Friday, January 30, 2009

What the Pope Should Do To Reassure the World

From Newsweek/Washington Post's On Faith:

Pope Benedict's decision to undo the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson, an unrepentant Holocaust denier, has been met with wall to wall condemnation. Short of the launch of a new Crusade, it is hard to imagine how the Pope could have ignited such outrage with one decision. 

Yet there is an even greater crisis waiting in the wings that will soon be picked up by world media. Williamson's fellow travelers -- the entire network of the breakaway Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) -- are vocal enthusiasts of a medieval religious anti-Semitism that gives the Islamist imams in Pakistan some serious competition.

The papal move to re-embrace SSPX was carefully negotiated. And if Pope Benedict was expecting any cosmetic changes in SSPX's Jew-hatred he was dead wrong. True ideologues in their hatred, their group's website remains unchanged. Jews, it tells us, are directly responsible for the crucifixion. Jews are cursed with the "blindness to the things of G-d and eternity." As a people, they stand "in entire opposition with the Catholic Church." "Christendom and Jewry are designed inevitably to meet everywhere without reconciliation or mixing." 

Jews "should neither be eliminated from among us, nor given equality of rights."

SSPX bookstores sell the anti-Semitic screeds -- "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and Henry Ford's "The International Jew." 

But Jews, we are told in an essay by SSPX icon Fr. Denis Fahey, should not worry. He explains why he is not an anti-Semite. Anti-semites hate Jews, which he does not. He hates the Jewish naturalism, which is the plot of Jews (who have secretly abandoned God for the last two millennia) to take over the world.

Pope Benedict XVI has made a personal crusade of hastening Church unity. According to the Vatican document announcing SSPX's rehabilitation, lifting the ban against the four bishops allows the Church to talk in earnest with the four, and the tens of thousands of traditionalist Catholics they represent. Short of assigning Bishop Williamson a stint as intern in the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum it's not clear what else can be said to a man of God who just last week denied the Nazi gas chambers and that 6 million Jews were the victims of genocide.

The Pope's moves reveal a stunning blindness and deafness to the troubling reality all around him in Europe. He rehabilitated Holocaust denier Williamson in the days before both the 50th anniversary of the Convocation of Vatican II, and Holocaust Memorial day, January 27th, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest Jewish cemetery on the planet. More troubling is that this Pope's outreach to this brazenly anti-Semitic group comes amidst an explosion of anti-Semitism not seen since the days before World War II. As synagogues and Jewish places of business are firebombed, as placards at demonstrations organized by extremist Muslim groups sport the slogan, "Upgrade to Holocaust 2.0" and "Jews to the ovens," the Pope has unwittingly lent credence to those who unleash hate and violence against Jews. 

Why now?

Some Church apologists argue that the Pope has reached out to the four in order to rein them in. He will have more control over them, more influence over what they can teach and preach, if they are brought under the umbrella of the Church. But this move has not been accompanied by declarations that there is no turning back the clock on the teachings of Vatican II that blazed the way for new understanding between Catholics and Jews. In fact, other Church observers speak more ominously, claiming that Vatican II is "not a dogma of faith," and therefore no barrier to the reintegration of SSPX faithful into the Church.

Millions of Jews, and tens of millions of mainstream Catholics, wait in dismay and anxiety. The teachings of Vatican II and Nostra Aetate were the most serious moves by any religious group to undo the effects of hundreds of years of Church-inspired anti-Semitism and persecution. They also helped bring Catholicism firmly into an age of modernity, without sacrificing its integrity. They allowed hundreds of millions of Catholics to escape the tension between modernity and sincere religious belief. They do not want to see a return to the medieval abbey.

Both Jews and Catholics wait for the next moves of the Holy See. The Pope can repair the public relations debacle by declaring unequivocally that the teachings of Vatican II are not optional and not just tools to be taken off the shelf for interfaith op-eds. He can state that they represent the true spirit of the Church, from which there is no return.

The ultimate irony may lay in the fact that one of the intellectual architects of Vatican II, responsible for seeing that the progressive innovations of Vatican II were consistent with rigorous Church theology, was one Father Joseph Ratzinger--the future Pope Benedict XVI. Jews and Catholics can only pray that at the end of day it will be the voice and conscience of that Father which will ultimately prevail.


Anonymous said...

Quote: "Some Church apologists argue that the Pope has reached out to the four in order to rein them in. He will have more control over them, more influence over what they can teach and preach, if they are brought under the umbrella of the Church. "

If that was possible, why excommunicate them in the first place.

This all sounds so hopey changey . . .must be something the water. Wasn't it the Charles or Thames that was polluted with antidepressants a few years ago?

Pastorius said...

Well, I guess it is true that if they are once again reconciled to the church that he has more control over them, and can embarrass them in a more direct manner if they step out of line.

But, I agree with you, I think that line of thinking is likely untrue.

Something strange is going on here.

Just Cause said...

Folks, how about some hope n change for our cause, check out this link:

...and in particular some recent edits that have just been me (look at the Islam section) published straight away, i think i'm going to spend some quality time this weekend editing my heart out.

I have been engaging in various discussion with liberal moonbats all week and I was amazed how many refer to Wikipedia for backup - they'll soon come to regret this.

Suricou Raven said...

The pope has an interesting situation, politically. He poesses immense power, far more then he is widely believed to hold, and no accountability - but should he ever use it, the backlash would be so severe his church may be almost destroyed in places.

Take, for example, his objection to Obama recinding the mexico city policy. It would be easy for the pope to force it's return: He need only threaten to immediatly close every catholic-run hospital in the US. The consequences would be devistating, as thousands of sick people are suddenly discharged. As pope, he has the power to do that. When given with the appropriate ceremony, his word is law as far as anyone in the catholic church is concerned. If his bluff were to be called though, and he were to follow through and do as he threatened, the church would lose somewhere around half it's membership in the US overnight.

It countries which have a significent number of catholic legislators, he could weild total control of the legislature by simply refusing the sacraments to anyone who votes against the preferences of the church. One simple command, and he takes over.

If he really wanted too, he actually *could* order another crusade. I expect he'd find a few volunteers, and he could always use the above techniques to manipulate other countries into war.

Just Cause, your vandalism has already been noticed and reverted :>

Just Cause said...

Cheers Suricou, spotted that this morning.

Why are they frightened of the truth I wonder? I was postively diplomatic too - all I said was that he married Aisha when she was 6 and consumated the marriage when she was 9. Some spanner called Jeff is the police of the religious content apparently.

Pastorius said...

Just Cause,

It's a drag that that Wiki thing didn't work out.

Pastorius said...

I had never thought of the kind of power the Pope wields.

I wonder how many Catholic legislators would really care if they were to be excommunicated. I think most of the intelligentsia is so inured in Humanism, they don't really care what the church thinks.

Maybe I'm wrong, though.