Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Pope’s Holocaust

There is an awful uproar sweeping the globe today concerning the homily delivered by an utterly obscure priest in Rome – one Father Raniero Cantalamessa, ‘Preacher to the Papal Household’ – at St Peter’s Basilica on Good Friday.

Apparently, he compared the present sufferings of Pope Benedict XVI with the ‘most shameful acts of anti-Semitism’ – by which superlative he must mean the six million slaughtered in the Holocaust. He said that Jews throughout history had been the victims of ‘collective violence’, and drew a comparison with current attacks on the Roman Catholic Church over the priestly-pederasty scandal.

You might think that a senior representative of an institution which has had a somewhat fraught relationship with the Jews would think twice before drawing comparisons between a little diplomatic inconvenience and what must have been hell on earth. Not only is the Vatican having to contend with the reputation of ‘Hitler’s Pope’, who allegedly did not do enough to assist the Jews during World War II; and with the constant allusions made to the present Pope’s involvement with the Nazis, even though membership of the Hitler Youth would have been compulsory. But in a spectacular display of (at the very least) insensitivity to the world’s Jewry, not to mention crass indifference to the innocent victims of priestly pederasty (who hardly got a look-in because, he said, ‘there is sufficient talk outside of here’), Father Raniero Cantalamessa has single-handedly brought down the wrath of Murdoch upon the dome of St Peter’s and provoked the ire of chief rabbis all over the world.

And that he did so on one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar is really quite deplorable.

The Jewish magazine, Tablet (another one?), has reportedly said that Fr Cantalamessa is ‘outrageously wrong’. The Roman Catholic Church, they aver, has ‘moved to cover up, paper over, and otherwise tacitly sanction paedophilia’. And they observe: ‘Like the church, Jews know what it feels like to be victims of collective persecution. Unlike the church, Jews don't know what it feels like for their victimhood to be deserved.’

The distinction is important. The blog Autonomous Mind puts it succinctly:

The Catholic clergy is not being criticised for being Catholic, but for the failure to stop the sexual abuse of children by clergy when it was reported. An allegation has been made against the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and it should be investigated. There is absolutely no comparison between the persecution of Jews and the entirely appropriate condemnation of the covering up of physical and sexual abuse by a relatively small number of clergy, and failure to prevent sexual predators being moved on and placed in positions of trust where they could continue to assault children. These carefully calculated comments cheapen the vicious persecution of Jews.
But Cranmer wishes to put a few things in perspective.

Fr Cantalamessa has stated in his defence that he was reading directly from a letter received earlier in the week from a Jewish friend; the unidentified letter writer was expressing his contempt for the blatant media assault on the Pope and his tangential administrative involvement with errant clergy 30 years prior.

So his quotation did not imply endorsement.

Nice one.

But of even greater significance (if, indeed, the theology may be considered greater) is that such comparisons are readily invited because of whom Roman Catholics believe the Pope to be: he is the Vicar of Christ, the Vice-Christ, the one who represents Christ on earth and who may speak infallibly on his behalf. According to Roman Catholic orthodoxy, the Pope is 'preserved from even the possibility of error' when he solemnly declares or promulgates to the universal Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals. Moreover, he may be judged by no man and is answerable to no civil authority: he is not simply a religious leader but a head of state who reigns supreme over the princes, kings, presidents and prime ministers of the world by the authority of God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit via the Apostolic Succession: Jesus laid hands on Benedict.

Such an ecclesiology naturally implies a degree of divinity: it inclines one to view the Pope as another Christ, such that all the Pope’s trials and tribulations are somehow akin to the suffering of Jesus: they are both holy, spotless lambs of God, wounded for our transgressions. When Pope Benedict was attacked last Christmas, for one priest it brought to mind ‘one of the central mysteries of faith, the vulnerability of the Incarnate God, the Word who became Flesh’:

As Word and Son He knew all things but experienced nothing. Through the womb of the virgin God experiences dependency and vulnerability, and ultimately suffering and death. In His Body, the Church, in his priests and in His people, unfortunately sometimes through them, he continues to experience and to suffer.
Monsignor Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, has also said that the Pope is ‘suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob and scourging at the pillar as did Jesus’.

So while Jews (and others) might be justifiably appalled and grievously offended that Fr Cantalamessa has appropriated the Holocaust for his own ecclesio-political purposes, it is really no different to comparing being knocked to the floor by a mad woman, or allegations duplicity and 'cover-up', to the unimaginable agonies of crucifixion. When a man possesses the attributes of divinity and bestrides the narrow world like a demi-god, any assault upon his personage – verbal or physical – amounts to heresy and blasphemy and so must be religiously rebutted and vigorously defended by his loyal and faithful disciples.

Especially those in the media.

And yet the Vatican digs itself a deeper hole as Fr Federico Lombardi, the Pope's official spokesman, attempts to distance the Pope from the latest fracas. He insisted the remarks were ‘not the official position of the Church’ and the papal preacher had not been speaking ‘as a Vatican official’.

Curious, that.

In what sense is the ‘Preacher to the Papal Household’ not a Vatican official?

Can Vatican non-officials get their sermons printed immediately in L’Osservatore Romano?

Can anyone preach in St Peter’s Basilica?

Cranmer would be delighted to accept an invitation.

