Wednesday, January 28, 2009

National Public Radio: Bishop Williamson's Reinstatement Causes Rift Among Catholics

[9:07 a.m. audio link added]

Morning Edition, one of the most broadly listened to US news shows, ran a story by Sylvia Poggioli on how the reinstatement is causing a rift among Catholics.

Many are disturbed, not just by Williamson's Holocaust denial, but by the fact that the Society of Pius X, the group that has been reinstated, also rejects Vatican II, which, among other things, rejected the notion that Jews -- including those alive today -- were responsible for killing Jesus.

In Nostra Aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, then Pope Paul VI, declared:
"What happened in His [Jesus'] passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today."
This is an idea which the Society of Pius X rejects.

[The audio of Poggioli's story will be available on line after 9 a.m. EST.]


StGuyFawkes said...

The problem is that negationism is pure evil but it still can't be classified as heresy. Neither does wife beating or serial killing qualify as heresy.

So the Pope has little choice but to trudge on and continue the negotiations.

Please everyone remember that once the SSPX is regularized there are all kinds of measures which can be taken to correct their deviance.

I have one VERY good source within traditionalist circles who tells me the following:

1.) Fellay's re-election as head of the SSPX was seen by most observers as a reflection of the strength of a more moderate faction of the SSPX.

2.) At the end of day Fellay will come in with a hefty portion of the SSPX followers, he will sign the Vatican II documents. Williamson will not nor will the other three bishops.


3.) Benedetto XVI will have gotten exactly what he wanted. A weakened SSPX and a sizeable, one might say salvageable, portion of the SSPX directly under his tutelage.

A good thing.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

"A good thing"? It depends what particular prism you use to view the situation.

The way you parse it, it is a good thing from the perspective of Vatican power and control over the flock.

However, from the perspective of ethics, morality, historical truth, giving comfort to antisemites and racists, then not a good thing at all.

In fact a very big smear to the Vatican's moral authority. Of couse, I am not Catholic so my prism is dramatically different.

Maybe most of the world's Catholics don't really care and they only see a lot of Jews getting hot under the collar.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Dr. Lipstadt,

I've parsed and reparsed my sentences and I cannot find anything that suggests that I said the goodness of this thing comes from "power and control over the flock".

It is of course partly about power but it is mostly about Jesus' command that all Christians be one in him. I really don't expect you to either sympathize or subscribe to that command, but in fact that's the inner dynamic for Catholics and the inner dynamic of this event. As I said before, Benedict HAS TO try and bring these people in if he is a pope.

I also don't think you are right in saying this is about giving aid or comfort to evildoers, or evil thinkers.

It is about pastoral authority over a flock -- a small piece of which departed. That's the imperative.

I agree that your prism is dramatically different but that is to be expected. You share the same viewpoint as the entire non-Catholic world. No big deal. I expect you to see the world as a Jewish intellectual not as a Catholic.

The problem is that most of the mainstream media, and most of the world, sees this primarily as a political event. My contention is that you cannot understand the Church politics here unless you are really willing to try and understand the religion of the church polity in question. You have to understand the religion's doctrines, motives and methods of operation.

I think you have done a pretty good job of being open to seeing the religious side of this event and for that I thank you from the bottom of my papist heart.

Dear Dr. Lipstadt, finally please don't conclude that the world's Catholics "don't really care and they only see a lot of Jews getting hot under the collar."

We do care what you think of us and we do care about your obvious interest in this issue. You have a big, g-damn right to make a big g-damn noise about this.

You have a lot at stake in this. We have a lot at stake in this and the biggest thing we have at stake is our relationship with "our older brothers in the faith" as John Paul II call it).

I wouldn't be clogging your blog with my postings if I didn't think what Jews think of us is real damned important.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

I did not mean to suggest that you said it was a good thing from the perspective of "power and control."

I was reacting to what some of the commentators who have been analyzing this have said. That this was the Pope's means of bringing a renegade group back under his authority and control.

From the Vatican's perspective that's a good thing probably. [I am sure you know the saying, apparently coined by LBJ about J. Edgar Hoover, "better to have him in the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."]

That's all I meant by that.

From the perspective of calling attention to this sect and their strange ideas [i know that apparently Williamson is the only one we know of who denies the Holocaust.. but the SPPX does have some other edgy ideas]. Maybe a good thing.

But from the perspective of seeming to give legitimacy to a denier and to say his views are a "private matter" when he is simply lying about history: that is not such a good thing.

But my comments were spawned by your statement. They were not a reaction to something specific you said... except for a "good thing."

Thanks for reading so closely.


It’s my view that every man is a Kingfish, and man himself [in some respects] created heaven and earth and *all the Gods* that reside therein.

