Genocide and thousands of years of persecution vs. an unflattering New York Times article: Kind of the same!

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.”


Similar Posts (automatically generated):

65 comments for “Genocide and thousands of years of persecution vs. an unflattering New York Times article: Kind of the same!

  1. Lance
    April 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    So, the official position of the Vatican is that Catholics are God’s Chosen Molesters?

    • April 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm

      Lance, it sounds like you might be from the “New York Jewish Lobby” that is persecuting the Church.

  2. rtavi
    April 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Wait a moment, wasn’t it the Catholic Church that was responsible for much of “The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt[…]” that the jewish people had to suffer over the centuries? Really, the Vatican needs to shut the fuck up.

  3. April 2, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    rtavi, I agree with all of that except the last line (although I definitely agree with the sentiment ;-) ). The Vatican doesn’t need to shut the fuck up, it needs to acknowledge that it has fucked up royally and is continuing to do so and then start working their asses off to mitigate (NOT absolve themselves, that ship sailed the first time they decided to protect a priest rather than the children that were molested) all the fucked upedness they’ve unleashed on the world, especially children.

    I won’t hold my breath.

  4. Tracey
    April 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Sooooo, being called out and attacked for knowingly shuffling around pedophiles as oppose to defrocking them and handing them over to law enforcement as well as complying fully with criminal investigations, and then attempting to silence survivors is the same as being made to suffer and killed for being Jewish?
    Also, added to the “devil at work” because of media investigation, the “it isn’t pedophile” if the survivors had entered puberty and is therefore a problem of homosexuality (as oppose to abuse of power and priveledge by clergy who know they will be protected regardless the age or sex of who they target). Just keep right on digging boys, you keep right on digging.
    My only problem is this, I thought the people who tried to blame everything on gays and the liberal secular media also tended to be pretty anti-Catholic.

  5. Lance
    April 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Jill, you’re on to me. They figured hiring somebody baptized Catholic would be the perfect agent, and they couldn’t find anybody who had actually been to church in the past decade. Who says the job market is weak??

    rtavi, indeed. I would bet a lot of money that said ‘friend’ doesn’t exist. The worst part is the attempt to equate collective guilt with the accusations against the Catholic church. Anti-semitism frequently took the form of, “As Jews, you’re responsible for the crimes (or ‘crimes’) of other Jews.” The current critique of the church is more like, “As official representatives of the catholic church, the catholic church is responsible for your crimes.” Nobody is suggesting that Catholics, or even Catholic church officials, are guilty merely because they’re associated with the church. Rather, we’re (futilely, probably) trying to hold them accountable for what they personally did. The attempt to blur that very clear distinction is disgusting.

  6. April 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    “it isn’t pedophile” if the survivors had entered puberty and is therefore a problem of homosexuality

    ugh, I almost screamed, “WHAT ABOUT THE GIRSL?!?” when I first heard that excuse. Then I remembered that those girls are all devious hussies who are seducing those poor priests. Someone remind me why I didn’t walk away from the church sooner?

  7. April 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    eep, I should add, that “it’s not pedophiia, it’s homosexuality!” excuse is horrible enough as it is, but there was an added layer of wtffery for me when they erased so many victims.

  8. Sheelzebub
    April 2, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    OK–anytime a Church leader says shit like this, I get livid. When Bernard Law called on God to strike down the media in 1991 because they had the gall to report on the Father Porter molestations, I was livid. When the Church heirarchy tried to blame the rapes on Teh Gay!!!11! ELEVENTY!!1! I was livid. When they tried to make it seem like these survivors were money grubbing liars, I was ready to throw something.

    But. . .I mean. . .to make this analogy–ON GOOD FUCKING FRIDAY, a DAY THAT IS HISTORICALLY A DAMN DANGEROUS TIME TO BE JEWISH IN CHRISTIAN AREAS is um. Oh. There. Are. No. Words.

    These accusations are NOTHING LIKE anti-Semitism. Ratzi and his fuckstick douchemaggo dumpster slime buddies are NOT being run out of town, are NOT being killed for who they are (or, you know, being raped, AHEM), and are NOT the subject of untrue rumors and fevered fictions.

    FACT: The Church covered up sexual abuse by priests.
    FACT: This enabled the priests to continue to rape children.
    FACT: This made the problem get a metric fuckton worse and more widespread.
    FACT: STATING THESE FACTS ISN’T THE SAME AS PUBLISHING AND PUSHING THE POGROMS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION BECAUSE HELLO, POTEZ IS COMPLETELY FUCKING FABRICATED.

    I mean, I shouldn’t be getting all shouty here, I know but OH HOLY FUCK ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

  9. Cha-Cha
    April 2, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I hope many, many Rabbis go ape shit over this.

    Word to Vatican: leave my people the hell out of your sick little child molestation cover ups.

