Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bishop Williamson's Society for St. Pius X: A Pernicious Group

The Guardian [London] has an excellent background piece -- actually long letter -- by Andrew Horn of Harvard about the SSSX, the group with which Williamson is associated. It lays out the really pernicious quality of this group.

As I have repeatedly said on this blog, Williamson's denial is almost minor [and for me to say that is quite something] when placed within the larger context of all else they believe and do.

12 comments:

StGuyFawkes said...

Andrew Horn's letter is largely correct in its assessement of the political history of the SSPX.

They belong to a species of French Catholicism which has its roots in the monarchist traditions of Action Francaise and Joseph de Maistre.

The SSPX sees the French Revolution and its ideals of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" as intellectual errors which replicated itself in the Second Vatican Council.

By Archb. Lefebvre's telling, Ecumenism represents "Fraternity", Religious Freedom represents "Liberty" and the relaxed tone of the new Mass being a kind of "Equality" between layman and priest.

The problem is twofold:

As Dr. Lipstadt points out, their problems are bigger than Holocaust Denial.

A certain theory of the French Revolution CANNOT be made into religious doctrine any more than a theory of American history (think of the Civil War) cannot be made into a religious doctrine.

That's just a bug that's going to have to be killed in the Lefebvrist mind. It's a piece of part of their intellectual portfolio whereby schism has started to lurch into heresy.

However, as I have said before, this is why the lost lambs, black sheep or not, have to be brought in. IF they are functionally Catholic.

Unfortunately, having bad politics -- I mean really bad politics -- is irrelevant with respect to the requirement that they be regularized into the Church.

I realize this is a bitter pill for most readers of this blog to accept but the fact is that unless they are in heresy the Pope has to acknowledge them as functional Catholics.

The one grip he's got on their mania is "The Council" or Vatican II. He can make them accept it and begin the process of therapy.

Or, I suppose, he could elevate lies about the Holocaust to a level of moral scrutiny that would require re-excommunication but he won't. The reason is that behind the four bishops are thousands of lost souls which must be tended.

Readers of this blog who wish to keep their blood pressure below 170/90 need to understand that from a purely theological point of view the Pope has little choice but to keep talking to them.

He can however put strong regulations on what goes on in their seminaries once he brings them in. That's where the focus of concern should be.

I don't know how else to say it but this way. Ask yourself if the Catholic World had demanded that Meir Kahane not be recongnized by the State of Israel as a Jew and that his followers be kicked out what would you say?

You'd say, "Listen bub, unfortunately he IS a Jew and now we cannot really reject him unless he does something criminal or morally evil."

Same thing.

The Pope can be pursuaded to make Holocaust Truth, as a moral issue, a rule of acceptance for the leaders but he cannot do much else. He can minister to anti-Semitism as sin but he cannot keep people out of the CHurch because they are sinners. The whole point of the Church is that it is for sinners.

Everyone should focus on monitoring this group AFTER they come in. Because they are coming in whether the world likes it or not.

What worries me are the particularly ill considered attempts by Jewish groups to say (as Abe Foxman did recently) that the Pope must do this or must do that without paying any attention to the particular religion they are telling what to do.

Jews have the absolute right to simply say, if those SSPX guys come in then we are not going to trust Catholics anymore because we don't trust them and "THEM" is "YOU".

But I hope Jewish groups will pause before they step into that abyss.

In fact they already have.

Best wishes.

Juni said...

Depicting Marcel Lefebvre as "an antisemitic wartime collaborationist" is a statement difficult to corroborate with the fact that Lefebvre's father, René Lefebvre died in 1944 in a nazi prisoner's camp as a resistance fighter.

Gillibrand said...

Pernicious quality. Really?

I am more than happy to organise a meeting for you with traditionalist Catholics, including those who are associated with the SSPX. Among them would be my wife whose second (late) husband (much older than myself) was forced out of Vienna in 1938 and, if he is prepared a traditionalist in Linz who is the greatest Catholic supporter of the synagogue there.

hockey hound said...

Rav Kahane (OBM) was not a Holocaust denier nor an anti-Semite. Israel accepts those Jews who can boast of being free of these predominantly non-Jewish vices. As usual, you are sophisticating and convoluting what is to any honest and objective mind the culpable anti-Jewish tenets of your religion.

You object to Abe Foxman telling the Pope what to do about his anti-Jewish bishops, but cannot acknowledge that Christians, and especially Catholic bishopry, have been dictating to the Jewish people (sometimes very violently) how they should practice their Judaism since Christianity's inception. You are beginning to sound ridiculous, literally.

I notice that you are beginning to advert to certain Jews and the Jewish people in general in writing your rebuttals. It always comes down to this for Christians like you, doesn't it?

Deborah Lipstadt said...

"It always comes down to this for Christians like you, doesn't it?"

While I do not mind your calling people to account when they refer to particular people by their entire group.

But a term "Christians like you" comes pretty close to exactly what this blogging is trying to fight.

Think about it.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dr. Lipstadt and Mr. HockeyHound,

I feel I need to address Mr. HockeyHound's accusations.

First, let me say that Jewish- Catholic relations, at this troubled time, require that the following always be kept in mind.

1.) The Catholic Church and the Jewish world need each other.

The Church needs Jews because their history is part of our religion -- and although the reverse is not true -- Jews need the Church because progress in defeating anti-Semitism depends on the enlightenment of the West's biggest religion.

Both Catholics and Jews have a lot at stake in this relationship, although the stakes are different and maybe not equal.

This mutual need was in evidence in last week's meeting between the Pope and the Council of Presidents of Jewish Organizations. What was striking was the seriousness and respect emanating from all parties, the Pope included.