The greater tragedy for the Vatican’s (wholly inadequate) media communications office is that, once again, one is left with the perception of deflection: the suffering of raped and tortured children is as nothing compared to the sorrow and frustration presently being endured by the Holy Father: Christ’s Calvary is Benedict’s; Christ’s passion is Benedict’s. And while ‘there is sufficient talk outside of here’ of pederasty, we must make sure ‘there is sufficient talk inside of here’ of the real victim.

And the Archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps sensing his moment, has waded into the rumpus. With a most uncharacteristically forthright intervention, completely devoid of his usual interminable nuances and without regard to ecumenical niceties, he has stated that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has ‘lost all credibility’ because of the child abuse scandal.

Perhaps he is more than a little sick of his Roman Catholic cousins forever telling him that his own church has 'lost all credibility' over women priests and bishops and the issue of homosexuality.

In the strongly worded counter-rebuke, the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who has called for full accountability in his church over child abuse, said he had rarely felt so personally discouraged. "The unequivocal and unqualified comment in a radio interview of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, that the Catholic Church in Ireland has 'lost all credibility' has stunned me," Archbishop Martin said.

(Not as stunned, perhaps, as Anglicans were when Cardinal Ratzinger told us that our church was not a church 'in the proper sense'. Or even as stunned as Anglicans were when Cardinal Ivan Dias told us the Church of England suffered from 'spiritual Alzheimer's' and 'ecclesial Parkinson's'.)

At least the Archbishop of Canterbury is open about doctrinal difficulties and his church's failing. Are not women priests preferable to pederast priests? And are not debates about the role of homosexuals in the church infinitely preferable to homosexual child-rape in the rectory?

And he pointedly refused to give his blessing to those Anglo-Catholics who intend to accept the Pope’s offer of a ‘personal ordinariate’ and cross the Tiber. He said: “I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal for the Church of England.” He predicted that just a few people would accept the offer. “They will take advantage of it because they believe they ought to be in communion with the Bishop of Rome. I can only say fine, God bless them. I don’t at the moment. So we proceed on that basis and we talk with, I hope, a level of mutual respect on that basis.”

The Archbishop did not quite say ‘Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch of the rang'd empire fall!’. But he might as well have done.

It will not have escaped Dr Williams’ notice that Pope Benedict is to make the first ever papal state visit to the UK in September, and that he will be addressing the British Parliament on moral values and society.

And he will do so from the very spot where Sir Thomas More, the patron saint of politicians, was tried and condemned for treason (or, if you prefer, martyred for his faith).

It is difficult to lecture politicians on religio-political morality when one’s own is so much in question.

Dr Williams appears to be more than a little indifferent to the papal visit. He said: “The Pope will be coming here to Lambeth Palace. We’ll have the bishops together to meet him. I’m concerned that he has the chance to say what he wants to say in and to British society, that we welcome him as a valued partner and, you know, that’s… that’s about it.”

That’s about it?

My, how these Christians love one another.

Happy Easter.

56 Comments:

Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Yep, Happy Easter.

3 April 2010 at 11:46  
Blogger Minnie said...

Happy Easter to you and all your readers, YG.
Mind you, nice to see Archbishop Rowan saying something sensible (let alone comprehensible) for a nice change ...

3 April 2010 at 12:07  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

It's not particularly often that you are strikingly wrong Y.G., but your knowledge on the position of the Pope is ridiculous enough for me to check whether it's still the 1st April. He is not perfect, he is not spotless, he is not a demi-god. The ex cathedra infallibility doctrine that you love to quote has only ever been used once. At all other times, the Pope has been completely and utterly fallible.

The ABCs comment that any other Christian group has lost moral authority I also must assume was made two days ago.

Otherwise it was a relatively balanced post. I agree that we cannot claim persecution over this. Even though the Catholic church has been made a scapegoat used to cover up other abuse in State systems, it does not make her innocent. Not one bit.

I think that after 'rivers of blood', it's best not to quote anyone ever in speeches. It'll be the only thing quoted in the papers the next morning (and not just the Telegraph).

Happy Easter to all; perhaps it's time for a bit of repentance and forgiveness.

3 April 2010 at 12:14  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Lakester91,

Where, precisely, is His Grace so ridiculously wrong?

Which earthly potentates are beneath the Pope? To which civil authority is he accountable? Who may bring him to trial? Who may judge him?

And His Grace did not say that the Pope was a 'spotless lamb of God': he said quite clearly (he thought) that papal ecclesiology 'inclines one to (the) view'. The fact that an ex cathedra pronouncement has been made once is irrelevant: it is not a potency or status which Benedict has repudiated (unlike 'Patriarch of the West'). How else can you explain the priests and archbishops who compare Pope Benedict's present troubles to the sufferings of Christ?

3 April 2010 at 12:37  
Anonymous William Wallace said...

Who may judge the Pope asks the Anglican champion.

Well, God is his judge and yours.

In addition I have heard the sufferings of others compared to those of Our Saviour.

Of course the sufferings of the Jewish people in the middle of the last century in no way compare with the attack on the Catholic clergy now.As we all know an attempt by a godless regime was made to eradicate a whole people and the Jews suffered enormously. Indeed that was not the comparison offered by the Jewish friend of the preacher. What he suggested was that persecution is proceeded by shifting responsibility from individuals in respect of their actions to whole classes of persons by way of sweeping, all encompassing charges, caricature and hate statements.

