Catholic Church in Sweden
- Sending information to the Vatican is pure routine, says Anders
Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm in a comment on this evening’s programme on Swedish television, which focuses on what the Vatican actually knew about anti-Semitism in SSPX, before the excommunication was lifted in January this year.
The programme ‘Uppdrag granskning’, which will be broadcasted this evening on Swedish Television, is a follow-up to the internationally renowned programme sent last January. In that Bishop Richard Williamson of St Pius X’ s Society denied the existence of the Holocaust. This was only days before the Vatican lifted the excommunication of him and the three other SSPX-bishops.
The programme this evening will focus on what the Vatican actually knew, before the excommunication was lifted, as regards anti-Semitic attitudes of Richard Williamson and other SSPX-members. The TV-team has made interviews with Anders Arborelius OCD, Bishop of Stockholm, Cardinal Walter Kasper, and Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, the papal nuncio to the Nordic countries.
Bishop Anders Arborelius and the nuncio both confirm that a report
concerning the activities of SPPX in Sweden as well as a summary of the contents of the interview with Richard Williamson (as far as it was known to them) were sent to the Vatican in November 2008. Thus, forewarning that the programme with the Holocaust-denial would be broadcasted on the 21 January 2009. As it turned out, this was the same day as Pope Benedict XVI signed the document, which lifted the excommunication.
The complete text of the statement by Bishop Anders Arborelius:
Statement concerning Swedish television ‘Uppdrag granskning’ about SSPX and the Vatican on the 23 September This last winter, the Church passed through an acid test when the Pope lifted the excommunication of the bishops of the St Pius X’s Society, only days after one of them, Richard Williamson, had denied the Holocaust in the Swedish TV-programme ‘Uppdrag granskning’.
Many, inside and outside the Church, drew the wrong conclusion that the Church now had accepted anti-Semitic opinions, and the disassociation from the Second Vatican Council’s clear acceptance of religious freedom, ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue.
In a letter to the Catholic bishops in March, the Pope himself made clear that this was not the case. To be fully reconciled with the Catholic Church, SSPX has to distance itself from Williamson’s statements, and accept the Church’s teaching after the Second Vatican Council as well as the teaching of the Magisterium of all the popes after the Council.
On the 23 September ‘Uppdrag granskning’ will broadcast a follow-up rogramme focusing on what has happened since last winter, and what information the Vatican had before the lifting of the excommunication.
In the programme it will be made clear that we, at the office of the Diocese of Stockholm (as we always do in ecclesiastical matters), had forwarded the information we had about SSPX and Richard Williamson to the Vatican. We also sent the information we had as regards the contents of the interview ‘Uppdrag granskning’ made with him.
I want to underline that forwarding information to the Vatican is pure
routine, and nothing exceptional to this case.I would also wish to say that it is my personal opinion that the good that came out of last spring’s turbulence, was that all of us had to show our true colours.
The Pope and the Vatican has demanded Richard Williamson and SSPX to clearly and without hesitation distance themselves from the denial of the Holocaust and ask for forgiveness. So far, this has not occurred, at least not in Williamson’s case. Nor can we see that the representatives of SSPX have shown the openness and humility that is required for the negotiations between the Vatican and SSPX that are about to begin in October.
Unfortunately their Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, as late as July this year said that they are not willing to oblige or to compromise concerning central issues in which the leaders of the Church and SSPX do not agree. ( http://www.cfnews.org/bishopfellay-090731.htm )
Let us all pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us, and remember that Christ never abandons his Church.
+ Anders Arborelius OCD
Catholic Church in Sweden
+46 8 462 66 27/+46 70 252 19 30