Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bishop Richard Williamson ordered to leave Argentina

Times Online

Brief Episcopacy

of the Titular See of Zuri

Bishop Williamson to be expelled from Argentina


Short deadline for Richard Williamson, Holocaust denier and bishop of the arch-conservative SSPX. He has ten days to leave Argentina or he will be ejected.

Now on BBC

Inner Minister Florencio Randazzo has given as the basis the denial of the Shoah by Williamson. By this he had insulted„the Argentinians, the Jewish people and the whole of humanity. Besides this there were irregularities in his residence papers.

No comment from the SSPX in Argentina.

The two main Jewish organisations are celebrating saying that it is intolerable for Williamson to be resident in a country which participates in the International Task Force for the Investigation of the Shoah.

And Bishop Williamson has been declared today persona non-grata by the regional assembly at the instigation of a deputy Damian Cardoso, who said,

"This initiative reinforces the commitment we took on when appointed Ambassador of Peace in the Global Leaders Summit International which occurred in July 2008 in Asunción, Paraguay." 
Finally, the legislator, a native of Morón concluded that his duty as a public official is "to sensitize people about the importance of living in peace and tolerance, giving priority to the respect of traditions, cultures and memory. "

And worse still if Bishop Williamson comes back to the UK, there is a chance that the German authorities could seek his extradition as they have done in at least one other case. 

And from La Nacion

The Interior Minister said "Richard Nelson Williamson is ordered to leave the country within the time limit of ten days on pain of his expulsion being compelled." 

The decree stresses that the bishop who denied that the Holocaust has repeatedly forged the real reason for his stay in the country as he claims to be a clerk of the Civil Association "Tradition", when in fact his real business was the Director of the Lefebvrist Priestly  Seminary that the Fraternity of St. Pius X has in the town of Moreno.

"The newness of Vatican II" must be taken seriously

according to the European Society for Catholic Theologians

Recent events demonstrate that a great majority of Christians have lost confidence that Rome is committed to taking seriously the newness of Vatican II.

The newness! I am just older than the Council and I wasn't born yesterday.

This is trouble in Cathcon's back yard- the once great and Catholic University of Leuven is 10 miles down the road from Brussels. Member of his family trained as priests there, before returning to the English Mission where they were prepared to die for the Mass, and certainly would not have done so for the principles of Vatican II.

Via The Remnant

Cardinal Cordes slams Cardinal Lehmann for stoking the fires of dissent

Reactions – Ein katholischer Kardinal übt scharfe Kritik an Kardinal Lehmann

Catholic Cardinal sharply criticises Cardinal Lehmann

The turmoil caused by the removal of the four-Lefebvre excommunications was in fact a well-orchestrated poisoning of wells - and a serious failure of the German bishops. "Chaos Days in Rome,"was how the anti-religious magazine 'Der Spiegel' described the staging around the repeal of the Lefebvre-excommunications.

But the German Curia Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes would like to call this event rather a "well-orchestrated poisoning of the wells in Germany" .

He has just said this in a very long article for the Catholic newspaper ‘Tagespost'.
Worldly bishops with a secular image of the Church

For those distant from the church and who lack God - and apparently also for secularised bishops – excommunication appears as a banal exclusion from a club.
In truth, it is about being excluded from the economy of sacramental graces, said the cardinal.

Cardinal Cordes criticized in this regard, the bishop of Mainz, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, razor-sharply:

"Certainly he could have in recent days, as the most quoted of German Catholic Bishops in the Vatican thanks to his well-known good relations with the media, ironed out misunderstandings, addressing the spiritual dimension of the act and could have with the Pope directed people to view the faith and God. "

Failure in Mainz
But he had used his statements to demand from the leadership of the church “a little more political sensitivity ".

"A spiritually sick member of the body of Christ giving pain to the Pope over the years is at best thought of as a sentiment of old age" - Cardinal Cordes gave as analysis.

The Cardinal is adamant: "The Church should not be reduced to one body among many in society, least of all by their shepherds."

Is Christianity in ruins?

The total subordination to politics and the unquestioned legacy of narrow Enlightenment thought patterns determine – according Cardinal Cordes – even now the minds of a lot of opinion-makers.

