Pope's preacher: Accusations akin to anti-Semitism
By FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press Writer
VATICAN CITY – At a solemn Good Friday service, Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher said allegations that the pontiff covered up sex abuse cases by Catholic clergymen reminded him of the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism."
Within hours, a Vatican spokesman sought to distance the pope from his preacher's remarks after both Jews and a leading abuse victims group reacted sharply, criticizing the comparison with violence that culminated in the Holocaust to the accusations made against Benedict.
The Vatican has been on the defensive in recent days, saying the church has been singled out and collectively stereotyped for the problem of pedophilia, which it says is a society-wide issue.
Good Friday is a particularly delicate day in a decades-long effort by Jews and Catholics to overcome a legacy of mistrust. Particularly harmful to the relations was the long-held Catholic belief that Jews were collectively responsible for executing Christ. A landmark achievement of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s was a declaration stating the Jews should not be blamed for the crucifixion.
As the pope listened in a hushed St. Peter's Basilica, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa likened accusations against the pontiff and the Catholic church in sex abuse scandals in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere to "collective violence" suffered by the Jews.
Benedict, 82, looked weary as he sat near the central altar at the early evening prayer service before a candlelit Way of the Cross procession near the Colosseum that commemorates Christ's suffering and death. (I bet he did.)
Cantalamessa, in his reflections for the pope on the Catholic church's most solemn day, said he was inspired by a letter from an unidentified Jewish friend who was upset by the "attacks" against Benedict.
Jews "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," said Cantalamessa, a Franciscan priest.
Quoting from the letter, Cantalamessa said his Jewish friend was following "with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful of 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," he said, quoting from the letter.
The Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, later contacted The Associated Press and said Cantalamessa wasn't speaking as a Vatican official. He said Cantalamessa's homily did not represent an official church position, saying such parallelism can lead to misunderstandings. (Perhaps Fr. Lombardi should have vetted Cantalamessa's sermon.)
Benedict didn't speak after the homily but chanted prayers in a tired voice. He leaned up to remove a red cloth covering a tall crucifix, which was passed to him by an aide. He took off his shoes, knelt and prayed before the cross.
Victims say Benedict — both as a former archbishop of Munich and later as a Vatican cardinal directing the Holy See's policy on handling abuse cases — was part of a culture of cover-up and confidentiality basically devised to protect church hierarchy.
Cantalamessa's likening the accusations to the Holocaust rankled U.S. Jewish leaders.
"Shame on Father Cantalamessa," said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, in a statement. "The Vatican is entitled to defend itself, but the comparison with anti-Semitic persecution is offensive and unsustainable. We are sorely disappointed."
Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, who said he recently had "cordial" talks at the Vatican with church and other Jewish leaders as part of efforts on both sides to improve Catholic-Jewish relations, sounded dismayed.
"It's an unfortunate use of language to make this comparison, since the collective violence against the Jews resulted in the death of 6 million, while the collective violence spoken of here has not led to murder and destruction, but perhaps character assault," said Greenebaum, U.S. director of interreligious relations for the American Jewish Committee.
German Jewish leader Stephan Kramer described Cantalamessa's remarks as unheard-of "insolence."
"It is repulsive, obscene and most of all offensive toward all abuse victims as well as to all the victims of the Holocaust," said Kramer, general secretary of Germany's Central Council of Jews, in an interview with the AP in Berlin. (For sure, one could actually lose track of who the real victims are, and it isn't the Pope or the Vatican.)
Painful memories of the strained relations between the two religions were raised earlier in Benedict's papacy, when he favored a revival of the pre-Vatican Council version of the Tridentine Mass, which includes a prayer for the conversion of Jews.
Cantalamessa in his sermon said there was no need to dwell on the scandals. He referred to the sexual abuse of children by clergy, saying "unfortunately, not a few elements of the clergy are stained" by the violence. Still, he said, "there is sufficient talk outside of here."
A vocal U.S.-based victims lobby, SNAP, reacted scathingly to the sermon.