  10. becky
    April 2, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    all the catholic church ever did during her long history was blaming others. reformers, scientists, jewish people, muslim people, people of any other faith, really, politicians, artists, feminists, etc. ratzinger was particularly infamous in germany for his extremely conservative views, not only in terms of gender relations, before he become pope.

    the horrifying “persecution”-talk is something the catholic church has employed before, they kind of dig that out everytime someone attacks or merely criticizes them. not to mention the role the catholic church played in tolerating the discrimination and eventual genocide during national socialism in germany, which makes this pseudo-analogy even more infuriating!

    many human rights and jewish organizations in germany have been going beserk over this time and again – and yet, the catholic church just doesn’t get it and/or conciously choses to ignore the actual victims. leaving this organization was actually one of the good decisions of my life so far…

  11. The Flash
    April 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    “I hope many, many Rabbis go ape shit over this.”

    Rabbis don’t usually go nuts at the church except when it denies the Holocaust.

    This is because when Rabbis, or Jews in general, criticize the church, or any Christian, they tend to be killed, and it was really only the Holocaust that stopped this.

    But eh, Jews are used to everyone taking our suffering and saying they’re being treated like us. It’s best when the Polish make their experience under Communism out to be symmetrical to what they were doing to us for the Nazis during the Holocaust, to justify things like Kielce. Generally, when somebody says what’s happening to them is as bad as the Holocaust, it’s a good indication that they’re probably in the wrong, because they don’t *actually* have a better argument.

  12. Esme
    April 2, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    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.

    How is this person a senior official? The date of Easter is supposed to correspond to Passover, what with the whole LAST SUPPER BEING A SEDER. Ye gods, the stupid.

    And the Catholic church is the last institution to talk about the horrors of the Holocaust, given their assholery at the time.

  13. Temperance
    April 2, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Jill:
    Thanks for posting this. I was raised Catholic. The attitudes of the Vatican and its minions don’t surprise me in the least. When a group of people believe they are the conduit to god and no one can speak to god except through them, it’s an easy leap to think one can do no wrong. Considering the Catholic church’s history of mass murder and torture, of being a warmonger and deciding women had no souls, is pedophilia such a surprise?
    What surprises me are the people who still belong to the Catholic church and can find solace in such an establishment.
    Needless to say, and I will anyway, the Catholic church lost my support when I was about 6 years old. They could not explain to my satisfaction why women were responsible for all the sins of the world just because we were the same gender as Eve. Yes, they really believe that.
    Sigh

  14. karak
    April 2, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    The thing is, Catholics were also targeted by the Holocaust, especially those that chose to help other targets or refused to embrace the ideology of Germany having the people’s highest loyalty (as opposed to God). Real Catholics suffered and died for their faith, and what a mockery to make of them, and all the other victims of the Holocaust, to compare this to that. You know what’s like the Holocaust? Genocide. That’s it.

  15. Becca Stareyes
    April 2, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    What surprises me are the people who still belong to the Catholic church and can find solace in such an establishment.

    If they are anything like my sister, they do so by mostly ignoring and occasionally carping about the Church leadership. At least in my family, the religious ones fully embrace ‘cafeteria-style Catholicism’*, while making jokes about how they are surprised about the lack of freak lightning storms when they enter a church.

    I suspect most of the actual identification is out of tradition, up to and including to ignore the bits of Church teachings they think are wrong or dumb.

    * Take what you want.

  16. Theresa
    April 2, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I am a Catholic and wish to shout from the rooftops everywhere that William Donohue does not represent me. He does not represent anybody but himself. His “Catholic League” has no official standing within the Catholic Church, and pretty much consists of just him.

  17. Butch Fatale
    April 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    The Jewish and Catholic liturgical calendars are different, and while the last supper was a Seder, and Easter and Passover generally take place within the same season, the do not always happen at the same time as they did this year and last year. For instance, in 2008, Easter was on March 28 by the Catholic calendar, and Passover took place between April 20 and 26. Next year, Easter will be on April 4, and Passover April 19-25.

  18. Butch Fatale
    April 2, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Bah. I can’t make the html work. That was supposed to quote Esme at 12.

  19. Ruchama
    April 2, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    The last supper was a Passover meal, but it wasn’t a seder in the sense that we think of it — the word “seder” means “order,” and a seder is a ceremonial thing with all sorts of different things to read and do that have to be done in a certain order, and that wasn’t all developed until a while after the last supper.