The Cardinal cited the Danish religious philosopher Soren Kierkegaard:
"It is a long time ago now that God was listened to as the owner and something of a Lord, so Christianity is in ruins, so do we now completely and utterly abolish wish to abolish it or ad libitum trim it to something that is our own property and invention? "

Incomprehensible German Hysteria
For the German reactions to the lifting of the Lefebvre excommunication – the Curial Cardinal has no sympathy:

"Who from Rome looks at the ferocity of the response in Germany to the withdrawal of the excommunication of the four Lefevre bishops had to rub his eyes."

Remarks and statements of understanding from bishops loyal to the Pope were held back by editors:

Trial by Journalists
"The complaint, which the German chancellor issued publicly to the Successor of Peter again gave the Court of Journalists opportunity for agitation."
Cardinal Cordes compared the German hysteria to the prudent international reactions:

"In the U.S., the leader writer of the New York Times, I. Fisher, even used the occasion for a detailed and very favorable rating of Pope Benedict."

"Why this zeal in Germany?" - asked the cardinal.
German resentment against the Pope

His answer: "It appears, therefore, not the people, but the institution of the Office of Peter is the actual bone of contention."
This office makes some of the population north of the Alps continually "see red":

"And the majority of the media are all too happy to link this to everything dark or with legitimate grievance."

Over-enthusiastic media
The animosity directed against the Roman Pope was an ancient heritage in the "land of the Reformation".

German media have in recent weeks seen an opportunity to make from the “Williamson case” a “Benedict case”:

"With such a view, it would be possible to understand that overboard involvement in the issue, which is far beyond the duty to provide just news."

Bread of Angels, on Thee we feed

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Judaism- an autonomous path to salvation

The statement of the Catholic Theological Faculty of Charles University on the lift of excommunication of four bishops from the Society of Saint Pius X.

In last days there have been intensive discussions about the decision of Pope Benedict XVI to accept four bishops from the Society of Saint Pius X back to the Catholic Church. The procedure is criticized on many fronts. The whole discussion is getting heated because one of the four bishops with illegitimate but valid consecration denied the Holocaust in a TV interview. Therefore we consider as important to publicize our statement.

1. We welcome the effort of Benedict XVI at the Church unity. By this gesture he made a great step towards the Society of Saint Pius X which is now to react. It is the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council conclusions, still rejected by the Society in their decisive parts, which must be considered at most. The recognition of religious freedom and the freedom of conscience, as well as recognition of Judaism as an autonomous path of redemption (Nostra Aetate - Cathcon follow link for what the document actually says!), belongs substantially to the self-conception of the Catholic Church. The Society of Saint Pius X which excluded itself from the Catholic Church by the forbidden but valid consecration of four bishops in 1988 still stresses that the compliance is not possible until the Catholic Church persists in the conclusions of the Second Vatican Council.

2. Bishop Williamson’s denial of the Holocaust has nothing to do with the Pope's efforts to renew the unity with the Society of Saint Pius X as it follows from the release of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See dated February 4, 2009. At the moment of the excommunication lift the Holy Father was not familiar with the attitudes of Bishop Williamson towards Shoa. Thus the media news of the type "The Pope rehabilitates a Holocaust denier" is underlying a connection which was not intended. Therefore the Pope, after the statement of Bishop Williamson was published, once again expressly dissociated himself from any relativization of crimes against the Jews. We welcome the immediate and clear attitude of the Pope given at the general audience on January 28, 2009. Benedict XVI again clearly expressed his solidarity with the Jews. He also stressed the obligation of the Catholic Church to fight against any form of Antisemitism and Antijudaism. Meanwhile the Vatican Secretary of State called on Bishop Williamson to dissociate clearly and openly from his statements on the Holocaust.

3. It is necessary to stress that the re-acceptance of four bishops to the Catholic Church by the Pope is only a sign for further optional way which the members of the Society of Saint Pius X must only take. The bishops from the Society still cannot hold the episcopal or clerical office in the Catholic Church because their relation towards the Catholic Church and its doctrine has not been cleared yet. The Society itself is not an institution of the Catholic Church because it sill denies substantial elements of the self-conception of the Church.

