadian boarding schools and hospitals. Rev. Kevin Annett has been leading a lonely fight in Canada on that holocaust. The HERETIC NAZI Vatican opposes maternal life-saving birth control because its pedophiles NEED FRESH VICTIMS. Nobody with morals would be Catholic if they knew the cult’s TRUE AGENDA.

  • clonedlamb

    Fedup1, well said!

  • blessinggirl

    Thank you, Father Reese, for speaking up and speaking the truth about this latest setback to ecumenical dialogue. I pray that you are not removed or disciplined by Rome for this!

  • iamerican

    Benedict must futilely “legitimize” Holocaust deniers, as Roman Catholicism will soon be universally recognized for what America’s Founder, Author and Prophet said it was…and “Babylon shall fall in a day.”Jesuitical apologists like Reese must try to shield the Vatican, the gay, German, Hitler Youth-alum pope, and its Babylonian pedophile priesthood from American public recognition that it was two popes and the Roman Catholic Church which are morally, legally, and ethically culpable of the Holocaust. What better way than to rewrite history and teach the Holocaust never took place?Any not yet aware of this truth, yet seeking wisdom, knowledge, and Enlightenment, need only read “A Moral Reckoning,” by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, to have it made perfectly clear that Rome committed the Holocaust.Hitler and Nazism was funded by the Roman Catholic collection plate funds in the U.S. through Vatican banker Rockefeller, with Rockefeller-minion Prescott Bush as conduit to the author of “I Paid Hitler,” papal baron Fritz “The Rockefeller of Germany” Thyssen. As its “catspaw” Hitler fought for Roman interests under papal concordat the same way America was used as catspaw for Rome in Korea, Vietnam and Central America.Identified as “the real Anti-Christ” by America’s Founder, Thomas Jefferson, Rome, and traitors in its American “Fifth Column” faction, centered largely around the Republican Party, has assassinated our leaders with impunity, garnered control of domestic oil and gas distribution through unredressed murder and arson, created the fraudulent money system of the Fed which is now in “meltdown” (to be restored through inflationary Welfare Fascism for the corrupt rich on the backs of the Working/Middle Class), and cheated Hitler’s banker’s grandson and one of Kennedy’s assassins’ son, a draft-dodging closet-queen, into the White House, in 2001, to commit 9/11 to send us to false war for oil, heroin, the Saudi “royal family,” and power.Jubilee must be reinstituted freeing all from debt, constitutional money must be restored, traitors convicted and hanged, and Rome’s Fifth Column fully expropriated and banished or executed.”Jeffersonian Exegesis” theamericanfundament.blogspot.com

  • drappuhn

    VA Lady2008 said it quite nicely, in language that applies to American presidents as well as Latin popes:Second rate people, on the other hand, tend to surround themselves with people who won’t make their status obvious.Putting this “rating system” into effect, we have no choice to conclude that the Pope must be, somehow, second rate. The holocaust denier problem is NOT just a misstep, nor is it the first time. It represents a pattern.”Applying this to Bush leads us to a similar conclusion.

  • coloradodog

    Catholic bishops who say, “The gas chambers were only used for disinfecting” should be required to visit Auschwitz. I doubt if any of them ever set foot in the place. I smell politics and the love of money emanating from the Papal chimney in the Vatican – more “Christian” pimping of poor old Jesus.

  • furtdw

    IAmerican wrote at 09:54 ……..” (Benedict) the gay, German, Hitler Youth-alum pope,”1. Gay? …..Can you offer any proof Benedict is Gay?2. German? ….. you got that right. One for three ain’t bad.3. Hitler Youth-alum (Hitler Jugend). As a 16 year old, he was drafted into the Wehrmarcht (German *ARMY*). He was never a part of the Hitler Jugend.

  • cornbread_r2

    If we weren’t continuously reassured otherwise, one would almost think that perhaps the RCC wasn’t intimately guided by an omnipotent holy spirit afterall.

  • TerrifiedAmerican

    It is truly mysterious how the Pope, who, according to the church, is Christ’s manifestation on earth, could have overlooked the Bishop’s sin and made a frail human mistake in restoring his position.

