Friday, February 27, 2009

That's More Like It

Rome is starting to show a little spine with regard to "Bishop" Richard Williamson and his Holocaust denial.

Under pressure from his own Society, Williamson recently gave a very modest apology.  On his blog, to which we cannot in consicence direct the eyes of the faithful, Williamson posted a letter to papal mouthpiece Dario Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos:  

Amidst this tremendous media storm stirred up by imprudent remarks of mine on Swedish television, I beg of you to accept, only as is properly respectful, my sincere regrets for having caused to yourself and to the Holy Father so much unnecessary distress and problems.

He then compares himself to Jonah, and quotes the Bible to the effect that if they throw him overboard, the sea will calm down.  It's worth a try.  It is also further proof, if St. Luke 4:10-11 were not enough, that anybody can spout Scripture. 

The Canberra Times, in a strikingly not-objective article, calls this "unctuous," which it is.  What it is not, unfortunately, is a meaningful apology.  This amounts to saying "I'm sorry if you didn't like what I said."  An apology is an effort to accept the consequences of one's actions; Williamson instead is trying to blame others.  He overtly blames the press, and one suspects that he privately blames "the Jews" and a Church which dares to care about its relations with them.

Williamson apparently regrets causing trouble for the Pope and the SSPX.  What he does not regret, so far as we can tell, is trivializing the murder of millions of human beings in the Nazi gas chambers, by pretending -- despite overwhelming evidence including the testimony of survivors -- that those murders never took place.  He does not regret glibly insulting Jews, Germans and historians the world over.  He does not regret publicly siding with the genocidal evil of Hitler's Germany.

Here's the good news:  the Vatican isn't having any of this.  Last month, it insisted that Williamson "in an absolutely unequivocal and public way" from his remarks.  Today, spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said Williamson "doesn't seem to have respected [those] conditions."  It's not the definitive slapdown that the guy deserves, but it is a signal that they -- and specifically, Benedict -- are not going to let him play games forever.  He can toe the company line, or he can get used to life outside the company.

No comments: