Thursday, February 26, 2009


The Catholic, Holocaust-denying bishop, Richard Williamson, apologized again for the consequences of his remarks on the Holocaust.

Not surprisingly, there is nothing in the remarks to suggest that Williamson has changed his mind. What is more troubling is that Rome does not seem to have been troubled by his views enough to start with, nor has the Vatican reacted to any of the other whacko conspiracy theories to which Williamson subscribes, nor have they asked him to apologize for his rather blatant misogyny.

Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind
Peter Bruegel the Elder, "The Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind" (1568) [Tempura]

The most troubling aspects of this sordid mess have little to do with Williamson. Williamson is exactly what we thought he was; he is exactly what the Vatican ought to have known he was. And there is nothing to suggest that, despite the recent attempts of the SSPX to distance themselves from him, that he does not represent that already fringe breakaway from Catholicism. After all, they made him a bishop and up until last week had him in charge of one of their seminaries, directing the intellectual and spiritual formation of the young men there.

What is most disturbing is the failure of the Vatican to pursue these other matters suggesting that they see Williamson primarily as a PR problem in their attempt to reconcile with the SSPX movement and strengthen traditionalists within the Catholic communion at whatever cost. They do not see Williamson or his group for what it is. This means that either the Vatican is so obsessed with reconciling with the lover that jilted them that they cannot see how grossly deformed the SSPX is (the antisemitism is, as I have said, only the beginning) or, they actually do not find the spiritual deformations of the movement problematic. Either is frightening.


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