The excommunication lift by Pope Benedict is getting lots of airplay in the secular media. I caught the end of John Allen on Talk of the Nation while awaiting the deparure of the young miss from school. Mr Allen talks a lot. I haven’t heard many of his interviews, but he seemed to be trying to fill the time up with explanations. Maybe it was for the non-Catholic public. Maybe it was just the nature of the material.
David Gibson notes Rabbi Shlomo Riskin calling for an examination of conscience. It must be galling for SSPX supporters and opponents alike to hear calls from outside Christianity for Rome to examine the sacramentality of this event.
I did like John Allen’s response on-air when confronted by a caller asking about the difference between excommuncations rendered in Saint Louis. Other Catholics won’t notice the nuance.
The Church will be facing a crisis of conscience and reconciliation over this. I think the hierarchy and theologians are prepared with answers, like Mr Allen describing the pope’s duty to his ministry of unity and the worry about the LeFebvre bishops creating a self-replicating church. We don’t see so much concern from B16 on the Old Catholics alienated from the ramrodding of the modernist development of papal infallibility. No spin can disguise the pope is rather selective in his efforts toward unity.
Mr Allen also alluded to the pope’s clumsiness with PR. For a guy who writes and gets his opinions out there, one might expect a little more care in how his pronouncements affect evangelization, not to mention ecumenism.
On the other hand, this episode shows the potential for disaster when bishops aren’t selected carefully. The LeFebvre Four seem to rank along with Law and Milingo as major embarassments and obstacles for Rome, if not Christianity as a whole. I wonder how and why they were chosen for “episcopal” ministry in ’88. If these were the best candidates available, then I’d have to say the SSPX was a pretty sorry outfit then. Has anything changed?