Is a stunning statement by the Vatican Secretariat of State there is an order to Bishop Williamson that if he ever wishes to exercise the ministry of Bishop in the Catholic Church he must recant his loony statements on the Holocaust.
The tone of this unsigned statement is rather shocking for a Vatican Statement and makes clear the non-resolved standing of the SSPX.
The removal of the excommunication released the four Bishops from an extremely grave canonical censure, but has not changed the juridical position of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X which, at the current moment, does not enjoy any canonical recognition by the Catholic Church. Not even the four Bishops, though released from the excommunication, have a canonical function in the Church and they do not exercise licitly a ministry in it.
For a future recognition of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, the full recognition of the Second Vatican Council and of the Magisterium of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and of the same Benedict XVI is an indispensable condition
The positions of Mons. Williamson on the Shoah are absolutely unacceptable and firmly rejected by the Holy Father, as he himself remarked on the past January 28, when, referring to that brutal genocide, reaffirmed his full and unquestionable solidarity with our Brethren receivers of the First Covenant, and affirmed that the memory of that terrible genocide must lead “mankind to reflect on the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the heart of man”, adding that the Shoah remains “for all a warning against forgetfulness, against denial or reductionism, because the violence against a single human being is violence against all”.
Bishop Williamson, for an admission to episcopal functions in the Church, will also have to declare, in an absolutely unequivocal and public manner, distance from his positions regarding the Shoah, unknown to the Holy Father in the moment of the remission of the excommunication.
There you have it. This situation is a real problem and this statement reflects the desperation on the part of the Vatican.
Without a doubt, some of the blame for this fiasco falls on the Vatican itself, in particular the Press Office. This disaster was forseeable if anyone was willing to look. Williamson’s rantings are widely known and the timing of the lifting of the ex-communications could not have been worse.
With that said, much of the blame for this maelstrom falls on the leadership of the SSPX and in particular Bishop Fellay. Why am I blaming Fellay? Because he was well aware of the absolute stark mad ravings of Williamson and did nothing. Williamson was supposed to be exercising the ministry of Bishop (even if not juridically) within the SSPX for these twenty years. His ranting and conspiracy theories have been well publicized and Bishop Fellay was obviously well aware of them for some time and he did absolutely nothing about it. Nothing.
I have no doubt that some in the SSPX will object to the tone of the above statement. Well, too bad. Blame your leadership. Williamson should have been censured long ago. If he continued to spout off about such things as 9/11 and the Shoah, he should have been given the boot. Instead, it was overlooked and now the entire Society has a black eye and the Pope has been severely embarrassed and his efforts for unity greatly hampered. All this because they didn’t do what they should have when they should have. So now the chickens have come home to roost and you have no one to blame but your own leadership.
Even before this entire thing broke before the lifting of the excommunications there was still time to censure Williamson. I wrote days before the announcement on January 22nd I wrote:
In recognition of all the Pope has done and is trying to do and in the name of all the good people in the society and those who are aligned with it, the SSPX should immediately censure or even expel Richard Williamson. He is a very troubled man in need of our prayers, but he should not be a Bishop or in any leadership position.
They should have done it then but they must do it now. Do the right thing and you will save the Society, save the Pope, and perhaps even save Williamson. Even if it saves no one, it is the right thing to do. Williamson has no business in any leadership position going forward.
The Pope was reportedly ready to regularize the Society by Candelmas but now has his hands cuffed due to this nonsense. Now the Society is neither all the way in or all the way out. This is and untenable situation. For the sake of the Pope, the Church, and the adherents to the Society, show him the door. Now.