If I was a Pope or relgious leader, I would strongly advise that when things go wrong with mans plans, and plagues, tornadoes, earth quakes, storms, floods, crop failures, wars, or deadly diseases occur – then it’s prudent to have a figurehead God around - who you can blame for the disaster. Does anyone think I should ask the Pope for advice on this tricky subject?

StGuyFawkes said...

Dr. Lipstadt,

Thanks for the L.B.J. quote. It captures a slice of what's going on.

To my knowledge only Bp. Fellay has had the "bad faith" to suggest that Williamson's views are a "private matter". I hope and pray that Pope Benedict will see negationist views not only as a "public matter" but as a moral problem of the first rank.

At any rate, the Swiss Cardinals yesterday made sure that His Holiness understood that THEY did not see it as a private matter either.

I agree that the lifting of the excommunication does "seem" to give him legitamacy. And that's a bad thing.

I think what would be really good right now is if all the concerned Jews with ties to the Vatican, and all the concerned Catholics, made a plea to Pope Benedict to make a strong statement on the sinfulness of "Holocaust Denial" as a sin against the truth.

LorMil said...

"A very big smear to the Vatican's moral authority", what moral authority?

The issue is quite disturbing, on so many levels.

hockey hound said...

"what moral authority?"

Exactly. The Vatican has zero moral authority. Ditto Islam.

Can you imagine? The present pope was formerly a Hitler Youth, and that's ok for the "polity" of the Vatican. Who can possibly be surprised by the fact that Williamson is "reinstated" by his fellow religious, that same polity who approved the present pope [formerly a Hitler Youth]? Apparently Christianity promply forgives theologically sound Christians of hating Jews and advocating the Nazi genocide that almost wiped away any trace of them from eastern Europe.

Apparently Christianity also has no problem with Holocaust deniers. OK to hate Jews, just don't get it wrong about the Trinity and the unquestionable efficacy of the Vatican.

Moral authority? What moral authority?

hockey hound said...

"The problem is that negationism is pure evil but it still can't be classified as heresy. Neither does wife beating or serial killing qualify as heresy."

Thanks for clarifying that for me. Can you hear me laughing? Christians are contricted by their New Testament sophistry into being always busy with the social issues they engender to the world. (Hence the Catholic proverb, "Who has read all of Augustine?")
Two of these issues are anti-Jewish hatred and Holocaust denial. But let's thank heaven wife-beating and serial killing are not heresay. Thomas Merton, move over!

"Negationism"? I'll copy that one down with "semi-McCarthyism".

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Hockey Hound,

I gather you found the following an example of black humor.

"The problem is that negationism is pure evil but it still can't be classified as heresy. Neither does wife beating or serial killing qualify as heresy."

Let me see if I can address your hilarity.

In the laws and doctrines of the Catholic Church evils fall into various categories of type and degree. Holocaust denial is a greater evil then either schism or heresy. Therefore the remedy is different, and harder to apply.

Since schism is less sinful the remedy is reunion and repentance.

For Holocaust denial the remedy is denunciation followed by contrition, penance and restitution.

You'll notice in this morning's news the Holy Father denounced Holocaust Denial. Now what is expected of Williamson is repentance. (Doubt that we'll see it.)

Form is very important at the Vatican. You may have noticed.

Let me restate my hilarious thought.

The problem is that you can't refuse somebody membership in your Church simply because they are evil. If you do you are missing the whole point of salvation.

Therefore Williamson can be called out as a sinner. But he can't be kept out of the Church.

I'll grant you that the logic and philosophy of the Catholic Church may seem strange. And I respect your right to simply despise the organization.

However since I didn't make clear what I meant I thought I'd clarify.

BY the way please accept my apologies for the use of the term "negationism".

Student of the French version of this evil will find it in the works of Robert Faurisson, Maurice Bardeche and others who call it "negationisme". It is sometimes here in America called negationism.

I should have clarified.

Best wishes

The Smiths said...

Israel's religious authority cuts Vatican ties

JERUSALEM — Israel's chief rabbinate severed ties with the Vatican on Wednesday to protest a papal decision to reinstate a bishop who publicly denied 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

The Jewish state's highest religious authority sent a letter to the Holy See expressing "sorrow and pain" at the papal decision. "It will be very difficult for the chief rabbinate of Israel to continue its dialogue with the Vatican as before," the letter said. Chief rabbis of both the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews were parties to the letter. End.

I guess the chief Rabbis in Israel aren't canon lawyers either, otherwise they would have known to pay attention only when the vatican condemns Holocaust denial, rather than when the vatican reinstates the denier and says "welcome back". Either we take what people say and do seriously or we do not - it sounds like apologists for the vatican are asking us to not take these actions seriously.

hockey hound said...

" sounds like apologists for the vatican are asking us to not take these actions seriously."

These "apologists for the vatican" don't sound very rueful. The mountain of verbosity continues to grow...

"Who has read all of Augustine?"