Wednesday, February 4, 2009

theater of the absurd

The Pope now claims that he did not know about the views of Bp Richard Williamson on the Holocaust at the time he lifted the excommunications against the bishops associated with the fringe Catholic group, the SSPX. It is hard to know whether such a statement is absurd or absurd. It is absurd if he really didn't know. Ratzinger-turned-Benny16 has a long history with the SSPX, first as JP2's point in the negotiations around their excommunication in the 1980s, and now, again taking it upon himself to begin normalizing relations with that same group. But it is likewise absurd to believe that he did not know, when they turned out to be exactly who everyone knew they were. How is it credible to say that you didn't know, when only a passing familiarity with the SSPX makes it obvious.

Meanwhile, in Austria, the Pope has decided to appoint a man to the post of bishop, that thinks Harry Potter promotes Satanism and that God had it in for New Orleans because of the loose sexual morals promoted by the city. Needless to say, Austrians seem unimpressed, and it is just another case where one wonders what B16's priorities are and who he is taking advice from, if anyone.

Across the border in Germany Angela Merkel has said that the Pope's decisions regarding Bp Richard Williamson "cannot pass without consequences". At the same time, a German theologian has suggested that it might be best if the Pope resign.

American Archbishop and Cardinal Sean O'Malley, tried to offer a bit of a defense for the Pope's actions with regard to SSPX, arguing that it was beneficial to have this group back under the control of the Papacy instead of letting them run free while speaking for Catholicism. But the American Conference of Catholic Bishops, headed by Cardinal George, spoke as a whole today, issuing a statement that condemned Richard Williamson's claims concerning the Holocaust.

In any case, the Papacy of Benedict XVI has severely damaged its own credibility and its voice in the international sphere.

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