- it has angered Jewish religious leaders who want the Pope to disavow the SSPX;
- it has threatened what appears to be a thisclose settlement of the SSPX/Rome dispute; and,
- it puts Bishop Bernard Fellay, the head of the SSPX in a most uncomfortable and delicate position.
Bishop Williamson's comments (which can be found here) about the issue of the responsibility for the death of Jesus contain truth, but not the complete truth. We are all responsible for His death. Every one of us. And yes, the bishop speaks only of the immediate, judicial responsibility. OK, great. I get it. But so what?
My take on this, as it has been in each of the manufactured controversies surrounding Williamson's actions in the past few years, is that it strikes me that though many people (including the interreligious dialogue, anti-Catholic crowd both inside and outside the Church) have a vested interest in killing an SSPX reconciliation, I also suspect that Bishop Williamson himself wants to kill it. This further leads me to suspect that he is generating, or at least enjoying, these controversies.
Of course, I would also say that though of course Jewish religious leaders may have concern about how Catholics may view them, they should not have any input on who is or is not Catholic, nor should they presume to make demands upon the Holy Father not to exercise mercy towards persons against whom they have a grievance, legitimate or not.
Fr. Michael Mary, FSSR, who is the Superior of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (also known as the Transalpine Redemptorists), a group that formerly had ties to the SSPX but which has since been reconciled to the Holy See, has this interesting commentary. I print it below for your consideration.
Perhaps the best indicator that the SSPX/Rome talks are going well is the appearance of another media-storm to kill it. The matter is one for prayer, now as ever.
(By Fr. Michael Mary, FSSR) I make the following personal response; my own take on the matter:
I was very sorry to read the article. We are all further hurt or tarnished or tarred by it: The Jewish people are hurt, the Church in general is tarnished, and traditional Catholics and most of the SSPX faithful are tarred.
The Williamson article is political. It is an aggressive strategy. Its objective is to sow trouble between the SSPX and the Church, and between the Church and the Jewish people. It works well.
Williamson can cause great trouble only because he is a bishop; even though he is an illegitimate bishop who will not submit himself to legitimate authority.
The SSPX leadership would probably like to expel him
but fear that he would begin his own group here in the UK and beyond.
SSPX clergy do not speak out publicly against Bishop Williamson nor against the Menzingen Authorities for doing nothing that will effectively stop him.
The situation is extraordinary. The SSPX cannot control their man who is harming the Church and their own group.
Now is the time when the helpless SSPX Superior General who lacks jurisdiction, and knows he lacks the necessary jurisdiction over his equal, should ask the Holy Father to defrock the illegitimate bishop; in the kindest possible way.
Fr. Michael May, F.SS.R.