Did the Pope err in allowing four "traditionalist" bishops back into communion with the Catholic Church? Mary Sanchez thinks so when she writes in today's (2/3/09) Wichita Eagle, that "Healing a schism is one thing, but readmitting right-wing nuts like Williamson is of dubious value to the church."
With Ms.Sanchez I deplore Bishop Williamson's foolish and prejudiced views on the Holocaust and politics as does the Vatican and Bishop Williamson's own Society of St. Pius X. Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the Society, has forcefully rejected "The position of Bishop Williamson [which] is clearly not the position of our Society. Antisemitism has no place in our ranks. We follow fully God's commandments on justice and charity and the constant teaching of the Church. Antisemitism has been condemned by the Church. So do we condemn it."
Christ gave his church the mission to save sinners and fools as well as those who are more enlightened. Benedict's decision, far from an endorsement of such views, is a courageous attempt to heal a division in the Body of Christ that never should have happened. In too many places the reforms after Vatican II were implemented with great insensitivity toward ordinary traditional Catholics. It is heartbreaking to read the accounts of Catholic intellectuals like J.R.R Tolkien and Evelyn Waugh who suffered through much callousness and sacrilege in the 1970s. Treating those so abused as pariahs led to schism and, tragically, drove some few off into the weird fringes.
Benedict seeks to heal the break by being inclusive. Let us pray he succeeds.