Fri Jan 23rd, 2009 at 03:14:57 AM EST
Of course, this may not look like a big deal. Who cares about nutty traditionalists and Latin mass?
Pope to lift excommunications of four 'Lefebvre' bishops - The Irish Times - Fri, Jan 23, 2009
IN WHAT appears to be an attempt to heal a 20-year schism in the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI is about to lift the excommunications of four traditionalist “Lefebvre” bishops, according to Italian media reports yesterday.
Whilst the Holy See would neither confirm nor deny the reports, many Vatican commentators believe the pope has already signed the pontifical decree cancelling the 1988 excommunications of four bishops from the Society of Saint Pius X, the society founded in 1970 by the controversial, traditionalist French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who died in 1991.
Having served as a Vatican diplomat and then as superior general of the Holy Ghost Fathers, Archbishop Lefebvre made international headlines in the 1970s and 1980s through his virulent opposition to many of the changes embodied in the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council.
In particular, he and his followers rejected the introduction of Mass in the local language, opting instead to use the traditional Tridentine Latin Mass.
But calling Lefebvre and his devoted followers "traditionalists" is pretty easy-going. Right-wing hardline fundamentalists would be more like it.
Archbishop Lefebvre’s opposition to change concerned much more than fundamental liturgical questions, however. Essentially, he argued that Pope John Paul II had made too many concessions to Protestants, Jews, Muslims and others in his pursuit of improved ecumenical and inter-religious relations.
Pope to cancel excommunication of rebel bishops - Telegraph
Pope Benedict has signalled he wishes to heal the rift. But he will face a difficult decision over reinstating the British bishop, Richard Williamson, 68, after his appearance on Sweden's SVT television channel this week.
"I believe there were no gas chambers ... I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers," he said.
"There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!"
Yes, this is one of the schismatic bishops the Pope wants to heal rifts with.
So let's see. How much longer before Ratzinger turns a significant portion of Catholic (never mind the rest of us) opinion against his ultra-rightist tendencies? Or is the conservative tide set to roll on?