Thursday, 2 April 2009

Archbishop Hart defends the Pope

On Monday, the Herald Sun included an article by Alan Howe attacking the Pope.

Here is the full response by Archbishop Hart (from the Melbourne Archdiocese website):

"Alan Howe's article 'The Pope betrays us all' (Herald-Sun, 30 March 2009) is erroneous, and offends well-informed Catholics.

I know that the relationship between Pius XII and the Jews is receiving the scrutiny of history. Similarly many commentators do not attend to the work done by the Pope and his collaborators to save Jewish people in Rome and elsewhere.

On 21 January 2009 Pope Benedict, in a paternal gesture to the four bishops, 491 priests, 215 Seminarians and thousands of faithful of the Society of St Pius X (known as the Lefebvrists), removed the excommunication of the four bishops, who still remain outside the full communion of the Church. They do not exercise any canonical function and do not licitly exercise any ministry within it. They are not "reinstated" as Mr Howe suggests. Restoration to Communion with the Church can only follow an acceptance of the magisterium of the Popes and of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Benedict earnestly desires to work for reunion of such a significant group with the Church, and encourages bishops and priests to do likewise.

At the time of the announcement, the Pope was unaware of the hateful denial of the Holocaust made by Bishop Williamson. On 28 January, the Pope rejected totally the statements of Bishop Williamson and stated that “Bishop Williamson must distance himself in an absolutely unequivocal and public way from his positions regarding the Holocaust, which were unknown at the time of the remission of the excommunication." Bishop Williamson has been removed from his position as a seminary Rector by the Society of St Pius X, and has returned to England.

On 3 February, the Pope spoke of his compassion for all involved in the Holocaust, as he had previously done in 2005 and in Germany in 2006, and condemned the position of Bishop Williamson. In an audience to a Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organisations on 12 February, he described, the Holocaust as "a crime against God and humanity". I have written in similar terms to members of the Jewish Community in Melbourne who have been in touch with me, expressing solidarity and support. The enormity of the Holocaust is one of the great tragedies of the story of the whole human race.

On 12 March, Pope Benedict wrote to the Bishops of the Church, explaining the motive behind his compassionate gesture to begin dialogue, and the coincidence with Bishop Williamson's hateful statements, reiterating his love for the Jewish People and the readiness to work with people of all faiths as he has shown in his pontificate.

Pope Benedict is a great teacher and theologian and a man of God. He cannot be dismissed as one "who has too few qualities". Rather, it is those who do not know him who are not open to his towering gifts as theologian, teacher and pastor, dedicated to the service of all humanity."


Orville B Croft said...

I was having my lunch at work when I read this.
I wrote a letter but after it had reached 1800 words I just deleted it and walked away.
There is so much mis-information out there I think it's best to sometimes dig a hole and wait for it to end.


Son of Trypho said...

This is an extremely unfortunate situation for Benedict XVI. Again, it is a lesson in reminding those of how much damage Williamson has done with his views (and his supporters continue to do).