Benedict XVI and the SSPX Controversy (The Church in the World) (The Society of St. Pius X)
Catholic Insight 2009, April, 17, 4
On January 24, 2009, Pope Benedict made a charitable gesture by lifting the 20 year-old excommunication of four Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) bishops (Bishops Fellay, Tissier de Malleras, Williamson and de Galaretha). The Society of St. Pius X was founded in 1970 by French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who during the Council refused to accept the Constitutions on the Liturgy, Ecumenism, and Religious Freedom. The moment the Vatican announced the lifting of the excommunication, media sources broadcast a TV interview from Swedish television, produced in November 2008, in which one of the four bishops, Bishop Williamson, was seen to deny the persecution of the Jews during World War II. Over the next six weeks Bishop Williamson and his crack pot denial of the Jewish holocaust was the media's subject of the day. With the help of the usual Catholic dissenters, and a suspicious, hostile, Jewish press Pope Benedict was accused of anti Semitism, stupidity, irrationality, and other assorted vices, drowning out any reflection about the significance of the January 24 decree. To this we now return.