So says the Catholic Church, anyway. And not some random running-his-mouth-off priest, or the ever-ridiculous Bill Donohue. No, this is a senior priest, at a Vatican Good Friday service, who claims that the current “attacks” on the Church — attacks which amount to pointing out the Church’s long-running cover-up of child sexual abuse — are kind of like what the Jews suffered.
Benedict sat looking downward when the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, who holds the office of preacher of the papal household, delivered his remarks in the traditional prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica. Wearing the brown cassock of a Franciscan, Father Cantalamessa took note that Easter and Passover were falling during the same week this year, saying he was led to think of the Jews. “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 said.
Father Cantalamessa quoted from what he said was a letter from an unnamed Jewish friend. “I am following the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful by the whole word,” he said the friend wrote. “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.”
Father Cantalamessa’s comments about the Jews came toward the end of a long talk about scripture, the nature of violence and the sacrifice of Jesus. He also spoke about violence against women, but gave only a slight mention of the children and adolescents who have been molested by priests. “I am not speaking here of violence against children, of which unfortunately also elements of the clergy are stained; of that there is sufficient talk outside of here,” he said.
Better or worse than “The devil made me do it“?
The Chief Rabbi of Rome has a good response:
“With a minimum of irony, I will say that today is Good Friday, when they pray that the Lord illuminate our hearts so we recognize Jesus,” Rabbi Di Segni said, referring to a prayer in a traditional Catholic liturgy calling for the conversion of the Jews. “We also pray that the Lord illuminate theirs.”
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