The director of the Holy See’s press office, Father Federico Lombardi, denied again today that Pope Benedict knew Bishop Richard Williamson held Holocaust diminishing beliefs before the Pontiff lifted the excommunication of the Pius X Society bishop. Such charges only “lead to creating confusion for no reason,” he said.
Responding to questions from journalists about a Swedish TV report scheduled to air Thursday night, the Vatican spokesman said today that there is “absolutely no basis for stating or insinuating that the Pope had been informed beforehand.”
Father Lombardi also noted that the statement by the Vatican Secretariat of State on February 4 “clearly denied” that the Pope was aware of the positions of the Lefebvrist bishop. He went on to explain that the statement categorically disassociated the Pope and the Catholic Church from any anti-Semitic position or denial of the Holocaust.
Moreover, he said, “the Pope’s letter to the bishops on March 10 put an end to the matter and there is no reason to revisit it.”
Benedict XVI, Father Lombardi said, “has explained the meaning of the lifting of the excommunication as a gesture in support of the unity of the Church and at the same time he has shown that the accusations about the lack of respect for the Jewish people are totally unfounded, and he has simply acknowledged the limits of Vatican communications both internally and externally.”
The Holy Father “has granted a new status to the Ecclesia Dei Commission (for dialogue with the Society of St. Pius X) in order to guarantee a better and more secure manner of proceeding” in issues related to relations with the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre, he added.
Therefore, “re-launching the Williamson case only leads to creating confusion for no reason,” Father Lombardi said.