John Schwenkler argues that Benedict was right to lift Holocaust denier Richard Williamson's excommunication. But I wasn't arguing that the man's poisonous views demand excommunication. In canon law, that makes little sense. I argued that rescinding excommunication when the man still holds this kind of dark Vatican I view of the world and the church is a provocation - to the Jewish people, civilized people everywhere and to Catholics who thought we had left this kind of poison behind in the 1960s. It is another signal of how much contempt Benedict holds for the Second Council. Schwenkler quotes Damian Thompson:

[The Pope] could have pointed out, in plain language, that since Williamson was not excommunicated for his opinions - Holocaust denial is not an excommunicable offence - they were not technically a barrier to the lifting of the decree. And he could also have expressed his repugnance at those views.

Should the excommunications have been lifted? Yes. I don’t think Williamson should be allowed to block the eventual reconciliation of the SSPX with the Holy See, something he does not want to happen.

My thoughts here. The Pope did nothing to condemn the Holocaust-denial rhetoric. I cannot see how the state of Israel can welcome Benedict at any point in the near future. By returning the church to its darker past, Benedict is shutting off dialogue in favor of a smaller, more orthodox and more insular form of faith.

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