The Taser's Edge

This makes me so angry I think my head is going to explode

I also wish that Bishop Williamson’s head would explode, and I am not a violent guy.  See if you can even watch the whole clip, which was broadcast this January.  It took me several attempts.

I think I really need to go cry.  I know that Pope Benedict needs to remove him as quickly as possible, and I hope the Vatican truly was unaware of Williamson’s beliefs.  This is a good start.

7 Comments so far
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Why should a priest of any rank be removed for his opinion on a secular matter?

Comment by jonolan

Considering how historically responsible Christians (and certainly not just Roman Catholics) are for anti-Semitism, it is hardly a secular matter (although I would be interested to hear how it could be a “secular” matter, because I just don’t see it). Furthermore, any time that a priest speaks publicly and in his vestments, what he communicates to his hearers is that his words are the voice of the Church. This is all the more true the higher the position of that priest. If the Catholic Church truly is serious about repenting and rejecting the sins (no, not just mistakes or errors) of its past, then it must be serious about speaking with one voice.

Comment by tasersedge

The man denies the specifics of the Holocaust. How does this relate to Catholic Doctrine? Excommunication is for ecclesiastical failings such as heresy, not a disagreement over history.

Comment by jonolan

First of all, Bishop Williamson was excommunicated from the Catholic Church by John Paul II because he was a breakaway bishop ordained by a French bishop who rejected the reforms of Vatican II. So excommunication is not the issue here. Benedict XVI, who should have been aware of Williamson’s beliefs, was just offering the guy the privilege of returning to the fold by lifting the ban of excommunication. Secondly the guy is just creepy. Notice how he made very little eye contact with his interviewer. I hope Benedict washes his hands of him.

Comment by Terry

[…] That last post really left me feeling a bit drained emotionally.  Actually that was mostly due to the comments from jonolan.  Reading Thomas Aquinas’ Treatise on the Virtues just became impossible (or so […]

Pingback by On a lighter note… « The Taser’s Edge

Yes, Williamson was excommunicated because because he was a breakaway bishop ordained by a French bishop who rejected the reforms of Vatican II – and was presumed to reject those reforms himself, which would be something akin to heresy. If Williamson has disavowed or recanted such a stance, his excommunication could and should be lifted. The last I checked, people weren’t removed from the body of the church for their political and historical positions, when those positions didn’t negatively intersect with doctrine.

Think about it – should the Pontiff excommunicate every Democrat because the Democratic Party in the US traditionally supports abortion? He hasn’t even excommunicated Biden or Pelosi so far…

On another note: Yeah, Williamson is freaking creepy and needs to be kept far away from any position dealing with the public. Damn!

Comment by jonolan

Hi, Terry. Thanks for a perspective from inside the Roman Catholic Church (not that I know really your background, jonolan).

Jonolan, when I wrote this post, I decided to do it at the height of my emotional response to seeing the video, because I felt like it was important to show my very visceral reaction. I don’t often operate that way, or, especially, write that way.

But it was important. The random person, well-informed in current events but neither churchgoing nor church-connected nor church-informed, wandering through the blogosphere, looking for what Christians might think of old Williamson, needs to know that Christians are just as shocked and speechless, alternately apoplectic and driven to tears by Williamson’s views as she is.

Is it a matter for excommunication? I don’t know, and I’m not necessarily calling for that, part of the problem being that my own tradition (Anglican only recently but always squarely Protestant before that) doesn’t really know how to do excommunication. I would hope that Williamson would truly repent and come to see that his selective belief in the Holocaust, his refusal to recognize one of history’s greatest atrocities, is one of the worst forms of hate and a radical devaluation of human life and human dignity.

Hatred? Dehumanization? Rejection of life? These are not the things that Christianity stands for. And the fact that some readers might now be thinking, “But that’s what its history has often stood for,” is all the more reason that the Vatican must speak out strongly and unequivocally by not allowing Williamson into any form of leadership within the Church.

Unless some form of radical (and I do mean radical, radical beyond what I can currently imagine, but which I still believe and hope the Gospel can imagine) apology, repentance (public, please) and reconciliation takes place, that’s how it should be. Reconciliation and forgiveness should be offered; public voice and office should most likely not.

I am not claiming that Williamson is not entitled to his opinion. He and every other hate monger out there is certainly entitled to say and believe what he wants. While I am labeling his words ‘hate speech,’ I am not saying that he should go to prison for them. What I am saying is that all mouthpieces of the church, and especially the ordained, are called to the incredibly high standard of love. Failing to love is one thing, and we all do that. Spouting hate, insulting others’ pain, and leading others in the same as a teacher and leader, despite correction, is entirely another matter. And you can guess in which camp I see Williamson, based on the comments he makes in the video. Now I’m just hoping to get around to praying for him (and all the people he has hurt) soon.

Comment by tasersedge

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