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He is for many the villain of the piece: Darío Castrillón Hoyos until July, head of the Commission responsible for dialogue with the SSPX.
He is also for many church people the villain of the piece: Darío Castrillón Hoyos, 80 years old, Cardinal from Colombia, until July head of the Pontifical Commission, "Ecclesia Dei" responsible. for the dialogue with the traditionalist SSPX.
He is considered the main perpetrator in the scandal surrounding the SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson, whose excommunication, Pope Benedict XVI. lifted in January. Must not Hoyos have known that Williamson before the act of mercy from the Pope had denied that Jews were murdered in gas chambers in an interview with Swedish television? And that the British cleric had held this view for a long time?
In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung Hoyos took this position:
SZ: You say that Williamson's interview was not known about. What would the Pope have done if he had known about it?
Hoyos: I would venture no hypotheses about what the pope would have to do. I am referring only to what he knew, as the lifting of the excommunication was made public. At this moment none of us knew the least about Bishop Williamson's statements. None of us! And no one had the duty to know it!
Since 2000, the arch-conservative prelate organised the negotiations with the SSPX. It was not so much about the theology of the traditionalists who reject the important parts of the Second Vatican Council. It was about canonical issues: had the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre committed an act of schism (division of the Church) when he ordained was four of their priests as bishops in 1988? And have the Bishops fallen into unbelief who were excommunicated after the consecration?
SZ: Do you share the positions of the SSPX?
Hoyos: The SSPX think that they are defending the truth about sacred tradition and that they can not be excommunicated for it. This can be understood, even if I do not share this opinion. For it is indisputable that they have broken a fundamental law of the Church.
The answers coming from Rome ran simply as follows: The SSPX violated the church discipline. Their bishops should not be understood as heretics fallen into apostasy - which is why the talks could continue. Hoyos has worked hard to ensure that it should not come to a break between Rome and the SSPX. And he had for this in Joseph Ratzinger, an advocate. Benedict XVI legitimised the traditional Tridentine Mass in 2007 and Hoyos at once celebrated a Mass in the old Rite. Secret negotiations involved the lifting of excommunication. The step decided on a week earlier and notified to the SSPX was made public on 21st.
This would have remained a matter within the church, had not Williamson given in November 2008 during a priestly ordination in the Bavarian Zaitzkofen the infamous interview to a reporter from Sweden. The transmitter waited with the broadcast until January 2009, when the excommunications could not be reversed. For Hoyos evidence that there was an attempt to show up the Pope and himself. But the attitude Williamson had previously been known. This is now suggested also in the statement of the Bishop of Stockholm, who learned at the end of November 2008 the content of the programme and informed the Swedish nuncio, who had in turn informed the Secretariat of State in the Vatican. Probably the note was simply filed, also, because the Secretary of State knew nothing of the imminent lifting of the excommunication,. Cardinal Hoyos calls in the SZ-interview, but the deeper reason why the attitude of Pius brothers played no role: He was concerned only about the canon. And he has no opinion about someone who says that the Jews invented the Holocaust.
SZ: Have you ever asked yourself whether your decisions may have political consequences?
Hoyos: The excommunication of four bishops, is not a political act. It is an act of mercy. It is therefore a pastoral-theological problem, not an interference of the church in the political sphere. So I do not concern myself. My job is not to judge a brother bishop. That is the task of the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
SZ: But the Catholic Church has an opinion on anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.
Hoyos: The rejection by the Church of the very unjust violence which Jewish people were subjected to is quite clear. Such racial genocide is an immoral crime against humanity.
SZ: Why then did you not stop the lifting of the excommunication of a Holocaust denier?
Hoyos: Williamson was excommunicated because of his illegitimate episcopal ordination, not because of his theories, judgments or statements about the Holocaust. Seeing the matter in the other way is a German mistake!
The Cardinal sees himself as a victim of an intrigue: On this Friday, there is a meeting planned with Bishop Fellay, the SSPX head. This will be disturbed by the matters that have been made public.
Former Curia Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos has accused the Catholic Bishop of Stockholm, Anders Arborelius, slander.
This claim that Rome had already been informed at the end of 2008 about the attitude of the traditionalist bishop and Holocaust-denier Richard Williamson, was "a slander," said the 80-year-old in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
"I regret this very dubious statement, because it is wrong (...) We store all the documents we receive in digital form. Bishop Arborelius should say, how, to who and when he communicated this, and whether it was in writing or orally. "