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Vatican Offical Compares Church Critics to Anti-Semites

Church, Jews both ‘victims of collective violence’

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Pope Benedict XVI celebrating Easter yesterday.(Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images)

A senior Vatican official told the crowd at a Good Friday service over there that the widespread criticism of the Catholic Church over its alleged systematic cover-up of clerical pedophilia put him in mind of anti-Semitism. “I am following the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful by the whole word,” said the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household, quoting a letter from a Jewish friend. “The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt, remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”

(“The more shameful aspects”? As opposed to the less shameful aspects??)

“They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms,” he also said.

OK, so before we take totally legitimate and rightful umbrage, Cantalamessa was not saying that the critics’ case against the Church was exactly as unfounded (or founded, if that’s your thing!) as anti-Semites’ case against the Jews. He acknowledged the problem of “violence against children, of which unfortunately also elements of the clergy are stained.” Cantalamessa’s caveat was with these critics’ notion of collective responsibility: Just as an anti-Semite falsely and maliciously believes that all Jews are somehow responsible for the behavior of a single Jew, he is apparently arguing that these critics falsely and maliciously believe that the whole Church is responsible for the acts of certain bad-apple priests.

Where Cantalamessa is outrageously wrong, of course—and not a little offensive—is that while anti-Semites believe that most Jews are involved in a global conspiracy to control events, the Catholic Church actually is a global, coherent agglomeration that in the past decades has in multiple places and taking orders from the top of the hierarchy moved to cover up, paper over, and otherwise tacitly sanction pedophilia.

Like the Church, Jews know what it feels like to be victims of collective persecution. Unlike the Church, Jews don’t know what it feels like for their victimhood to be deserved.

UPDATE: Apparently, if you can read Italian, then you’d know that this article reports that “certain Catholic circles” believe that much recent criticism of the Church comes from a “New York ‘Jewish lobby.’ ”

At Vatican Service, Persecution of Jews Is Invoked [NYT]

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grampsny says:

I don’t believe the German soldiers and Polish citizens of Sislovicz buried my maternal grandparents and their Jewish neighbors alive in a pit for being pedophiles. I don’t believe the Rishkon, Roumanian Nazis sent my paternal granparents, aunts and uncles to be destroyed in concentration camps because they were pedophiles. Nor did the murder my father’s brother in France for being a pedophile. I believe that Pius XII and Benedict (?#) loved their power over Catholic pedophiles more than they loved Catholics.

Bruce D says:

The comparison is not only painfully inaccurate but also evidences a distortion of history for the Church’s self -interest. The irony, of course, is that the Church itself was and continues to be the source of rampant and theological anti-Semitism that has resulted in the spilling of Jewish blood for centuries. Shame on the Church and the Pope!

Suzanne Utts says:

OHHHH PLEASE!!!!!! Hasn’t “Holy Mother Church” ever heard the Scripture “BE SURE YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT?” Numbers 32:23. Paul the Apostle said it too “Whatsoever a man sows, that he shall also reap!” Gal. 6:7. This from-the-top cover-up has been revealed. It is fact. They brought it on themselves. Now it is time to repent which means to make a 180 degree turn from sin. Do the mea culpas and go and sin no more and part of that is expunging that element from both the priesthood AND the seminarians. The RCC needs to go BACK to the Bible, back to pre-Constantinian times/doctrines. That would be a good START. Celibacy is against Biblical doctrine. Peter was not the first pope and the Catholic church is not the “true church.” Far from it.

What an ignorant statement, how dare compare what happened to not only Jews but anyone that defied Hitler. Pedophiles are made by the teaching of Catholic Church, I do not believe that God wanted us not to have relationships with other humans and marry his name. It a religion based on their on ideas and thoughts and then to compare them to what happend in the 2nd World War is make Sarah Palin look like a member of Mensa. This man, he is just a man if you believe there is only one God as Jesus did, who was a Jew,he would know that every day the first commandment is broken by so many religions that are based on a Man that believed in one God name Jesus. Jesus did not start the Catholic Church or any other Christin Church, but the Catholic Church goes way beyond any of the other ones they have rewriten the bible to make themselves gods, and idols and kissing rings and forgiving of sins, they are so far off base that it is amazing they have so many people in their Church. I can not judge them their time will come but they should never have published such a stupid statement. They need to read the Old Testament and the 10 Commandments. Our God is a loving God not to be fear, they teach fear that is how all those priest got away with their dirty deeds. Shalom.

I am tired and my letter is poorly written I hope that my words are understood, I am irrate at this moment and I believe a spell checker would have been usefull at 2:00 A.M. I am sorry for my poor spelling,sentence structure and I hope you understand what I wrote not how I wrote it, talk about Mensa, it appears I should go back to school myself. Sorry for all the errors and my inability to change them once I sent them. Thank you and Good night fromj Alaska.

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Vatican Offical Compares Church Critics to Anti-Semites

Church, Jews both ‘victims of collective violence’

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