By this stage, outsiders trying to make sense of Pope Benedict XVI’s approach to Jewish-Catholic relations might be forgiven for wondering if the pontiff suffers from an undiagnosed case of schizophrenia.
After all, this is the pope who made a point of visiting a Cologne synagogue in 2005 on his first foreign trip, and Auschwitz on his second, only later to revive a controversial Good Friday prayer for the conversion of Jews. More recently, this is the pope who rehabilitated a Holocaust-denying traditionalist bishop and who announced that Pope Pius XII (whose alleged “silence” during the Holocaust remains a bone of contention between Jews and Catholics) is a step closer to sainthood, only to visit Rome’s Great Synagogue on January 17 to express his “esteem and affection” for Judaism, and to pledge that the “faces, names, tears and desperation” of Holocaust victims must never be forgotten.
We see that John Allen is as slavishly devoted as ever to the party line, but he is right after all considering Holy Father's ultimate concern in his policy that, "Benedict’s top priority is internal, directed at the inner life of the Catholic Church. His aim is to restore a strong sense of traditional Catholic identity, in order to inoculate the church against infection by radical secularism." However, there are others, in Israel, who view things a little bit differently, like this Jewish paper which views Benedict's maneuvers as essentially hostile. We've seen a lot of negative reaction to Benedict's various changes and some of his public acts which don't bode well for an integralist Catholic viewpoint, like changinig the Good Friday prayers to make the Jews and the traditionalists happy at the same time. The prayer actually called for the conversion of the Jews, and a loud minority were, not suprisingly, unhappy with the prayer and their views were reported far and wide. Fact is, most Jews don't care about Benedict's activities, they don't go to services either. Why don't we spend more time talking to those Jews and get them to come to Mass, permanently!
Vatican Blames Israel for Driving Christians Out of the Area
January 20, 2010
A Vatican synod being convened by Monsignor Nikola Eterovic will address an internal document addressing the plight of the dwindling Christian minority in the rapidly growing Islamic population in the Mideast. 150 bishops are expected to attend the synod which will be held on October 10-24.
The internal Vatican documents pertaining to the meeting place the ongoing Israel-PA (Palestinian Authority) conflict at the heart of regional instability and conflict, adding “radical terrorism” over recent years exploited the conflict towards advancing political Islam in countries including Egypt.
Israel’s “ongoing occupation” is blamed for restricted access to houses of worship in those areas, hampering religious life. In Iraq, the report states all Iraqis became victims but the small and weak Christian population was among the principal victims.
The Vatican believes the solution remains in the hands of “the stronger countries, to settle the conflict between Israel and the PA.
A Vatican statement added “Violence is in the hands of the strong and weak alike, the latter resorting to whatever violence is within reach in order to be free.”
When asked if the Vatican document was referring to yishuvim throughout Yehuda and Shomron and ongoing construction in the eastern capital, Eterovic explained that while the Vatican was not making policy decisions, it does adhere to and accept the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, which in this case, support the Roadmap Plan and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
The bishop added that while many of the 17 million Christians living between Iran and Egypt have fled, the numbers of Christians in the region has grown due to the influx of manual laborers, Christians, in a number of Arab countries, some that had a minimal or no Christian presence prior to their arrival.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)