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The convenient timing of the Swedish TV broadcast

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 24, 2009

Thanks to Father Z for calling this odd coincidence to my attention:

In January, a Swedish TV station broadcast a report that called worldwide attention to the extreme views of Bishop Richard Williamson. The report, based on an interview with the traditionalist prelate, just happened to air at the time that Pope Benedict was planning to lift the excommunication of Bishop Williamson and the other bishops of the Society of St. Pius X. 

Naturally, most reporters at that time asked whether Pope Benedict knew about Williamson's views. (The Holy Father says he did not.) Only a few reporters questioned why that interview had been broadcast at that particular time. Was it coincidence, or were some people-- people inside the Church, presumably, with advance knowledge of the Pope's plans-- deliberately planning to put the SSPX (and the Pope) in a bad light? 

This week the same Swedish station broadcast another report, this time revealing that Vatican officials had been informed about Bishop Williamson's views in advance. There isn't much that's new in this broadcast; we already knew that some Church officials were informed, and we're still assured that the message didn't reach the Pope. There was no news in the report that couldn't have been aired weeks ago. So why broadcast the program this week?

In October, Vatican officials will begin talks with representatives of the SSPX. If someone wanted to make those talks more difficult, by creating some negative publicity for the Vatican and the SSPX, now would be the right time to do it. And lo and behold, the negative publicity has appeared.

The first time, it was possible to believe that the timing of the broadcast was coincidental. But twice?

UPDATE:

Just in from England, the headline on Simon Caldwell's story for the Catholic Herald tells the whole story: 

New Williamson claims could harm Vatican talks with SS

Right on schedule...

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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