Is this a sign of the times or what? The dog ate my homework, I had a flat tire, and now, your email went into my spam folder, and finally, my Internet service was down.
The Pope said his error in the Williamson affair was the following,
“I have been told that consulting the information available on the Internet would have made it possible to perceive the problem early on,” Benedict, 81, said in a letter addressed to Catholic bishops worldwide and distributed by the Vatican today in Rome. “I have learned the lesson that in the future in the Holy See we will have to pay greater attention to that source of news.”We understand the Pope to be saying exactly this: I did not see the interview on YouTube where Bishop Williamson denied the Holocaust. I'm sorry. Next time I will be more careful to check YouTube before reinstating someone in the church. My Internet service was not working...
What is wrong with this? It is a transparently fake apology.
A real apology with sincerity and policy implications by Pope Benedict would say exactly this:
I am sorry for not properly vetting Bishop Williamson before reinstating him. There were many sources that I missed including the tainted reputation that the man has among his peers, church records, printed news reports, and other sources such as the TV interview that was available widely on YouTube. I now have reviewed Williamson's record more thoroughly and in particular I have watched the TV interview on YouTube. I find detestable all of the statements that Williamson has made denying the Holocaust.It took me five minutes to think about and write that statement. It is succinct, honest, real and professional. My estimation is that it will take that church another 500 years to write an equivalent one.
Because I clearly made such an egregious error, I am taking steps to reform my vetting and advisory processes within the Vatican so that an episode like it does not recur in the future. I have demoted/dismissed/disciplined the advisers who failed to properly inform me on this matter.
The Vatican takes seriously the gravity of Holocaust denial and other forms of antisemitism which it rejects and detests. Accordingly I am instituting a zero tolerance policy for it within all of the offices and branches of our church worldwide.
And just one more thing. In the citation above, the pope calls Williamson's Holocaust denial, "the problem." Let's say to the Holy Father that anything that remotely echoes, "the Jewish problem" just does not sit well with us.
The Pope's lengthy letter (here) does not use the words "Holocaust" or "denial". It's mostly concerned with internal church matters. In short, it not the "final solution" to the church's antisemitism problems.