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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Benoît XVI prêt à vendre son âme aux fondamentalistes ?

by Cathy Ceïbé

Is Benedict XVI ready to sell his soul to the fundamentalists?

Translated Saturday 7 February 2009, by Kieran O’Meara

Vatican City. The possible rehabilitation of fundamentalist bishops has caused an outcry. What is more, it marks a strong return of fundamentalists to the fold of the Church.

The Vatican was remaining silent yesterday. However, the day before, the Italian daily Il Giornale had reported that Pope Benedict XVI was preparing to revoke the excommunication of four bishops belonging to the Society of Saint Pius, founded by the fundamentalist Marcel Lefebvre. Among them are the Frenchman, Monsignor Bernard Fellay, the leader of the ultra-reactionary organization, and the Briton Richard Williamson, a notorious Holocaust denier, who declared only last Wednesday on the Swedish airwaves, “Historical evidence thoroughly refutes the thesis that six million Jews were killed in gas chambers as a deliberate political policy of Adolf Hitler. There were no gas chambers.”

Unacceptable “remarks”, which he had publicly stated before, and of which the sovereign Pontiff could not possibly have been unaware. The possible forgiveness of these excommunicants illustrates Benedict XVI’s policy of reaching out to fundamentalist circles, even so far as to allow the return of the Latin Mass, even against the advice of the French bishops.

Since his election, the former Cardinal Ratzinger has founded the Catholic Church’s strategy of re-conquest on the return to identarian principles, including Europe’s famous “Christian roots”, at the risk of ruining the modernism or the inter-religious dialogue initiated, among other things, by the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II). It was the rejection of the decisions of the Council that led to a schism and the excommunication of the “Lefebvrists” in 1988. Their “return to grace” bears witness to the new takeover of the Catholic Church by its traditionalist right-wing.

Is Benedict XVI, judging by this recent departure, embarking on a crusade? One can remember his quoting the remarks of Manuel II Paleologus, Byzantine emperor of the fourteenth century, against Islam: “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman.” A crusade as well against secularism-“modern atheism”- and the Enlightenment which “made God superfluous”. Finally, Benedict XVI is rehabilitating Francoist priests at a time when Spain is undertaking the work of remembering the victims of the dictatorship. He is also behind an exhibition in Berlin seeking to rehabilitate Pope Pius XII, accused of passive complicity with the crimes of the Nazis. In conclusion, the reaction against progress has dogma as its reference point. “The faith is not political and politics is not a religion,” said Benedict XVI during his visit to France last September. Is this just a “pious lie”?

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