Is that now happening in the debate about child abuse in the Catholic church? Check any blog, Guardian, Times etc. and I think you will see that it is.That is not legitimate criticism of the church, which of course is also present.

3 April 2010 at 13:06  
Anonymous len said...

God does not recognize denominations!
There is one church,one body,one head; "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling" (Eph. 4:4). The one body is the church. Christ who reigns at the right hand of the Father is head of the church. God's power worked "in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:20-23)


The foundation of the church is unique: "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Christ is "the only begotten Son of God" (John 1:14,18; 3:16,18; Hebrews 1:5; 1 John 4:9). He is one Shepherd of one flock (John 10:16). "He is the head of the body, the church" (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1:22,23). "Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body" (Ephesians 5:23).







The church of Christ is indivisible. Christians must take their stand only as the church of Christ.

Christ's church is exclusive, set apart, sanctified.

The church of Christ is by definition the church that is of Christ, in contrast with all denominations, groups and associations that are not of Christ.

3 April 2010 at 14:59  
Blogger Bryan said...

Your Grace,

I know that your comparison between our Suffering Savior and this pope is meant to display and communicate an understanding of the point of view. But really, if the comparison between the sufferings of this pope and the Jews is so outrageous as to be insane, how is this not grossly surpassed by comparing this pope's well deserved lambasting to the Innocent Lamb who's sinless perfection was willingly offered for the sins of the world?

Your post only highlights the utter blaspheme of the papal office and the cult wrapped around it. Instead of the living Christ and His Scriptures, they offer their own despicable replacements; a sad, tired, old man and centuries of corrupt tradition which is used to make Scripture of none effect.

3 April 2010 at 15:28  
OpenID Michael said...

Well, if we're playing like that... one might also suggest that the Church of England was a minor nationalistic heresy started by a lusty self-regarding monarch indulging in Machiavellian politics, in which faith and Church became a pawn in the political chess match. Ever since, the CofE has done little more than apply theological appendage to the whims and wants of socio-political elites - usually by a bunch of chancers and charlatans claiming to speak the Word all in order to enhance their own social, political and even economic position.

I think we can all agree that such a narrative would be rejected as simplistic, disingenuous, and willfully misleading. Upon which grounds I think people might also be inclined to reject your account of the papacy.

3 April 2010 at 15:30  
Blogger srizals said...

William Wallace said...
"... no way compare with the attack on the Catholic clergy now.As we all know an attempt by a godless regime was made to eradicate a whole people and the Jews suffered enormously"

The Germans were godless then? What about the Italians? What about the Abbey of Monte Cassino? Was it destroyed by a godless people too? Why did the godless Germans saved the Christian heritage there from being destroyed by the allies? A godless instinct? Are you really the William Wallace that fought the English?

3 April 2010 at 15:43  
Anonymous Popov said...

Three points for a Happy Easter:

1. Ireland as a nation is as much to blame as the Roman church for their scandal. Irish Catholics - no time for them whatsoever.

2. "Are not women priests preferable to pederast priests?". We got over Donatism years ago, Your Grace - a priest in mortal sin is still a priest. A woman can never be a priest.

3. Funny to hear the lunatic Rowan Williams being condescending about Rome - but, seeing as I agree with his sentiments, it's hard to know what to say. I know - perhaps he should take up Irish citizenship and convert to Rome, then he'll fit in well!

3 April 2010 at 15:55  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

The Abrahamic faiths are at a crossroads. In one direction is the dear old CofE that even includes Bishops who regard many of the supernatural Biblical claims as allegories or even myths and whose influence and support is in terminal decline.

In the other direction are Islam and Catholicism who rather than bend with the wind of change hold steadfastly to out of date and often pernicious doctrine. This is attractive to those who like Tony Blair see the world as black and white and who cling to the certainty that their religions purvey. They ignore the nastiness because they crave the “authenticity” of a faith that remains undiluted.

It’s denials and the cover-up of the child abuse scandal is utterly sickening and these latest remarks by Cantalamessa reveal the appalling moral corruption at the very heart of the Catholic Church, its only concern has been to protect its “reputation”. On countless occasions the abused have been called liars and threatened if they did not remain silent. Many have endured a lifetime of misery and often self loathing as these ordained monsters were allowed to abuse again and again.

And yet ordinary Catholics like many here remain in denial. Some claim that the Church has been “unfairly singled out” and that the sexual abuse of children is widespread. But the Catholic Church is not some degenerate uncle, it is the moral authority for more than a billion people, it claims a direct link with God.

Do the decent thing, when the Pope visits the UK in the autumn get off your backsides and tell him that he is not welcome here. I can assure you that you will not be alone.

Oh and happy Easter.

3 April 2010 at 16:07  
Blogger srizals said...

Graham Davis said...
"The Abrahamic faiths are at a crossroads.
In the other direction are Islam and Catholicism who rather than bend with the wind of change hold steadfastly to out of date and often pernicious doctrine."

Which one? On abortions or free sex or free to lie? Could you please be a little bit more specific?

3 April 2010 at 16:21  
Anonymous shane said...

Archbishop Williams’ comments have been rejected as ignorant by Anglicans in Ireland

http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0403/abuse2.html

The Church of Ireland’s bishop responsible for furthering Christian Unity has called on Dr Williams to reflect on his comments which he described as ‘careless and reckless’ and ‘extremely unfortunate’.

