I can’t believe it. An AP story on MSNBC nailed a thoroughly confusing issue regarding the canonical status of the 4 bishops whose excommunications were lifted by Pope Benedict XVI. Check it out:
The church considers the society’s ordinations are “valid but illicit.”
They are valid because Lefebvre was a validly ordained bishop in the Catholic
Church, and thus could validly ordain others. But because Lefebvre was suspended
in 1976, he had no authority from the pope to consecrate bishops, meaning their
consecrations were illicit, or illegal in the church’s eyes. Subsequent
ordinations the group carries out are similarly considered “valid but
That… is exactly right. Even a lot of Catholics don’t get the “valid but illicit” classification, so I’m pleased as punch that someone in the media seems to have been paying attention (I’ll even overlook the small-c “church” designation of the global Church).
Now… can the rest of the media correct the gross editorial errors from a few months ago in suggesting that the Catholic Church was about to bring Bp. Williamson in as a “Catholic bishop”? You know, the rumor that caused so much hurt within both Catholic and Jewish communities (to say nothing of inter-religious dialogue)? Or are genuine apologies the sole purview of the pope on this one?