Dialogika

The Lifting of the Excommunication of the Society of Pius X


The pope has lifted the excommunication of four bishops that were consecrated in 1988 by the traditionalist bishop, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, suspended by Rome.

The action does not mean that the interested parties or the Society of Pius X to which they belong were rehabilitated. 

There were quoted responses from the Jewish side against this action, among others from the Rabbi David Rosen, president of the International Jewish Committee  [on Interreligious Consultation], because one of these four bishops, notably Bishop Richard Williamson, working in Winona (Minnesota), is known as being a notorious revisionist in the matter of the Holocaust and the Nazi gas chambers. 

Also the director of the Vatican press service, the Rev.  Federico Lombardi, and the superior general of the Society of Pius X, the Swiss Bishop Bernard Fellay, distanced themselves from the comments of Bishop Williamson. 

The spokesperson of Cardinal Danneels declared on his behalf that the revisionist comments of Williamson are totally unacceptable and indicate a lack of intelligence.

The National Catholic Commission for Relations with Judaism joins itself to these protests and advocates deeper study of this problem.  The Society of Pius X has promised to recognize ecclesial doctrine and the primacy of the Pope. 

At the same time, Bishop Fellay asserts that the Society continues to have reservations about the doctrine and reforms of Vatican II. The decisions of the Second Vatican Council are a basic necessity for the survival and the mission of the Church today.   

The declaration Nostra Aetate, 4, which condemns anti-Semitism and all form of hate against the Jews as being in contradiction with human dignity and the Christian faith, is an integral part the teaching of the Council.

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, anyone who minimizes it sins not only against historic truth, but simultaneously against the conscience of the Church and Christian community.  He is more than a liar.

The confidence of our Jewish interlocutors toward the Catholic Church - that was reestablished with difficulty – is once more put to the test.