Sweden: New Attack against Benedict XVI in Connection with Bishop Williamson on SVT

Source: FSSPX News

Fr. Federico Lombardi

On September 23, the Swedish TV Channel SVT broadcasted a program which attempted to prove that the Vatican was informed of Bishop Williamson’s stand concerning the Holocaust. It was this same channel which had broadcasted Bishop Williamson’s interview on this past January 21, on the very day on which the Roman document concerning the “excommunications” of the bishops of the SSPX was signed. 

In fact, this program rested on two testimonies from ecclesiastics known for their rabid modernism: An interview with the bishop of Stockholm, Ander Aborelius, a friend of Cardinal Karl Lehmann former president of the German Bishops’ Conference, and not look upon as a saint in Rome, as well of Cardinal Walter Kasper, in charge of ecumenism and the relations with the Jews. The journalist who conducted the interview, affirmed: “The pope and cardinals in charge of the affair assure the whole world that they knew nothing about the interview (of Bishop Williamson by the Swedish TV) but this is not true.” The bishop (of Stockholm) far from protesting said: “On our part, we had passed on the information. That is in the customary manner in which the local Church transmits important information pertaining to the Church to the pope’s representative (i.e. the apostolic nuncio).

An interview with Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and the Dialogue with Judaism — an interview made this past July, during his visit to the festival of the Pueri Cantores choirs in Stockolhm — in which he affirms that, according to him Bishop Williamson’s sympathies for revisionist theories were widely known, and he wonders that the Ecclesia Dei  had thus remain so vague.

That same day, September 23, the Press Office of the Holy See released the following note: “The affirmation or the bare insinuation that the pope might have been informed in advance of Williamson’s positions is quite ungrounded. This has already been clearly denied in a Note by the Secretariat of State, dated February 4, which also expressed quite clearly the radical dissociation of the Pope and of the Church from any anti-Semitic or revisionist position regarding the Holocaust.

“Besides, the Letter of the Pope to the Bishops, on March 10, put a final end to the dossier: hence there is no reason to re-open it. The pope explained the meaning of the lifting of the excommunication as a gesture aiming at fostering the unity of the Church. At the same time, he showed the complete lack of foundation in the accusations leveled at him of having failed in respect towards the Jewish people. He also acknowledged with simplicity the limitations of  communication within the Vatican as well as outside of it. Besides, he granted a new status to the Ecclesia Dei Commission precisely to ensure a better and safer way of proceeding in the issues concerning the relationships with the Traditionalists.

“To re-launch the ‘Williamson Affair’ serves only to spread confusion once more and to no purpose.” Besides, the spokesman of the Vatican, Fr. Federico Lombardi, addressed an email to the STV Channel to be broadcasted on its Internet website in the evening of September 23, in which he cleared himself and placed the responsibility upon Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos , then President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission. Fr. Lombardi assured that he knew nothing about the interview of Bishop Williamson before its broadcasting. “Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos told me nothing about it before it had been broadcasted.(…)I did not know that a note concerning Bishop Williamson had been sent to the Vatican, and I do not know who received it and read it, nobody said anything to me,” he added, specifying: “The pope said he had not been informed of it when he approved the lifting of the excommunications. I am convinced that he is telling the truth.”

Thus incriminated by the Head of the Press Office of the Holy See, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos wanted to make known, on September 25, that he had had no knowledge of Bishop Williamson’s declarations before the decree of January 21. “At the time when the excommunications were lifted, none of us had any knowledge whatsoever of Bishop Williamson’s statements,” he declared in an interview granted to the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. “My task was not to judge a bishop,” he added, “this belongs to the Congregation for Bishops and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” And he pointed out that Bishop Williamson had not been excommunicated “because of his theory or declarations concerning the Holocaust but because of the illegitimate character of his bishop’s consecration” in 1988.

On its website, on September 23, the weekly La Vie speaks of “a governance problem within the Curia.” In February, it had mentioned “management problems.” What a lot of euphemisms to avoid saying that there are tensions, oppositions and rivalries which unsettle a hardly monolithic Curia! There are Cardinals, officially retired, but still unofficially very active when it is a matter of fighting a line of action which they consider as a denial of all their life’s work, or they have friends who have official charges in the Vatican!