4. We support the Pope’s statements that the Second Vatican Council is binding for the Catholic Christians and we stress the necessity to recognize the freedom of conscience, religious freedom and inter-religion dialogue. Our Jewish brothers and sisters are accepted - as Pope John Paul II used to emphasize frequently - as our older brothers and sisters. It all means that right-wing extremism and a denial of the Holocaust have no place in the Catholic Church.

5. The Catholic Theological Faculty of Charles University in Prague shall strive for an open and frank dialogue. It includes interdisciplinary dialogue with sciences and other humanities as well as theological dialogue with other, mainly monotheist, religions. The cooperation with the Protestant and Hussite Theological Faculty, which has been working for many years, is of special importance for us.

6. We share the Pope’s care of the Church unity and we ourselves advocate it within the doctrine of the Second Vatican Council. Therefore we declare our support for the religious freedom, for the dignity of individual conscience, for God's universal redemptive work, for the common priesthood of all believers and for the special historical redemptive role of the Jewish brothers and sisters (Nostra Aetate 4).

Prague, February 9, 2009
Administration of the Catholic Theological Faculty of Charles University

Cardinal Vlk on "the schismatic SSPX" and attacking Cardinal Hoyos

Consequences of the Lifting of Excommunications
Staying in Rome at the meeting of bishops - the friends of the Focolare Movement, I very carefully watch the “media war” concerning the lifting of excommunication of four schismatic bishops consecrated 20 years ago. In my opinion much has been said if I should not say that all. I myself provided available information on this site shortly after the publication of the decree on the excommunication lift. This article is meant to continue the previous one and to complete the explanations and add further information on this sensitive matter featuring several aspects. It is necessary to differentiate: (i) the lift of excommunication, (ii) statements on the Holocaust, (iii) the issue of a bishop speaking about political and historical facts, (iv) media failures.

(i) Benedict XVI's basic intention was to make the first step to heal the wound of a schism which was inflicted by Marcel Lefebvre when he, at the end of the council in 1965 and more than 20 years after, refused to recognize documents voted for and signed by the bishops of the whole Church. Lefebvre gained and grew followers for his resistance and therefore the schism expanded within the Church. Although Pope John Paul II was a "peaceful" pope with open arms, having warned Lefebvre he excommunicated him for expanding and deepening the schism and for consecrating four bishops against his will. It means the excommunication of Lefebvre for the forbidden episcopal consecration and the excommunication of others for its acceptance. Lefevbre refused and impeached Pope’s authority. The disruption even grew. The whole issue was observed by Ecclesia Dei, an institution founded in Vatican at that time, today presided by Cardinal Darius Castrillón Hoyos. He has shown several times an effort to find a cheap solution for the issue by the authority of his function. However he was not advised to. It is likely that now it is him who is the main “protagonist” in the matter. Of course the issue concerns particularly the Pope as the highest authority in the Church. He has his assistants who advise him, bring in impulses, inform on serious issues and prepare background documents for important decisions. The issue should have been consulted with Cardinal Walter Kasper who is the chairman of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and for the relations with the Jews. Unfortunately Cardinal Hoyos did not do so. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, is another person competent in the matter. He was not informed in advance either. Surely the decree could have been signed by the Pope but with respect to the fact that the excommunication decree had been signed by Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, the predecessor of Cardinal Re, the lift of excommunication was signed by its successor, Cardinal Re.
In Vatican circles there is an opinion that the confusion was caused by the fact that the whole issue was not properly explained beforehand. The lift of excommunication does not mean that the lefebvrian bishops are outright accepted back to the community of the Church, that the past is annulled and that they are accepted for “free”, without any change in thinking, without any penitence. This “act of mercy” only means that the excommunication as a disciplinary punishment for the forbidden acceptance of episcopal consecration was lifted enabling them to return. Their consecration is valid but unauthorized. The said however stay in the schism which was created by the fact they did not accept the doctrine of the Church! They are outside the Church. This state is similar to the situation which persists in the relation between the Catholic and Orthodox Church after Paul VI and Athenagoras, the patriarch of Constantinople, lifted the mutual excommunication declared by their predecessors. This lift, however, does not mean an enthronement of a church unity and the schism still persists. A deep change in thinking, proper penitence and the full acceptance of the council doctrine must take place before the lefebvrian bishops are accepted to the Church. The person who is responsible for the huge case must be searched in Vatican. It seems to be most probably Cardinal Hoyos who presides over Ecclesia Dei, the institution that is to solve the thing.