Bishop Richard Clarke said he deeply regretted the comment that the Catholic Church was ‘losing all credibility’ because of the clerical child abuse scandals, adding that it was hurtful to all Christians here.

He said it was ‘thoughtless’ and that the Archbishop of Canterbury had neither experience of Irish life nor any direct ecclesiastical authority in this country.

Bishop Clarke said that the language used by Archbishop was ‘extremely unfortunate’ even allowing for the fact that the Catholic Church here is facing deep and serious challenges to its authority as a consequence of the scandals.

Dr Clarke said everybody living here knew very well that most bishops, priests and religious of the Roman Catholic tradition minister faithfully and selflessly under very difficult conditions with the love and support of their people.

*****************************************************************

http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/head-of-church-of-ireland-regrets-williams-comments-on-clerical-abuse-452561.html

The Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Dublin says he regrets the comments made by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the clerical sex abuse scandal in Ireland.

Dr Rowan Williams has said that officials in Ireland have lost all credibility because of the child abuse scandal and described it as a “colossal trauma”.

Church of Ireland’s Archbishop Dr John Neill has extended his support to his Catholic counterpart Archbishop Diarmuid Martin who says he is stunned by the comments.

Archbishop Neill said he listened to the remarks of Archbishop Williams with “deep regret”.

“As one who with so many of my colleagues in ministry shares with that Church in a joint proclamation of the Gospel, and who acknowledges the pain and deep suffering of the victims of abuse, I also feel for the countless priests and bishops who daily live out their Christian vocation,” he said.

He said he supported his Catholic counterpart in Dublin, Archbishop Martin, “as he works for the proclamation of the Gospel and the healing of hurt, including that of the faithful and their clergy whose ministry has been undermined by those guilty of the abuse of children”.

3 April 2010 at 17:11  
Anonymous William Wallace said...

Srizals

I am sorry if I caused you offence. I would not want to suggest the Germans as a people are godless. I believe the Nazi regime was, an entirely different thing.

3 April 2010 at 17:40  
Anonymous William Wallace said...

"thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church"

That settles the matter of the head of the Church on earth.

I mean does anyone seriously believe that God hung about for 1500 years before establishing that some fat, syphilitic letcher was actually the head of the church in England because the aforementioned serial adulterer happened to be King and wanted a divorce?

Who was head of the church of wessex? the king of wessex? Don't be silly.

3 April 2010 at 17:48  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr William Wallace,

What are you talking about, or to whom are your comments addressed?

If you would care to survey His Grace's right-hand bar and note the information beneath the CofE logo, you might find a response.

3 April 2010 at 17:54  
Blogger Unsworth said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 April 2010 at 18:06  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace

Maybe this priest could be persuaded to publish the letter so that we may see the text in full, and so that this Jewish 'friend' can verify the origin and content.

Failing that, we must assume that this is some sort of device, a parable, perhaps.

And a Happy Easter to you, Your Grace.

3 April 2010 at 18:07  
Anonymous shane said...

UPDATE:

Archbishop Williams has expressed ‘deep sorrow and regret’ for his comments

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Rowan-Williams-Hits-Out-At-The-Roman-Catholic-Church-In-Ireland-Over-Its-Handling-Of-Child-Abuse/Article/201004115592324?lid=ARTICLE_15592324

The Dublin Archdiocese said:

"The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, this afternoon (Saturday) telephoned Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to express his deep sorrow and regret for difficulties which may have been created by remarks in a BBC interview concerning the credibility of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Archbishop Williams affirmed that nothing could have been farther from his intention than to offend or criticize the Irish Church."

3 April 2010 at 18:13  
Anonymous the recusant said...

As so we have it, the nub of your rising tide of indignation is nothing more than a petty long standing grudge raising from institutionalised insecurity of the Anglican communion. And for a moment there I thought it was from a genuine concern for the current difficulties of the Catholic Church.

So it still rankles that the CofE has been told in no uncertain terms its place in the scheme of things by the Catholic Church and you don’t like it. Well boo-hoo, get over it, get used to it or get out of it, but for goodness sakes stop bitching about it, it’s pathetic.

It may have passed you by in that cloud of condescension you seem to occupy these days but your head druid has scored a bit of an own goal with his ill thought out rant. What do you think the Irish will make of an attack on them by the esteemed Dr Williams, Archbishop of the Church of England, by law established, the same institution that was held in such admiration by the Irish for the last 400 years. Let me enlighten you, they won’t be raising any pints of Guinness to his health, he should remember people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, there are plenty of Anglican rocks that he would not want turned over.

What was a little surprising was his impudence in equating that provincial branch of the reformation that is the CofE as in some way a partner with the Catholic Church. A partner I ask you, Greasy Lill’s A1 road side cafe has more partnership in common with the Ritz than Elizabeth’s illegitimate child with Rome. He deludes himself if he thinks the product of the reformation will ever be considered anything more than a wrong turn in history that needs correcting. Accommodation is made for the antics of Lambeth in the hope that one day its adherents will realise their mistake and return to Rome as has been graciously offered by the Holy Father. Now granted this may be hope over experience but it still springs eternal.

Rome and the Catholic Church will recover from its current difficulties, of that you can be sure, lest this bit of news be unwelcome consider this. For the last three years Church membership has increased year on year by 16, 16 and 19 million. Let see how all your ‘help’ will affect next year’s figures.

