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I knew the Catholics were having trouble finding enough people to be clergy, but I didn’t think things had gotten this bad (HT: Pam’s House Blend):

I believe that the historical evidence — the historical evidence — is hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolph Hitler… I believe there were no gas chambers.

Those are some choice words from Richard Williamson, one of four bishops excommunicated 20 years ago after being appointed by the breakaway archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and whose excommunication Pope Benedict has now lifted. Here are some other viewpoints of Williamson’s. First, there’s the ever-popular “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” meme:

By lies, Judeo-Masonry brought about the first two World Wars… By lies, Judeo-Masonry is preparing for the Third World War. (source)

He says that homosexuality naturally evokes a “violent repugnance”, that homosexual behavior is a sin “crying to Heaven for vengeance”, and favors us with the following quote, which I swear I’m not making up:

“Oh, but Our Lord had chawity, (unlike thumwun we know who wath tho nathty to Pwintheth Di!). Our Lord loved thinnerth, and faggotth, and tho thould we!!” So runs the objection! (source)

Predictably, he thinks that women should not receive higher education:

…because of all kinds of natural reasons, almost no girl should go to any university!

The deep-down reason is the same as for the wrongness of women’s trousers [yes, he’s also against those —Ebonmuse]: the unwomaning of woman. The deep-down cause in both cases is that Revolutionary man has betrayed modern woman; since she is not respected and loved for being a woman, she tries to make herself a man. Since modern man does not want her to do what God meant her to do, namely to have children, she takes her revenge by invading all kinds of things that man is meant to do. (source)

And just for good measure, how about throwing in some 9/11 conspiracy lunacy as well?

None of you believe that 9-11 is what it was presented to be. It was, of course, the two towers came down, but it was absolutely for certain not two airplanes which brought down those two towers. They were professionally demolished by a series of demolition charges from top to bottom of the towers. (source)

Make no mistake about it: By personally lifting this man’s excommunication and welcoming him back into the fold, Benedict has sent an unmistakable message that he, and by extension the entire Catholic church, condones sentiments like this. His decision signals that these views are acceptable ones for a Catholic bishop to have. (Meanwhile, Catholics who believe that women should be ordained or that being gay is not a sin continue to be persona non grata to the leadership.)

Based on decisions like this one, it appears that whatever progress was achieved by John Paul II, this pope intends to roll it all back and then some. Even as the world advances, Benedict is deliberately moving the church backwards, as if intending to position it as a bulwark against modernity. And if that’s what he wants, so be it. Nothing could better support the atheist contention that the Catholic church is an archaic and obsolete institution.

As parishes shrink and the church fades, ultraconservatives like Benedict are bent on accelerating the decline, by promoting the attitudes that have led to so many people leaving in the first place. They may well wind up presiding over a tiny and hardened remnant, one that matches their medieval vision but is otherwise irrelevant, as the rest of the world progresses in its moral outlook and ultimately leaves them behind.

DAYLIGHT ATHEISM—Adam Lee is an atheist author and speaker from New York City. His previously published books include "Daylight Atheism," "Meta: On God, the Big Questions, and the Just City," and most...