B16 is going to issue a letter explaining what happened with the whole lifting of the excommunication of the SSXP bishops. The letter is quite moving and captures the heartfelt pain of the Holy Father and a sense of frustration that some may not trust him in his intentions. The Pope is extremely frank here.
It seems the Holy Father although accepting blame for the Holy See’s lack of foresight is surprised that there was such on attack on him and his views on Christian-Jewish relations.
It is true that some, especially outside of the Church, reacted very harshly and presumed that B16 was turning his back on our Jewish elders in faith. That’s plainly absurd. One may or may not like all of what B16 teaches, but he is certainly a man of great intelligence, holiness and integrity. He is also known for being quite kind.
For those of us within the Church who reacted negatively to the lifting of the excommunication it was not an issue with the Holy Father himself but with some of the high-ranking officials in the Holy See who did B16 great harm. They failed in their duty. Specifically:
- The lifting of the excommunication should have been accompanied by a letter explaining that this did not mean these bishops were now “ok”.
- It should have been made clear by the Holy See that a full and unconditional acceptance of Vatican II was necessary for full communion.
- The lifting of the excommunication of Bishop Williams should have been accompanied by a formal censure of his teachings on women, the Holocaust and an explanation that his views did not make him suitable for ministry in the Roman Church.
On a broader note… I hope that the same concern and compassion will be shown to members of the Church on the other end of the spectrum.