"It's heartbreaking to see yet another smart, high-ranking Vatican official making such callous remarks that insult both abuse victims and Jewish people," said David Clohessy of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "It's morally wrong to equate actual physical violence and hatred against a large group of innocent people with mere public scrutiny of a small group of complicit officials." (That's true, but it really is beginning to look like the Vatican has lost it's collective moral compass.)
"The Catholic hierarchy has engaged in and still engages in widely documented, self-serving and ongoing cover-ups of devastating clergy sex crimes. That's why church records are being disclosed, predator priests are being exposed and Catholic officials feel besieged."
While Cantalamessa delivered his ringing defense of the pontiff, the church in Benedict's native Germany made the unusually frank admission that it failed to help victims of clerical abuse because it wanted to protect its reputation.
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of the German bishops' conference, said clerics neglected helping victims because of a "wrongly intended desire to protect the church's reputation."
I feel so sorry for Fr. Lombardi. I bet he so wishes he worked someplace else. The clinician in me has a few observations to make, but I'll forgo and just let the previous post speak for me.
There is one thing I would NOT want to be right now: an honest & decent priest with true faith & spirituality correctly grounded in the Gospel.ReplyDelete
Why? Because 'company policy' in the Church organization requires me by Canon Law to be silent about the malfeasance of my brother priests.
I cannot report an abuser to the police or local DA as I should - by most state laws & by obvious morality. I must remain silent. I have to shake his hand & pretend to be fraternally supportive.
It does not matter if I am his superior, or he is mine. I have to shut my mouth & eyes. I have to LIE.
Priests who HAVE spoken up, reported offenders (even within church channels), or been supportive to victims & their families have been treated as criminals by Church authority figures. Ostracised, censured, demoted. Scorned by their fellow priests for 'breaking the Black Wall of Silence".
Similarly, laity who have spoken up & tried to help victims have been horribly brutalized by their fellow lay Catholics...AND the clergy/hierarchy.
Abuser Priests who were removed from ministry - and then returned to active duty (often as the Chancery's shark lawyers forced the victims to give up persueing the matter, in tears) - are joyously welcomed back to their parishes. Hailed as 'those who have suffered like Christ".
Uh-huh...'they' suffered. Not the shattered victims.....
Christ is & shall allow the Crucifixion & Death of His Mystical Body, the Church. The good will suffer along with the bad.
The good have already suffered much. Either vicariously, or by being effectively shut out of parishes now dominated by Opus Dei, the Legion of Christ, Neo-Catechumenals, et. al. Or because they spoke up about the abuses (of ALL kinds).
If there is a public backlash against the Church Administration, then even the good shall suffer. As they will be identified (wrongly) as being at one with the evildoers.
As to the Church Administration, Christ foretold what shall be:
"For I say you are the sons of they who killed the prophets....that I sent to you.....therefore, upon you shall fall all the just blood spilled upon the earth......Not one stone shall be left upon another.
Behold: your house shall be left to you, desolate"
Anon Y. Mouse
The Vatican is pouring gasoline on the flames!!!ReplyDelete
They, not the press, not the victims, not the bloggers - are their own worst enemies!
It's pretty amazing to see Karma working so rapidly!
If you know a child is being abused or has been abused - and is still a child, you are obliged to call Social Services. This is true in most states. But you do not have to give your name. You can report, just as you write here, anonymously.
For any organization to specifically teach and compel it's adherents to break the law is abominable! And that in itself should be cause for criminal action against the church.
This is the case only if the person is still a minor.
I did not hear Canteletrutha's sermon....fortunately!
It seems that everytime he opens his mouth, he sticks his foot in it. And then they Vatican sticks their foot in their mouth in playing the 'we disavow it' routine.
There are only two possibilities:
a) they are so completely inept as to let this priest say embarrassing things over & over....OR
b) this is staged plausible deniability. They are denying responsibility for his words....which they knew he was going to say in the first place.
Anon Y. Mouse
You may well be correct about the anonymity of such reporting - assuming it works that way in those states where it is mandatory. I have no clue, but that would make sense.
