- Category: Priestly Society of St. Pius X
- Created: February 25, 2009
- Written by Toronto Area Sisters of Sion
We, a group of women religious in the Roman Catholic Church, The Congregation of the Sisters Our Lady of Sion, whose charism is to remind the Church that we are inextricably linked with the Jewish People and to foster reconciliation and peacemaking, are writing regarding the decision of Pope Benedict to revoke the excommunication of the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X.
We are saddened by the Pope's decision to revoke this excommunication of these bishops since they also reject the tenets and beliefs of the Second Vatican Council, which include the most important documents around the Church's relationship with the Jewish People and peoples of other faiths. To deny the Shoah, whether that be numbers or the horrific events surrounding their deaths and incarceration, and the denial of the gas chambers, is for us, a source of sadness and pain; first to the Jewish People themselves who have borne the horror of these massacres and deaths and then to the wider world.
Unity seems to be the issue at stake in this situation; but unity at what cost? The reversal of the excommunication of these people has badly eroded faith in the Church's stated solidarity with the Jewish People; we see this loss of faith as regrettable and immoral. For this, we ask forgiveness of the Jewish community around our insular way of behaving and ask and support the Church's demand for this group to recant publicly their egregious offence to the Jewish world. We ask forgiveness of the Jewish people around this sad incident.
Pope John XXIII had a great love for the Jewish People as did John Paul II. To reverse this relationship between the Church and the Jewish People would call into question and jeopardize decades of Jewish-Christian healing and friendship. It is, however, a source of hope for us that other groups within our Church have also spoken publicly regarding this concern.
On February 12, 2009, Pope Benedict met with a group of American Jewish leaders at the Vatican where he repeated the words of a historic prayer which Pope John Paul II had offered in the year 2000 in Jerusalem. The text of that prayer which Pope Benedict says he ‘now makes his own' reads: "God of our Fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your Name to the Nations; we are deeply saddened by the behaviour of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the People of the Covenant" (March 26, 2000 Jerusalem). This prayer is also our hope.