May 12, 2009

Jewish-Catholic Hermeneutics

A papal visit to Israel would be a mistake, was my first thought when it was announced. But then, the pope is first and foremost head of the Catholic Church and not a former Hitler youth. If it only were that easy! Now he is there and everything goes as expected. Benedict's remarks did not go far enough, there was no apology expressed, something was missing, there had been no mention of the Germans or the Nazis and he uttered not a word of regret. He didn't mention the number six, he used the word "killed" instead of "murdered" and as he had chosen to speak English, not the perpetrator's language, even his German accent was worth a comment. SO bad the son of a piss-poor village policemen didn't learn his English at Eton, Harrow or at least Ampleforth.

And as if that hadn't been enough, yesterday, at an "interfaith meeting" at the Notre Dame church in Jerusalem, a Palestinian cleric/judge/activist grabbed the microphone to deliver a hate-filled barrage against Israel. After hearing the translation of the -- Arabic -- words, the pope walked out. Muslims state that Benedict failed to adequately apologize for using a quote offensive to Islam in his 2006 Regensburg speech and it seems that the pope has a lot of apologizing to do.

Maybe it is inevitable that Benedict XVI is seen as German first and neither as one of the most eminent theologians of our time, nor as the representative of the global Catholic Church who has to understand, and deal with, the interests of all Catholics everywhere. He can not and must not speak first and foremost from a standpont of German guilt. He is speaking, too, for Catholics who have been victims of the Nazis. As the Polish pope with his koran-kissing and shameless shoulder rubbing with Muslim interests was seen as a friend of the Jews because his and the Jewish people were both targets of German eliminatory goals, Benedict is seen as German and German only. People love simple solutions.

There is an interesting discussion here (in German), from which I have paraphrased.

More on Pope Benedict for example here, here and here.


flowers said...

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The_Editrix said...

Thank you, Flowers! It's good to hear that. Comments like this keep me going.

Alligator said...

There is so much to say here. I find it interesting that certain Americans will condemn the Pope for being in the Hitler Youth some 65 years ago, when Germany was a totalitarian state and membership was mandatory.

Yet those same people WILL NOT condemn:
1) Reverend Jeremiah Wright who said the deaths from 9/11 were simply "Americas chickens coming home to roost." Instead we have to listen to a defense of all the good things Rev. wright did for inner city people.
2) Unrepentant 1960s terrorist of the Weather Underground (and friend of Barak Obama)Bill Ayres who says they did not do enough after bombing NYC police headquarters, the Pentagon and a failed attempt to bomb Fort Dix NJ. Instead, we have to listen to what a "great education reformer" the man is.
3) Bernandine Dorhn, Ayres wife who fled and went underground in 1970 but "bombed only buildings, not people." Instead we have to listen to what a great lawyer she is (after coming out of hiding)
3) Ward Churchill, the defrocked Colorado professor who pretended to be an Indian so he get his job, plagiarized artworks and writings of others and called the 3,000 people who died in the Twin Towers "little Eichmanns'" who deserved what they got. Instead we have to listen to how a "great educator" got railroaded by the "white" establishment.
4) Democratic Senator Robert Byrd who was once a Kleegle (paid recruiter)for the Ku Klux Klan, who has never publicly recanted and in fact has used the word "nigger" on televised interviews. Instead we have to listen to what a senior and respected member of the Senate he is. Democrats will not turn on their own, no matter what.

But the Pope? No, let's hold him to a different standard. He has not apologized enough! He can't ever apologize enough. The bar will be continually moved so he cannot achieve forgiveness. Why? Because he is a Catholic Christian, the antithesis of everything that Marxist-Leninist and secular humanists and leftist progressives hold dear.

They will not allow the Pope to be forgiven. They will not allow for him to be a changed man from what he was 65 years ago. But they will forgive a radical who bombed "The Man" in the 1970s or a Muslim who blows up a market place or school today.

I am not a Catholic so I do not see the Pope as infallible. But I do see the story of redemption and change in the man's life, somewhat similar to the Apostle Paul who persecuted and helped put Christians to death. He changed and went on to become one of the early Church's great leaders.

But for the Left there is no redemption or forgiveness for your past, UNLESS you become one of them. And really, when you are one of them you don't need to be absolved of your past or your present. That's how I see it on this side of the pond. Nora, I'll let you handle it from the European perspective.

And the spectacle of "offended" Muslims demanding an apology from the Pope for reading a line in historic text while their brethren behead other Muslims, stone and flog women, set off bombs in market places and launch rockets at civilians. What a joke.

The_Editrix said...

Interesting background information on that America-hating scum, 'gator. Thanks!

Where the Jews, specifically religious Jews, are concerned, I sense some serious concern, but I fail to see any legitimacy in criticizing the Catholic Church for choosing a German pope and all the ensuing brouhaha. Had a non-German pope said and done exactly the same, most of those critics wouldn't have uttered as much as a beep, as proven by the enthusiastic reception as a "friend of the Jews" of the previous pope.

From all the secular sides, it's basically about removing God from our conscience and for that the head of the Catholic Church is an excellent symbol.

Countless attempts at smearing the pope's reputation have been made, starting with the claim that he is homosexual on the strength of his extraordinarily handsome secretary, Monsignore Gänswein, and ending with the "Nazi" smear. As they couldn't fault Ratzinger and his immediate family, they've dug out a *gasp* great-uncle who had written some vile antisemitic stuff. Yeah, all little Josef's fault.

There is nothing that could be forgiven. January 1933, he wasn't even quite six years old and in may 1945 just 18. Yes, membership in HJ and BDM was mandatory, but attendance wasn't much enforced and he was known as an unenthusiastic Hitler youth. My mother didn't go to BDM meetings and all she got was a letter saying that she wasn't "worthy" anymore to wear the uniform. That was all. All this HJ brouhaha is much ado about nothing. This file is extremely interesting when it comes to German Catholics during the Nazi aera.

And, 'gator, Catholics see the pope as infallible in matters of dogmatic teaching only, and this has been executed only twice in history. It was Pope Pius IX's 1854 definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and Pope Pius XII's 1950 definition of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. In all other matters, the pope is as fallible as everybody else.

And now come those American gung-ho and rah-rah critics who blame the pope for having NOT been outspoken enough about Islam, which is basically true. But -- dear God -- I wish I (and that frail old man in the vatican) had such an incurably clean conscience. Maybe, just maybe, he is thinking about all the Christians in third-world countries that might be killed if he says a wrong word. Would you like to shoulder that burden? It is right to criticise him for that, but, by God, the gung-ho rah rah cold-heartedness in which it is done disgusts me.

It would be interesting, too, to dig out what all those people said about the way Benedict's great predecessor, known for his great love of the Jews, sucked up to Islam, but there is a limit to what I can stomach.