Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Flogging The Pope

Pope Benedict has come under considerable fire lately over a Papal 'rehabilitation' by welcoming back four excommunicated bishops, among them Richard Williamson (needless to say, a Brit) who are part of the St. Pius X Society(SSPX), a group that essentially disregards all of the Vatican II ecumenical reforms. Among other things, Vatican II renounced the Catholic Church's traditional stance that all Jews, including living Jews, were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Williamson is a known and very public Holocaust denier. In an interview broadcast last month on Swedish state TV, he stated that historical evidence "is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler."

He cited what he called the "most serious" revisionists that "between 200,000 and 300,000 perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber."

Bishop Williamson has also been very vocal about his beliefs that the forgery "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is authentic, that the United States was behind the 9/11 attacks, that women should not be allowed to attend universities, and that everything about Vatican II reforms, including support of religious liberty, was heretical. Leadership of his Pius X Society also calls Jews "the artisans for the coming of the Antichrist" and argues that Jews' "grave defects rendered them odious to all nations among which they were established."

In other words, a bunch of garden variety conspiracy theorists and Jew haters, dignified by Church office.

Williamson was consecrated as a Bishop by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, reportedly without papal consent. But they're still bishops, although the Vatican also said that removing the excommunication on Williamson and the others should not be taken to mean that the Vatican shared their views.

I personally find that a bit much to swallow, even though I accept at face value the Pope's assurance that the Church doesn't agree with their ideas.

After all, a Bishop is an officer and official representative of the Catholic Church. If I hire, say, a vice president for my company who hates blacks and is unapologetic about it,am I not making a statement about the values of my company? Or am I simply allowed to skirt the issue by chuckling and saying, "Oh, that's just Jack and you know how he feels about the blacks. I don't agree with him, but he's a heckuva executive VP and really livens up those dull board meetings with those jokes of his!"

Ultimately, any organization is judged by its members and what kind of behavior they're prepared to tolerate.

The feedback to the Pope's decision has been immediate, both from Jews and Catholics, especially in the Pope's homeland, Germany.

The German Conference of Catholic Bishops rejected Williamson's statement. Gerhard Ludwig Müller - the bishop of Regensburg, which is also the pope's home city - said Williamson would not be allowed inside his city's cathedral or any other church property.

And last Saturday, in mounting opposition to the pope's decision, Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, in southern Germany, issued a statement saying the Benedict's rehabilitation of the bishops was "totally unacceptable...‘a betrayal of trust, especially among Jewish sisters and brothers in their relationship to the church.’

And a number of other church figures have spoken out as well.

Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in, saying that she does not believe there has been what she termed adequate clarification of the Vatican's position on the Holocaust. The spectacle of a woman who is at heart a decent German hausfrau challenging the Pope's authority and scolding him on this matter must have brought back memories of his younger days for the one time Cardinal Ratzinger.

The Jews, as expected, are livid over this. German Jews have announced a break with the Pope, and in Israel the Rabbinical Association suspended all ties with the Vatican.

In short, this has become a huge firestorm.

My personal conviction is that Pope Benedict is essentially a decent man. But I also think that his main goal as Pope is what he sees as the preservation of the Church as a united entity whatever the cost, and as such, he's not immune to what he sees as the tide of thought within the Vatican. During his time as Pope, there has been the movement to beatify Pope Pius XII , the head of the Church during the Holocaust and later make him a saint. There have been the Church's issues with Israel, such as the ridiculous statements from Papal officials likening Gaza to a concentration camp and the constant shilling for the Palestinians in an effort to preserve Church property even as Arab Christians are driven by the Muslims from the Holy Land , the abrupt closure of the Vatican's Holocaust archives and the refusal to cooperate with both Catholic and Jewish scholars researching the Church's actions during the Holocaust, the re instituting of the old Pre-Vatican II Latin mass calling for the conversion of the Jews and now the rehabilitation and restoral to the Church's bosom of a bunch of Jew haters and Holocaust deniers.

There's an obvious pattern here. And it seems the Pope is going to continue to bend in the direction he feels the Vatican is going, even if it offends a great many Catholics of conscience.

During the Holocaust, while many individual Catholics behaved with incredible decency and bravery, the Church as an institution did not. The Church never made the simple statement that what was happening to the Jews was unholy and that anyone who participated in was excommunicated. In fact, not one Nazi leader was ever excommunicated from the Catholic Church, and it's a matter of historical record that virtually every one of the death camps was situated in Catholic Europe, in the countries where the Nazis found their most willing accomplices...because of the pre-Vatican II de facto anti-Semitism expressed in much of Church doctrine like the old mass . That helped prepare the ground for the Holocaust in places where the population was already predisposed towards it.

