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Friday, February 13, 2009

Don't mention the Pope

It's suited all kinds of agendas to spin the case of the Holocaust-denying bishop as being about the Pope's less than unequivocal rejection of Holocaust denial. Religiophobes, anti-Catholics, anti-Pope Catholic liberals and - it must be said - overreacting Jews have all joined in the fun, and have not allowed it to be spoiled by mere facts. For, however misguided one may judge Pope Benedict to have been, his decision to lift the excommunication of the Society of St Pius X plainly had nothing whatsoever to do with Richard Williamson's odious views.

That the Pope has been breathtakingly badly advised hardly needs saying. Beyond that, I suspect that a very human desire to have people on his side has made him too ready to assume that the traditionalisms of others are as rational and generous as his own. Where the SSPX are concerned that is plainly very far from the case. But a sympathizer with Holocaust denial he emphatically is not.

One thing I, for my own personal reasons, find particularly objectionable about this spinfest is the way the Pope's nationality has been dragged in. Sometimes it's been pious exhortations to him that as a German he ought to know better, sometimes 'what can you expect from someone who was in the Hitler Youth?' insinuations.

Well, actually, everyone ought to know better, be they German, British or Iranian. And what you can expect from Benedict is to view that part of his country's past with the same horror and shame as any well-informed and decent present-day German. So can we move on from the Basil Fawlty complex, please? Fat chance, when we're educating a generation for whom the Third Reich is all they know about Germany and practically all they know about the history of anywhere.

It's not the Hitler Youth but Winchester and Cambridge we have to thank for the Holocaust-denying bishop. If there's a nation which deserves to be embarrassed on this score it isn't Germany.

1 comment:

SnoopyTheGoon said...

All that is true, Cyrus, and the level of histrionics was indeed too much. However, saying this, the lifting of the excommunication of the Society of St Pius X still seems to be a bad move, albeit caused by a good intention. Regardless of this or that Bishop.