Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dismay as Pope welcomes Holocaust bishop Williamson back into Church -Times Online

Concern from Jewish groups publicly and some left-wing prelate privately.

Renzo Gattegna, head of the Union of Jewish Communities in Italy, said that the rehabilitation of Bishop Williamson was "terrible not only for Jewish people but for the whole of humanity". He said Italian Jews would refuse to take part in joint prayers with Christians on Tuesday marking Holocaust Day, known in Italy as "The Day of Memory".

"The Church will pay a price for this," one Vatican prelate said. "The Pope is undermining the legacy of John Paul II". Others recalled that before his election three years ago Pope Benedict's hardline conservatism as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - the successor to the Inquisition - had earned him the nickname "the Panzerkardinal".

"This is not so much an act of grace as a surrender" said Marci Politi, the veteran Vatican watcher. Benedict wanted a new era of reconciliation, "but the new era has begun with a lie. The Pope has made a openly-declared and unshakeable anti-Semite a legitimate Bishop".

Archbishop Lefebvre, who died in 1991, had set up "a fanatical and reactionary counter-Church which openly contested, repudiated and defamed all the crucial points of Vatican II, from respect for the Jews to modernisation of the liturgy" Mr Politi said. Gianni Gennari, a theologian and contributor to the Italian Catholic daily Avvenire, said it was "shameful that the lifting of the excommunications was not accompanied by any repentance whatever on the part of the Lefebvrists".

Mr Politi thinks traditionalism to be a temptation.

And don't cry for us, Mr Gennari.

Lengthy analysis at Inside the Vatican

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