Andrew responds to my post on the lifting of Richard Williamson’s excommunication:

… I wasn’t arguing that the man’s poisonous views demand excommunication. In canon law, that makes little sense. I argued that rescinding excommunication when the man still holds this kind of dark Vatican I view of the world and the church is a provocation – to the Jewish people, civilized people everywhere and to Catholics who thought we had left this kind of poison behind in the 1960s. It is another signal of how much contempt Benedict holds for the Second Council.

So Richardson’s views on the Holocaust don’t warrant his continued excommunication, but the potential for bad publicity does? Look: either Williamson and the other Society bishops have made sufficient reparations for the circumstances of their ordination, or they have not. If the former, then there’s no legitimate reason not to rescind the excommunications, however “provocative” such an action may seem to some. And if the analysis that I quoted Damian Thompson as giving is correct, as it certainly seems to be, then refusing to lift the latae sententiae on Williamson would have meant making the same refusal for the other bishops – which is exactly the sort of thing that a loon like Williamson seems to be after when he makes outrageous statements of the sort in question. I agree that a stronger condemnation of Williamson’s rhetoric would have been helpful, but then again it may be that the Pope preferred not to give him any more attention than he deserved.

Andrew continues:

By returning the church to its darker past, Benedict is shutting off dialogue in favor of a smaller, more orthodox and more insular form of faith.

How this charge is supposed to have any force is simply beyond me. The attempt to affect a reconciliation between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X is meant to be a step toward dialogue, and indeed has involved quite a lot of that already. If the Church has room, as I for one certainly think it should, for someone with views as untraditional as Andrew’s, then why can’t there be space in it for anti-Modern traditionalists as well?

UPDATE: More from Andrew. To say that Benedict has "embraced" Bishop Williamson is absurd, of course, and Sullivan should know better than to go in for this sort of misrepresentation. As to this:

… the Pope who decided that celibate, faithful gay men cannot be allowed into seminaries has now opened the doors of reconciliation with this filth.

I agree, actually, with many of the criticisms of the refusal to allow homosexuals into the priesthood. But there are two separate issues here, and at the risk of repeating myself may I ask where Christ stood in opposition to reconciliation, whether with "filth" or otherwise?