Bishop Richard Williamson 248.88.
(photo credit: Courtesy / Swedish television screencapture )
When the victim of some particularly brutal assault seeks justice against the perpetrators or at least recognition of the enormities committed by them, the last thing she expects is indifference to or belittlement of her sufferings. Almost as painful as the wounds inflicted by cruel aggressors is an avowed disbelief or trivialization of their pain by insensitive, ill disposed or delusional bystanders. Holocaust denial is such moral blindness writ large.
Perversity of human judgment, however, is ubiquitous. Flat-earthers deny the evidence of their senses and turn a blind eye to the curvature of the horizon or the sphericity of the globe as observed by astronauts from outer space. Biblical literalists reject the fossil record of geological time and advocates of intelligent design look blank at enquiries about the creator of the primum mobile. These willfully obtuse individuals may elicit groans of frustration from the enlightened, but we do not hail them into court for their complacent ignorance, whether well-intentioned or malign.
Neither is there any point in criminalizing Holocaust-deniers. It is enough to stigmatize them as boors and fools. Documented history is in no danger from their nay-saying, and neither are the Jews. The welcome back into the Roman Catholic fold which Pope Benedict XVI has extended to the Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson, excommunicated by John Paul II as an adherent of a schismatic offshoot from the Church, does not justify the breast beating and gnashing of teeth with which prominent Jews and media personalities greeted the reunion.
Even if Benedict's embrace of the prodigal son included chimera like his Holocaust denial, there is no taint of such secular heresy in the Church's canonical teachings. The same holds true for the Society of Saint Pius X, the heterodox breakaway group with whom the pontiff has made peace. Holocaust rejection is not part of its dogma. The gevald that has risen from the ranks of international Jewry's leadership at the society's rehabilitation is therefore out of place, at least as far as lip service to holocaust denial is concerned. It may be infuriating to be told to stop sniveling since Hitler didn't hurt us so badly, but this is not a mantra of the SSPX.
MUCH MORE TOXIC among the Lefebvrist anti-Vatican II doctrines that the pope has winked at (by not publicly insisting on its immediate abandonment as a condition of recommunion) is the theological principle of Jewish complicity in the death of Jesus. The Fathers of the Church have anathemized and excoriated the Jewish people down the centuries for not only rejecting the second person of the Christian trinity but actually causing his crucifixion as well. Legion have been the Jewish generations who paid with their own blood for that shed at Calvary, who lived in dread of the Easter sermons and their inevitable metamorphoses into pogroms against the "Christ-killers."
And yet, not a peep do we hear from professional Vatican-watchers, much less from the Holy See itself, about the undisguised Judeophobia of the newly shriven and forgiven opponents of the Second Ecumenical Council in which the issue of Jewish deicide was finally laid to rest. Well may we sound the alarm, not at the Holocaust denial of a matchstick prelate like Williamson but at the very real, very dangerous Holocaust provocation in an on-line FAQ comment offered by the society's official publication, The Angelus:
The Jews were consequently directly responsible for the crucifixion. Deicide is the name given to the crime of killing the person who is God, namely the Son of God in His human nature. It is those persons who brought about the crucifixion who are guilty of deicide, namely the Jews.
The FAQ, written by one Fr. Peter R. Scott, then goes on to elaborate:
St. Matthew's Gospel states very clearly, not only that Pilate considered Jesus innocent of the accusations made against him, but also that the whole people of the Jews took the responsibility of his murder upon their own heads. Indeed, to Pilate's statement: "I am innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it," the response is immediate: "And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and upon our children" (Matthew 27:24, 25). The Gospel teaches us, therefore, that the Jewish race brought upon themselves the curse that followed the crime of deicide.
Ah, but Scott is nothing if not an accomplished sophist, and a great career certainly awaits him among the nimble-tongued ranks of the Roman Curia if Mother Church continues to clasp him to her bosom. No sooner are we told that the Jews damned themselves and their posterity (for "children" read descendants), when the rhetoric shifts abruptly, no doubt to parry charges of bigotry. Did you understand me to say that all Jews crucified Jesus? Heavens, no! It is axiomatic that the Isaacs and Sarahs of today had nothing to do with hammering the nails into the Nazarene's palms. No, "the curse is of a different nature."
"Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first..."(Romans 2:9). The curse is then the punishment for the hardhearted rebelliousness of a people that has refused the time of its visitation, that has refused to convert and to live a moral, spiritual life, directed toward heaven. This curse is the punishment of blindness to the things of God and eternity, of deafness to the call of conscience and to the love of good and hatred of evil which is the basis of all moral life, of spiritual paralysis, of total preoccupation with an earthly kingdom. It is this that sets them as a people in entire opposition with the Catholic Church and its supernatural plan for the salvation of souls.
But wait, don't get the wrong idea. This is not anti-Semitism. We have nothing against the Jews as a race. The moment they banish all vestiges of God-hatred, we will embrace them as brothers. In the meantime, however, the Society of St. Pius X rejects the Vatican II Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, that "the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture" (Â§4). It remains adamantly opposed to the Vatican's tolerance of the Jews' "false national religion, regardless of the fact that its very existence is the sign of the curse of the national naturalism that has fallen upon them."
Anything to add, Your Holiness?
(Afterword: Far from adding to this screed, SSPX seems to have subtracted the FAQ quoted above from public view. The two links through which it was accessed in the past few days no longer open. Apparently a firewall has been erected to protect these unsanctioned apologetics from searching criticism. Fortunately, their contents have been copied and pasted and remain available for examination.)
The writer works in hi-tech in Israel and contributes short fiction, verse and commentary to electronic and print publications in various countries.