Pope Benedict XVI, acceding to the far-right of the Roman Catholic Church,
revoked the excommunications of four schismatic bishops on Saturday, including
one whose comments denying the Holocaust have provoked outrage.
The decision provided fresh fuel for critics who charge that Benedict’s
four-year-old papacy has proven increasingly focused on appeasing
traditionalists who are hostile to the sweeping reforms of the Second Vatican
Council in the 1960s that sought to create a more modern and open church.
A theologian resigned to the church’s diminished status in a secular world,
Benedict has favored a smaller church of more ardent believers over a larger one
with looser faith. But his focus on doctrinal debates has come at a
So the pope wants fewer, more obedient Catholics, and doesn't mind alienating Jews, Muslims, women and rich liberal Americans to get it. I'm the last person to argue with the Church choosing to become poorer, smaller, and less relevant to the present.