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 published: 2009-03-13

Admiring the Humility and Sincerity Expressed in This Letter

Commentary on the Holy Father’s Letter to the Bishops on the lifting of the excommunication for four Lefebvrite Bishops


Rom, Petersdom

Roma, San Pedro

Rome , St. Peter

Rom, Petersdom

Foto: Cristian Popescu/Stock.xchng © 2009


ROME, Fr. Guillermo Mario Cassone. Yesterday, this personal letter of the Holy Father was published. With sincerity, humility, and conceptual clarity, he explains his intentions and the diverse subsequent interpretations.

I do not want to summarize it nor paraphrase it because I believe it is good to read it entirely and textually since it is published in several languages in its official translation.

I only want to explain the context somewhat and share my personal impression.

The merciful gesture of extending the hand to these excommunicated Bishops was a response to their request and with the desire to advance the dialog, which has been going on for several years, seeking a way to integrate them anew into communion with the Church. It was published in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on January 21st of this year.

Without a doubt, the intention was good and hoped for a good result

Regrettably, on that same day, a months-old report by Bishop Williamson was made public. In this report, he pretended to minimize or negate the Holocaust which is called Shoa and perpetrated by Nazis against the Jews. This adulterated the former and caused such an outburst that it seemed that such affirmations were endorsed. In addition, this coincided with the Holocaust Memorial Day and it caused an even greater repercussion.

Without a doubt, there were information and management errors in some Vatican instances which the Pope deplores and for which he begs excuses. Retraction and asking forgiveness was requested from that Bishop, which he only did partially, and was sanctioned to remain within his community which is called the St. Pius X Fraternity. He also left his duties in his Seminary. The Fraternity also made clear that they did not share those ideas.

Dialog with them will continue on doctrinal topics precise to the Council and post-conciliar Magisterium. They must accept these in order to be recognized.

At the present time, as a Fraternity, they have no canonical recognition.

This situation now depends on the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Steps will now be taken with greater collegial participation.

It is the occasion to intensify our love for the Pope

My opinion is that this demonstrates the weaknesses of the members of the Church and its communication failings, but it does not mean that there are bad intentions or divisions on supporting topics. Also included here are the errors in the previous information and in the subsequent management of the topic.

On the other hand, the disproportion and sometimes intentional ideologies of some opinion formers can be seen, within and without the Church. Mixing the topics and coming to mistaken conclusions interferes with inter-religious dialog, especially with the Jews. This somehow perturbed the climate but is gradually being overcome.

This also tests our love for the Church as an historic community formed by human beings who can make mistakes, but who, therefore, do not cease to love her or to contribute to her interior renewal. It is the time to intensify our love for the Pope, praying for him, valuing his magisterium and admiring the humility and the sincerity expressed in this Letter.

Translation: Carlos Cantú Schoenstatt Family Federation La Feria, Texas USA 031609



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