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Pierced

Fissures of Men

Mending religious rifts isn't easy work.

By Charles P. Pierce
March 22, 2009
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Dear Cardinal Sean O'Malley: I think, maybe, you owe me an explanation. It seems you reached out to local Jewish leaders and expressed an extreme case of the vapors regarding Pope Benedict XVI's decision to un-excommunicate four "traditionalist" bishops -- "traditionalist" being fairly defined in the church of my birth by the phrase, "Galileo got off easy" -- including one sod named Richard Williamson, who has said that the Nazis did not use gas chambers to murder Jews during World War II. Naturally, even though Il Papa ordered Williamson to recant what he'd said -- and wasn't satisfied with his apology -- Jewish leaders still were not particularly pleased by Holy Mother Church's, uh, unholy scramble to welcome back this delusional old coot. So here you come, reaching out to Jewish leaders to explain that, yes, the church and the pope do believe the Holocaust happened, but that it's better to let Williamson and his allied wing nuts back into the church lest they spend the next few years out in the theological wilderness getting even crazier. Wait, now. I think it's time for you to "reach out" to us Catholics and explain why it's a good idea to allow crazy people back into the hierarchy. I had not noticed such a conspicuous lack of crackpot bishops that we need His Holiness playing Spot the Loony in his spare time. As a reasonable member of your flock, I will chalk this up to a clerical error.

Charles P. Pierce / cpierce@globe.com

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