Monday, January 26, 2009

Cardinal Kasper: Rome, Agence France Presse: Pope/Israel: 'Trip conditional on Gaza, not on a holocaust-denying bishop.'

HE's actual words appear between single inverted commas in this translation.

"The lifting of the excommunication from a holocaust-denying (actual word used-'negationiste') bishop does not have bearing on the projected visit of the Pope to Israel, which on the other hand is complicated by the events in Gaza, according to a high Vatican prelate quoted Monday in la Repubblica.

Cardinal Kasper, who is responsible for Vaticanthe relations with Judaisme, estimated that 'the Pope's trip does not depend' on the shadow cast over the relations between judaisme and the Vatican by the lifting of excommunication of four bishops, of whom one denies the existence of the gas chambers.

The declarations of this bishop are 'inacceptable' and 'stupid' and 'in no way reflect the views of the Catholic Church', assured the prelate.

'I understand that Williamson's declarations could throw a shadow over relations with judaisme but I am convinced that the dialogue will continue,' he added.

The Pope's projected visit to Israel, 'does not depend on that', clarified cardinal Kasper, adding that 'the organisation of the visit is essentially connected with political questions', 'complicated' by 'the events in Gaza.'

'In any case, no decision has yet been made and the itinerary has not yet been settled. It depends on how the situation develops "on the ground" ', he explained.

He added that for the voyage to become a reality, 'the situation must be calm' and the Pope must be able 'to visit his people' at Bethlehem.

Many Jewish organisations, amongst them, the memorial Israelien de la Shoah, Yad Vashem, are indignant at the Pope's lifting excommunication from the 'negationist bishop.

Then are qhoted some of Williamson's assertions:

"I believe there were no gas chambers..... I believe that between 200,000 and 300,000
Jews perished in the concentration camps, but not a single one in the gas chambers," Richard Williamson has said.

These remarks were broadcast on Swedish television on Thursday, two days before the announcement of the lifting of the excommunications pronounced in 1988 against him and the three other bishops." ENDS

Comments Please!!!!!!!


Clare A said...

This is in line to becoming a significant PR disaster - yet it doesn't have to. Why doesn't the Vatican issue a strong condemnation of W's views, both via its press office and YouTube?

It should be easy enough to explain that lifting an excommunication does not mean Williamson is in good standing with Rome. He still has no permission to exercise his priestly faculties. There is a lot to be done still to bring the SSPX back into the fold - Williamson stands to be excommunicated again if he remains obduate.

One is reminded of the Royal Family after Diana's death. Bad advice, bad PR, bad, bad, bad....

Clare A said...

Another thought comes to me: any stalling of the Pope's relations with Israel and the Jewish people is playing into Williamson's hands. Ignoring him requires a steady nerve, but would in the long run do more to sideline him and negate his influence.

He must know the damage he will be causing to Rome's image. It seems also that the welfare and future of the SSPX is of minor interest to him. He would like nothing more than that the SSPX remain outside Rome's authority, sniping at the Holy Father and as a focus for negativity. is this what Lefebvre intended for all time?

Prima said...

Why is Cardinal Kasper still speaking? I understood he was going to be "retired" after the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Confiteor said...

Cardinal Kasper believes that Catholics should not evangelize the Jews, that the Old Covenant is sufficient for the salvation of the Jews, and that the Jews do not need faith in our Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved.

Who is a worse enemy of the Jews? Bishop Williamson or Cardinal Kasper? At least Williamson is concerned for their salvation.

It goes without saying that Williamson's opinions about the Holocaust are utter rubbish.

annie said...

Although it appears a bullet in the foot, I'm far from convinced it is.

To be honest, the press loathe Catholics so much, His Holiness could announce a cure for cancer and they'd turn it into 'Pope finds cure for cancer directly related to the aryan genome', he really can't win.

I'm not sure Rome's reputation is going to suffer any more than it does ordinarily. In the short term it'll be under fire (what's new?) but in the longer term, I think it's a just the perfect win-win situation.
If Williamson is in, he has to behave, he has to do as he's told. If he then chooses to (as I suspect he will) refuse to comply, then he along with all his really offensive and scandalous opinions as well as the more fruit loop ones will be out.

The fundamental problem as I see it is the complete ignorance of people as to what the lifting of an excommunication actually means, including Catholics. Although, spell that out on youtube, and it still won't be reported, because it does not serve the media purpose which is the rabid soundbite.

I think it's a masterly piece of work on the part of HH. If anything, Williamson's done himself the greatest disservice.

Fr Ray Blake said...

It is good Kaspar has said this, the Pope has to deal with the SSPX en bloc, but that shouldn't stop criticism of +Williamson's eccentric view of history.

His presence in Argentina is perhaps evidence of his being sidelined by the Society, as was Fellay's letter to Swedish TV.

Fr Tim has an interesting post re: Cardinal Re.

PeterHWright said...

The Pope has critics within the Vatican (it's that sort of place) and even within the Curia [and he knows it].

The secular media, meanwhile, doesn't really have a clue about Rome and SSPX. To them, a story is a story. And the Bishop Williamson - holocaust scandal is a good story.

I think Cardinal Kasper shouldn't worry. The Pope has weighed the risks, and knows what he is doing.

pelerin said...

Thanks Jane for giving us this from 'La Croix'. I was surprised to read today their comment that 'few blogging priests reacted on Monday.' Obviously don't follow Fr Z and other English language priest bloggers!

They link to one priest (born 1979 and pictured with open-necked shirt!) who states that his 'first reaction (to the lifting of the excommunications) was divided between incomprehension and anger.'
Is this a typical comment from French priests?