  • furtdw

    IAmerican wrote:”Identified as “the real Anti-Christ” by America’s Founder, Thomas Jefferson, Rome, and traitors in its American “Fifth Column” faction, centered largely around the Republican Party, has assassinated our leaders with impunity, garnered control of domestic oil and gas distribution through unredressed murder and arson, created the fraudulent money system of the Fed which is now in “meltdown” (to be restored through inflationary Welfare Fascism for the corrupt rich on the backs of the Working/Middle Class), and cheated Hitler’s banker’s grandson and one of Kennedy’s assassins’ son, a draft-dodging closet-queen, into the White House, in 2001, to commit 9/11 to send us to false war for oil, heroin, the Saudi “royal family,” and power.”**************************************************So, your saying that “Rome” (the Vatican) has done all of the above? Or, at least orchestrated the above?If yes, I must ask ….. Do you write children’s cartoons too?

  • coya

    I think Holocaust merchants should study the census of 1939 which states from the eastern border of Poland westward, Jews numbered less than 600,000! That’s one tenth of the claimed holocaust victims. But some of them weren’t Jews? But they don’t count do they? The pope is a wonderful man, who thankfully doesn’t have to take orders from anyone and isn’t standing for election. Nor does he dictate political views, he makes decisions on matters of faith, and unlike the chancellor of Germany today Merkel, he doesn’t require precise opinions from his people, not tell them what to say. It is a matter of his religion.

  • crete

    Does the author somehow not think that all this was not part of the Pope’s plan. Any recanting by Williaamson will carry the weight of the apology in the movie “A Fish Called Wanda.” The loony right wingers will give the wink and a nod and move right along on their merry way.

  • wjfreeman1

    I don’t understand why the lifting of the excommunication of this wayward Bishop only caused a firestorm of protest from Jews and liberal Catholics. Why hasn’t it caused a “firestorm of protest” from every catholic and religious denomination?

  • coya

    Alright Father Reese has a fine smile, not a gaping grin. As for the comments demanding everyone recognize the holocaust or be excommunicated or imprisoned, I find it extreme, particularly while the mass murder is taking place in Palestine by these very victims. I hope all of the cases demanding money after 60 some years are thrown out of court and the plaintiffs are given hefty fines for frivolous lawsuits.

  • Farnaz2

    Personally, I don’t care how many corrupt bishops, archbishops, etc., the Vatican has, and Williamson and Wagner are far from the only two.What the Vatican does need to do is to settle the lawsuit brought by Jews, Orthodox Christians, and Roma, against Vatican Bank, which took the loot that fifteen hundred murdering franciscan priests thieved from people it tortured to death. (Scroll down.)It also needs to acknowledge that crime, its crimes of having used slave labor, etc.It needs to let the world know the precise amount of its oil holdings, and should do so before Israel finally makes good on its threat to.What the Vatican also needs to do is to open its Holocaust archives, at long last, to public scrutiny. More and more Vatican nation is removing itself from the community of nations.Speaking of which, since when does a nation with lobbyists get tax exempt status in the US?

  • CCNL

    Whether RCC or Anglican/King Henry communion, it is still nothing more than a low-cal wafer.

  • theosnyder

    Ah, if only the Pope was as interested in those of us who took the Second Vatican Council seriously on its own terms and then were betrayed (yes, betrayed!) by Vatican insiders and our own bishops who daily pare back the meaning of the council to a bare minimum. There are a whole bunch of us layfolk who devoted their career years to development of the social justice ministry of the Church, only to see that effort squelched to insignificance. From the beginning the bishops exerted little leadership and did what they were forced to do. One of the most innovative programs adopted (due to the skilled work of some urban pastors) was the Catholic Campaign for Human Development which the current cohort of JPII and Benedict-appointed bishops view with distain. It languishes for lack of support. The Pope’s neglect of Vatican II Catholics who have hung in there dispite these disappointments as well as the ongoing clergy scandals –sexual and financial– is manifested in his selection of bishops who would restore a clericalist church and his quest to restore the old Tridentine Latin mass, what ever the cost to Church unity. All of this calls into question the actual authority of ecumenical councils –are their decrees worth the paper they are written on?– which used to have supreme authority. That is a recklessness unparalleled in Church history and a kind of ecclesastical fraud perpetrated on faithful Catholics.

  • jm917

    At the beginning of the seventeenth century the king of France, Henry IV, described his fellow king, England’s James I–quite an amateur theologian and political theorist, by the way, but also an iditotic practical politician–as “the wisest fool in Christendom.”How truly that could be said of the current pope.

