Comparison Of Vatican’s Problems To “Collective Violence” Against Jews Inflames Many
Pope Benedict personal preacher, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, said in a Friday sermon that attacks on the church and the pope because of sexual abuse scandals were comparable to “collective violence” against Jews, setting off an international firestorm.
“I am absolutely totally dumbfounded by this. This is folly,” said Amos Luzzatto, a former president of Italy’s Jewish communities.
Rome chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, who welcomed the pope in the capital’s synagogue last January said: “This is really in bad taste.”
Jewish leaders around the world used words like repugnant, obscene, and offensive to describe the sermon, particularly, as Di Segni noted, it came on the day that for centuries Christians prayed for the conversion of the Jews, who were once held collectively responsible for Jesus’ death.
“How can you compare the collective guilt assigned to the Jews which caused the deaths of tens of millions of innocent people to perpetrators who abuse their faith and their calling by sexually abusing children?” demanded Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the international Jewish rights group.
The Vatican newspaper is blaming the media for reports of alleged sexual abuse of children by priests and says the pope is the target of a “despicable campaign of defamation.” But the Vatican itself is distancing itself from Cantalamessa’s remarks.
A Vatican spokesman said the comparison “is absolutely not the line of the Vatican and of the Catholic Church.”
Victims of sexual abuse also criticized Cantalamessa.
“This ridiculous attempt to hide the crimes of the (Church) hierarchy inside of Jewish suffering shows just how far this pope seems willing to go to stop the truth from emerging,” said Peter Isely, a spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).Click here for reuse options!
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