Vatican II was supposed to end that unhappy part of church history and it took immense courage for Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI to face up to that history and move the Church forward. They were willing to take the risk of disturbing the Church's unity in order to put the Church on firmer moral ground.

Pope Benedict apparently feels that unity can be achieved by returning to the pre-Vatican II Church regardless of those moral grounds...and regardless of how many Catholics may feel about the matter.

The odd thing is, the Pope appears to contradict himself out of his own mouth.

I remember - was it only two and half years ago?- when Pope Benedict walked in the rain through the gates of Auschwitz....like an ordinary penitent seeking absolution through the gate with its mocking inscription `Arbeit Macht Frei' (`labor liberates').

I remember how this German Pope who lived the nightmare first hand spoke about the Jews and Israel, saying that the destruction of the people of Israel is essentially the will to destroy G-d,and that "Ultimately, the destruction of Israel was intended as an unearthing of the foundation upon which Christian faith rests, and as its replacement by a new, artificial faith in the rule of man, the rule of the strong."

As I wrote then, by linking the fate of the Church to the fate of the Jews, Pope Benedict made a statement not only about the embrace of `anti-Zionism' by some Europeans as a way of dealing with the continent's guilt over the Holocaust,but the threats of a new Holocaust by people like Iran's Ahmadinejad.

He was acknowledging a common danger and a common destiny for Christianity and the Jewish people.

Much has happened since then,and apparently things have changed for this Pope.

While I see no point in flogging the Pope over it, I must admit I'm sorry to see it.


Anonymous said...

Why wasn't Adolf Hitler expelled from the Roman Catholic denomination by either the Roman Catholic Pope or the Roman Catholic religion? That, I think, is the most important remaining question from the 1939-1945 War for most of mankind. After all, Adolf Hitler was a life-long Roman Catholic ; indeed, he very nearly became a Roman Catholic minister (or is it priest?). The greatest influence on Hitler in his youth was an Anti-Semitic Roman Catholic minister or priest in Hitler's native Austria whose name, alas, I can't recall (but any expert on the 1939-1945 War would be able to tell you). The Roman Catholic Popes' culpability extends to aiding & abetting the ascension to power of Hitler & his National Socialists. In Jan 1933, Hitler & the National Socialists held only 42 % ( per cent ) of the votes counted. Another party, the 'Roman Catholic Centre Party', held 10 per cent & immediately threw their support to Hitler & the National Socialists, thereby allowing Hitler to form a government & come to power. Who in Rome ordered the Roman Catholic Centre Party to support Hitler & the National Socialists in their quest for power? We deserve some answers. Additionally, the Roman Catholic Popes had enormous leverage with Hitler & could use it when they were of a mind to do so. After all, Hitler & the National Socialists originally only had a base in the far Southern & overwhelmingly Roman Catholic states such as Franconia & Bavaria. (Hitler's Austrian German could not be understood outside of these states ; in fact, Hitler only learnt true German whilst serving his prison sentence for the Munich Putsch. Stranger yet, Hitler did not become a German citizen till a quarter of an hour (15 minutes) before being sworn in as Germany's new Chancellor.) The best demonstration of the potential power which the Roman Catholic Popes & the Roman Catholic denomination had was in their reaction to Hitler's eugenics programme. Hitler, as part of his 1st mass - extermination policy, had personally signed an extermination order for all mentally-handicapped & physically-handicapped individuals. The Roman Catholic religion eventually denounced this policy, & Hitler was forced to withdraw the order (but, tardily, only after the handicapped already had been murdered) . Hitler, stung by this experience, learnt 2 lessons : 1), never to sign personally any future extermination orders (that would be left to subordinates), & 2), to be careful not to touch anyone under the aegis of his own Roman Catholic religion. Thus, Hitler & the National Socialists concentrated their policies of murdering civilians on the Jews, the Gypsies, the Slavs, the Serbs, the Poles, the Communists, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the monarchists, & the Freemasons. The reference to Freemasons startles a lot of people. Up to 200,000 Freemasons were murdered. ( The forget-me-not is their flower of remembrance for the Holocaust. )Hitler & the National Socialists were planning to murder every single official of the Church of England upon the conquest of Britain. Everyone, from the Archbishop of Canterbury down to the vicar of the smallest parish. Hitler's peculiar connexion with his Roman Catholic denomination explains his peculiar views re racism in Yugoslavia. The Orthodox, Roman Catholic, & Moslems are really, in origin, 1 race : the Southern Slavs ; however, Hitler treated them as 3, based on religion. The Slavs were slated for extermination as a sub-human race. The Roman Catholic Croats & the Moslem Bosnians were declared to be Germanic Ostro-Goths which had somehow slipt into South-Eastern Europe. In an unspeaksable moment of history, the Orthodox Slavs & Serbs appealed for the help of the Roman Catholic Croatian head bishop & the Croats. They refused. In fact, the Roman Catholic Croatian head bishop was completely pro - National Socialist ( pro - Nazi ) & ordered the Roman Catholic institutions to seal their doors & to refuse to grant asylum to their Orthodox Christian neighbours. When the German National Socialists ( Nazis ) entered Croatia, he, the head bishop of the Roman Catholic religion in Croatia, publicly greeted them & led the welcome festivities. He was later declared a saint by 1 of the later Roman Catholic Popes. The excuse given was that he had objected to the seizure of property. Fortunately for justice, he was also tried for war crimes against humanity, convicted, & executed. The best book I can recall detailing the obscenity of Hitler & the National Socialists is a book which I read in the early 1960s entitled ' The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich ' . The author's name is Shirer , unless I be mistaken. It is thick volume with over 1,000 pages. It is a chilling account of history. I think it should be mandatory reading for older school - children. PS, NB, the manner wherein Hitler spared both Roman Catholic AND Moslem populations in Yugoslavia. Apparently, the Moslems were the other group which Hitler was careful to respect. In fact, a prominent Palestinian Arab leader was present in Berlin during the 1939-1945 War period. I can't recall the name, but you probably could. The links between National Socialism & the current Moslem terrorists are very deep indeed. The Roman Catholic Popes should have the simple decency to explain the extent of their predecessors' culpability in the rise of Hitler & the National Socialists, &, for that matter, the St Bartholomew's Day Massaacre of 1572 ( please see the bartleby.com article on the Saint Bartholomew ' s Day massacre for a mercifully brief account ), amongst other historical subjects. Surely, that is fair. Apologies for the length of this letter. Best Regards.

