Posts Tagged ‘Vatican’

Holocaust revisionist denier Bishop Richard Williamson has worn out his welcome in Argentina.

Argentina has thrown out Holocaust-denying British bishop Richard Williamson, saying he must leave the country in 10 days.

The Interior Ministry said last night Williamson had failed to declare his true job as director of a seminary on immigration forms and because his comments on the Holocaust “profoundly insult Argentine society, the Jewish community and all of humanity by denying an historic truth”.

Williamson’s views created an uproar last month when Pope Benedict XVI lifted his excommunication and that of three other bishops consecrated by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre as part of a process meant to heal a rift with ultra-conservatives.

The flap led the Vatican to demand that the clergyman recant before he could be admitted as a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church. It also prompted the Society of St Pius X, founded by Lefebvre, to dismiss Williamson as director of the La Reja seminary in Argentina and to distance itself from his views.

The Vatican had no comment on the Argentine action.

Although Williamson has been in Argentina since 2003, the government’s secretary for religious affairs, Guillermo Oliveri, said immigration officials only realised he had made an undeclared change of jobs when the controversy hit the press.

But Mr Oliveri made clear the Holocaust uproar played a key part.

“I absolutely agree with the expulsion of a man residing in our country following his statements (denying) one of the greatest human tragedies,” he said.

It was not clear when or where Williamson would go. A person who answered the phone at the Society of St Pius X said Williamson was still in the country, then hung up.

I find it interesting that the Argentinian government used the immigration excuse to kick him out of the country. Even if he hadn’t included inaccurate information on his papers, I’m sure they would have found some loophole to throw him out. It’s worth keeping in mind that the people and government of Argentina are extremely sensitive when it comes to the Nazis, World War II, the Holocaust and antisemitism.

Several Nazi collaborators and war criminals, including Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele, fled to Argentina after the war, often with the blessings of Argentinian president Juan Peron.

More recently, there were two terrorist attacks on Jewish facilities in Buenos Aires: the Israeli embassy in 1992 and a Jewish community center in 1994.

The global uproar over Williamson’s comments show just how raw and heated emotions are about the Holocaust more than 60 years later. I find it astonishing that an educated man like him could genuinely believe discredited theories to whitewash what really happened. Whether or not he will recant and change his views is entirely up to him, but until he does no church, seminary, school, or organization will want anything to do with him.

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Legionaries of Christ founder Marcial Maciel has been dead for a year, and while he endured public scrutiny and humiliation during his final years at the hands of the press and the Vatican, we now find out that wasn’t the only thing he did to disgrace himself, his vocation, the order he founded, and the Catholic Church. From the New York Times:

The Legionaries of Christ, an influential Roman Catholic religious order, have been shaken by new revelations that their founder, who died a year ago, had an affair with a woman and fathered a daughter just as he and his thriving conservative order were winning the acclaim of Pope John Paul II.

Before his death, the founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, had been forced to leave public ministry by Pope Benedict XVI because of accusations from more than a dozen men who said he had sexually abused them when they were students.

But most members of the Legion continued to defend Father Maciel, asserting that the accusations had not been proved. Father Maciel died in January 2008 at the age of 87, and was buried in Mexico, where he was born.

Now the order’s general director, the Rev. Álvaro Corcuera, is quietly visiting its religious communities and seminaries in the United States and informing members that their founder led a double life, current and former Legionaries said.

The order is not publicly confirming the details of the scandal.

Jim Fair, a spokesman for the Legionaries, said only: “We have learned some things about our founder’s life that are surprising and difficult for us to understand. We can confirm that there are some aspects of his life that were not appropriate for a Catholic priest.”

Some former members said they expected the order to renounce its founder, but Mr. Fair said: “He is the founder and he always will be the founder of the order. That’s one of the mysteries that we all see in life is that sometimes good things come out of less than perfect human beings.”

In Catholic religious orders, members are taught to identify with the spirituality and values of the founder. That was taken to an extreme in the Legionaries, said the Rev. Stephen Fichter, a priest in New Jersey who left the order after 14 years.

“Father Maciel was this mythical hero who was put on a pedestal and had all the answers,” Father Fichter said. “When you become a Legionarie, you have to read every letter Father Maciel ever wrote, like 15 or 16 volumes. To hear he’s been having this double life on the side, I just don’t see how they’re going to continue.”

Father Fichter, once the chief financial officer for the order, said he informed the Vatican three years ago that every time Father Maciel left Rome, “I always had to give him $10,000 in cash — $5,000 in American dollars and $5,000 in the currency of wherever he was going.”

Father Fichter added: “As Legionaries, we were taught a very strict poverty; if I went out of town and bought a Bic pen and a chocolate bar, I would have to turn in the receipts. And yet for Father Maciel there was never any accounting. It was always cash, never any paper trail. And because he was this incredible hero to us, we never even questioned it for a second.”

The Beatles song “Sexy Sadie” seems especially appropriate at this point. Especially the following lyric:

Sexy Sadie what have you done,
You made a fool of everyone

Better late than never.

VATICAN CITY–The Vatican’s newspaper has finally forgiven John Lennon for declaring that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, calling the remark a “boast” by a young man grappling with sudden fame.

The comment by Lennon to a London newspaper in 1966 infuriated Christians, particularly in the United States, some of whom burned Beatles’ albums in huge pyres.

But time apparently heals all wounds.

“The remark by John Lennon, which triggered deep indignation mainly in the United States, after many years sounds only like a `boast’ by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success, after growing up in the legend of Elvis and rock and roll,” Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said.

For the record, these were Lennon’s original comments which created the firestorm back in 1966:

“Christianity will go. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

No word yet on whether L’Osservatore Romano plans to offer similar comments about the Lennon songs “Imagine” and “God.”