The schismatic bishops have not so far expressed any willingness to penitence or recognition of the Church doctrine. Neither during Fellay's visit to the Pope in August 2005, nor in his letter delivered to the Pope by Cardinal Hoyos. The lift of excommunication is a start of a long journey, a long process and we do not know how it will end. There is hope that the Holy Spirit shall enlighten the obstinate schismatics and that they decide to change their thinking and to repent.
It was this disastrous lack of explanation and information which caused much bad blood among bishops and in the Church in Germany, France and Spain.

(ii) The issue of Bishop Williamson’s opinions of the Holocaust published right in the time of the excommunication lift is an “unfortunate” coincidence which, in fact, created and extremely amplified the case due to the lack of appropriate information. If there was only the lift of excommunication there would be surely discussions about various theological aspects of the matter but they would pass soon. I put aside the bizarre speculations whether it was "timed" or it was a "conspiracy" against the Pope which meant to harm him. I only note that the interview is said to be taken already in November last year. And further, Williamson did not hide these and other anti-council opinions long time ago. It is an unforgivable naive mistake and a great irresponsibility that Cardinal Hoyos made no inquiries in Vatican or elsewhere although he should have and easily could have done so. The Vatican media and the Pope himself apologized they did not know about these opinions. I quite believe them but Hoyos should be probably brought to justice. It perhaps is not known in this country that Williamson is an Anglican who left for the Catholic Church during the wave of women’s consecration in the Anglican Church and Lefebvre accepted and consecrated him.

(iii) Bishop Bernard Fellay and other lefebvrists and the whole schismatic Society feel harmed by Williamson's opinions and the whole campaign accompanying them, although a great part of the Society shares such opinions. We saw that on a lefebvrian extremist website even in this country few years ago.

The excuse that if a bishop does not speak about the issues of belief his opinions are private is rather funny and there is no need to discuss it. These and similar opinions of Fellay himself create a picture of his thinking. Unfortunately the lefebvrists do not take into account that these “private” opinions are not only deeply against the Second Vatican Council but also against the "private” belief.
(iv) It is truth that this whole unnecessary wave of sharp criticism was caused partly by the fact that not even the Vatican media were sufficiently informed. However neither the Vatican nor other media are justified by the insufficient amount of information on the issue. Again, it is an illustrative example of what is well known, namely that the media sometimes need to make scandals and bring or create negative issues to be attractive instead of “serving the truth”. Even I was “affected” by the “service” in the article in Lidové noviny titled “Cardinal Vlk assaulted the Pope because of a Holocaust denier” I have no need to apologize or revoke anything. I shall back up everything I wrote. I only considered Lidové noviny to be a more serious newspaper.

Since the beginning of the whole case I have written three articles on my website. The first one was dated January 27, just few days after the lift of excommunication. It is the first thorough information about the formation of the whole problem and its development from the Council to 1988, the year of excommunication. A detail description of the course of the issue followed at the end of January. There I stated doubts whether the lefebvrists deserve the act of mercy. I brought news about reactions of Vatican and Benedict XVI. It was clearly said that the lift "did not close the painful period of lefebvrian schism" but the Pope “prepared a field” and that “the lift of excommunication did not mean full community”. I quoted the Pope who had expressed hope that "the general reconciliation and full community would be reached as soon as possible”. Shortly after, on January 30, I criticized journalists in the article "Misunderstood Act of Mercy” that they had not understood the core of the issue and causally connected this act of mercy with Williamson’s monstrous and unacceptable opinions of the Holocaust, as if the lift of excommunication concerned the Holocaust. In the article I dealt with the reactions of Catholic bishops on the issues, with their denouncements of Williamson’s opinions and I presented an idea that it was a "daring start of a process without knowing how it is going to develop". And finally the article from February 5, titled “Ongoing Discussions” which was referred to by Lidové noviny under the title mentioned above. I spoke positively about the Pope. Lidové noviny did not pay much attention to the sentence “Vatican took the step rather easy” and identified Vatican with the Pope. Who I meant by “Vatican” is obvious from the explanation above. I put aside various professional mistakes which journalists made during the "campaign”.
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk

February 13, 2009

Lefebvre's religious sect is steeped in racism and hatred

Comment is free in The Guardian and wrong

Austrian Church says Father Wagner's withdrawal official- but still no formal word.

