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Pontifications

Cardinal Mahony.jpgCardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has announced that Richard Williamson, the Holocaust-denying bishop of the right-wing SSPX sect, is “hereby banned from entering any Catholic church, school or other facility, until he and his group comply fully and unequivocally with the Vatican’s directives regarding the Holocaust.”

I believe that makes Cardinal Mahony the first bishop to bar the door to Williamson.

The cardinal made his statements in a column published in The Tidings–the weekly of the archdiocese–together written with Gary Greenebaum, U.S. Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee, and Seth Brysk is Los Angeles Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee. It was running simultaneously in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. Mahony and the others write:

Holocaust deniers like Williamson will find no sympathetic ear or place of refuge in the Catholic Church, of which he is not — and may never become — a member. In rejecting the Second Vatican Council, the Society of St. Pius X and Williamson also reject Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”), one of the most remarkable documents to come out of the Second Vatican Council. Published in 1965, the document changed forever the Catholic Church’s fundamental understanding of other religions, including Jews and Judaism.

Interesting phrasing about Williamson not being “a member” of the Church.

In any case, the action is noteworthy, and restricts even more the space in which Williamson, now in an SSPX priory in London, can operate. He can’t go to Germany or Austria, given his views, he was expelled from Argentina last month after his order fired him as head of the seminary there, and now he can’t go to LA. (I thought anyone could start again in LA. It was always hope, at least.)

The current head of the SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay, one of the four bishops whose excommunications were revoked by Pope Benedict, touching off this long-running controversy, tells Der Spiegel of Germany that Fellay may even get the boot from the SSPX if he keeps talking:

SPIEGEL: So why don’t you exclude Williamson from the society?

Fellay: That will happen if he denies the Holocaust again. It is probably better for everyone if he stays quiet and stays in a corner somewhere. I want him to disappear from the public eye for a good while.

Booted from a schismatic church for being too schismatic? Neat trick.  

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