|Christian friends of Israel, Estonian flag in background|
The other good news is that sense has prevailed in the Catholic Church with Pope Benedict realising that the anti-semitic, Holocaust denying priests of the Society of St. Pius X are too extreme to be reabsorbed. Having the SSPX back inside would have dealt a harsh blow to Catholic-Jewish relations, not excellent at the best of times.
The SSPX are similar to a neo-nazi or islamist party which can never be absorbed into the democratic system as they are duty bound to undermine it. When they gain any power they subvert and rot the system from within. The SSPX left over the provisions of Vatican II and its cancelling the doctrinal anti-semitism most notably the charge of 'deicide' that led to so much jewish suffering over the years (I myself was beaten up as a youth for having "killed Christ". I didn't take the beating without fighting back, but one against a group of five was somewhat heavy odds).
The impossibility of the return of SSPX was finally recognised by Gerhard Ludwig Mueller head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Inquisition which Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict ran formerly). For sound reasons of its own the Vatican was unable to allow the SSPX back into the fold.
Whether this makes any difference in the Catholic Church's attitude to Israel is moot. Popes friendly to jews such as John Paul II, who had personally witnessed where anti-semitism led are not frequently to be seen. The present pope it must be remembered whilst not known for his warmth is no adversary of the Jewish People. We can't expect that Pope Benedict to be cast in the type of the late and much lamented JPII.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican’s new doctrine czar says negotiations to bring back a breakaway group of traditionalist Catholics are dead and that no new talks are planned.
Reconciling with the Society of St. Pius X — thus ending the only formal schism created since the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council — had been a priority of Pope Benedict XVI since his tenure heading the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Society has come under fire for views seen as anti-Semitic and for one bishop who has publicly denied that Jews were killed in gas chambers during the Holocaust.
Monsignor Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, who now leads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told Germany’s Norddeutscher Rundfunk broadcaster, however, that “the talks are closed and I don’t believe there are new ones.”
“We couldn’t of course expose the Catholic faith to negotiation,” he said. “There are no compromises.’
The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the society in 1969, opposed to Vatican II’s introduction of Mass in the vernacular and outreach to Jews. In 1988, the Vatican excommunicated Lefebvre and four bishops after he consecrated them without papal consent.
Benedict has spent nearly his entire seven-year pontificate seeking to accommodate the society, restoring the use of the old Latin Mass favored by the society’s members, removing the bishops’ excommunications and allowing them two years of theological dialogue with the Vatican.
Aside from being sympathetic to the society’s point of view, Benedict fears the growth of a parallel church that is even more conservative than his own.
But the society, which boasts 550 priests and 200-plus seminarians, refused to sign off on a core set of doctrinal points required by the Vatican to come back into the fold.
“The brotherhood for us is not a negotiating partner, because they don’t believe in negotiations,” Mueller said.
The society’s most notorious member is Bishop Richard Williamson, who made headlines in 2009 when he denied that any Jews were killed in gas chambers during the Holocaust. His comments were a major scandal for Benedict since they were broadcast on the same day the decree lifting Williamson’s excommunication was signed.