Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, the archbishop of Bordeaux, president of the French bishops’ conference and a member of the Pontifical Commission "Pro Ecclesia" assigned to deal with the problems presented by the Society of Pius X, offered the most satisfying commentary when he said, "The lifting of the excommunication is not the end, but the beginning of a process of dialogue." The status of the Society of Pius X remains unresolved, and the assent of the bishops and other Lefebvrists to the teachings of Vatican II on liturgy, religious freedom, ecumenism and interreligious relations is unclear. Reconciliation to the magisterium must include unambiguous acceptance of the teachings of the Council.
The lifting of the excommunication against British-born Richard Williamson has produced particular dismay because of his denial of the Holocaust. Not everything that touches on Judaism is a properly a matter for Jewish concern, but at a time when Catholic-Jewish relations are sorely strained, especially in Italy, it is hard to comprehend how this particular schismatic could be reconciled without candid explanation to the church and the world.
Drew Christiansen, S.J.