Friday, March 09, 2007

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Dear Catholic News Service...

by Aharon Hoffman at Mystical Paths

Sent to the Catholic News Service in response to Jews react strongly to remarks made by German bishops in West Bank.

Well it only took 4 days for any Catholic news outlet to respond to what has been roiling the Jewish news world for the same 4 days. The article, Jews react strongly to remarks made by German bishops on the West Bank, was a bit disingenuous. When any German, much less official representatives of the Catholic Church given its "happy" history with Jews, makes comparisons between Jewish/Israeli policy with Nazi atrocities you should expect some righteous indignation from us. Jews can alway use various Inquisitorial, Pogromist or Crusader allusions to any and all oppositional Catholic comments or attitudes at any time, yet we have managed to withhold such comments in official circles (unlike some recent Muslim accusations). Vatican II does not confer any moral superiority on Church clergy over Jews and Israel. This represents a German clerical "Mel Gibson Moment".

Mixa's comment on Jews acting with "almost racism" can be countered with the question - What do you call a Palestinian covenant (written 3 years BEFORE the Six Day war) that denies the right to life to Jews as people and a nation (and still does), no different than abortion does to a fetus, if not racism?

Hanke's comment on comparing Ramallah to the Warsaw ghetto can be countered with the question - How can one compare the Warsaw ghetto's purpose of destroying all Jews awaiting the order to execute the final solution by the SS (in the larger context of the Holocaust) to Ramallah's support of exported terrorism to Israel being cut off or walled off from easy access to Jewish population centers, and ignore that Palestinians control Ramallah and are fully capable of improving their conditions with the billions the EU and Arab nations give it?

Brandmueller's astonished lack of "understanding of Jewish frustration" in this matter underscores the disconnect the Catholic hierarchy has with the purposes, goals and need for Catholic-Jewish dialogue. That recent reports and studies indicate Germans report the highest hatred of Jews (reported to be 77%) in Europe may have some relationship to German clerical attitudes. Jews wonder what a German Pope, who served in a German army in WW2, really thinks. Jews are already joking that this rate is a 23% improvement over pre-1945 attitudes! Way to go Catholic Church!

The Israeli ambassador's comments were dead on right ("that anyone who made such comparisons had "either forgotten everything, learned nothing or failed morally"...and accused the bishops of "demonizing one side and operating with double standards"). Let me remind your readers that double standards are the hallmark of anti-Semitism - which your Church calls a sin. My hope and prayer is that your laity is wiser than your hierarchy on these matters. These clerics did more to set back the Catholic-Jewish dialogue in the 40+ years since Vatican II than anything else. A visit for a few hours to this area does not make these clerics experts in either international relations or political dialogue. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution and these clerics chose to be part of the problem. The bishops have made the job of thousands of well intentioned Catholic catechists who try to teach a positive view of the Jewish people that much harder. It has also made every Jewish news outlet and teacher more suspicious of the motives and methods of such Catholic thinking. Mel Gibson must be very proud - even when he is sober.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.

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