Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Benedict and Richard Williamson: Roars in Europe, Squeaks in America

Meanwhile--and speaking of popes--things are not going well with Benedict following his attempt to rehabilitate outspoken anti-Semite (and misogynistic homophobe) Richard Williamson. Particularly not in Benedict's native Germany.

The Clerical Whispers blog has been chock-full of postings lately with clippings from news accounts of the German reaction to Benedict's welcome-back of Richard Williamson (see, e.g., and Even prominent Catholic clerics in Germany are speaking out, including Archbishop Werner Thissen of Hamburg, Bishop Gebhard Fuerst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, and Cardinal Karl Lehmann, former chair of Germany's Catholic bishops' conference.

The Canadian Bishops' Conference has made a statement (,eng). A Dutch moral theologian has left the church in protest at Benedict's decision to rehabilitate SSPX ( A German theologian has called for Benedict to resign ( Austrian lay Catholic groups, already decimated over the years by John Paul II and Benedict in those popes' drive to create a leaner, meaner church, are up in arms (

And the American bishops? Not so much. Typically pusillinamous. Typically deferential to Rome. The head of the U.S. Bishops' Conference Cardinal Francis George has at last released a statement, which manages to do the traditional balancing act at which the American bishops are so skilled, praising the pope while raising faint questions about his action in this case (