Soccer Dad said...

I see one of the bishops criticizing the Pope is from Regensburg, which, I believe where R' Yehuda Hachassid was from. Rottenberg also had a large Jewish community. And I've seen elsewhere that the Bishop of Mainz also complained. These are all cities where Jews were persecuted 1000 years ago. It's interesting that something's changed.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Anonymous,
I don't mind the length, but it would be nice if you broke your letter into paragraphs to help your points stand out more.

Wiliam L. Shirer does indeed do a superb job of showing how Hitler and the Nazis came to power, an dI have no quarrel with your history regarding the Church's early tolerance of the Nazis. It was the the historical anti-Semitism of the Church in Europe that prepared the ground for the Holocaust, and that was exactly what Vatican II was supposed to address.

The Church could simply have stated that th eHolocaust was unholy, and that any Catholic who participated in it was excommunicated. There is no doubt in my mind that this would have saved lives and mitigated the tragedy of the Holocaust.

But in fact, the Church did not, an dno one was ever excommunicated for participating in the Holocaust, not even ex-nazis convicted at Nuremburg. On ehas to wonder why.

The regard for Hitler in the Muslim world is also a matter of historical record, and Hitler's chief intermediary was th egrand Mufti of Jerusalem,Feisal Husseini, who was also Yasir Arafat's grandfather.

The Nazis cultivated the Muslims because they had a great many ideas in common ( Hitler's Mein Kampf, which Husseini translated into Arabic for Hitler is a bestseller in th eArab world to this day )an dbecause they saw a strategic role for the Muslims to play in revolting against the British and paving the way for the Nazis, who had already helped to establish a pro-Nazi regime in Iraq.

The original plan was an Arab revolt to tie up the British while Rommel and the Afrika Corps smashed through Egypt, Palestine and the Levant to link up with Nazi forces in the Caucusus, with a concentration camp for Palestine's Jews planned in Nablus.

Rommel was stopped at El-Alamain, and I still recall hearing as a child from one of my father's friends who fought with Montgomery the story of how the 8th Army marched back into Cairo after that battle and found the city decorated with Nazi flags and decked out to welcome their Nazi 'liberators.'


Freedom Fighter said...

Hi SD,

I'm not at all surprised at the German's reaction. To them, this is a family matter and Ratzinger is guilty of an offense against common decency.

It's long been my position that the safest country for Jews in Western Europe today is Germany, simply because the Germans have been down that road before and know where it leads.

