Prologue to Pope’s meeting with Jewish leaders

posted by David Gibson

In this story Reuters’ Vaticanista Phil Pullella has the lowdown ahead of Thursday’s critical meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and American Jewish leaders.
Read transcripts of Pullella’s interviews with leading members of the Jewish delegation, and see a timeline on Catholic-Jewish relations.
The long and short of it: Jewish leaders say the problem is bigger than just Bishop Williamson and his Holocaust theories, and the pontiff needs to make it clear that the SSPX as a whole must reject anti-Semitism in any form and accept Vatican II. It seems to me the latest Vatican statements have made those conditions clear–finally–so I wonder if there will be anything more from Benedict XVI.

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Tim Hunter

posted February 11, 2009 at 11:27 pm

What does it means when someone says that the Society of St. Pius X (a private group of Catholic traditionalists) MUST accept the Vatican II? Do they mean the traditionalists msut accept the “dogmatic constitutions” of the 2nd Vatican Council? NO CATHOLIC HAS ANY PROBLEM WITH THAT or do they mean the traditionalists must embrace the so-called “spirit of Vatican “? There are innumerable books, actions, letters, espiscopal statements and other indications which supposedly are “in the spirit of Vatican II”. But, according to whom? Is is merely personal opinion of someone what is and what is not in “the spirit of Vatican II”?
There is no chance Pope Benedict is going to order Catholics to “believe” in the concepts that those outside the Church seemingly are attempting to impose upon the Church in the “spirit of Vatican II”.
The best thing for the Pope to do is not to submit to pestering from outside the Church but to survey the RC bishops of the world as to what effect the latest American uproar is having on the world-wide Catholic people. And, inter alia, one wonders to what extent those espousing the cause of “the spirit of Vatican II” even understand the “dogmatic consitutions” of Vatican I and the Council of Trent?
For myself, I would pray that the Holy Father considers calling another Church Council – Vatican III? – to review the so-called “spirit of Vatican II” and dogmatically describe to what degree erroneous doctrine (Pope Paul VI’s term was “the smoke of Satan”) has been promulgated by various means and what is anathema considering the decrees of all the Popes and all the Councils.
Timothy N. Hunter

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Gerard Nadal

posted February 12, 2009 at 12:38 am

Great post! First, as regards our Jewish brothers and sisters, WWII was the turning point in our relationship. While much press has been given to the pogroms of the past two millennia, AND DESERVEDLY SO, not nearly enough has been written about the latent goodness and regard of the Jews within every rank and station of Catholic that came pouring out during the Holocaust. Scores of thousands of clergy and religious paid with their lives for sheltering Jews. Millions of our laity died in those camps as well. Upon that solid foundation of goodness has been built the timeline Steven linked above.
I believe that these Jewish leaders, if strengthening the good work of the past seventy years is their goal, need to tone it down about Williamson and the SSPX. They know that Pope Benedict is as good a man as John Paul II, and firmly with them. It wouldn’t hurt relations to be as vocal about the great progress made over the last seven decades as they have been over Williamson.
As for needing a Third Vatican Council to clarify the Second, it’s not necessary. When Catholics prattle on about “the spirit of Vatican II”, what they are saying is that the Council Fathers neglected their agenda, so they retroactively read into the Council what they wish. I doubt that a Third Council would bring any more clarity. One good encyclical and the passing of another generation will clear out the underbrush.

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Scott R.

posted February 12, 2009 at 9:44 am

Scores of thousands of clergy and religious paid with their lives for sheltering Jews.
I would honestly like to see some backup for that.
Thousands of your clergy were executed, but I have read very little about that happening for the sake of Jewish people.
I have heard of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe (sp?), but he was know for holding some extreme anti-Semitic views.
Edith Stein doesn’t count, because her body was filled with Jewish blood, and that’s what got you killed then.
There was Fr. Tiso, who ran Slovakia, but he was executed by the Allies for handing over Slovakia’s Jews to the Nazis.
And there were the bishops of Croatia, by they worked hand-in-hand with the Ustasi, who were the Croatian Nazis.
I really would love to know about the tens of thousands of clergy that died so my family could live. Except my family didn’t live.

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Gerard Nadal

posted February 12, 2009 at 10:07 am

Scott R.
“I really would love to know about the tens of thousands of clergy that died so my family could live. Except my family didn’t live.”
Tragically, neither did many others. However, hundreds of thousands did because of the goodness of our clergy and laity. That is the ray of light that breaks through the darkness of that terribly dark chapter of history. It is also an excellent foundation upon which to build true fraternal love between our Communities. To ignore it is to lay waste to the sacrifices and suffering of those who prayed for the opportunity we have before us.
A good start, to answer your question, is this well documented book by Rabbi Dalin.
“The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews From the Nazis,” by Rabbi David G. Dalin, (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc, 2005).
Sure, you can point to the anti-Semites of that time, or any other. Their sins do not tarnish the virtue of those who reached out in love, whether they gave their lives or were lucky to have been successful. As far as I am concerned, the blood of our Jewish and Christian martyrs has washed the slate clean. I refuse to ignore their heroic virtue and remain mired in an endless cycle of bitter recrimination.
These past seven decades have been consequential times. I choose the high road. I’m sure your martyred family would have wanted that.

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Scott R.

posted February 12, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Of course the blood of the Jewish martyrs has washed the slate clean. Look at Isaiah 53. We – Israel, the Jewish people – are the Suffering Servant of the Lord.

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Gerard Nadal

posted February 13, 2009 at 12:58 am

Scott R.
If you wish to quote Isaiah, go all the way. Not exactly a chronicle of your finest moments. A sampler,
Isaiah 1
“What care I for the number of your sacrifices? says the LORD. I have had enough of whole-burnt rams and fat of fatlings; In the blood of calves, lambs and goats I find no pleasure.When you come in to visit me, who asks these things of you? Trample my courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings; your incense is loathsome to me. New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies, octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear.Your new moons and festivals I detest; they weigh me down, I tire of the load. When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; Though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood!…
“How has she turned adulteress, the faithful city, so upright! Justice used to lodge within her, but now, murderers.Your silver is turned to dross, your wine is mixed with water.Your princes are rebels and comrades of thieves; Each one of them loves a bribe and looks for gifts. The fatherless they defend not, and the widow’s plea does not reach them.Now, therefore, says the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: Ah! I will take vengeance on my foes and fully repay my enemies! I will turn my hand against you, and refine your dross in the furnace, removing all your alloy.”
Isaiah 48
“I know that you are stubborn and that your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead bronze…Yes, I know you are utterly treacherous, a rebel you were called from birth. For the sake of my name I restrain my anger, for the sake of my renown I hold it back from you, lest I should destroy you.”
Sounds like a good deal of that suffering was punishment for your offenses, so we can dispense with the self-righteousness.
“I have heard of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe (sp?), but he was know for holding some extreme anti-Semitic views.”
For the record, Maximilian Kolbe and his brothers were caught sheltering 2,000 Jews. For this he was sent to Auschwitz . Your ugly claims have been widely discredited.
It was the blood of OUR martyred clergy and laity that wiped the slate clean of any debt owed your community from the past. My Church has moved on. Join us if you care to, or remain mired in an endless litany of bitter recriminations. If you do, history will not be kind in its remembrance of you, in this generation, in these consequential times.
Some people don’t know how to live without their pain. If that’s you Scott, that’s too bad.

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