The Pope’s recent decision to pardon the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) continues to be met with condemnation, not least by such public figures as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Cardinal Karl Lehman of Mainz.
Although, the Vatican insists that the Pope’s judgment of clemency was based purely on paternal pity, such a naive assessment has met with an angry response. Much of this fury is focused upon British-born bishop, Richard Williamson and his comments regarding the Holocaust. It would seem that Bishop Williamson has openly denied the existence of Nazi gas chambers, as well as strongly disputed the numbers of Jews murdered by the regime. However, for supporters of the pardon, such a step does not imply support for Holocaust denial instead they insist that all that is on offer is a chance for dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.
Whatever the motivation for the Pope’s decision to overturn a relatively recent excommunication, the timing could not have been worse. By releasing news of the pardon, while many were commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day, can be viewed as simply insensitive, or arguably even inflammatory.
The Holocaust: Remembrances, Reflections, Revisions
By Stephen J. Whitfield,
(Vol. 1, October 2006)
Heresy, Orthodoxy, Schism (Christianity)
From A New Dictionary of Religions