  20. William
    April 2, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    . Ratzi and his fuckstick douchemaggo dumpster slime buddies are NOT being run out of town, are NOT being killed for who they are

    I’m generally opposed to the death penalty, but people like Ratzi make that opposition very difficult some days. Still, I definitely think they should be run out of town. If Catholics would like to maintain their beliefs, thats fine, but the Church as a body needs to be brought down like the bloated monstrosity it is. Ratzi and his minions need to be arrested for conspiracy, accessory, obstruction, and (in many cases) rape. Governments need to not recognize Vatican City as an official State and need to not respect it’s claims as such. The property of the Church needs to be confiscated and liquidated in order to pay any fines it’s leadership might incur and to pay any civil penalties awarded to victims. The Church’s assets need to be seized as proceeds of an illegal operation.

  21. piny
    April 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    You know what’s like the Holocaust? Genocide. That’s it.

    It’s sort of irrelevant, just like the opinions of imaginary Jewish friends, but if I were setting up a moral responsibility/dubiety calculus around this issue and the Holocaust, I think it’d go sort of like:

    Serving on a jury < voting < complaining about a child rape epidemic (…) (…) (…)< not voting < breaking down and eating chocolate during Lent < never tipping < sneaking into a restricted parking space using the placard your doctor gave you after a skiing accident last year < (…) (…) (…)< embezzling < condoning a child rape epidemic <(?) raping several children < the Holocaust

  22. Butch Fatale
    April 2, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks for the correction Ruchama!

  23. PrettyAmiable
    April 2, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    I was raised Catholic. Baptized, had communion, was confirmed, the whole bit. I even went to a Catholic university. About a semester in, I couldn’t reconcile a lot of what was going on in my life with the church, and I was officially at the point in my life where I could acknowledge that I was (and am) an atheist.

    Part of what made it so hard for me (I imagine what made it hard for other cafeteria Catholics) is that the church isn’t just a bastion of vitriol and discrimination: it’s also a community. What it does in many areas and especially for a large number of immigrants in the US (speaking as the only US-born individual in my family) is bring people together who all believe in some higher power. The details have become largely irrelevant for many Catholics. For instance, before finally realizing I had no place in this community, I had publicly said that I disagree with its denunciation of gays, its condemnation of individuals who commit suicide to hell, and the ENTIRE CONCEPT OF HELL — and that’s just for starters).

    I ask commenters to keep that in mind. It’s almost like having an abusive father (at least, in my experience). You hate what he stands for and does, but you belong to his household anyway because you love your siblings and you don’t have another unit you belong to by default. And moreover, you buy into the concept of “family” and this is the only one you’ve ever really known – and you’ve been told day-in and day-out that it’s the RIGHT familial concept, and that other families are wrong. Hate the system, by all means. The people in positions of power have been reflecting on the Catholic faith their entire lives and know exactly what they’re doing and why it’s wrong not only in the eyes of secular law but biblical law as well. But please be careful of what you say about Catholics en masse. It’s understandable that someone buys into that system when it’s all they’ve known their entire lives, have been told weekly that they’re right and everyone else is wrong, and that there’s no real room for criticism because the whole idea of God is based on faith rather than facts. And if that’s not good enough, you’re told your entire life that if you do criticize and renege, you’re going to hell.

  24. wolfa
    April 3, 2010 at 12:27 am

    I interpret this entirely differently, and it makes a lot of sense, as long as you start out with a base level of anti-semitism. The church is being heavily persecuted for something they did, just like the Jews were for killing Christ. I guess it’s nice that high level Vatican officials now think that two thousand years of trying to kill us off was wrongish.

  25. Cha-Cha
    April 3, 2010 at 2:15 am

    @ The Flash… I’m only laughing right now because it’s so, so true.

  26. April 3, 2010 at 2:27 am

    It’s sort of irrelevant, just like the opinions of imaginary Jewish friends – piny

    So you don’t think that “unnamed friend” exists either?

  27. April 3, 2010 at 2:52 am

    @Jill: THANK YOU!! (I cross posted.)
    @Lance: LMJAO!
    @groggette: Thank you too!!! Seriously with the “child molestation = abuse of boys”; the rape of girls–and nuns–tends to not get so much attention so we can carry on with the homosexual = molester meme. All three guys who molested me were heterosexual! (And, uhhh, I think I was a boy at the time.)
    @The Flash: re:
    Jews are used to everyone taking our suffering and saying they’re being treated like us. It’s best when the Polish make their experience under Communism out to be symmetrical to what they were doing to us for the Nazis during the Holocaust, to justify things like Kielce. Generally, when somebody says what’s happening to them is as bad as the Holocaust, it’s a good indication that they’re probably in the wrong, because they don’t *actually* have a better argument.

    In this context, I get what you’re saying. But as a white U.S. Jew, I DO think the Maafa and the slaughter of 75 to 90 million Indigenous North Americans is validly compared to HaShoah. VERY much so. In all three cases, light-skinned, race-privileged people were out to destroy a race or races of many millions of people they viewed as dark, evil, and/or sub-human, and the whiter/whitest folks succeeded in the most horrific ways, as still do. (Genocide in North America is on-going.)
    @karak: What are your sources for that? That’s a highly controversial point. Ethnic Slavs, Romani, the mentally and physically disabled, Leftist intellectuals and activists, homosexuals, Freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many other groups were targeted and murdered; not the Catholics for being Catholic, according to most sources.

