Who would believe Richard Williamson, if he, a Holocaust denier, recants his views on the holocaust, after having professed for years that it didn't happen. Could Williamson really change his mind just because the Pope says so? Probably not.
A recent newspaper article described a Pope that doesn't think much of public relations. I disagree. This man is very intelligent. He knew what was going to happen, as he did when he said Muslims were evil. With this type of rhetoric he is seeking to isolate the church and build up the boundaries around it, protecting it from "heathen" religions that do not believe in the primacy of Christ. In this global society where religion no longer knows national boundaries, this may not be the best way to go.
see "Vatican in crises over bishop who denies the holocaust," London Guardian, February 5, 2009.
The pope must heal this wound
For SSPX, suspicion of the Jews remains a collective commitment rather than the rantings of a rogue individual
o Francis Davis
o guardian.co.uk, Thursday 5 February 2009 17.00 GMT
The Pope has today ordered the ultra-conservative "Bishop" Williamson of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX), to publicly recant his holocaust denials.
However, the questions now raised over the pope's own views and authenticity are so intense that such an act will not be adequate. For the Society of St Pius X, from which Williamson comes, suspicion of the Jews remains a collective commitment rather than the rantings of a rogue individual.
The pope "acted alone" in rehabilitation SSPX, said one of his top cardinals. The "Vatican bureaucracy is not up to the job" said another. The German Catholic bishops, who often do not see eye to eye, were scandalised. Globally, some bishops' conferences have twisted, turned and trimmed to defend his stand but in private there has been a furious flurry of complaints running back to Rome.
If the pope did not, as his spokesman has said, know that these issues were still outstanding, then there should not be a problem with him issuing a full condemnation, not only of holocaust denial but also of all varieties of Catholicism which continue to give succour to antisemitic principles and movements. In this sense, the debate is not simply about whether SSPX accepts the Second Vatican Council – I'm too young to even worry about that one – but whether a pope who has brought Catholic tensions to the surface with such style is now willing to affirm that the spectre of racism is a sin to be routed out wherever it is found.
A pilgrimage of penance, arm in arm with "Bishop" Williamson and his brother "bishops" would be in order – perhaps to Jerusalem, which all the great faiths judge to be holy. Maybe then a pastoral visit to the US where many legitimate pro-life concerns have been turned by some Catholics into a muted code for abhorrence of the idea of a black president. Then, perhaps, a journey to Herzegovina to finally bring to account the rogue province of Franciscans that peddle an extremist nationalism as spirituality...more