For his actions, Archbishop Lefebvre, his co-consecrator, and the four bishops they consecrated were excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict has now granted a remission of the excommunication of the four bishops.
This is significant on two counts:
- As noted in a briefing published by TwoMinuteBriefing in July of 2007 entitled The Catholic Church - Retrenching to Advance, under the direction of Pope Benedict, the Catholic Church appears to be retrenching, becoming more conservative, in order to court its more conservative core. It's conservative core is where its' strength lies. By courting its most conservative members, the Catholic Church places itself in a better position to face the challenges of the world today, and possibly to expand into Africa, Asia, and India.
- Causing controversy, however, is the fact that one of the four priests reinstated by this recent action is Bishop Richard Williamson who is on record as essentially denying the Holocaust. That the Vatican has looked favorably upon him in any degree, let alone reinstating him, has ired Jewish groups around the world. (Read the London Times article HERE.)