    Back to Jill: I’m thinkin’ the “senior priest” might REALLY have been the “Monsignor Mel Gibson”.

  28. Henry
    April 3, 2010 at 3:02 am

    I’m sorry Vatican, but no one is burning church leaders at the stake (like you did to us in Spain) or torturing them until they admit their “sins” etc. (like you did to us in Spain, Italy and countless countries). When that collectively happens to the entire church, then you can say that you are being collectively targeted like the Jews were. Until then, stop whining, apologize for covering up your fellow preists crimes (which went so far as counseling families not to report to the police) and put in place a method for detecting pedo priests.

    As an aside, religious institutions are no more immune from pedo’s (I use the term informally here – e.g. to cover teen abuse too) than any other organization that provides services to young people – schools, youth sports leagues, summer camps etc. they all went throught their pedo scandals as well – simple logic – pedos are attracted to jobs/positions with access to minors – so the Vatican needs to get off its “we are better than that because we love Jesus” mantra and start addressing the problem, just like every other organization has in the past.

  29. April 3, 2010 at 3:04 am

    @groggette: and I wanted to support your point that it’s ALSO and very much because the sexual abuse of girls and women isn’t supposed to be remarkable or outrageous to “us”. (What follows is just me screaming out into the night sky, and isn’t directed at you, groggette, or any other women here) One of so many points to back this up: rape won’t even be considered a “hate crime” in the U.S.! And when women fight for it to be so, men say “it happens to us too”! Yeah, it does. And Catholics were killed in HaShoah. Rape exists as a weapon by het men of terrorism against all women. HaShoah existed to wipe Jews off the face of the Earth. With such grotesque strategies, things do tend to get sloppy and others get assaulted and killed as well.

  30. piny
    April 3, 2010 at 7:08 am

    So you don’t think that “unnamed friend” exists either?

    I think he exists in the same sense that Tom Friedman’s wired Bangladeshi airport motodup driver on the street exists, which is to say, no, no, I don’t.

    I understand why he’s anonymous, though. If I were his rabbi, I’d smack him.

  31. sonia
    April 3, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I am waiting for the church to declare getting buttfucked as a kid as a rite akin to getting baptized and anyone questioning that as violating the freedom of religion.

  32. Holy!
    April 3, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I’m imagining that many “Cafeteria Catholics” might be leaving the Catholic Church after this latest revelation. However, the church has greatly expanded its power base in places like South and Central America. So, despite the heinous nature of their activities, they are likely to weather this storm.

  33. Sonia
    April 3, 2010 at 9:06 am

    However, the church has greatly expanded its power base in places like South and Central America. So, despite the heinous nature of their activities, they are likely to weather this storm.

    An institution that has weathered things like the Cadaver Synod will weather this one too. There is no chance of any long lasting damage to the church. The same cannot be said for Rantzinger though.

  34. makomk
    April 3, 2010 at 10:15 am

    groggette: as opposed to the boys being devious, sex-mad hussies who seduced the poor priests? (See also: comment #2 in response to this Pandagon post)

    Also, for some reason there don’t seem to be nearly as many girls who were victims of this as boys, at least as far as anyone can tell. It’s rather odd…

    Julian: I seem to recall the Church commissioned a scientific study to show sexual abuse of boys was caused by homosexuality. They didn’t get the results they hoped for.

  35. PrettyAmiable
    April 3, 2010 at 10:45 am

    “But eh, Jews are used to everyone taking our suffering and saying they’re being treated like us. It’s best when the Polish make their experience under Communism out to be symmetrical to what they were doing to us for the Nazis during the Holocaust, to justify things like Kielce. Generally, when somebody says what’s happening to them is as bad as the Holocaust, it’s a good indication that they’re probably in the wrong, because they don’t *actually* have a better argument.”

    I didn’t even read this before.

    I HATE this argument. When the Poles say what happened to us is as bad as the Holocaust? Oh, you mean the Holocaust where six million of us (only three million Polish-Jews) were killed? You mean in our country, where the land was so fucking ripped apart that the entire world still knows one city as “Auschwitz” instead of Oswiecim, which is a POLISH city in the country of POLAND? I’m sorry if losing 1/5 of our population somehow doesn’t make us good enough to pull the Holocaust card ourselves, but fuck you and grab a book about the Holocaust.

    So first we got tossed off the European map because of various conquests, establish our rights as a country once more, only to get 1/5 of us slaughtered. And our salvation? Communism and the secret police – which got my family tossed out of Poland.

