Beliefnet
Pontifications

At PoliticsDaily.com, Elizabeth Lev (the daughter of Mary Ann Glendon) titles her analysis “How Israel Could Have Been a Better Host to Benedict,” and as the title suggests, takes aim at Israel and some Jewish leaders for undermining that leg of the pilgrimage. Her walkaway:

“But in Jerusalem, despite the gaily colored papal flags alternating with the blue Star of David, the impression seemed to be that receiving the pope was more of a burden than an honor. Compared with the pope’s gentlemanly overtures of peace, his hosts seemed like petulant schoolchildren. It was a sad showing for the Israelis. What could have been a historic encounter was soured by grumbling from the sidelines.”

The other entry is from Yours Truly and is called “How the Pope Fell Short as a Guest.” And as that title suggests, I’d give il papa a mixed grade at best–above all for a “missed opportunity” with the Jewish community that can never be recovered.

The other difference between the two verdicts is that I am right, of course. Right?

BTW, I would take issue with just two of Lev’s assertions:

One, she says that after the Regensburg blowup, “Benedict issued a clarification and invited Muslim leaders to dialogue, garnering a positive response from 138 Islamic scholars.” Actually, the Muslim scholars initiated the dialogue request, and after some delay the Vatican accepted.

Two, Lev says that “The opposition of the Ratzinger family to Hitler’s regime is a matter of public record.” In fact, there is no such record I know of, and Joseph Ratzinger himself has said that while his family had no love for Hitler, they never made any public statement or action because that would have endangered them. Many others did object or resist, and suffered the consequences, though Ratzinger does not make mention of them in his writings.

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