If I’d only Googled him…

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Pope Benedict regrets:

One mishap for me unforeseeable, was the fact that the Williamson case
has superimposed itself on the remission of the excommunication. The
discreet gesture of mercy towards the four bishops ordained validly but
not legitimately, suddenly appeared as something entirely different: as
a disavowal of the reconciliation between Christians and Jews, and
therefore as the revocation of what in this area the Council had
clarified for the way for the Church. The invitation to reconciliation
with an ecclesial group separating itself had thus become the opposite:
an apparent way back behind all the steps of reconciliation between
Christians and Jews which had been made since the Council and which to
make and further had been from the outset a goal of my theological
work. The fact that this superposition of two opposing processes has
occurred and has disturbed for a moment the peace between Christians
and Jews as well as the peace in the Church I can only deeply regret. I
hear that closely following the news available on the internet would
have made it possible to obtain knowledge of the problem in time. I
learn from this that we at the Holy See have to pay more careful
attention to this news source in the future.

Unforeseen, maybe, but unforeseeable? His Holiness–the Vatican II peritus, JPII’s watchdog of orthodoxy–wasn’t aware that the Society of Saint Pius X as a whole had a problem with Nostra Aetate?

  • This is great bureaucratic triple talk. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI) was the theological enforcer of Pope John Paul II and was thus fully versed in the ways of the Society of Pius X and, from everything I’ve read and deduced, was more than aware of Williamson’s noxious views.
    I have been involved in a private dialogue with several Catholics in Baltimore, which has understandably become heated over this issue. One participant asked me if I was saying that Benedict was an anti-Semite. I responded, “Of course not. But he is a most insensitive man on the most sensitive of matters. I have no vote in inter-Catholic fights so I don’t get involved in them. However, the man welcomed a Holocaust denier back into the fold with no price. That is irrefutable and disgusting.”
    I add, this will make the coming anger over the sainthood which I believe will be bestowed upon Pius XII even worse. The Jewish community, of which I love deeply and can be highly critical, has a lot of faults — but lack of memory is not one of them.
    I cannot begin to express the anger I have felt personally and from others involved in Catholic-Jewish dialogue in Baltimore, a well-known center for such efforts due to the presence of both Cardinal William H. Keeler (JPII’s interfaith point man in North American) and Rabbi Joel H. Zaiman, his Synagogue Council of America’s partner in the effort.
    A final note: Benedict says that the bishops were “ordained validly but not legitimately.” What does that mean? If it’s not legitimate, how is it valid? And if it’s not legitimate, why does he give them the title Bishop? I can call myself “rabbi,” but no Jewish organization would agree and the State of Maryland would not let me perform life cycle events.
    And, for the record, I think it’s great that Benedict just learned that you can get news from the Internet. I think I’ll check that out myself!

  • Mark Silk

    As I understand it, the ordination issue lies at the heart of the intra-Catholic problem here. Under canon law, bishops can ordain other bishops, who in turn can ordain priests, thereby keeping the schism going indefinitely. Even if the pope declares such ordination “illegitimate,” they are still canonically valid. From the church’s standpoint, the way to end a schism is to make sure there are no valid bishops in it. The remaining priests can create their own bishops if they want to, but they are not “real” Catholic bishops, and therefore this is no longer a schism but some other Christian sect, so far as Rome is concerned.

  • As Bubbe would say, “Oy vey.”