Saturday, February 07, 2009

Reexcommunicate Williamson says German Bishops' Conference

 from Der Spiegel

The German Bishops' Conference has had enough: they call for the renewed excommunication of Richard Williamson. "I see no place for him in the Catholic Church," says Bishop Zollitsch - the Holocaust denier had previously announced in the SPIEGEL, that he will not renounce his theories in spite of Papal demands.

Robert Zollitsch, Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, wants the Holocaust denier Richard Williamson to be again excluded from the Catholic Church. The Freiburg Archbishop Robert Zollitsch told the Bild am Sonntag: "Mr. Williamson is impossible and irresponsible. Now I see no place for him in the Catholic Church."

In the Causa Williamson , the Archbishop of Freiburg wants to enter into a dialogue with the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Therefore, he has suggested two dates for a meeting with the Chairman of the Central Council, the newspaper reported. Zollitsch said he hoped the conversation would take place within the next four weeks.

Pope Benedict XVI is also seeking high-level talks with Jewish representatives. He wants underline to envoys of the influential Association of Jewish Organizations in the U.S., CPMAJO, that the Church shares with them their view on the hazards of Holocaust denial express shared with Church. Accordingly, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate has already agreed to renewed talks with the Vatican. The chief representatives of the Jewish faith had suspended dialogue with the Catholic Church suspended in late January.

Before Zollitsch, the Regensburg Bishop Gerhard Muller had asked for sharp sanctions against Williamson. The Bishop of the arch-conservative SSPX must "voluntarily or compulsorily leave the clerical state” , Mueller wrote in a statement that this weekend was read in the Churches of his Bavarian diocese. Also Mueller urged consequences for the other three SSPX bishops returning to the Church. They should give up their Episcopal powers work only as a priest, says Müller in a letter published on the website of the Diocese of Regensburg.

Bishop wants to search for "historical evidence" for the Holocaust
In an interview with SPIEGEL Williamson had said he would not be taking back his theses on the holocaust. He will first examine the historical evidence, the bishop said: "And if I find this evidence, then I will correct them. But that will take time."

In SPIEGEL, Williamson renewed his criticism of the Second Vatican Council. The conciliar texts were ambiguous: "That leads to this theological chaos that we have today." The Second Vatican Council is generally regarded as the contemporary renewal of the Catholic Church and interpreted as a rapprochement of the Christian churches. The conservative SSPX reject it for just reason.
The bishop is also critical of universal human rights - "Wherever human rights were understood as an objective order that the State should enforce, it always ends in an anti-Christian policy." On the SSPX, Williamson said he would "under no circumstances” further damage “ the Church and the SSPX". 
Williamson was recently taken back by Pope Benedict XVI into the Catholic Church together with three other excommunicated bishops of the SSPX. The Pope did not want to know about the holocaust denial of Williamson. The behavior of the head of the Catholic Church has led to serious tensions with Judaism and even Chancellor Angela Merkel intervened and criticized the German-born Pope publicly. 

Canon lawyers think renewed excommunication possible 
Williamson can be excommunicated again according to German canon law experts. When we think of the genocide of European Jews, this is not a faith issue, said the professor of canon law at Trier, Peter Krämer to the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger". Nevertheless, the Catholic Church has the duty to take positions on ethical or social issues and to intervene if the premises of the Church on human dignity are violated." This was the case when someone denies the Holocaust. Williamson denied not only the historical facts, "but behind the denial is an inhuman ideology." Pope Benedict XVI could, as the toughest sentence, perfectly well pronounce excommunication, but a ban on speaking over many years is possible. 
Monica Herghelegiu, professor of canon law at the Catholic University of Tübingen, had already suggested in the past week in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE that another excommunication may be possible - not because of Holocaust denial, but because of the rejection of the Second Vatican Council. 
The position of the SSPX themselves on Williamson is clear. They expelled a priest on Friday who also denied the Holocaust. 

The Catholic Church according to insiders is increasingly loosing members due to the dispute about the controversial SSPX. "The exit wave has already started," said the head of the German section of Vatican Radio, Fr Eberhard Gemmingen.

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