Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Statements on SSPX bishops


The president of the US Bishops Conference has issued a statement on the recent lifting of the excommunications of four SSPX bishops and, in particular the case of one of them: Richard Williamson.
Statement of Cardinal Francis George, President USCCB
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The Holy Father's lifting of the excommunications is but a first step toward receiving these four bishops, and the priests who serve under them, back into full communion with the Catholic Church. If these bishops are to exercise their ministry as true teachers and pastors of the Catholic Church, they, like all Catholic bishops, will have to give their assent to all that the Church professes, including the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

As is now widely known, one of the four bishops, Richard Williamson, has recently made some deeply offensive and utterly false statements about the Holocaust of the Second World War. Bishop Williamson has denied historical facts about the Shoah, in which six million Jews were cruelly annihilated, innocent victims of blind racial and religious hatred. These comments have evoked understandable outrage from within the Jewish community and also from among our own Catholic people. No Catholic, whether lay person, priest or bishop can ever negate the memory of the Shoah, just as no Catholic should ever tolerate expressions of anti-Semitism and religious bigotry.

I make my own the words of the Holy Father spoken at the General Audience on January 28, 2009: "[May] the Shoah show both old and new generations that only the arduous path of listening and dialogue, of love and forgiveness, can lead peoples, cultures and religions of the world to the longed-for goal of fraternity and peace, in truth. May violence never again humiliate man's dignity."
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(read the whole statement)

Rocco has a post with the reaction of German Catholic bishops to the same issues:
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Werner Thissen, the archbishop of Hamburg, said Pope Benedict XVI should have lifted the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson only if he had recanted his "unspeakable" claim that the Nazis did not use gas chambers.He criticised the Vatican's "sloppy" handling of Bishop Williamson's rehabilitation, which caused a furore around the world, incensing Jewish groups and moderate Catholics.
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"To rehabilitate a Holocaust denier is always a bad decision. That the efforts of the Pope coincide with the unspeakable remarks of Bishop Williamson is terrible," said Archbishop Thissen.

"It shouldn't have happened that an act of goodness – concern for Church unity – should be associated with a bad one – that is, the debate about a Holocaust denier. This definitely undermines trust in the Church."
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Archbishop Thissen defended the Pope's efforts to try to build relations with traditionalists, but said the controversy over Williamson was "very damaging" to the Church's relations with Jews.

He suggested the Pope was badly advised and said the cardinal in charge of the rehabilitation, Dario Castrillon Hoyos of Colombia, should have known about Williamson's extreme views.

Asked whether the rehabilitation should be rescinded, Archbishop Thissen said that it should at least be re-examined. The backlash against the Pope has been particularly strong in Germany.
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(read the rest of Rocco's post)

1 comment:

Maeve said...

CP,

From Rocco's blog, regarding Cardinal Schonborn: (should have copied down his name immediately. Hope the spelling's OK)

'The general editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church -- a task entrusted to him by his doktorvater -- the Vienna cardinal took pains to distinguish between the nature of Benedict's "intent" for an "outstretched hand" and a "mistake" on the part of his advisers that failed to "examine the matter carefully.'
Reminds me of the new president's and/or his advisors' failure to examine Tom Daschle's financial situation carefully. At least Mr. Obama has declared he "screwed up".
I can't help but wish the Pope would do that too (if in more appropriately ecclesiastical words). Undeserved rewards can be taken back!