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Friday, April 02, 2010

Of Pet Goats and Apologies

Reuters and other news sources have found a new way to milk their pet goat.

Reports indicate that several important Jewish men and women are very upset that the Pope's personal preacher mentioned the opinion of his Jewish friend during his Good Friday homily. Reading from a letter he had received, the preacher pointed out that - from his Jewish friend's perspective - the MSM attack on the Church was comparable to the anti-Semitism displayed in Europe in the early part of the 20th century.

By a rare coincidence, this year our Easter falls on the same week of the Jewish Passover which is the ancestor and matrix within which it was formed. This pushes us to direct a thought to our Jewish brothers. 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. I received in this week the letter of a Jewish friend and, with his permission, I share here a part of it.

He said: “I am following with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the Church, the Pope and all the faithful by the whole world. 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. Therefore I desire to express to you personally, to the Pope and to the whole Church my solidarity as Jew of dialogue and of all those that in the Jewish world (and there are many) share these sentiments of brotherhood. Our Passover and yours are undoubtedly different, but we both live with Messianic hope that surely will reunite us in the love of our common Father. I wish you and all Catholics a Good Easter.”

And also we Catholics wish our Jewish brothers a Good Passover. We do so with the words of their ancient teacher Gamaliel, entered in the Jewish Passover Seder and from there passed into the most ancient Christian liturgy:

“He made us pass
From slavery to liberty,
From sadness to joy,
From mourning to celebration,
From darkness to light,
From servitude to redemption
Because of this before him we say: Alleluia.”

That's it. As with the non-existent Tea Party "N" word slur from a few days ago, there is no use of the "H" word (Holocaust) or "S" word (Shoah) for the simple reason that it is possible to discuss violence against the Jews without calling either to mind.

People may not realize it, but the Holocaust didn't start until well after World War II had begun. Nearly all the death camps are in Poland or Byelorussia - captured territory. Google it.

Personally, I'm a little tired of the Jews trying to claim the Holocaust as their own personal disaster. After all, the Roma (Gypsies) suffered, on a per capita basis, much more severely in the extermination camps then the Jews did. Indeed, almost none of the Gypsies survived the war, and they are still subject to enormous persecution. But the Roma don't have strong political pressure groups, so no one makes movies about what happened to them.

Furthermore, while 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, so were 3 million Catholics. Twelve million people died. Auschwitz alone killed Catholics EXCLUSIVELY for the first 26 months of operation (actually, one Jew did die at Auschwitz during that time period, but you get the idea). However, Catholics haven't spent the last seventy years kvetching about it.

The Holocaust targeted Jews.
The Holocaust did NOT target JUST Jews.

Catholics have as much right to invoke the Holocaust as the Jews or the Roma.

But all of this is moot, since Fr. Cantalamessa didn't invoke the Holocaust.

Instead, he invoked pre-war anti-Semitism. Now, anti-Semitism was rife in Europe for decades before the Holocaust started killing Jews. Indeed, Hitler took power in 1933, and the MSM of the 1930's ran some absolutely scurrilous attacks on the Jews between 1933 and 1939. But, apart from a somewhat higher level of virulence, this MSM anti-Semitism was what most European countries had in their own newspapers between the Dreyfuss Affair and the beginning of WW II.

This is the violence that Cantalamessa and his friend were discussing.

So, to say that there is a correlation between:
(1) how the MSM in Europe treated the Jews in the 1920's and 30's and
(2) how the MSM today treats the Catholics is
(3) merely to speak aloud an historical fact.

Still, Elan Steinberg, vice-president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants is upset. Rabbi Marvin Hier of Simon Wiesenthal Center is perturbed. A spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is heartbroken. Rabbi James Rudin, senior interreligious adviser to the American Jewish Committee, is shocked.

Maybe they don't read history books.

In any case, there is a demand for a personal apology from the Pope.

Now, I would think it would be a lot more efficient if the people who are offended by this accursed Catholic-loving Jew went out, found Cantalamessa's Jewish friend and just beat on him until he started thinking like a "real Jew", or whatever it is they think themselves to be.

After all, if they're mad at him, why bring us into it?
Like the New York Times, we're just the messenger here.

But, OK.

Let's take the apology aspect of it seriously.

..... exactly what is the Pope supposed to say?

"I'm sorry my preacher has Jewish friends"? That won't go over well.

How about, "I apologize for my preacher daring to portray Jews who disagree with other Jews - we all know they think as a monolithic block."? No, call me dense, but I can't see how that apology will help either.

What if he said, "We who are goy salute you!" It has a certain ring to it, but maybe not enough of an apology aspect.

Ok, ok, I got it... "Jews are only supposed to notice attacks on their people. We all know they have no sympathy or interest in how others suffer from attacks. I am grief-stricken that my preacher attempted to violate that stereotype." ....

No....., no, on second thought, I don't think that one will work either.

This is a real puzzler.

So, could all these offended individuals explain exactly how the Pope is supposed to apologize to the Jews for the remarks of a Jew?

Has anyone got suggestions?

PS - Has anyone noticed that this Pope gets in trouble not for what he himself says, but for telling us what other people said? First Regensburg and the quote an Eastern Emperor made about Muslims, now this. Maybe if he had gone to journalism school and got a union card, he wouldn't get so much grief. The boys in the biz hate scab labor.


Elizabeth said...

I'm sure the pope will find a way to capitulate. It seems like catholics always do... :/

Anonymous said...

As a Catholic, I am sorry if they were offended. We are right, they wrong. I am also deeply saddened and deeply sorry that we, as Catholics have not expressed this and all universal and eternal truths in ways that would save all souls from eternal damnation. And now, I am deeply sorry if anyone is offended that I just played the hell card, but that too is based in fact.
I apologized, so there.

(BTW, Special thanks to President Obama for teaching me how to apologised effectively i.e. INDIANAPOLIS, April 12.2008)

Dymphna said...

The Roma are loathed in general in Europe so if they complained in public the reaction would be savage.

Brendan said...

Implicit in the preacher's reference is that anti-Catholic sentiment is, in some ways, comparable to anti-Semitic sentiment, including anti-Catholic sentiment inflamed by anger at child abuse.
I would presume that those calling for an apology are offended because anti-Semitism, by definition, is always unjustified, whereas anti-Catholic sentiment is, after all, against Catholics, and priests, and Rome, and the Pope, and stuff.
So the Holy Father should apologize that any Catholic should sully the good name of Jews with such a base analogy.
That is, it is not the Jewish friend's words that offend, nor the reality of the MSM's behavior, but the implication that the likes of the Pope might have the same right to be defended against the attacks as Jews do.