Yet it points up the enforced immorality in the 'priest culture'. It is Ecclesiastical Freemasonry. You do not inform on a 'brother'. That is their culture, backed by Canon Law.
Just try to discuss the abuse issue with the average priest. You will see the face tighten, the obvious display of nerves....even if he is personally innocent. As he realizes he must both lie to you & try to derail the conversation. I have seen this in person & it is very sad.
I believe the 'smoking gun' in re the church policies are in Canon Law & the documents affirming it signed by Ratzginer's CDF office in his tenure.
Anon Y. Mouse
At some point, Anon, I wonder if the world court will step in. Certainly the church is in violation of the UN Convention on Human Rights.ReplyDelete
That the church does not really train priests in ethics, but rather in obedience to authority is part of the problem here. There is no sense of ethics even in adult so-called "consensual" relationships, whether same-sex or opposite-sex. For a priest can never offer commitment and thus is "using" the person, irregardless of whether the person starts out feeling used.
It is both a breakdown in morality and a failure to provide training in ethical thinking - something we therapists work on constantly. It's really horrifying that a hierarchy that purports to be led by God would neglect training for making moral/ethical decisions. Instead, appearing to train parrots and puppets. Once this is clear to the world, I wonder how long it will be before the World Court begins to accumulate evidence for indictments. They CAN indict a head of state. They've done it before!
From what I have observed there is a huge disconnect between the alleged curriculum of US Seminaries....and what their graduates actually know. To be brutally honest - with some rare exceptions - most Seminary graduates are amazingly ignorant.
The only possible conclusion is that most of them were either asleep or allowed to 'coast' through the courses, or the published curriculum is merely a cover story. Perhaps a little of both.
What they seem to know (from observation & overheard conversations) is 'priest culture'. What they can get away with under Canon Law. How to do creative accounting with parish finances. Favorite worldly pursuits. The overall prevalant attitude is that of a privileged, private men's club.
It seems that they are educated in sound bytes. They know just enough key buzzwords, catchphrases, & quotes to do on-upmaship on the average Catholic. That is neither the product of education nor of genuine spiritual direction. It is the training of a Facilitator.
A quick example is Fr. George Rutler of EWTN fame. If you can bear to listen to him - do so. His shows are a stream of....one-liners. Disconnected bits of impressive intellectual trivia. But, would you entrust the care of your soul to the man?
And yet his level of education is far above most.
"Training parrots & puppets"..indeed! Clerical 'success' is directly proportional to the level of obedience uber alles.
Yes - you are right: the World Court can indict a head of state. They may regret having made the Lateran Treaty of 1929.
...and that the official age of sexual consent in the Vatican City State for either gender/sexuality.....is 12.
Anon Y. Mouse
The homily demonstrates chutzpah!ReplyDelete
Mishegas! (insanity - in Yiddish)ReplyDelete
THERE IS ONE SUPREME POWER CALLED "GOD". "The Lord, Our God, He is One"ReplyDelete
THERE IS ONE MIND, "GOD" WITH EXTENDING IN INDIVIDUAL EXPRESSIONS.
THERE IS ONE SOUL..THE OVER SOUL OF ALL...EXTENDING IN INDIVIDUAL EXPRESSIONS
THERE IS ONE FAITH...FAITH IS..IT IS ACCEPTING, BELIEVING, TRUSTING
PROBLEM: HUMANS WANT TO CONTROL, MANIPULATE AND CHANGE "GOD" AND HIS WORD "TEACHINGS" TO US. THE TORAH IS ACTUAL TRUTH ON HOW TO LIVE LIFE. PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO FIT THE "MOLD" OR FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS "CHANGE IT TO FIT THEM" AND TRY TO MAKE THE REST OF THE PEOPLE FOLLOW THEIR BELIEFS.