    Kielce didn’t happen because Communism was bad; Kielce happened because the whole fucking country was ripped apart by Nazism, they had no idea what the fuck they did wrong to deserve the genocide, blaming it on the Jews was the easy out because Hitler was MOST vocal about his hatred of them (though please note we lost an equal number of people), and, terrified upon rumors of a “ritual Jewish murder,” they flipped out and wanted to keep the Holocaust from happening again by engaging in that pogrom. They were wrong. It was wrong. But it’s not because we conflated Communism with the Holocaust (we did not go through the Holocaust twice, but we did go through it once), but because those poor, uneducated people were terrified.

    So, try not to erase or rewrite my people’s history, k? You clearly don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

  36. Athenia
    April 3, 2010 at 10:52 am

    As a Catholic who grew up around other amazing, loving, compassionate Catholics, this asshatery makes me want to excommunicate the Pope and Bishops.

    How can they not “get it”????

    I hope Europe legislates some laws real fast requiring the Church to report abuses to the police.

  37. William
    April 3, 2010 at 11:15 am

    However, the church has greatly expanded its power base in places like South and Central America. So, despite the heinous nature of their activities, they are likely to weather this storm.

    The problem the church faces there, though, is that it doesn’t really like it’s not white members too much. The church has a lot of adherents in Africa and Asia, too. Somehow they still saw a guy who, even at that time, was known to have covered up child rape and who had been a member of the Hitler Youth as a better candidate then any of the people who had come from (or administered to) their power base.

    The reasons are simple, the Church doesn’t make a lot of money from collection plates in poor countries and those Central and South Americans have the frustrating tendency to live their faith in all aspects of their lives which leads to things like the Liberation Theology movement. Sure, they bolster numbers, but they aren’t exactly Rome’s A-List congregants.

    Honestly, though, I think thats good in a perverse kind of way. If the Church begins to lose the support of members in wealthy countries then it will begin to choke and die.

  38. JDP
    April 3, 2010 at 11:29 am

    RE: Pretty Amiable

    Kielce didn’t happen because Communism was bad; Kielce happened because the whole fucking country was ripped apart by Nazism, they had no idea what the fuck they did wrong to deserve the genocide, blaming it on the Jews was the easy out because Hitler was MOST vocal about his hatred of them (though please note we lost an equal number of people), and, terrified upon rumors of a “ritual Jewish murder,” they flipped out and wanted to keep the Holocaust from happening again by engaging in that pogrom. They were wrong. It was wrong. But it’s not because we conflated Communism with the Holocaust (we did not go through the Holocaust twice, but we did go through it once), but because those poor, uneducated people were terrified.

    Did you seriously just write this? Did you seriously, seriously, seriously just try to claim the Shoah as your own and then blame the Jews for it and later race riots?

    The Poles engaged in pogroms before WWII, during WWII, and after WWII. Ethnic cleansing of Jews from Poland persisted as standard operatng procedure until the 70s, albeit via forced expulsion rather than the more traditional methods. This isn’t the fault of the Communists-from-Space or Nazis-from-Space. It is the fault of the Poles.

    And I’m not even mentioning Polish antiziganism.

  39. The Flash
    April 3, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Yah, PTSD is not an excuse for a lynching.

  40. prosaica
    April 3, 2010 at 11:58 am

    @prettyamiable #24: I second the view of the catholic church as an abusive parent. It took me until over age 30 to get rid of my respect for and believe in both my abusive mother and the church I was raised in.

  41. PrettyAmiable
    April 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Please reference the line where I said “They were wrong. It was wrong.” Of course I’m not blaming Kielce on anyone but the Poles (and lingering effects of Nazism). I’m saying the motivation FOR THAT POGROM (I hadn’t mentioned any other pogroms, did I?) was their terror that the Holocaust could happen again and THEIR *uneducated* attempt to make sense of what happened.

    Kind of like how that douchebag’s motivation to kill Dr. Tiller was “saving unborn children.” What he did was wrong, no matter how right he thought it was. It sucks, and with better education and understanding, it probably wouldn’t have happened. That douche is still responsible for what he did, the same way Poles are responsible for what they did. The motivation is NOT, however, what the Flash has indicated.

    My issue is the idea that Poles have no right to claim that the Holocaust didn’t affect them, because that’s utter bullshit. 6 million Poles were killed, of which only 3 million were Jews (just like 6 million Jews were killed, oh which only 3 million were Poles).

    NO WHERE did I blame Jews for pogroms. I blamed Nazism and uneducated Poles who blamed the Jews for Kielce. Reading skillz: maybe they’re just not for you.

  42. April 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I understand why he’s anonymous, though. If I were his rabbi, I’d smack him. – piny

    And a rabbi who can smack an imaginary man must be a force to be reckoned with.