Reactions – Das Online-Portal der Katholischen Kirche in Österreich

"The Holy See has confirmed the request of Gerhard Maria Wagner to withdraw his nomination as Bishop of Linz ," stressed the spokesman of the Archdiocese of Vienna, Erich Leitenberger, on Thursday in response to journalists' questions. What Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn after the extraordinary consultation with the Austrian diocesan bishops had announced on Monday, had already been on Sunday confirmed in discussion with the competent Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.

Cathcon: something is cooking.

Canon lawyer on status of Father Wagner

kathnews » In Linz bleibt vorläufig alles beim Alten

The appointment of an (auxiliary)bishop is by the decree of the Holy Father and the Bishops' Congregation. With the appointment, the designated obtains "ius ad rem", which means a right to the office and rights and obligations associated with the office although he can only exercise these rights on canonical transfer of the office (in this case consecration as auxiliary Bishop of Linz) ( "ius exercendi"). As Father Wagner has not yet received episcopal consecration, he is not yet bearer of the associated ecclesiastical Office. With the lawful appointment by the Holy Father, Father Wagner has firstly the right and the duty to receive Episcopal consecration and to take over the office. In principle seek from the Pope the withdrawal of the nomination - not from the Office which he is still not arraigned with. This must be in writing and be a free decision.

If you are the messages of different news agencies give faith that Wagner did not receive a written request for resignation to the Holy Father has sent, then pastor of the Wagner Act did not set. There is no canonical resignation attempt from him. The request is simply non-existent. The act of the withdrawal request must be in writing for it to exist externally, according to the legal rule: "Quod non est in Actis non est in mundo", ie: What is not recorded in writing, is not.

Canonically, everything is as provisional as it was: Wagner is appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Linz. By being so, he remains ” ius ad rem," with a right to the Office and its rights and obligations. Only when the Holy Father is presented with a written request, the Pope, taking into account the circumstances in Austria and church has been satisfied in consideration of the consequences that of such a papal act for the world, will the resignation decision be confirmed.

Excessive anti-Catholicism in Germany criticised by Cardinal Kasper


Vatican: "Ecumenism is a duty for Catholics"
The return of the SSPX into the Catholic Church has nurtured in the Protestant church have worries about ecumenism, said the president of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Bishop Wolfgang Huber. The Vatican is still holding firmly to the ecumenical course, assured the ecumenical head in the Curia, Cardinal Walter Kasper, in an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio.

"The position of the Catholic Church on ecumenism since the Second Vatican Council has been entirely clear. For us, ecumenism is not an option but an obligation, which is well founded in the message of Jesus is well founded. This also can be said for the Pope. Exactly on the same weekend that the decree on the removal of the excommunication of the four bishops of the Fraternity of St. Pius X. has been announced, the Pope said in a homily at St. Paul Outside the Walls to conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity explicitly that Christians are very clearly committed to the ecumenical movement. I know of no other church leader, that so often, so strongly and so clearly speaks about the Church and is committed to ecumenism. To maintain that the Pope believes the contrary is unfair and is beside the point. "

The numerous discussions - especially in Germany - had recently been very aggressive and influenced by anti-Roman feeling, Cardinal Kasper continued. But behind the Vatican walls not much was operating optimally.

"One will admit and must admit: In the beginning omissions and errors in communication were made. It is indisputable and clear. But the discussion, as it is now taking place in Germany, has departed from all standards. What has comes to light is, not only criticism of this or that behaviour in the Curia, but simply an anti-Roman feeling and partly just pure hatred of the Church. It makes the Pope look ridiculous, based on the principle: We hit out at the farmyard sack but mean the donkey. If the Pope is in this way diminished and completely unjust diminished, it is directed not only against the Pope, it is also directed against the Catholic Church. I think Catholics have to arise now and should say: we won’t allow ourselves to be satisfied with this, it is intolerance. Let us imagine that one would speak about the Dalai Lama in this way- then the outrage would be huge. About the Pope, it is apparently possible. We cannot be subject to this and we should also clearly say that. "