You might remember that 'Jewish' talking head Mike Wallace did a high profile interview with Iran's Ahmadinejad in which he did nothing to contradict Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial and racism.

However, when Ahmadinejad was interviewed by the German publication Der Spiegal, the reporter stopped him and politely but firmly told him that the Holocaust occurred, the evidence was irrefutable and that there was not the slightest doubt about it or about the fact that the Germans were responsible for it. ( although as we bothknow, they had many willing helpers in other countries).

All Best,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for naming Hitler's ally. Once you mentioned it, I recognised it. A propos of the absence of paragraphisation, I'm embarrassed to admit that this old dinosaur, to this day, doesn't know how to order the computer to indent. I'm very much a throw-back to newspaper wire-copy & typewriter days, a dinosaur ! (but a vegetarian one) No doubt, some young person will grin & tell me that there is some innocent-looking key on the quasi-typewriter key-board which, when pressed, will perform this task.

Freedom Fighter said...

All you need do is hit 'enter' twice at the end of the last sentence in your paragraph. That spaces it out.

since you've become a regular member of Joshua's Army, you probably need to come up with a name to attach to your posts so I'll know whom you are...

All best,

Anonymous said...

How about lower-case 'l' libertarian? No, too long. I'll try 'Dinosaur'.

I was rummaging about the internet & found this article re war criminals in the 1939-1945 War Croatia : www.manfredlehmann.com/sieg457.html (It's entitled 'Kurt Waldheim's Knighthood, The Vatican, The Serbs and Israel'.) The site is apparently called 'The Manfred And Anne Lehmann Foundation'.

The article references the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Zagreb Alojzije Stepinac. (That was 1 of the names which I could not quite unearth from memory.) I have to correct myself as a result of additional research : Stepinac was not executed, but, rather, imprisoned for his war crimes. He was, however, declared a ' martyr ' by, I believe, John Paul II, ca 1998, even though he had died a natural death after release from prison. I think the misuse of the word martyr in this context was what misled me. That & the numerous war criminals which were being tried all at once. I should also clarify that that bishop was protesting against the Communist, re-formed Yugoslavia's seizure of Roman Catholic religious property. (I'm not sure that was clear in the original letter.) That was the excuse given for declaring him a martyr in the Roman Catholic religion. The dead Serbs, Gypsies, & Jews from his collaboration period were ignored.

Finally, in that same article referenced, supra, there is an appearance by none other than the, start of quote, 'ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, who had been Hitler's favored guest in Berlin. He organized a Moslem SS division of some 20,000 Bosnian Moslems who carried out atrocities against Jews throughout Yugoslavia. This is the man whose kinsmen today, Feisal el-Husseini and Yasir Arafat el-Husseini, are intent on completing their relative's program of annihilation of Jews.' End of quote. (The article is obviously dated.) That criminal obviously got round quite a lot.

I'm about to try the double 'enter' technique you've recommended. Wish me luck.

signed, 'Dinosaur'

Freedom Fighter said...

Welcome back, Dinosaur,

I'm glad you took my advice...doesn't that look better?

FTR, both Feisal el-Husseini and Yasir Arafat el-Husseini are deceased. Arafat, as we know was the PA 'president' who stole millions of dollars in humanitarian aid destined for th epeople he was supposed to be ruling and in a bit of poetic justice, died of AIDS in Paris.

Feisel predeceased him, and was Arafat's commisar in Jerusalem. It was Feisel who referred to th eOslo Accords as a Trojan Horse "just designed to trick the Jews."

I hopet both of them have been reunited with their ancestor in an exceedingly hot place.

Anonymous said...

There's probably quite a power struggle going on downstairs. Do you think they had to widen the entrance door to allow all of those big heads from the 1900s & early 2000s in?

signed, 'Dinosaur'

PS, that does look better -- thanks!

Ymarsakar said...

Hey Rob, you ever wonder why the Stephens of the world keep harassing people like Rose but they won't ever deal with people like me?


Freedom Fighter said...

Cowardice perhaps?

It's odd,but I've noticed the same thing on the subjects of Israel and the Middle East in reference to myself, especially in person.

My favorite is when some Leftard comes out with a blatantly untrue statement and you prove it...after which they either say,

(A)"well you obviously have a lot of information on this subject that I can't verify,but I FEEL that..."

Or(B) simply respond with a more outrageous BS story, using somebody like Noam Chomsky or Norman Finklestein as a 'source.'

Personally, I never try to bother with such people unless I really feel they're just ill informed or if there are some swing votes reading/listening.