  43. JDP
    April 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    RE: PrettyAmiable #41

    I’m saying the motivation FOR THAT POGROM (I hadn’t mentioned any other pogroms, did I?) was their terror that the Holocaust could happen again and THEIR *uneducated* attempt to make sense of what happened.

    No, the motivation FOR THAT POGROM was that antisemitism was a common sentiment in Poland, and has been for a very long time, and to a very large degree still is, even though Jews no longer are. To try to claim that every individual anti-Jewish pogrom in Poland had a different cause is absurd; yes, different specific circumstances can be seen as contributing to tensions that exploded in race violence, but the reason there was a pogrom in the first place is because antisemitism is a huge problem in Poland. And to bring this all right back to where we started, this is largely the fault of the Catholic Church for inciting anti-Jewish hatred for a very long time.

    The same could be said of the recent antiziganist murders in Poland and elsewhere in Europe. Yes, the specific circumstances of this particular era of antiziganist violence is associated with fear of immigrants and nationalist resurgence, but the reason that violence is directed towards Roma is that a majority of Europeans hate Roma. Period. End of story.

    You’re concerned with understanding why your people broke out into violence on certain occasions. I’m more interested in why your people continually targeted mine for violence, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.

  44. Karen
    April 3, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Something I’ve mentioned on a couple of other websites that offends me about the argument that “it’s all Teh Ghey” is that not only does it erase the girl and women victims, it erases the victims of physical abuse as well. Certainly the sexual abuse is considerably worse, but routine beatings are no picnic either, and the physical abuse was the open and official policy of church-run orphanages and schools. I haven’t seen any Vatican official breathe a word of regret about the beatings.

  45. JDP
    April 4, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Once again, the problem is that we’re overly concerned with why the perpetrators committed the crime, rather than why the perpetrators chose the victims they did. Why did any given member of the Catholic hierarchy commit these crimes or work to cover these crimes up? Does it really matter? The crimes were committed. I don’t care if they committed these crimes because they had the sincere religious belief that they were doing what was right, or if they thought they were protecting the church’s public image, or they were just trying to get their jollies off.

    Why did they choose children? Because children are weak and susceptible to intimidation, especially intimidation by authority figures. Because the testimony of a child is considered unreliable. Because children are easily silenced. Because families of children are easily silenced when proper leverage is exacted against them. Because parents are more likely to believe the word of the Church than of their own children.

    I agree, though. The nature of the violence is not that important in understanding why the violence is occurring.

  46. piny
    April 4, 2010 at 5:00 am

    PrettyAmiable, Nazi atrocities against Poland and the Polish people are well documented–and they were open in their intent to punish an entire nation for daring to resist them. The Nazis were not gracious invaders, but the violent hatred they displayed toward Poland was conspicuous.

    However, Polish fury at the Jewish population, whether motivated also by hatred of Jews as special targets (ironic, hm?) or by a simple traditional hatred of Jews, was still motivated by hatred of Jews. It was itself genocidal, and it did reach back in motive and shape to any number of similar outbreaks over the centuries, and a great deal of its foundation had to do with the position of Jewish people as victims of Polish anti-semitism.

    I would also question your equation of three million Polish people who happened to be Jews with three million Jewish people who happened to be from Poland. The three million Jews were murdered as part of a sustained campaign of genocide against European Jews. Each one of them was targeted for murder as a member of a population that was slated for genocide, total murder. The overlap works one direction, but not, I think, in the other. Polish was a safer circumstance than Jewish; Jewish and French was more dangerous than Christian and Polish.

    So, given all those things, it’s improper to refer to atrocities against Polish people as comparable to the Holocaust. And it’s a pretty large derail off a thread whose original post was scoffing at a completely different and yet more egregious Holocaust reference.

  47. April 4, 2010 at 7:43 am

    The idea of praying for the conversion of the Jews was once commonly held by most, if not all of Christendom. Even George Fox, the founder of Quakerism (which I practice), was of that opinion. Fortunately, no Friends meeting that I know of holds this belief now.

    There are some, primarily conservative Protestant groups which hold Jews in high esteem, but also feel it their obligation to convert them to Christianity. Regarding the comparison to the Holocaust, it is one of the most self-serving rationalizations I have ever come across in my entire life, and if there was such a think as Satan, it was inspired by his guidance. But then again, entrenched groups, often in religious settings are often completely reactive to criticism, even criticism rooted in love.

  48. April 4, 2010 at 7:44 am

    such a THING as Satan, rather…

  49. Sheelzebub
    April 4, 2010 at 8:23 am

    PA, I’m not going to contribute to the derail other than seconding what everyone else said. And while some folks get a lot out of the community the Church provides for people, we still have every damn right to call the Church out of covering up sexual abuse and protecting the perps (as well as enabling them to do it again).

    Makomk, SNAP is pretty vocal about the fact that far more girls have been abused than have come forward–because they are reluctant to come forward, thanks to slut-baiting and the usual crap that is dished out to women who say they’ve been raped.

