Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Not Just a Contrarian

Andrew Sullivan has had ongoing posts about the Pope reinstating a Bishop who doesn't think the Holocaust was as big a deal as it has been claimed. Apparently it is being justified by the Vatican as a "healing" measure within the church, and that, as John Allen wrote....

Canonical experts also point out that, technically speaking, Holocaust denial is not heresy. It’s a denial of historical truth, not a truth of the faith, and hence repudiating it is not inconsistent — at least from a strictly logical point of view — with the Jan. 21 decree from the Congregation for Bishops ending the excommunication of the four Lefebvrite prelates.

However, he also wrote quite correctly....

That’s a fine distinction, however, likely to be lost on much of the world........

I highlighted "it's a denial of historical truth" because I think it alludes to a larger point. The man is disputing that a heavily documented, extensively witnessed historical event actually happened. This is indeed not a matter of faith; it's a matter of mental competence.

I realize that a certain amount of denial and/or equivocation is necessary in religious belief, especially to achieve higher status in a church organization, but no one who is capable of this level of delusion should be allowed to hold a position of authority in any organization.