In a development that makes clear what an amoral abyss the Vatican is, the preacher to the Pope himself has equated reporting on the Catholic clerical abuse scandal with anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. Reuters filed this report on Fr Raniero Cantalamessa’s remarks (WebCite cached article):
Attacks on the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict over a sexual abuse scandal are comparable to “collective violence” against Jews, the pontiff’s personal preacher told a Vatican Good Friday service.
The sermon by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan whose title is “Preacher of the Pontifical Household”, drew sharp criticism from both Jews and victims of sexual abuse by priests.
It further racheted up tensions over the abuse scandal, forcing even the Vatican spokesman to distance himself from Cantalamessa, the only person authorized to preach to the pope.
Fr Cantalamessa used Holy Week services, as well as the coincidence of Passover and Easter this year, to get additional attention for his crass comments:
Cantalamessa, speaking with the pope sitting nearby, drew the parallel at an afternoon Good Friday service in St Peter’s Basilica on the day Christians commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion.
Noting that this year the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter fell during the same week, he said Jews throughout history had been the victims of “collective violence” and drew comparisons between Jewish suffering and attacks on the Church.
Nice. How marvelous. The worldwide mass media reporting on a long-simmering, insidious child-abuse scandal within the Roman Catholic Church, somehow is the same as centuries of anti-Semitism, many generations of harassment of and attacks on Jews throughout Europe, leading up to and including the Third Reich’s attempt to wipe them out, culminating in the mechanistic murder of millions of Jews in central and eastern Europe.
Oh yeah, obviously they’re the same thing! Exactly the same!
“What a sad irony this would be on Good Friday, where so much of the anti-Semitism was brought about by the church against Jews,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “Anti-Semitism was pogroms, inquisitions, expulsions that led to death … What a grotesque comparison.” …
Hours later, the Vatican sought to distance itself from the incident. A Vatican spokesman said that remarks are not the church’s official position and that such parallelism can lead to misunderstandings.
Gee, ya think?
As I’ve posted before, this sort of reasoning seems egregious, extreme, and weird to those of us capable of thinking rationally about it. But as I’ve blogged already, most of the Roman Catholic Church — especially those high up in the Vatican — does not view this scandal rationally. To them, this scandal is not something they’ve created on their own. It is, instead, an external attack upon the God’s appointed Church, by the forces of the Devil himself. To them, the reports of abuse either are absurd and false, fabricated by diabolical forces or “secularists”; or they’re real, but the product of diabolical infestation of the abused children, who “tempted” the poor priests into behaving inappropriately. Either way, by this reasoning, the Church is not in the wrong here; the children harmed by clerical crimes are not “victims,” but rather, the abusive clergy are “victims.” The R.C. Church has not done anything to deserve being “attacked,” other than to have been God’s appointed Church. Such thinking inevitably leads to a comparison with Jews, then, who were persecuted because they viewed themselves as “God’s chosen people.”
Under the “scandal-as-a-spiritual-war” model, then, Fr Cantalamessa’s comparison is perfectly valid and reasonable.
So long as this model of thinking about the scandal holds sway in the cavernous, amoral halls of Vatican City, nothing will be done, because the Church will never concede that anything is wrong. It can’t, because to do so would grant the Devil a “victory,” and they cannot permit that.
Photo credit: Humpalumpa.Tags: anti-semitism, antisemitism, catholic clerical abuse, catholic clerical abuse scandal, child abuse, child sexual abuse, clerical abuse, clerical abuse scandal, clerical child abuse, clerical child abuse scandal, devil, diabolical, diabolical attack, easter, fr raniero cantalamessa, good friday, holy see, holy week, jews, passover, persecution, pope, priestly abuse, priestly pedophile, priestly pedophilia, priestly pedophilia scandal, raniero cantalamessa, roman catholic, roman catholic church, scandal, scandal as a spiritual war, vatican, vatican city