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Via Media


Visit to the Synagogue

posted by awelborn

The Pope’s address:

Finally, our gaze should not only be directed to the past, but should also look forward to the tasks that await us today and tomorrow. Our rich common heritage and our fraternal and more trusting relations call upon us to join in giving an ever more harmonious witness and to work together on the practical level for the defence and promotion of human rights and the sacredness of human life, for family values, for social justice and for peace in the world. The Decalogue (cf. Ex 20; Dt 5) is for us a shared legacy and commitment. The Ten Commandments are not a burden, but a sign-post showing the path leading to a successful life. This is particularly the case for the young people whom I am meeting in these days and who are so dear to me.  My wish is that they may be able to recognize in the Decalogue a lamp for their steps, a light for their path (cf. Ps 119:105). Adults have the responsibility of handing down to young people the torch of hope that God has given to Jews and to Christians, so that “never again” will the forces of evil come to power, and that future generations, with God’s help, may be able to build a more just and peaceful world, in which all people have equal rights and are equally at home.

An article

More photos of the visit.



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Brigid

posted August 19, 2005 at 10:25 am


Nice live streaming video coming from BXVI visit with seminarians at EWTN and Vatican.
Why don’t they put the links to this streaming video coverage directly on their home pages?
So hard to find for the “regular” person…
aaaggghh!
(yikes. now they are both going in and out…)



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Christopher Fotos

posted August 19, 2005 at 11:19 am


Apologies to already stressed out multitaskers, but right now John Allen is partipating in a live chat at the Washington Post about WYD.
(the chat is unfortunately advertised variously as starting at 1 pm or 1:30.)



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Christopher Fotos

posted August 19, 2005 at 11:29 am


Beautiful photo, by the way.



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SteveM

posted August 19, 2005 at 12:42 pm


Interesing article From Der Spiegel (in English):
“When the German Pope Returns Home, He’ll Find an Unchristian Land.”
http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,370072,00.html



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Jason

posted August 19, 2005 at 1:03 pm


The Hebrew chant that was done for the Holy Father was absolutely beautiful.



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Christine

posted August 19, 2005 at 1:08 pm


The article strikes me as snide and defensive, particularly in its references what was formerly Communist East Germany. It almost sounds like the author is fearful that a rejuvenated youth just might take the Holy Father seriously.
The image painted of an “old” Pope stuck in a time warp of fundamentalist medievalism is unfair. Let’s see what they’re writing in 20 years or so when the Muslim population is even greater while the native European population continues to plummet.
They may just find out that the Church was right.



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Mark Shea

posted August 19, 2005 at 1:23 pm


Shofar so good!
*ducking*



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Fr. Shane Tharp

posted August 19, 2005 at 2:25 pm


Mark, don’t you have better things to do with your time than steal my cleverly crafted lines?



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SteveM

posted August 19, 2005 at 2:29 pm


Christine,
Re: Der Spiegel. Seems to me the reporter was mostly just reporting what the Pope has himself observed. The collapse of Christianity in Europe has been acknowledged by believers and unbelievers alike.
I happen to think that without some sort of spiritual renaissance that extends beyond self-absorption, the pathway to nihilism is inexorable. I wonder what God makes of all of the souls who are caught in this time-slice of dissolution through no fault of their own,?
SteveM



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Kelley Sterling

posted August 19, 2005 at 2:30 pm


Pope Benedict’s ever-present secretary Georg (the guy in black with purple buttons) is really a handsome man. Once again this shows that beauty can equate to goodness. I think many have the reaction that external bodiliy beauty is something that can lead to sin or is sinful in and of itself. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of beauty and sin. Sure, the beautiful is naturally attractive, but its what you do with it that counts.



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Mark Shea

posted August 19, 2005 at 2:34 pm


Fr. Shane:
I made it up on my own. Call it “convergent evolution”.



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Christine

posted August 19, 2005 at 2:43 pm


Steve, I agree (although I visit the website of the small Bavarian town where I was born regularly and there do still seem to be pockets of life here and there in Germany). It was the specific terminology that he was using that seemed to me to be somewhat condescending.



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Patrick Sweeney

posted August 19, 2005 at 4:31 pm


What I want to know is if he said “supercession” under his breath at any point.