Lets see how the CofE fared over the same period 138,400, 138,900 and 139,100 steadily improving but down on 2000 new membership of 151,400. At this rate you will reach 19 million in 95,000 years (yes that’s right if he can continue to get new members a 200 per year)

Cranmer you are wrong; Roman Catholics do not believe the Pope to be: the Vice-Christ. Roman Catholics do not believe the Pope represents Christ on earth, and in the terms you infer Roman Catholics do not believe the Pope may speak infallibly on His behalf.
If you maintain what you say is truthful show me in the Catechism of the Catholic Church explicitly where we make these claims, otherwise we would appreciate you following your leaders example by apologising.

3 April 2010 at 18:30  
Anonymous Gabriel Wilensky said...

OPEN LETTER TO REV. CANTALAMESSA

Rev. Cantalamessa, you really messed up today. I know you didn’t mean to insult anyone when you compared the current attacks on the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict with the persecution of the Jews, but you did, and you did it big time. It seems that you are ignoring a few important points: first of all, there is no comparison because the Church persecuted the Jews for no other reason than their Jewishness, which the Church found intolerable, while the current attacks on the Church and the Pope—I wouldn’t quite call it “persecution”—are well deserved as the Church seems to have an endemic child abuse problem compounded with on obstruction of justice problem. This is not the first time this happens. It’s best to not even talk about the Middle Ages. Hopefully the Pope will make use of his power and swiftly remove any offenders from the Church and hand them over to the civil authorities for prosecution, as would be the case with any child molester. The attacks on the Pope are well deserved too. He was responsible for some of these cases before he became pope and he not only did not punish these priests, he moved them to other places where they were able to molest children again! So, it’s hard to feel sorry for the Church or the Pope these days. You also seem to have forgotten that of the 365 days of the year, this is the least appropriate day to make such comparison with the persecution of the Jews. Should I remind you of the forced conversion of the Jews, instituted by the Church centuries ago? Should I remind you of the incitement to violence in the faithful every Good Friday after sermons and Passion Plays? Should I remind you of the accusation of deicide which prompted countless acts of Christian violence toward Jews? Or the Good Friday prayer which asked God to lift the veil of the blind, perfidious Jews?

It makes me wonder about your boss, Pope Benedict, too, because one needs to ask oneself the uncomfortable question of why he didn’t stand up as you were making this innapropriate comparison and distance himself and the Church from your comments. But then, maybe one should not be so surprised about this given his recent track record regarding the sexual predator priests, or his treatment of the whole Bishop Williamson affair, or his reinstating the Good Friday prayer referenced above, or his rush canonization process for the problematic wartime Pope Pius XII. In a way, seeing Pope Benedict looking at the floor today as you uttered those words reminded me of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who also stood silently by the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in 2001 as Assad let loose an antisemitic rant that was broadcast in the entire Christian world. Assad, like the Catholic Church before him, presented Jews as enemies of God. Also like Christians before him, Assad used the Christian blood libel of Jews as Christ-killers. Pope John Paul II did not see fit to stop him right then and there and thus appeared to implicitly accept Assad’s vitriolic statements.

Perhaps this issue of silent popes is also endemic in the Church. After all, Pope Pius XI and his successor Pope Pius XII both stood by silently as the Nazis slowly and inexorably dehumanized, demonized, and exterminated millions of Jews during the Second World War.

To wrap it up, Rev. Cantalamessa, as the sole and direct preacher to the pope I think you yourself need some advising. I would encourage you to think about these things, and next time you sit with Pope Benedict advise him better.

Gabriel Wilensky

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3 April 2010 at 18:31  
Anonymous Oswin said...

William Wallace....who was the head of the Church in Britain before Rome got its claws into us?

The current Church of England believes its ministry began with the Augustinian Mission. I do not understand why they should think this, as Britain has always been recognized, by the Holy See, as being the base of the first ever Christian Church. How could it do otherwise; with Rome as 'Johnny Come-Lately'?
However, all sides seem now to wish this to be nothing more than myth and fantasy.

Whatever was created by a ''...fat, syphilitic letcher...'') had already existed many centuries before, encompassing more than just England; yes?

Whatever the venal attributes of the initial architect, we may still embrace the independent edifice that is the Church of England.

You Scots largely chose your own confusion, with only a little help from your neighbours.
As Lowlander or Highlander, you were forever happy to abuse the other; but not always so ready to blame others. It must be a comfort for you to now feel free to do otherwise?

3 April 2010 at 18:50  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Heven help us from the Guardian of all places.

"
But Martin, who has called for full accountability in the church over child abuse, rebuked Williams, arguing his comments would discourage those working to address the damage caused by the paedophile scandal.

"The unequivocal and unqualified comment in a radio interview of the archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, that the Catholic church in Ireland has 'lost all credibility' has stunned me," Martin said.

The comments would be "immensely disheartening" for those Catholics dealing with the child abuse problems and would "challenge their faith even further", he said.

"I have to say that in all my years as archbishop of Dublin in difficult times I have rarely felt personally so discouraged as when I woke to hear archbishop Williams' comments," he added.

The Anglican archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Neill, expressed his support for Martin, describing Williams's comments as regrettable.

He said: "I extend to archbishop Diarmuid Martin my support as he works for the proclamation of the gospel and the healing of hurt, including that of the faithful and their clergy whose ministry has been undermined by those guilty of the abuse of children."

