Monday, January 26, 2009

More Pope Benedict and the Lifting of the Excommunications

Real big tip of the Hat to Lets Get It Right for this.

From NRO Online(The Corner)

Vatican and Lefebvrists [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Speaking of Catholics: Over the weekend, the Vatican
de-excommunicated (not a technical term) members of the schismatic Society of St. Pius X. The media is, naturally (and understandably), focusing on the crazy Holocaust-denying bishop among them. From the Vatican point of view, though, this wasn’t about the four bishops who are getting press but the larger group of Lefebvrists, and, ultimately, Christendom. It was Christian-unity week, and the Vatican wanted to bring some souls back "home."
Fr. Thomas Williams, dean of theology at Regina Apostolorum University in Rome, comments to NRO:

— The lifting of the excommunication has more to do with the 600,000 members of this splinter group than it does with these four individuals.— This move came as the culmination of the week of Christian unity, and the Pope saw it as a concrete action that he could personally make to show his determination to advance the reunification of all Christians. It also goes hand-in-hand with other talks and overtures to other Christians (Orthodox, etc)

.— The lifting of the excommunication in no way implies an endorsement of the bishops' historical views, nor even their theological views!! There are plenty of bones of contention still, but the formal lifting of this separation opens to a dialogue as brothers within the Church, rather than as separate ecclesial entities.

— It is often the topic of speculation what would have happened if Popes of the past had been quicker to lift excommunications against such founders as Martin Luther and Henry VIII, and whether this might have averted the crystallization of a permanent schism. Pope Benedict should be applauded for his effort to take this courageous stance, though the full success of this action cannot be guaranteed, but will depend on the good will of all involved.

— Since the excommunication itself had nothing to do with theological or historical opinions, but rather with the formal act of disobedience by Archbishop Lefebvre in ordaining these men, its lifting had to engage the very same issue and could not be extended to a thorough examination of all of their opinions on a panoply of other issues.— There can be no doubt whatsoever regarding the Pope's utter revulsion for the actions of Hitler and National Socialism, to which he was vehemently opposed. He has never failed to condemn their heinous actions and to sympathize with the millions who suffered at their hands

.— The atrocities of the Third Reich are not a matter of theological opinion but of historical record. A bishop has no special competence to opine on these matters....
01/26 04:28 PM

Amen to all that. We really really need to pray for our Holy Father.

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