The Mahony Gambit

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Mahony.jpegWilliamson.jpegYesterday’s decision by Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony to ban Holocaust-denying SSPX bishop Richard Williamson from setting foot in any Catholic church in his archdiocese (announced in a joint letter with two American Jewish Committee officials and published in the archdiocesan and local Jewish papers, h/t Paulson) in effect re-excommunicates  Williamson within one cardinal’s jurisdiction. Well, strictly speaking canonically, not, But as Gibson notes, the letter goes so far as to deny that Williamson is now a “member” of the Catholic Church–which would seem to contradict Pope Benedict’s action.

Mahony, one of the few American Catholic bishops who understands how the media work, might be accused of a bit of grandstanding here. But he’s shown how to push Rome in public. Without criticizing the pope, he’s seized on Williamson’s Holocaust foot-dragging to take the next step and send him back into outer darkness. It will be interesting to see if any of his peers follow his lead.