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Discussion 1 to Meditation 741
Recant or else!

by: JT

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In response to the outrage generated by Pope Benedict XVI's lifting of the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson, Vatican spokesmen put out the story that the Pope did not know about Williamson's anti-Semitic views. That's right. Nobody bothered to check out Williamson's character before he was welcomed back. Nobody bothered with a simple google search to see what the man had been publicly saying for the past twenty years.

But the Pope had to do something. He could not change his decision a mere week later, admitting that he had made a mistake. Popes don't admit mistakes.

So, he has demanded that Bishop Williamson recant his views on the holocaust if he wishes to continue his episcopal duties within the Catholic Church.

Now the Pope could have required Williamson to remain silent on the issue; or he could have required him to intensively study the vast historical evidence of the holocaust and the extensive rebuttals to the arguments put forward by holocaust deniers. But no - Williamson has to recant.

Shades of Galileo and the Inquisition! Force the man to deny something he knows to be true. (Of course, unlike Galileo, Williamson is wrong in his knowledge.)

In my view, the Pope should only demand his clergy recant if they are promoting a theology contrary to Catholic doctrine. It is the wrong remedy here.

On the other hand, this may be a rather clever Machiavellian manoeuvre by Benedict. If Williamson recants, he will be regarded as a hypocrite. If he does not recant, he has no future role in the Catholic Church. If he leaves the Church, he will just be a lonely loony extremist with a handful of followers as his fellow Society of Saint Pius X Bishops have publicly repudiated his views and have embraced the Pope's invitation to rejoin the Church.

But Benedict should never have got into this mess in the first place.