Traditionalists rewarded for bad behavior

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Pope Benedict XVI has decided to reward the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) by lifting the excommunications of four of its bishops, according to the UK Times. The four were ordained by Lefebvre without permission in 1988, after which Pope John Paul II excommunicated the four, along with Lefebvre. To top it all off, one of the rehabilitated, Englishman Richard Williamson, is a Holocaust-denier, indicating as recently as last weekend that "there were no gas chambers." Brilliant! I'm sure this will go a long in toward improving Catholicism's newly-weakened ties with Judaism. (See my post and column on the possible beatification of Piux XII.)

I've always been astonished at how freely "liberal" Catholics--those who favor, say, married and female clergy--are denounced as "cafeteria Catholics" while right-wingers like the SSPX get coddled, despite the fact that they entered schism and condemned the Second Vatican Council, including and especially its teaching on religious freedom. Pope John Paul II forbid women's ordination from even being discussed, while the current pope has liberalized the use of the Tridentine Latin liturgy (which was already permitted anyway), as well as paved the road in gold for the SSPX's return (150,000 members) in the name of "Christian unity." This while our conversations with the Orthodox and the churches of the Reformation (hundreds of millions of members between the two) flounders.

Not my idea of the way to spend the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18 through 25).