Bishop Williamson says SSPX will never agree to “conciliarism”

January 28, 2009

Bishop Richard Williamson has posted his observations on the lifting of excommunications against himself and three other bishops of the rebel traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X.  Like his colleague Bishop Bernard Fellay, he is triumphant and boasts the SSPX made no concessions to obtain the decree readmitting them back into the Catholic Church. He goes even further, saying that the deal with the Vatican only committed the SSPX to discussing its differences with Rome. Nothing about resolving them.

(Photo: Bishop Richard Williamson, 28 Feb 2007/Jens Falk)

Williamson hardly mentions the controversy caused by his Holocaust denial, which has angered Jewish groups, overshadowed this story and forced Pope Benedict to issue a hair-shirt denunciation of the Holocaust — something he would not have had to do if he and his Vatican aides had handled this better. The bishop thanks Benedict and his aides for making their decision to lift the bans “despite, for instance, a media uproar orchestrated and timed to prevent it.”

The Vatican left the conditions for the lifting of the bans vague when it worked out the deal, leaving the SSPX pleased and many Catholics concerned that prior support for the Second Vatican Council was not required. After four days of speculation during which several bishops’ conferences spoke out to demand the SSPX support the Council’s reforms, Pope Benedict came out on Wednesday and made clear the bishops would have to “take the further steps needed to achieve full communion with the Church, thereby showing true loyalty and true recognition of the Magisterium and the authority of the pope and of the Second Vatican Council.”

Read a few lines from Williamson and ask yourself if this sounds like someone ready to go into these discussions in Rome ready to take those further steps Benedict mentions:

Nobody can any longer say that Catholics holding to Tradition are “outside the Church”. Certainly a number of Conciliarists will go on behaving as though they are, but they clearly no longer have the Pope on their side only. The difference is enormous!

“Of course there is still a long way to go before the neo-modernists in Rome, conscious or unconscious, realize – if ever! – how they mistake the Faith, but as the old proverb says, “Rome was not built in a day”, and it will not be repaired in a day. Nevertheless “Half a loaf is better than no bread” – ask a hungry man! – so meanwhile let us know how to thank God for this major shift of the rudder of the Conciliar Church…
(Picture: Cartoon from Williamson’s blog Dinoscopus)
“However, by asking for and accepting such reconciliation with the Conciliar Church, is not the SSPX threatening to lead the way back into Conciliarism? In no way! No doubt some Conciliarists in Rome are hoping that the Decree will serve to draw the SSPX back into the fold of Vatican II, but the Decree itself, as it stands, commits the Society to nothing more than to entering into those discussions to which the Society committed itself in 2000 when it proposed the liberation of the Mass and the ending of the “excommunications” as preconditions in the first place.”

Will someone like Williamson negotiate in good faith, or just stonewall now that his excommunication has been revoked? Could he drag his feet so long that the Vatican gives up demanding “the further steps needed to achieve full communion with the Church” and simply gives them a full rehabilitation on their terms?

4 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I kinda think that Teilhard de Chardin might be Bishop Williamson’s favorite theologian. My bad, maybe not.

Posted by Peter Fuchs | Report as abusive

Real Bible Truths From Genuine Christians
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGxnfU7Gf Lc

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Millions of faithful Catholics would beg to differ with your interpretation of these events. While the media twist and spin all words and motives to promote their view if all things, truth will out. Your insistence not withstanding, Catholics want unity among the faithful and the modern world cannot eliminate the need for intellectual honesty. You have tried to outlaw the right to an opinion and even if you succeed, opinion and facts you don’t agree with will still remain.

Posted by Laura | Report as abusive

Laura, do you really think I’ve “tried to outlaw the right to an opinion”? How can I try — and how could I succeed — to outlaw anything? That statement implies I can change a legal right that I have no power to change. You seem to say I insist that Catholics don’t want unity among the faithful and the modern world can eliminate the need for intellectual honesty. When and where did I ever say that? You also ignore the fact that I’ve posted critical comments from you and others (on other posts about the SSPX) all through this discussion. If you want to dispute something I’ve actually written, you’re very welcome to do so. But do it with the intellectual honesty you advocate. Don’t just make up hollow charges because you don’t agree.

Posted by Tom Heneghan | Report as abusive