The Anglican bishop of Meath and Kildare, Richard Clarke, branded Williams's remarks as hurtful and reckless.

"Whereas it is clearly true that the Roman Catholic church in this country is facing deep and serious challenges to its authority as a consequence of clerical abuse scandals, this careless and reckless use of language by archbishop Williams is extremely unfortunate.

"It is deeply hurtful to Roman Catholic clergy and laity alike, and indeed to those of other Christian traditions, that such a thoughtless remark should be made by Archbishop Williams," he added. "I hope that he will reflect on his comments, and I deeply regret the hurt that he has caused."
"

It would seen that not all of your co-religionists agree with your interpretation of events Cranmer

3 April 2010 at 19:35  
Anonymous len said...

Who is the Vicar of Christ?

The Lord Jesus Christ entrusted the universal care of souls into the safekeeping of the Divine Person of the Holy Spirit. Concerning this Third Person of the Trinity who was to be His substitute, the Lord promised that, “when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The Holy Spirit convicts of sin as He makes the sinner realize his lost condition and convicts him of his need of Christ’s righteousness. He it is who brings a soul dead in sin to life. This miracle of grace is spoken of in Scripture as, “the exceeding greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.” The majesty, greatness and indescribable power of the office of Vicar of Christ are such that a believer stands in awe of His divine Person. That any human being should lay claim to the office of Vicar of Christ seems totally absurd and blasphemous.

And The Rock?.Peter himself gives the interpretation;

1 Peter 2:4-8 (New International Version)

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

As you come to him( Jesus Christ), the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
"See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame." Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
"The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone," and,
"A stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

Peter does NOT say" Come to me Peter, for Jesus said i am the foundation of something new"
Peter say Jesus is the rock!

3 April 2010 at 19:35  
Anonymous William Wallace said...

Oswin

One wee question. Who was it who sent St Augustine to England?

And another thing. The Holy See recognises three hierarchies in the British Isles. England and Wales; Ireland; and Scotland.

3 April 2010 at 19:57  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Len , thankyou for your posts .

The church has a role in keeping the gospels read and professed to each generation .

I was more struck by Rowan Wiliams having a view , he has appologised for any difficulty his words may have caused , but it is important that the protestant and roman catholic faiths see where they have may have been weak .

3 April 2010 at 19:58  
Anonymous William Wallace said...

But hats of to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

An apology generously accepted I hope.

3 April 2010 at 20:00  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

YG
Though I admit that your views on the office of Bishop of Rome are commonplace (i.e. the doctrine does appear to be interpreted by outsiders as such), it is simply not the view of the Catholic Church. Frankly, how Christians appear to outsiders should not be an important matter. Not only is that why Jesus had so much to say about the Pharisees, but is also why the child abuse became more of a scandal.

"Such an ecclesiology naturally implies a degree of divinity: it inclines one to view the Pope as another Christ, such that all the Pope’s trials and tribulations are somehow akin to the suffering of Jesus: they are both holy, spotless lambs of God, wounded for our transgressions"

I wouldn't say it naturally implied any degree of divinity. It's certainly not a logical conclusion. The Infallibility doctrine is a very specific one. It does matter that it has only been used once, because it means it is not something thrown around willy nilly. His opinion is not infallible, his actions are not infallible, even his statements on the nature of sin and morality are not infallible. He is not considered as a demi-God, nor another Christ. Such an accusation is as offensive as if the Pope claimed such himself.

"When a man possesses the attributes of divinity and bestrides the narrow world like a demi-god, any assault upon his personage – verbal or physical – amounts to heresy and blasphemy and so must be religiously rebutted and vigorously defended by his loyal and faithful disciples."

That is quite openly implying that such is the opinion of Catholics. You are drawing a conclusion over the defence of the Pope from an illogical and ill-considered opinion.

I do not follow the Pope and I do not follow the Church. I follow Christ, just as any good Catholic should. The Church is there to guide us. To interpret when we lack the intellect and wisdom to interpret for ourselves. To provide 2000 years of theological thinking and apply that to modern life. Infallibility is the declaration of absolute and unchanging dogma, interpreted from scripture; not the opinion of a man who has the power to decide what is true for himself.

3 April 2010 at 20:22  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

"Are not women priests preferable to pederast priests?"
Probably,but I'd certainly say that married priests would be preferable to celibate priests.
Is this not the nub of the problem. For some time (but before the current furore) Ireland has been having difficulty in recruiting priests.When I was there a couple of years ago they were, in effect, advertising for priests and families were being told it was their duty to send one of their sons into the church. Contrariwise, the Church of Ireland had no such problems and they claim that their congregations are increasing.
Being a cynic, I wonder whether the Archbishop of Canterbury's intervention is a conterblast to the Pope's recent attempt to recruit dissident Anglicans by trying to do the reverse in Ireland!

PS I'm not suggesting married priests are 100% safe, but I'd suggest that the probability is far higher than for celibate priests!

3 April 2010 at 20:33  
Anonymous William Wallace said...

Oh. I didn't catch that "degree of divinity" bit.

Oh dear. Not good attributing views to people which they do not hold.

3 April 2010 at 20:53  
Anonymous len said...

Rowan Williams is in a no win situation,
If he says nothing he is criticised,and if he speaks up he is criticised.
Given the situation what else could he say?

