Bertone on Excommunications
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has commented about Pope Benedict XVI’s lifting of the excommunications of four Society of St. Pius X bishops.
During a talk Cardinal Bertone gave this evening in Rome, he said, “The position is clear: The revocation of the excommunications is an act of mercy of the Pope upon the Lefebvrian bishops.”
Cardinal Bertone addressed criticism directed at the Vatican for lifting the excommunication of one of the four SSPX bishops, Bishop Richard Williamson, shortly after Bishop Williamson questioned the Holocaust in an interview aired on Swedish TV.
“The Catholic Church condemns the revisionist, negationist, view [of Williamson] as different interventions have made clear in recent days,” Cardinal Bertone said. “This interview wasn’t known about, but became known after the conclusion of the process of revocation of the excommunications.”
“It seems to me unfortunate that during the process of reconciliation this interview appeared suddenly and unexpectedly — an anomalous fact,” Cardinal Bertone added. “It is a hindrance to reconciliation, but the process of revising the excommunications couldn’t be stopped. Then came the clarifications, from L’Osservatore Romano, the Church authorities, and today from Benedict XVI himself.”
The process of reconciliation with the schismatic Society of St. Pius X is “still long,” Cardinal Bertone said, and “the rest [Williamson controversy] is a very painful episode that has upset the Pope, the Church and everyone, but it mustn’t be overemphasized.” He said the clarifications should explain the situation adequately, and that it was right that the Pope continue with the revocation of the excommunications despite the controversy.
Cardinal Bertone was applauded at the end of his talk, which was delivered to an audience composed mainly of diplomats at the Palazzo Diaconale, next to the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. They had gathered to hear him speak on Benedict’s “Magisterium” of teachings.
— Edward Pentin