Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The Holy Father writes to the world's Bishops

Fr. Z. and Rorate Caeli have both posted about the Holy Father's letter to the Bishops of the world regarding Bishop Williamson, and Rorate has some excerpts from Italian news agencies who published this morning .

On Ecumenism and the SSPX, the Holy Father says:

"May we consign to utter indifference a community in which there are 491 priests, 215 seminarians, ... 117 brothers, 164 sisters, and thousands of faithful? Should we truly let them drift away from the Church? Are we allowed to simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical and marginal group, from the search for unity and reconciliation?"

I think they (SSPX) remain our brothers and sisters, perhaps closer to 'thinking with the mind of the Church' than others in different Christian communities.

"A mishap unpredictable to me was the fact that the Williamson affair was placed above the remission of the excommunication. The discreet gesture of mercy towards the four Bishops, ordained validly but not licitly, appeared unexpectedly as a completely different matter: as a denial of the reconciliation of Christians and Jews, and thus as a repeal of that which the Council had clarified for the path of the Church regarding this matter."

In the reporting of, and reaction to, the Williamson affair, there were many who couldn't or wouldn't see the wood for the trees..

And, as William Shakespeare has it,

"The quality of
mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain fron heaven upon the place beneath.It is twice blessed, it blesseth him that gives and him that is an attribute to God himself, and earthly power doth then show likest God's when mercy seasons justice." -The Merchant of Venice.

"The impression is often given that our society feels the need for at least one group to which no tolerance is to be granted; which one may perfectly abuse with hatred. And if anyone dares to approach them, he also loses his right to tolerance and he also may be treated with hatred, with no fears or reservations."

Strong words indeed from the Holy Father. An admonition.

The following words are an indication of the depth of the assault on the Holy Father:

"I am saddened by the fact that even Catholics, who in the end should have known better how things stand, considered having to assail me with a hostility ready for attack. "

I too, am saddened that the merciful actions of the Pope in lifting the excommunications of the SSPX Bishops, should have been greeted with such anger, even disloyalty.

I am also saddened at a state of affairs in which the Pope judges it necessary to write such a letter......I could go on......but I won't!

It's much more helpful to pray, for the Holy Father, and for the Bishops.

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