3 April 2010 at 20:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3 April 2010 at 20:56  
Anonymous Theresa said...

I think you should take a look at these cartoons from the 1930s, your grace;

http://www.churchinhistory.org/images/hitler-rise/cartoons.jpg

Now look at the cartoon that you reproduced from the Times and tell me that history isn't repeating itself.

3 April 2010 at 21:40  
Anonymous Theresa said...

Btw, I tried to post this link on the Times online article about the ABC;

http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/will-ratzingers-past-trump-benedicts-present

It was in answer to someone who asked me about a previous comment that I had made about Benedict clearing out child abusers. That comment has not been posted by the Times. This is the second time they have refused a comment from me with the info from that particular link. I have sent a comment to the moderator complaining about this; if they don't print it I will conclude, reluctantly, that this once august organ of the press has become a biased, untruthful gossip mongerer of the most vulgar kind.

3 April 2010 at 21:49  
Anonymous no nonny said...

I also am confused, Oswin. How do you arrive at your conception that the first Church is British? Whither then St. Paul and his epistles? And all those popes? And St. Augustine? et al, et al?

All my info suggests that Christianity first reached our shores in Roman times - via the conquerors. Certainly Roman troops at York proclaimed Constantine their 'Emperor' - but his vision of the Cross came later; and his mother's mission later still.

And certain Irishmen claim that Irish Christians single-handedly saved [literacy and] civilization after the Romans left.

The Augustinian mission converted the Anglo-Saxons; and Theodore and Hadrian later brought Greek interests to bear on that establishment. Those learned men contributed to the survival of education in Europe - at the very least.

But the first ever base of the Christian Church - in Britain?

**********

Oh - and Dr. Williams' statement has hit the headlines States-side.
Sad that it's all come upon us at Easter - as Your Grace noted. But yet, I seem to feel more sense of the significance of Good Friday than usual. Perhaps it's just me.

3 April 2010 at 22:03  
Anonymous Theresa said...

Oh, and I nearly forgot to say; a Happy and Holy Easter to one and all. Even the Times..

3 April 2010 at 22:03  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Theresa,
Some uplifting links sent there. Perhaps we are over the worst of it. Calling for the resignation of Benedict XVI would be the worst mistake at this point. I sincerely hope that this problem will be dealt with properly in the future. I care not about the reputation of the Church; only that we can learn from the mistakes made, and come closer to God's intention for his church.

3 April 2010 at 22:32  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

The higher you set yourself up, the further it is to fall, heat and the kitchen, all that stuff really.

We come from the dirt and end in the dirt, inbetween we dish the the dirt. The Vatican like Parlaiment, Zionism, Communism or any other arrogant filthism, finds itself in a catch twenty.

That being, there be nobody with clean hands, nobody sufficiently fit enough to do the tidying up, a naked Sadhu rolling in the dirt is more in touch with the true nature of things than those on high who are full of it.

Signed: Et tu Brute

3 April 2010 at 23:00  
Anonymous GASTON said...

CRANMER,

Your bearded clown has apologized for speaking out of turn. So much for his "forthright" intervention. And I think you'll find that child rape is as common in the CofE as it is in the RCC - look at the statistics if you care to.

Perhaps your next post could offer some musings on what everyone's favorite Anglican Gene Robinson meant when he

stated that it was time to move beyond speaking simply of "GLBT" (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered) orientations: "there are so many other letters in the alphabet," he said; "there are so many other sexualities to be explored."

Covering something up, however wrongheaded, irresponsible and stupid a policy, at least shows that the person doing it knows that there is something shameful to be concealed. In your communion, shame has been dispensed with. A mass of shamelessness. Why? Well, one can't feel shame if one doesn't believe in personal sin, and as Anglican luminaries like Spong, Holloway, Robinson and Schori are always happy to remind us, that's an outdated paradigm, y'see?

Anyway, I do hope exploring those many other sexualities proves a rewarding experience for Old Mother Damnable and her stillborn colonial offspring.

GASTON

4 April 2010 at 01:52  
Anonymous len said...

I believe God is withdrawing His hand of protection from the church in judgment, but the church hasn't realized it yet.The judgment of God and the victory of the saints are the two major themes of Revelation. The theme runs throughout the book. It is in Revelation that John reminds us that the judgment of God begins with the house of God. To each of the seven churches of Asia, Jesus says, "I know your works . . ." and then he gives the proper commendation or rebuke.

Peter wrote, as he was preparing Christians for the suffering ahead: "However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." (1 Peter 4:16-19)

It seems the church today is being taken to the laundry by the godless. We could shorten and simplify the process if we would judge ourselves. But if we don't, God will.
( From an article James R. Davis)

4 April 2010 at 10:16  
Anonymous Adrian Peirson said...

@ William Wallace

The Nazi's were Godless ?

The Nazi's and Christianity

4 April 2010 at 10:43  
Blogger adrian said...

Someone is at war with Christianity, after all, child abuse is not just a Christian thing, besides, how do we know they are true ? because it says so in the papers.
The same papers that printed lies about British troops in Iraq.

Ok, let's solve this as you would a crime, with good old Western Loic and Alaysis, Let's go to basics, let's start at rhe beginning and see where it leads.

Let's first ask, who owns and controls the papers.

Did you have a feeling of realization there.

All roads lead to.....

