The Pope recently made something of a public confession (if not a sacramental one) over the Williamson affair that I’ve blogged about a time or two already. CBS News reports on this unusual moment of papal candor:

Pope Benedict XVI has made an unusual public acknowledgment of Vatican mistakes and turmoil in his church over an outreach to ultraconservatives that led to his lifting the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop.

In an attempt to end one of the most serious crises of his papacy, he said in a letter released Thursday that the Vatican must make greater use of the Internet to prevent other controversies. …

The Vatican has said that Benedict did not now know that British-born Bishop Richard Williamson was a Holocaust denier when he lifted his excommunication on Jan. 24.

Benedict, in an implicit criticism of aides, said that not searching the Internet for information before lifting the excommunications Jan. 24 was an “unforeseen mishap” that caused tensions between Christians and Jews.

What the Pope clearly implies here, even if he doesn’t say it in so many words, is that his own aides — who no doubt had been working on reaching an accord with the Society of St Pius X for a long time now — had failed to vet the Society’s members.

Now all that remains is for Benedict to re-excommunicate Williamson for having defied his order to immediately recant his claim that no one died in gas chambers in Nazi Germany (so far Williamson has not changed his position). We’ll see if he gets around to it someday.

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