In addition Sandro Magister, a correspondent for the weekly magazine L’Espresso and one of Italy’s most highly respected Vatican experts, offered extensive background on this "tempest" which he describes a double disaster of “governance and communication” within the church.
I follow with excerpts from both articles.
The New York Times observed that while Pope Benedict has faced challenges before
the internal controversy created by Bishop Williamson’s rehabilitation is unlike anything the Vatican has faced in recent decades.It also observed that Wednesday’s unsigned statement calling on Williamson to reject his Holocaust denial
publicly seemed to be a clear indication that the Vatican was facing nothing less than an internal and external political crisis.The Wednesday statement also clearly addressed questions about what conditions the society would have to meet before being allowed back into the fold.
Most importantly it would have to offer its “full recognition of the Second Vatican Council” to receive “recognition” by the church.The most interesting part of the article comes at the end where it attempts to explain how this maelstrom came to be.
Conversations with a variety of people inside and outside the Vatican portray an intellectual pope increasingly isolated from the Vatican administration. Many point to a lack of communication between the handful of cardinals responsible for revoking the excommunications and other members of the curia who might have opposed the move.
It is also quite striking that there was no consultation with Cardinal Walter Kasper, a German who directs the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and who is the liaison for Vatican-Jewish relations. Kasper has publicly said:
There were certainly management errors on the part of the curia.Sandro Magister writing on his blog described this as a "disaster" and said that in this situation* * * *
Pope Benedict XVI found himself to be the one most exposed, and practically aloneMagister explains at great length how, for the Pope, this is all about healing of schisms.
However, because of Vatican ineptitude that issue was lost in headlines world over that said: the pope clears a Holocaust denier bishop from excommunication, and welcomes him into the Church.
In response the Vatican went "scrambling for cover," with media statements.
Magister goes on to ask was this tempest "inevitable," or was it the result of "errors and omissions of the men who are supposed to implement the pope's decisions."
Magister comes down on the side of the second hypothesis.
Those Cardinals who were responsible said they did not know about Williamson's denial. Magister points out that a click on Google would have shown them that in 1989, in Canada, he openly praised Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel and that he was a 9/11 denier.
There were other failures in the Vatican as well. The press office did not handle matters well.
He delineates many other serious lapses.
Magister traces this back to the offices of the curia which "converge in the secretariat of state." He goes into a fascinating analysis of the Secretary of State.
There's a great mystery novel embedded in all this...
And a terrible leadership disaster for the Vatican.
My guess -- and that is all it is -- is that Pope Benedict will emerge from this weakened and unable to regroup.