traditional Catholics

In the storm following the Pope's decision to lift the excommunication of four bishops -- triggered by the revelation that Richard Williamson, one of the bishops from the Society of St. Pius X, was a Holocaust denier and 9/11 conspiracy theorist -- a profound message about the future of Catholicism was obscured.

"This does have broader significance for Benedict's vision of the 21st-century Roman Catholicism as a 'creative minority,' " said John Allen, Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and author of numerous books on the papacy.

"[He wants] a distinct presence on the landscape that can infuse badly needed values into the broader cultural bloodstream. To do that, Benedict believes that Catholics must be clear about their own identity, so fostering a strong sense of Catholic identity is job number one of his pontificate.

"His authorization f or wider celebration of the Latin Mass is one expression of this effort, because that rite has been such a classic carrier of traditional Catholic identity over the centuries."
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