March 18th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Chris Rennie blogged in June 2010:

If Pope Benedict XVI doesn’t get a good priest-offender communication strategy underway pretty soon, he’ll be resigning. Preposterous, you might say – it’s unthinkable a Pope could resign. 

When popes Pontian (230-235), Marcellinus (296 – 304), John XVIII (1003 – 1009) Benedict IX (no exact dates due to confusion), Celestine V (1294) and Gregory XII (1406 – 1417) put on their funny hats for the first time probably the last thing on their mind would have been the prospect of resigning. 

But resign they all did and rather messily. So Pope Boniface VIII who succeeded Celestine thought he’d better tidy up the resignation process and put it into Church Law. 

What we don’t know is whether the resignation will now be seen as a precedent for future Popes.

Talking of Popes, I have to say that so far the new Pope seems to be making a pretty good impression. His strengths (for me) are:

  • Excellent inter-faith relations in Argentina
  • His name – I like St Francis of Assisi
  • Appears relatively down to earth
  • A focus on helping poor people, and that the Church should be poorer
  • Not from the Curia, so may help clean up the corruption

Pope Benedict resigns

February 12th, 2013 at 8:05 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Pope Benedict says in a historic announcement he no longer has the mental and physical strength to run the Roman Catholic Church and will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign, leaving his inner circle “incredulous”.

Church officials tried to relay a climate of calm confidence in the running of a 2000-year-old institution but the decision could lead to one of the most uncertain and unstable periods in centuries for a Church besieged by scandal and defections.

The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XI in 1378 and the last voluntary resignation was Pope Celestine V in 1294.

In a general sense I think it is a good think when leaders retire, rather than carry on until death – no matter how infirm. Pope Benedict may have helped set a useful precedent for the future.

I note with monarchies that today many monarchs will  live to be 100, which means that their children may not succeed to the throne until they are 70 years old – or older. A retirement age would be a sensible thing.

Resigning after just eight years may put some pressure on the College on Cardinals to elect a younger Pope.  No doubt in the following weeks speculation will focus on who his successor will be.

Vatican rejects apology

March 2nd, 2009 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Reuters reports:

The Vatican has rejected an apology from a bishop whose denial of the Holocaust caused international uproar between Jews and Catholics, saying it did not meet its demand for a full and public recanting.


Williamson told Swedish television in an interview broadcast on Jan. 21, “I believe there were no gas chambers”. He said no more than 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, rather than the 6 million accepted by mainstream historians.

In his statement on Thursday, Williamson said, “I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.”

Yes he has apologised only for the hurt, not for the views. I also found it interesting he could not bring himself to mention “Jews” in his apology. That would be too much for an anti-semite.

I’ve now worked out why he is such an anti-semite:

The row over Williamson has led many to take a closer look at the SSPX, its view of Jews and its future in the Church.

The Vatican says that before the SSPX can be fully readmitted into the Church, its leaders and members must first accept the teachings of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, which urged respect for Judaism and other religions.

One of its key documents, “Nostra Aetate” (In Our Times), repudiated the concept of collective Jewish guilt for Christ’s death.

This explains a lot. He actually believes the Jews did kill Jesus and are collectively guilty for it. What a nutter.

The Pope’s reinstated Holocaust Denying Bishop

February 4th, 2009 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

German Chancellor Angela Merkel joins the long iist of people criticising Pope Benedict’s decision to reinstate the Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson to the fold.

It is an appalling decision. Bishop Williamson is a fully fledged anti-semite. Some examples:

  • believes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are accurate
  • Jews are aiming for world domination
  • the Holocuast never happened says “There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!”
  • The Sept 11 attacks were an inside job
  • Has been a guest of David Irving’s
  • Says that Stalin, not Hitler, was to blame for WWII
  • Talks of Jews preparing the Anti-Christ’s throne in Jerusalem
  • Says Jews used the Holocaust lies to extort money from the German Government

The Bishop has expressed regret for the controversy, but has not retracted any of his statements. Oh, he also believes girls should not go to university saying “true universities are for ideas, ideas are not for true girls, so true universities are not for true girls”.

The Pope is from Germany himself. He saw the horrors of Hitler as a young boy, forced into the Hitler Youth against his will. It is incredibly disappointing that he can not see how offensive his acceptance of Bishop Williamson back into the Church is. The signal it sends is that the Roman Catholic Church condones anti-semitism, even if this is not the case.