Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Benedict 180s

Pope Benedict has made an abrupt turn-around on the Richard Williamson scandal, demanding that he repudiate his Holocaust-denial if he is to be readmitted into the church. This comes after a furious reaction by the Jewish community to the rehabilitation of Mr. Williamson, who was to be readmitted to the Catholic religious body as a gesture of reconciliation with its radically conservative wing. Previously, the church had brushed aside the outrage, with Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone saying he considered the matter "closed" after Benedict denounced Holocaust deniers last week.

It is good to see the Vatican take this step. It would have been better if they hadn't so badly screwed up in the first place, then tried to airily dismiss the legitimate complaints of the Jewish community. But late is better than never. It'll be interesting to see what Williamson does.


Nick said...

Don't forget about the other folks involved.

From the AP:

Merkel's stand was out of the ordinary, said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the New York-based American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

"When the German Chancellor admonishes a German-born Pope it is an extraordinary message," Steinberg said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

"Together with the expressions of outrage emanating from German and Austrian bishops, these developments have ironically strengthened relations between Germany and the world Jewish community."


Maybe this way all a Vatican plot to bring Germans together to rail against a common enemy?

chingona said...

I'm glad he's taking this step. I wish it hadn't taken a huge outcry to get him to realize that this is a really big deal.

And I don't know if I should take him at face value that he didn't realize Williamson held those views.

In some ways, it reminds me of the situation some years back when he quoted that Byzantine emperor about how awful Islam is, without qualifying it in any way, and then acted all shocked and apologetic when folks took offense.