  • coya

    I’m surprised that the world seems obsessed by the “Shoah” while determinedly supporting the mass murder of Palestinians by the Jews. It is telling that even the topic takes such a center stage and as a widow I can say absolutely that anyone who demands cash in return for a death, is not grieving anything, merely greedy and profiting from a death. They wouldn’t do it if it were a loved one. The pope is entitled to make judgements, and political opinions should not be considered not should the sinister political machinations expressed by the author in his comment that lifting the excommunication is a cheap price if it prevents the Bishops from ordaining (consecrating?) more bishops. I’m ashamed of some priests. Moreover why should the church in its quest to include more people, kick out the people who are continuing with its traditional teachings? This priest needs to get his gaping grin out of politics and understand that ones religion is not going to be politically pressured if it is honest.

  • didedoodah

    It really doesn’t matter anymore. The Catholic Church. like all churches, is on the road to irrelevance.

  • Cbailey21

    To STADTBEAR:It’s unfortunate that your lack of understanding about the RCC is surpassed only by your anger. I sincerely hope you are not a Christian, as words of judgment and anger along the lines of what you said do not honor Christ or befit someone claiming to live in His loving tradition. If you really believe that everything you wrote is an accurate depiction of what the RCC teaches and what Catholics believe, then you have been done the misdeed of a poor education. You owe it to your faith to fairly investigate the history of the RCC and its doctrine. There are plenty of areas for you to disagree; none of them involve hateful speech. Check Romans 12 if you are unsure of how to treat your enemies. If you are not a Christian, understand that Christians, and Catholics, believe that God is love. They are called to servants of Love, to each other and to the Highest Power. You may not allow yourself to believe that this is true, but it is.

  • Cbailey21

    To STADTBEAR:It’s unfortunate that your lack of understanding about the RCC is surpassed only by your anger. I sincerely hope you are not a Christian, as words of judgment and anger along the lines of what you said do not honor Christ or befit someone claiming to live in His loving tradition. If you really believe that everything you wrote is an accurate depiction of what the RCC teaches and what Catholics believe, then you have been done the misdeed of a poor education. You owe it to your faith to fairly investigate the history of the RCC and its doctrine. There are plenty of areas for you to disagree; none of them involve hateful speech. Check Romans 12 if you are unsure of how to treat your enemies. If you are not a Christian, understand that Christians, and Catholics, believe that God is love. They are called to servants of Love, to each other and to the Highest Power. You may not allow yourself to believe that this is true, but it is.

  • Farnaz2

    CCNL aka BunBun aka Tom aka Fritz,Your racist, facist, nazistic diatribes against gay people, Jews, and anyone else who doesn’t fit your Catholic League, National Socialist perspective belong at Catholic League and National Socialist Party meetings, not on this blog.Your “social criticisms,” i.e., screeds against people who don’t fit your heterosexual Traditionalist Catholic model offend no matter how many aliases you use.Satan, your name is legion. I heard it when Ismael, our family friend in Iran, was taken in front of me and murdered by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. His blood got on my clothes.It was heard by the Serbian Christians, Roma, and Jews when your relatives, fifteen hundred Croatian Franciscans murdered them.It was heard by the victims of Mengele, Hitler, Goebbels, et al. It was heard by the gay men and women tortured since time immemorial.It is heard in the words of Wagner, Williamson, et al.It’s been heard enough and has no credibility with ethical Christians, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, et al.Take your racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist spewing elsewhere.

  • CCNL

    Farnaz aka Observer12 aka Observer31,Farnaz aka Observer12 aka Observer31 aka JDL member, et al, Obviously based on my synopsis of the RCC as posted umpteen times on On Faith, I am not a member of the Catholic League.And who in their right mind would be a Nazi or affiliated with these low life? Surely not I!!! Nazis are the scum of the earth ponds, rivers and oceans. They are the maggots of horror and despicable acts. And anyone who uses at least two aliases, calls herself an atheist Jew but defends, for some strange reason, this same religion is hardly in a position to be a critic.

  • CCNL

    Poor, poor Farnaz aka Observer12 aka Observer31 still does not comprehend or recognize Truth and Reality and she definitely cannot stand to be criticized even when she is guilty of significant violations of blog etiquette. Poor, little rich girl syndrome and/or influence of the JDL???

  • Farnaz2

    CCNL aka BunBun aka Tom aka Fritz,”Poor, little rich girl syndrome and/or influence of the JDL???”I wish I could say “Poor little rich National Socialist,” but I can’t. As you know, my family never had money, and when we escaped from Iran with nothing, we came here with less.My family and I live in a rented apartment, unlike your Rich National Socialist self. Money means very little to us, as we have deeper values.The canard of accusing Jews of being “wealthy” is very old, older than the National Socialist gay-bashing, homophobic, xenophobic rants of other kinds you generally preach. Rich National Socialists like you and your predecessors divert the attention of the poor so that you can continue to exploit them.Scroll down, and read some of what decent, sincere, humane, observant Catholics have to say.If it isn’t too late for your old, rich, National Socialist self, maybe you can learn a little humanity.