2. This being the case Jewish organizations always have the right to respectfully and aggressively instruct the Vatican on the effects her decisions will have on Catholic-Jewish relations.

3. All the above being true, mutual respect requires a mutual understanding of "boundaries" between the two religions and peoples.

My example of disrespecting boundaries was Abe Foxman's demand that the Pope "re-excommunicate" Bishop Williamson. My analogy was with an imaginary U.S. request, or a Catholic request that Israel not accept controversial Rabbi Meir Kahane. A better example would be if the U.S. requested that Israel not accept the citizenship of Jay Pollard.

The purpose of my analogy was to show what I mean by "boundaries".

Whether Israel accepts or does not accept the citizenship of Meir Kahane, or Jay Pollard is NONE OF THE CATHOLIC WORLD'S, OR THE US' BUSINESS!

Similarly, while it is very much the business of Jewish organizations to make a big noise if the Pope brings into the Church an anti-Semitic membership (the SSPX), nonetheless, the internal methods by which this problem is to be addressed is the Vatican's prerogative, not Abe Foxman's.

My objection is that some Jewish spokesmen fail to realize that boundaries exist between the two faiths and "excommunication" is a complicated bit of internal canon law.

Because it is so deep into Catholic turf, telling the Vatican how to prosecute and use her laws can only lead to Jewish frustation and friction.

(As a point for Rabbi Foxman one cannot in canon law "re-excommunicate" anyone because it violates a principle known here as "double jeopardy". If Rabbi Foxman had taken the time to make a phone call to a local chancery he would have known this. For the Pope to "re-excommunicate" Bp. Williamson would be like telling George Bush to take back a presidential pardon already made. It can't be done. To suggest it in an open forum makes Rabbi Foxman look stupid. He also makes Catholics look petty for not taking such an obvious approach.)

Let me say in conclusion that I have never flinched from acknowledging that "Catholic bishopry" have placed misery and strictures upon Jews.

My remarks have to do with good relations going forward, acknowledging the guilt of the Church in the past.

I acknowledge that Mr. HockeyHound takes a dim view of the Catholic Church. That is his right. Men have had this view since Voltaire.

What I ask is a respectfull hearing of what I have to say, followed by a refutation of my views. I do not expect an attack on my religion as a religion.

You objected to my "sophisticating and convoluting what is to any honest and objective mind the culpable anti-Jewish tenets of your religion."

Here's the news. There are no anti-Jewish tenets in my religion. There are only anti-Jewish people who have perverted my religion to match their mania.

However, if it is your belief that my religion as a faith has as it's tenets the hatred of Jews than I only have one question.

Why do you talk to me?

Or do you just wish to stalk me.

I will leave it to Dr. Lipstadt's discretion whether she wishes to publish this comment. I think it would be best if Mr. Hound and I no longer address each other for the benefit of this blog.

He doesn't think my comments are made in good faith. I don't think his replies are in good faith.

Let's leave it there.

Best Wishes,

St. Guy

hockey hound said...

'But a term "Christians like you" comes pretty close to exactly what this blogging is trying to fight.'

You're right, Prof. Lipstadt. I knew at the time I shouldn't have written this in, but I did. I apologize.

Sincerely, Hockey Hound

hockey hound said...

"Here's the news. There are no anti-Jewish tenets in my religion."

The above statement is reason enough for me to cease "addressing" you, Guy Fawkes.

"Why do you talk to me?"

You give me no choice. But from now on I will avoid rebutting your statements. Promise.


"The greater the truth, the greater the libel." -William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield 1780

hockey hound said...

Have a happy Shabbos, Prof. Lipstadt. And as they say up here in Canada, "Keep your stick on the ice."

HH

Ludovic said...

During World War II, Marcel Lefebvre was a missionary priest in Gabon. At that time, Gabon was part of the French Equatorial Africa (Afrique Équatoriale Française, or AEF), and Gabon belonged to the Vichy Regime only for 4 months, until 12 November 1940, when the Free French Forces achieved successfully their takeover of Gabon, which had begun on 27 October 1940 (1).

Were the antisemitic laws of Vichy implemented in Gabon ? The first status of the Jews was promulgated by Vichy on 18 October 1940. So it leaves only one month for implementing them, and for an hypothetic collaboration of Marcel Lefebvre with their implementation. The number of concerned Jews must have been small. In neighbouring French Occidental Africa (Afrique Occidentale Française, or AOF), where the Vichy antisemitic laws were implemented until 1943, only 110 Jews had been registered in that huge territory in 1942 (2).

If you consider that the anti-jewish measure started being implemented on November 8th 1940 in AOF(2) and make the hypothesis that this date applies to AEF too, this leaves only an even smaller (4 day long) time window of supposed implementation of anti-jewish measures in Gabon.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gabon
(2) Ruth Ginio, "La politique antijuive de Vichy en Afrique occidentale française"
http://www.cairn.info/article_p.php?ID_ARTICLE=AJ_361_0109

Ottaviani said...

1.) The Catholic Church and the Jewish world need each other.

The Church needs Jews because their history is part of our religion -- and although the reverse is not true -- Jews need the Church because progress in defeating anti-Semitism depends on the enlightenment of the West's biggest religion.


The Catholic church would also believe that Jews need the church because they need to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Or would it be anti-semetic to say that?

Deborah Lipstadt said...

The Catholic church would also believe that Jews need the church because they need to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Or would it be anti-semetic to say that?

No I don't think it would be. It's the Church's theological belief. That's not antisemitism.

[Sorry to disappoint you.]