March 13, 2009
Pope Admits He Mishandled Bishop Matter
ROME (JTA)—Pope Benedict XVI admits in a letter that his rehabilitation of a Holocaust-denying bishop backfired.
The remarkable letter to bishops, whose text was officially released Thursday by the Vatican, also says the Vatican must become Internet savvy to
Benedict specifically addressed the Jan. 21 lifting of the excommunication order on Richard Williamson and three other traditionalist bishops, saying
Lifting the excommunications had been intended to heal a rift in the church. But due to the uproar over Williamson, the pope said, it “suddenly appeared
The pope continued, “A gesture of reconciliation with an ecclesial group engaged in a process of separation thus turned into its very antithesis: an
“I have been told that consulting the information available on the Internet would have made it possible to perceive the problem early on. I have learned
A pontiffs very rarely issues a document admitting errors in such a detailed and personal way. Benedict said he was particularly hurt by the “open
“Precisely for this reason I thank all the more our Jewish friends, who quickly helped to clear up the misunderstanding and to restore the
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder praised the pope.
“The Pope has found clear and unequivocal words regarding Bishop Williamson’s Holocaust denial, and he deserves praise for admitting that
“The Pope’s letter conveys the essential requirements for interreligious dialogue: candor and the willingness to tackle difficult issues squarely.