  • Paganplace

    Also, CCNL, I’m pretty cheesed off at Farnazz, now, so if you’d just grow *two* neurons between whatever is in your head and what you’re reading, signal yourself a rational thought in Morse code or whatever, I’d really appreciate it.

  • gratianus

    You’ve reduced the Vatican’s embrace of Williamson and the Lefebvrists to a failure to look into Williamson’s personal views and a failure to properly communicate the positive reasons for revoking the excommunication of the illictly ordained bishops. However, I suspect Cardinal Ratzinger was fully aware of what embracing the Lefebvrists and the pre-Vatican II world views entailed. Williamson’s ahistorical views of the Holocaust might or might not be shared by the Society of Pius X, but the larger attitude toward Jews (and non-Catholics) is front and center in their activities. Though Williamson has tried to prettify his anti-Jewish remarks by blathering about Jews in history (bad) rather than Jews as individuals (good), such distinctions really are meaningless in this world. The simple fact is that Benedict really did not understand that the viciousness inherent in this ultra-tradtionalist movement would backfire. All he saw was the opportunity to bring back into the flock a group that supported in spirit his own traditionalist instincts. Who cares if they took it too far. One last point, I can’t help but see Benedict’s desire to restore a traditional church as a spritual parallel with the Bush administration’s desire to make America into a conservative nation (and electorate). In that quest both men sold out to those even to the right of them. In the end, both are reducing their audience. Pardon the suggestion from a non-Catholic, but Rome needs more of what John XXIII started and less of what Benedict is continuing from his predecessor’s pontificate. Extending brotherhood to the Lebvrists is evidence of that error.

  • ravitchn

    The dispute over Bishop Williamson is really about a fundamental split within Catholicism which Vatican II only papered over. Traditional Catholics cling to the lie invented by the Church that the debasement of the Jews is a necessary part of Christian belief. The Church invented anti-semitism and clings to it. Unless it really comes clean — which is doubtful — Catholicism will remain in part The Fascist Party at Prayer.

  • yael1

    CCNL:

  • furtdw

    Ravitchn wrote at 05:14″Traditional Catholics cling to the lie invented by the Church that the debasement of the Jews is a necessary part of Christian belief.”*************************************************I am a traditional Catholic.I attended Catholic schools K – 12.I was never taught anything similiar to what you wrote above.I have never heard similiar to what you wrote from the Church regarding our “old testament brethern.” (the Jews ….. words of JP II).Nor have I ever heard it infered/intimated.Ravitchn, you’re shootin’ from the hip.Catholic, Ravitchn? I didn’t think so.

  • furtdw

    Stadtbear wrote:”Thank god for the Anglican communion. May it NEVER reconcile with the superstitious, manipulative, unChristian Roman Catholic Church.”*************************************************Oh but they are.The Traditional Anglican Community (TAC)is reconciling (and reuniting) with the RC church.Not here in the USA but in Britain …… big time.Use google to do some research.

  • yael1

    CCNL,Hello, there, nazi Catholic, homophobe, xenophobe.It’s all yours now, CCNL.This is my last post. This thread is officially Judenfrei.Yael Chen AyalonPS. Yes, Tel-Aviv. You haven’t gotten rid of us all yet.

  • thebink

    Correct me if I’m wrong as I am not a Catholic. Doesn’t being excommunicated mean burning in hell forever according to the doctrines of the church? Seems to me that Catholics that want the man to burn eternally for a belief-which by the way, I don’t agree with- are being just a tad harsh to say nothing of out right nasty.

  • TomfromNJ1

    To TheBinkAs i understand it, only God can condemn anyone to hell. Excommunication is just what the word says — being cut of from communion with the Catholic Church. As for the harshness, even the most serious sin can be forgiven — that is the message of Christ. I too have been a Catholic since birth and am now a senior citizen and nowhere in that time have I ever heard some of the “teachings” mentioned here about being anti Jewish (although I am certainly aware of abuses during the Inquisition). We were certainly not taught to blame Jews for the death of Christ, but rather taught that our sins did that. Now whether some individual Catholics made up things or not, I do not know. Certainly we have a lot of right wing Catholics now totally ignoring what the popes have said re the war in Iraq, the poor, the obligations of rich nations, etc. But that is not the teaching of the Church. I am afraid many people have mistaken the words of people like this bishop as the teaching of the whole church. Any of us who remember the soldiers coming back from WWII and telling us what they saw in the concentration camps they liberated could never deny it without disrespecting the memory of these brave men who fought to prevent more of these abuses. People like this bishop seem to align themselves with the head of Iran who would also have us deny reality. Perhaps he could be assigned to Iran!