  50. Emily
    April 4, 2010 at 8:26 am

    As someone with one Jewish parent and one Catholic parent, I find the priest’s comparison really poignant. The Holocaust has a lot in common with the sexual abuse scandal–the Catholic Church sat back and did nothing while both were happening.

  51. makomk
    April 4, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Sheelzebub: you’re assuming that there isn’t any reason that male victims would be reluctant to come forward. This… seems implausible, with male culture being what it is.

    I note that SNAP also say:

    But in cases involving Catholic priests, he said, victims are more likely to be children, and usually boys. One possible reason, Schoener said, is that the large number of Catholic-run schools, hospitals, and orphanages gave priests extraordinary access to children, and especially to boys.

    ”Priests could easily take a group of altar boys to a cabin for the weekend, which they couldn’t have done with girls,” said Barbara Blaine, who founded SNAP in 1989 after growing frustrated with the church’s treatment of her when she reported that she had been abused by a Toledo priest starting when she was 12 or 13.

    Which is what I also suspect may have happened.

    Also, there’s been some interesting gender erasure of the male victims in the media. All of the 200 children Father Lawrence Murphy raped were male – it was a boys only school – and it would appear the same may be true of the Verona cases. The Guardian article carefully erases this unfortunate fact, while making clear that all the accused in the Verona case are male. (Those who’ve been paying attention to some rather less than feminist sources may be aware this is far from the first time that the gender of male victims of childhood sexual abuse has been erased by the media.)

  52. CassieC
    April 4, 2010 at 10:57 am

    @Emily: they did not sit back and did nothing. They actively supported the Holocaust (for which they had to apologize, although that apology did not go far enough), and they actively required celibacy for priests, knowing that those who would volunteer would be more likely to be pedophile, and they actively maintained them in the priesthood, often with access to children.

    When you combine these horrors with denying rights for women and acting against contraception in Africa and other places, the institution is just 100% even.

  53. CassieC
    April 4, 2010 at 10:58 am

    @Emily: they did not sit back and did nothing. They actively supported the Holocaust (for which they had to apologize, although that apology did not go far enough), and they actively required celibacy for priests, knowing that those who would volunteer would be more likely to be pedophile, and they actively maintained them in the priesthood, often with access to children.

    When you combine these horrors with denying rights for women and acting against contraception in Africa and other places, the institution is just 100% evil.

  54. Rachel
    April 4, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Thanks, JDP and Piny. It was jarring, to say the least, to read apologist Polish history on Easter Effing Sunday of all days. Like I don’t feel anxious enough as it is on this holiday, now someone’s saying it was my relatives’ fault for provoking the pogroms …

  55. Roxsie
    April 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    What I always find interesting is the reasoning behind the celibacy rule. Apparently when Priests could marry and have families they would naturally want to leave something to their children. So the church was losing land, land being power this really got up their noses and to prevent any furthur loss they “discovered” the celibacy rule.

    The current refusal to admit fully to wrong doing and calling it “evil gossip” seems to me to be a similar attempt to hang onto power.

  56. Amanda in the South Bay
    April 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Sometimes I really wonder why Catholics are rushing to defend the person of the Pope on this one. There have been plenty of notorious Popes throughout history, and one polemic that Protestants have used, for example, is that there’s something wrong with the Catholic Church cause of all the wicked Popes-Alexander VI, for example, or a ton of earlier Medieval Popes. Catholics reply, of course, that the Pope’s own personal issues are irrelevant as to whether or not he can speak infallibly, or whether or not the Catholic Church is infallible; in short, Catholicism is greater than the Pope.

  57. karak
    April 5, 2010 at 2:07 am

    @ Julian–

    I wasn’t trying to erase the experience of the many, many, many groups of people who were Targeted by The Final Solution. My point was that the what this man said wasn’t just a spit in the face of Jews (and other victims) but also a spit in the fact of other Catholics, who really DID suffer like it was the fucking Holocaust. it just seemed like a subtle ironic taint on his already great pile of fail.

  58. Sheelzebub
    April 5, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    makomk–Actually, I’m not saying that male surivors are reluctant to come forward, but way to put words in my mouth. I’m saying that the female survivors have seen slut-shaming, etc. play out all too often before in other cases. Couple that with certain outspoken pundits thinking it’s not “as bad” since it was heterosexual, and you see a diminished concern for that and a reluctance of female victims to come forward.

    Also–male victims have not been erased–they’ve been front and center of this. When the subject of the Catholic sex abuse cover up comes up, the victims are assumed to be boys. References to priests abusing boys are rife–there is hardly erasure of male victims. It’s disingenuous to say so.

  59. PrettyAmiable
    April 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I’m not sure why you’re interpreting anything I’ve said about Poles as indicative that I think Poles for a large portion of their history (and really, today if you talk to uneducated Poles) are not anti-Semitic. That’s not what I said at all.

