But Benedictâ€™s gesture received outsized attention when one of the four bishops, Richard Williamson, did a television interview and denied that millions of Jews had died in gas chambers at Nazi death camps. Not only were Jews outraged, but so were more than a few Catholics.
As the Vatican worked to reassure Jews that Williamsonâ€™s views were not its own, steps were underway to achieve the real goal of Benedictâ€™s move: full reconciliation with the traditionalist group, known as the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), and an end to the most significant schism within the Roman Catholic Church in a half century.
Now, after more than two years of secret negotiations, the SSPX is due in mid-April to give its response to the Vaticanâ€™s final offer for reconciliation, which was delivered last September.
Regardless of whether the group accepts the popeâ€™s olive branch â€” and his insistence that SSPX give some sort of recognition to the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) â€” the outcome is bound to have a profound impact on Benedictâ€™s papacy and on the larger Catholic Church. [more]
RNS via Washington Post