Wednesday, 4 February 2009


It’s impossible to be a holocaust denier when one lives around the corner from a survivor of the Auschwitz and Belsen death camps. Mady, our good friend, neighbour and the only Jewish worshipper at our Christmas Midnight Mass, has recounted her experiences as a young girl deported from Hungary by the Nazis: http://www/
After the liberation of Belsen by the British army and a further experience of man’s inhumanity to man in the Hungarian uprising of 1956, she went on to become a top fashion designer in New York, making clothes for the wives of American presidents and film stars. This is her book: Full Circle - well worth a read if you are ever tempted to despair and lose hope.

Which brings us to the latest holocaust denier in the news, the Lefebvrist Bishop Richard Williamson, and the furore surrounding the lifting of the excommunications on members of the Society of St Pius X.
This is probably a naïve question, but why is it that the broadcast media and journalists in general seem so incapable of mastering the (not so complex) complexities of theological issues, those of Catholic theology in particular, when politics and economics are minutely analysed and given the attention which such serious and weighty matters deserve? It can’t be a simple matter of journalistic laziness, although one should never underestimate that.
Religious issues are now almost always reported from an emotional angle and usually one which tries to bring out the supposed irrationality of the subject under discussion. Reason and religion, it would seem, can’t co-exist, much less be mutually dependent.
The recent reporting of the lifting of the excommunications closely tied in with the comments of a fairly notorious fruitcake (episcopal orders notwithstanding) has been nothing less than disgraceful; most people have been left with the simplistic impression that Pope Benedict has lifted excommunications on a organisation of holocaust deniers and right wing extremists. The hidden agenda is, to be blunt, what can you expect from a German pontiff who grew up under Hitler and is doing his best to turn back the clock in terms of both the Church’s moral teaching and its sacred liturgy?
The true reason behind the decision – a desire to obey Christ’s will in terms of restoring the Church’s fractured unity, and also the Holy Father’s clear and ringing denunciation of those who seek to deny the reality of the Holocaust, have hardly been given an airing.
Read what he actually said here:
Why should this be? Pope Benedict’s emerging agenda for the Church is not to everyone’s taste. The defenders of the “progressivist” view of Vatican II, seem to have joined forces with those who are actively promoting the cause of women’s ordination, aggressively championing homosexual rights, and downplaying the sanctity of human life, both at its beginning and its ending. It is literally an unholy alliance, but one which is extremely vocal and which possesses a great deal of unthinking, instinctive support in today's world.
The media themselves dare not be counter-cultural; for sound commercial reasons they have to run with the herd, whilst (and you have to appreciate the irony) all the time congratulating themselves on their brave, socially radical, anti-establishment attitudes.
When will they - and the other children of the 1960s who are now running the world - wake up and realise that they are the establishment, and that true radicalism (true humanism even) may lie elsewhere?
But Pope Benedict has another agenda – one which the prevailing secular culture will find hard to understand – and that is the restoration of unity, holiness and beauty to the life, witness and worship of God’s Church. As only a “marginal Catholic,” someone on the ecclesial sidelines, I can only applaud him and in prayer stand by him as the wolves close in.

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