    I’m going to take a large offense to anyone that says the Holocaust was only ever about Jews and that Jewish losses are more important than anyone else’s. It’s not just about Poles (though thank you for saying that I pretty much deserved to have my family torn apart because Poles as a people were anti-Semitic). It’s funny you should mention antiziganism when the Roma were also targeted (as well as the mentally ill, etc). By saying it is only an atrocity against Jews and that no one else has a claim to the part of history that tore their families apart, you’re silencing other victims just for not being like you and because they come from a background that’s broken.

    Apologism, you would note, would be me saying that what they did is okay in light of certain circumstances. You’re a fucking idiot if you haven’t read every post on here in which I’ve explicitly stated in each that it was THEIR FAULT. THEY FUCKED UP. Would bolding help? Understanding motivation is not the same as apologism.

  60. jemand
    April 5, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    well… we *already* are on a derail, so we can say another apt comparison to the Holocaust, along with the Native American genocide, would be the recent genocide in Rwanda.

    Genocide is like genocide. Other things aren’t.

  61. JDP
    April 5, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    RE: PrettyAmiable #60

    I’m going to take a large offense to anyone that says the Holocaust was only ever about Jews and that Jewish losses are more important than anyone else’s. It’s not just about Poles (though thank you for saying that I pretty much deserved to have my family torn apart because Poles as a people were anti-Semitic). It’s funny you should mention antiziganism when the Roma were also targeted (as well as the mentally ill, etc). By saying it is only an atrocity against Jews and that no one else has a claim to the part of history that tore their families apart, you’re silencing other victims just for not being like you and because they come from a background that’s broken.

    You’re assuming that I don’t think we should talk about the Porajmos. That assumption would be incorrect.

    The Nazis were trying to resolve “The Jewish Problem,” “The Romani Problem,” “The Homosexual Problem,” and “The Disability Problem.” They were never concerned with “The Polish Problem.” Poles died in the camps. So did Russians. So did Frenchmen. So did Americans. So did Brits. That does not mean that the Holocaust was a campaign to eliminate the Brits, nor was it a campaign to eliminate the Poles. Bad things happened to occupied Poland. Bad things happened to occupied France. Bad things happened to bombarded England. This does not mean that any of those ethnicities were targets of genocide like the Jews and Roma were. War crimes? Absolutely. Atrocities? Absolutely. Genocide? No.

    A lot of groups, especially political opposition and resistance movements, were targets of German atrocities. The Roma and Jews, however, were specifically targets of an aggressive genocide campaign that did not extend to the majority ethnic groups in areas occupied by Germany.

    Finally, the idea that centuries of pogroms by the Poles against Jewish and Romani settlements and ghettos were a “fuckup” is the wrong sentiment. They represent a long-term institutionalized injustice that persists to this day. I’m sure there’s a word for that, but it’s not “fuckup.”

  62. The Flash
    April 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Look, FIRST of all, the Catholic church did blame the Kielce pogrom on anger against the Jews because certain Jews were in positions of power in the post-war Soviet-sponsored government. And of course, it’s always perfectly reasonable to hate an entire people just because some of them are high-ranking in a bad government, right?

    Second of all, it’s a classic antisemitic trope to say that the Holocaust is no more about the Jews than it is about anyone else, because then, the Jews aren’t really so special, are they? But bottom line? The Jews served a unique philosophical function in Europe up to World War II and the Holocaust, and while other peoples suffered horrifically under the Nazis, the rhetorical and philosophical function of the Jews was unique and different, and resulted in a distinct annihilation of culture that was not matched. The Romani are still a Europe-centered culture today; Jews virtually dissappeared in Central and Eastern Europe. The Romani still speak their distinct languages; yiddish is a functionally dead language, except as a tool for, pardon the irony, schtick. The numbers aren’t the point– if you kill fifty people in a thousand-person-tribe, and you kill twenty people in a twenty-one-person-tribe, the crimes are different, and the second one is worse. So, no, I’m not sympathetic to Polish people who want to make sure nobody’s too nice to the Jews.

  63. makomk
    April 8, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    The Flash: the Romani are also an acceptable target for hatred and racism even today. In the UK to a greater or lesser extent (including the mainstream politics), in Italy, in Hungary, Slovakia and basically throughout Europe. (I’m missing some older stories, like the European country that rounded up and fingerprinted them all recently.)

    I don’t think the US is much better either.

  64. The Flash
    April 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I wasn’t in any way saying that horrible things didn’t happen– or that they don’t continue to happen– to other peoples. I was only saying that what happened to the Jews in the Holocuast was capital-D-Different than what happened to any of the other victimized groups during that time, and in more than just a “everyone’s experience was different” way.

Comments are closed.