THERE IS ONE TRUE BELIEF...STUDY TORAH...STUDY THE BIBLE...LEARN FOR YOUR SELF AND THEN ATTEND THE SYNAGOGUE OR CHURCH OF LIKE THINKING INDIVIDUAL, WHO ARE ON YOUR LEVEL OF THINKING. LIFE IS A JOURNEY AND AS YOU GROW, YOU WILL MOVE INTO DIFFERENT AREAS AND ASPECTS OF LIVING. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, DON'T CHANGE HIS TEACHINGS AND YOU WILL FIND HAPPINESS, PROTECTION, LOVE AND PROSPERITY. THERE IS A LESSON ON EVERY ISSUE OF LIFE IN THE TORAH AND BIBLE. RESEARCH FOR YOUR SELF...DON'T FOLLOW MAN'S RULES..BECAUSE THE CHURCH IS CHANGING TO "FIT" MAN, NOT "GOD".
April 3, 2010 at 7:16 pm ALLOW PRIESTS TO MARRY...GIVE THEM FREEDOM TO BE A MAN OF GOD !ReplyDelete
PRIESTS should carefully select a Wife that Serves the Lord God Almighty as he does; one that supports him in prayer and that is GOD’S WILL. The Blessed Eternal Creator, saw that Adam was lonely and CREATED FOR HIM A MATE! THAT WAS A BLESSING AND GOD’S CHOICE AND WILL !.
Every Rabbi MUST BE MARRIED ! Judaism is the ROOT from which the Roman Catholic Church took it’s teachings UNTIL they “rebelled” at GOD’S WORD! Many priests have become “homosexual” after entering priest hood. They are human, and I knew one from grade school. The Roman Catholic Church MADE THAT YOUNG MAN A “HOMOSEXUAL” AND THAT IS FOR SURE….PUT GUILT ON HIM. HE WAS FROM SOUTH AMERICA, WHERE HOMOSEXUALITY IS PREVALENT…ESPECIALLY IN THE CHURCH.
It is a MAJOR “MORTAL” SIN THAT THE CHURCH HAS BACKED UP THE IDEA OF CELIBACY AND MADE THE FOUNDATION FOR “YOUNG BOY CHILD MOLESTATIONS” AS THEY WERE INNOCENT “ALTAR BOYS”.
STOP THE TRADITION…FREE THE PRIESTS TO BE GOD LOVING, GOD FEARING MEN WITH A CHOICE TO LIVE AS GOD, HIMSELF CHOSE. JESUS “Y’SHUA” MIGHT HAVE BEEN MARRIED TO MARY MAGDALENE, WE DON’T KNOW FOR SURE, BUT SHE WAS “ALWAYS” WITH HIM. JESUS “Y’SHUA” DID NOT HAVE LONG HAIR. JEWISH MEN DO NOT WEAR LONG HAIR ! ! !…AND PAUL, HIMSELF WROTE IN CORINTHIANS “IT IS A SHAME UNTO A MAN TO WEAR LONG HAIR”….SO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS MADE “JESUS” A SHAME UNTO THE WORLD !
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS A LOT OF DECEIT, LIES AND FALSE TEACHINGS AS THE BLESSED MOTHER PREDICTED THAT IT WOULD FALL APART AND IT IS.
BLESSED BE THE MOTHER OF Y'SHUA "JESUS" THE ANOINTED ONE.."CHRIST".
IT IS WRITTEN "THERE IS NOTHING HIDDEN THAT WILL NOT BE REVEALED".ReplyDelete
PRAISE TO THE GOD OF THIS UNIVERSE AND PLANET EARTH. HE HAS PROTECTED US IN WAYS THAT WE KNOW NOT..AND HE WILL EXPOSE THOSE WHO ARE OPPOSITE OF LIFE...OR TO LIVE...EVIL IS THE OPPOSITE OF LIVE ! ! ! REMEMBER THAT WHEN EVIL APPROACHES YOU...THE DEVIL COMES TO KILL, STEAL AND DESTROY, BUT Y'SHUA "JESUS" COMES TO GIVE LIFE ABUNDANTLY...THANK THE FATHER AND HIS HOLY GHOST "PRESENCE" IN OUR LIFE.
THERE SHOULD NOT BE SECRETS TO HIDE EVIL AND PROTECT THEM.