  • stadtbear

    >The Traditional Anglican Community (TAC)is reconciling (and reuniting) with the RC church.Actually, you are wrong. The Anglican COMMUNION, of which the Church of England and the Episcopal Church are only small parts, is NOT reconciling with Rome. Female priests and bishops, to say nothing of gay clergy, are too big a stumbling block.Nor should they even think of reconciling with the revisionist, non-Christian, hate-mongering, Jew-baiting, gay-bashing, woman-hating, misogynistic, superstitious (really! If praying to his mother and father offered any possible benefit to his followers, don’t you think Christ would at least have mentioned it?)irrelevant roman catholic church. If this sub-equatorial bead-fumbling bishop wants to deny the holocaust, let him do so rather than suppress him. It is always best to know who your enemies are, and where they are. He is just another ecclesiastical vulture who will ride about in limousines and cross-dress in purple and call himself a “prince”…while impoverished roman catholic parishoners will be victimized by the ultra-greedy church to pay his bills and support his lavish lifestyle. Roman catholicism is a made-up gutter religion that should be destroyed, and this insane bishop should be allowed to assist to the fullest in its destruction.

  • CCNL

    Hmmm, pray tell why would the RCC want to accept/join Anglicans? The RCC has enough historical and theological baggage!!!

  • TOTE

    Relatively speaking, it will not be too much longer that time will present us with the final ‘vicar of Christ’ (as foretold by one of their own ‘saints’) in the counterfeit religious system that squelched the true church several hundred years after our Lord and Savior’s time on this earth. His imminent return will elimiate all of the confusion we see now and that we have seen in the past.

  • skata3

    Come on Thomas, having read your post I was left with the impression you seem to be willing to accept your nomination as a Papal spokesman just to protect his Holiness from another PR disaster. Does this have anything to do with the mild Italian climate, or some sweetheart of the distant past that currently lives in Rome, at an apartment not far from the Vatican square? You know people are getting suspicious these days…

  • saj_pratt

    The entire war-time atrocity ‘denial’ is even more subtle, subversive, and repugnant than most are conscious of.While debate rages in the West, the Japanese have erased all mention of their incredible genocidal acts from their chldrens history books.Of the millions slaughtered in Northern China, Mongolia and areas like Nanjing and Shangyang, there is no mention of the hideous experiments done by the Japanese Imperial Army Unit 571 — where animal limbs and organs were sewn onto living humans and horrific chemical ‘cocktails’ used on children and elders in an effort to ‘significantly reduce population burden’. It appears there were no limits on their imagination when it came to hideous torture and human experimentation.An entire division of Japanese troops were deployed with the sole purpose of destroying all records of the people they massacred — from small village to major city. To this day it is still difficult to accurately tally the numbers of Chinese and other ethnic groups that were murdered. Roaming the modern world with profoundly polite manners, with their sense of superiority more than intact, the masters of Japanese Bushido strike richly lucrative business deals, while in the heart of the Japanese homeland, white vans roam the neighborhoods with the war-time Imperial flag (rising sun with rays) emblazoned on the sides.Holocaust denial is alive and well — mainly because we who know better have chosen to look the other way — to forget. What remains of the historical evidence is being continuously disintegrated, obfuscated, and buried by the willfully ignorant and denialists.Only through intense effort can we keep the memory of the fallen alive, and to keep the memory fresh of just how terrible we humans can become.What was once known in my youth as indisputable fact is now being more energetically denied by those with equally evil vested interests.While the insensitive, inferiority complex-driven leaders of modern Japan still lay flowers and prayers at the graves of the Imperial Army monsters that believed the Japanese race was superior to all, I and educators like me will continue to tell the truth.While companies like Mitsubishi today rake in huge profits, we cannot let ourselves forget — it was Mitsubishi aircraft that murdered 3000 unsuspecting Americans at Pearl Harbor and countless numbers of innocents in Asia — no matter how hard they try to buy our memories and erase the past.Anyone remember the phrase on this plaque and why it was erected? “Lest We Forget”