.- The Director of LâOsservatore Romano, Giovanni Maria Vian, said this week the lifting of the excommunication of four Lefebvrist bishops was the decision of Pope Benedict XVI who âpreferred the medicine of mercy for the for the bishops excommunicated in 1988, in an extreme attempt to end the schism.â
In an interview with the Argentinean daily La Nacion, Vian said the Popeâs intention âwas to continue in the spirit of Vatican II. The Pope has preferred the medicine of mercy for the bishops excommunicated in 1988, in an extreme attempt to end the schism. As I wrote in an editorial, it was a gesture by Benedict XVI that would have pleased John XXIII and his successors. And what better occasion than the 50th anniversary of the announcement of the Council?â
Vian also explained that on Saturday, January 24, âthe day on which the decree lifting the excommunication was made public, we provided the focus which I have just described, adding at the end that the unacceptable anti-Semitic statements and opinions of persons the LâOsservatore Romano never named, could not obscure the intention of the Pope,â alluding to the statements by Bishop Richard Williamson denying the Holocaust.
Asked about a possible visit to the Holy Land by the Pope in May, Vian said, âThis Pope is not an enemy of Judaism, but rather it is the Pope who is taking the most steps towards rapprochement with the Jews. But there is somebody who wants to stop this! I donât know where but there isâ¦there are people who donât want it, because it will be a trip of peace, and this trip of peace is going to bother some and it is bothering some.â
Vian admitted the Williamson case has caused much harm âto the entire Catholic Church.â
But Vian added, âthere is a passage in the Gospel that says scandals must come. And by this I mean that the case can be positive,â since âthis episode will force the traditionalists to confront the problem of anti-Semitism, not only denial of the Holocaust, which is huge in itself, something unthinkable, because it is to deny historical truth.â
He also noted that Bishop Williamson âalso denies September 11 and thinks it was caused by the Americans. And it is a belief that is much more widespread than is believed. Anna Foa (a Jewish columnist with the LOR) wrote that denial of the Holocaust is often united with anti-American and anti-Israeli attitudes.â