4 April 2010 at 10:51  
Blogger Whiskey Echo said...

I really rate the wonderfully convoluted logic in some of the comments defending the pope.

Here's my subtle, nuanced contribution:

The pope is a mortal tosser. Those that support him are deluded tossers.

L&K

4 April 2010 at 11:51  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Whiskey Echo?

How interesting. That bit of the alphabet appears in a short story written by one of 'the flatmates,' also.

Either the memory has very loud repercussions, or coincidence is at it again.

In Memoriam here also. Hope is Renewed - despite the lying slants favoured by newspapers, then and now.

4 April 2010 at 12:28  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Ah - I hasten to clarify. I don't watch TV, you see; and my reference is to Whisky Echo - the 707 incident at Heathrow, of April 8, 1968.

Coincidence it is, then!

4 April 2010 at 14:47  
Anonymous Mikec said...

The members of my family left in Lithuania in 1940 probably had their lives ended, naked and in a ditch.

The boys and girls, victims of priestly predators, probably felt very similar and maybe wished they were dead.

Those serially abused in the 'industrial schools' modern slavery, need to be repaid the wages that they should have been paid, plus compensation etc. Just like the slave labourers in the death camps.

The arrogance and hypocracy of the Vatican is breathtaking.

I would suggest that some humility is called for, I seem to remember that, when accused of offending Islam, the Pope apologised.....

4 April 2010 at 19:41  
Blogger adrian said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5 April 2010 at 03:20  
Anonymous www.worstsinners.com said...

The real question to this shameful scandal is, what will catholics around the world do about it. Nothing!

5 April 2010 at 03:37  
Blogger Theresa said...

'the real question to this shamful scandal is, what will catholics around the world do about it. Nothing!'

Worst sinner, it's all been done. We have cleared out the church in a way that other institutions have not done and still have to do. Click here and note who did it;


http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/will-ratzingers-past-trump-benedicts-present

The real question is; what are all the other institutions that deal with children going to do once they see the way the church has been dragged over the coals for doing the right thing? And I suspect the answer to that will be nothing.

5 April 2010 at 13:00  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

It certainly seems that a lot of flak came towards the Church after they stopped protecting the criminals and began to clean up. Once/if state institutions do the same then they should be prepared for the same treatment (though the secular humanists will be conspicuous by their silence I'm sure).

A lot of the hysteria seems to have come from anti-Christian/anti-Catholic sources trying to claim that Catholicism has a monopoly on abuse. I can't even begin to wonder whether they might have an ulterior motive.

Rather than believing in the medieval idea that this is God's judgement on the Church, shouldn't we be asking why Satan is targeting Catholicism and Catholic priests with such endeavour, whilst leaving the Anglican Church alone? Perhaps they are already where he wants them?

5 April 2010 at 16:24  
Anonymous len said...

Just as God granted Satan permission to afflict Job, so God will allow Satan to persecute the church. The church that goes into the last days will be primarily known for her compromise ... God will permit this time of testing to purge, purify and refine her before she can be considered worthy to come into the presence of God, and to become the bride of Christ."

( I don`t believe this will be exclusive to Catholics.
When God points something out as sin its best not to try and justify this but to agree with God that we have no righteousness of our own, repent and change our ways.)

5 April 2010 at 17:45  
Blogger Pete said...

I was about to say 'your Grace is on fire!' meaning a most eloquent, damning and beautifully written post.

Then remembered your Grace's end.

5 April 2010 at 20:16  
Blogger PaulineG said...

Theresa,

Re your post 3rd April 21.49:

I have come late to this and just want to flag up with you that the Times habitually fails to post comments that don't suit its ideological agenda.

This has been particularly so re the allegations against the Pope where most attempts at getting some truth out there are blocked. I understand from other blogs that many others have experienced the same.

I have complained both to the moderators and to the website editor. No response.

Curious, is it not, that the Times is apparently unwilling to publish any fact-based defence of the Pope?

I suggest that all readers here, whatever their views re the Catholic Church, should, in the spirit of Niemoller, be concerned about this.

6 April 2010 at 22:51  
Blogger Theresa said...

That explains a lot, PaulineG. Truth is the daughter of time; eventually people hopefully will realise what actually happened. But it's done a lot of damage, esp in Germany. Time to boycott the Times I think..

7 April 2010 at 14:37  
Anonymous Oswin said...

William Wallace.....you make my point entirely; but why?

8 April 2010 at 15:29  
Anonymous Oswin said...

no nonny....it arrived amongst the soldiery of the conquerors; which is not quite the same thing; surely?

However, many would postulate that the above was a 'second coming' - that we cannot wholly dismiss the belief that Joseph of Arimathea established the first Christian church at Glastonbury.

Indeed, some believe that the First Church of Christ in Britain(note: NOT first Christian church!) was founded by Christ himself.

My original, and perhaps badly expressed point, was that the present Church of England refutes the whole 'Josepth of Arimathea' belief as mere myth. Prefering to believe the Pope-inspired Augustinian Mission as the beginning of the Church of England; whilst disregarding the 'Church in Britain' from whatever foundation you prefer to confer upon it. This surely is illogical, in terms of the 'Reformation', yes?

Both Henry's assertion of the existence of an 'older church' and the Holy See's recognition of, and agreement with this opinion, would seem considerably at variance
with the 'Augustinian' origin as purported by Canterbury today.

8 April 2010 at 16:12  

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