The man who preaches to the pope today compared a few critical news stories about the Catholic Church's problems with perversion to the persecution of the Jews.
Above is what the persecution of the Jews looked like.
But the pope's own priest, in the Vatican, on Good Friday, as the pope listened, said that stories about priests raping little boys, bishops covering it up and enabling the priests to rape again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and whether the pope -- when he was an archbishop and a cardinal -- did enough to put a stop to it, that those articles are somehow so awful as to be compared to the Holocaust and other persecutions of the Hebrew race.
The mind struggles to comprehend such personal and institutional narcissism. The mouth fails to form the proper words to respond to such a notion -- a sick notion put forth on the most solemn day in Christendom.
In the Vatican.
As the pope listened -- and said nothing.
HERE IS A BIT of the story from The New York Times, which we all know has installed Satan in a corner office:
A senior Vatican priest speaking at a Good Friday service compared the uproar over sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church — which have included reports about Pope Benedict XVI’s oversight role in two cases — to the persecution of the Jews, sharply raising the volume in the Vatican’s counterattack.I PAUSE HERE to give you a chance to catch your breath and collect your thoughts. It is not a good thing to take in this story all at once -- I made that mistake, and you don't want to repeat it.
The remarks, on the day Christians mark the crucifixion, underscored how much the Catholic Church has felt under attack from recent news reports and criticism over how it has handled charges of child molestation against priests in the past, and sought to focus attention on the church as the central victim.
In recent weeks, Vatican officials and many bishops have angrily denounced news reports that Benedict failed to act strongly enough against pedophile priests, once as archbishop of Munich and Friesing in 1980 and once as a leader of a powerful Vatican congregation in the 1990s.
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.”
While we're all catching our breath, let me just say that if there's a Catholic left in Europe -- or, hell . . . anywhere -- after all this, it won't be for the Catholic hierarchy's lack of trying. The devil is somewhere, but I doubt it's at the Times.
That said, we now return to our regularly scheduled outrage:
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.I WISH to associate myself with the remarks of the good rabbi.
Disclosures about hundreds of such cases have emerged in recent months in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and France, after a previous round of scandal in the United States earlier this decade.
A leading advocate for sex abuse victims in the United States, David Clohessy, called comparing criticism of the church to persecution of the Jews “breathtakingly callous and misguided.”
“Men who deliberately and consistently hide child sex crime are in no way victims,” he said. “And to conflate public scrutiny with horrific violence is about as wrong as wrong can be.”
The comments could cause a new twist in Vatican-Jewish relations, which have had ups and downs during Benedict’s papacy.
Rabbi Riccardo di Segni, the chief rabbi of Rome, who hosted Benedict at the Rome synagogue in January on a visit that helped calm waters after a year of tensions, laughed in seeming disbelief when asked about Father Cantalamessa’s remarks.
“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.”