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Joseph D'Hippolito

posted August 19, 2005 at 5:59 pm


What’s most important is that Benedict transfrom this good will toward Jews into stronger support for Israel (unlike his predecesor).



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melissa

posted August 19, 2005 at 6:01 pm


I heard NPR talking today about the Pope’s visit to the synagogue, and they kept emphasizing that Pope Benedict was only the second pope in ALL 2000 YEARS OF CHRISTIAN HISTORY to ever visit a synagogue. So, uhmmm, do they mean that Peter wasn’t really a pope, or that he never set foot inside a synagogue?



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Joseph D'Hippolito

posted August 19, 2005 at 6:01 pm


It’s tremendously important for Benedict to demonstrate such good will to those whom God designated as His Chosen People and from whom Jesus came.
It’s even more important for Benedict to discipline those in the Vatican who harbor anti-Israeli (if not anti-Semitic) attitudes, and to show far stronger diplomatic support for Israel.
We would all be toast without the Jews. Remember that. Remember that for as long as you live.



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Mark Shea

posted August 19, 2005 at 6:07 pm


Yeah. That evil John Paul: opening diplomatic relations with Israel, pulling the Carmelite nuns out of Auschwitz in deference to Jewish sensibilities, visiting the Great Synagogue at Rome, praying at Yad Vashem and the Wailing Wall. Making more progress in Jewish-Christian rapprochement in 25 years than his predecessors made in 2000 years. What a Jew-hater.



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Jason

posted August 19, 2005 at 6:47 pm


Melissa,
Even though we probably don’t have any proof, I would imagine many of the early Popes (eg, Linus) visited synagogues as well.



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Donna

posted August 19, 2005 at 9:29 pm


Imagine the rage this photo would inspire in Hitler. A German Pope visiting a synagogue in a German city. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. I don’t believe that the survival of the Jewish people, after centuries of relentless persecution, is a fluke either. Despite all the horrors visited on them, “the people of Israel live.”
We would all be toast without the Jews. Remember that. Remember that for as long as you live.
Spot on, Joseph. Or, as a Jew we all hold in very high regard around here once said, “Salvation is from the Jews.”



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het

posted August 19, 2005 at 9:53 pm


“It’s tremendously important for Benedict to demonstrate such good will to those whom God designated as His Chosen People and from whom Jesus came.”
Yeah, right, Joseph D. Even when they don’t apologize for the vicious, slanderous and unwarranted attack on B16 and JP2 just a few weeks ago – an attack that was made, many feel, to distract from their once again not showing up at the scheduled meeting to conclude the recognition accords. The attack was on the same day they defaulted. Yeah, right, Joseph, it’s important that we don’t expect civility and generosity back.



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Donna

posted August 19, 2005 at 10:21 pm


het: an attack that was made, many feel, to distract from their once again not showing up at the scheduled meeting to conclude the recognition accords.
“Many feel”: that’s sterling proof. Didn’t Amy report that the original story about this was somewhat spurious?
I agree, it was a stupid move on the part of some Israeli officials (against which we can balance some equally stupid pro-Palestinian comments made by Vatican officals who have bought into the left-wing Euro line on the Middle East). However, please tell me what rabbis in Cologne have to do with the Israeli government. Do you actually think these guys have a lot of say-so in Sharon’s government? Gee, I guess they must all be part of that vast, scary Jewish world conspiracy, right, het?



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Mark Shea

posted August 19, 2005 at 10:39 pm


However, please tell me what rabbis in Cologne have to do with the Israeli government.
I agree that they have nothing to do with the Israeli gov’t. So how did the thread get hijacked into a demand that Benedict XVI subscribe to some doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the State of Israel and its preservation from all sin both original and actual? How did it become an indictment of John Paul’s supposed failures to support Israel? Beats me.



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Julia

posted August 19, 2005 at 11:33 pm


I’ve been Tivo’ing the WYD stuff which you can’t do on-line. EWTN’s coverage of the synagogue visit was truly awful – the blarney boys just cannot shut up. I couldn’t hear the choir, the prayers, the speaches or the cantor chanting very well. The only time they weren’t being vapid was when they translated the Pope’s message.
I have a sister and 2 in-laws who are Jewish. Probably EWTN is the only way they could have tuned in to see what happened. I would have been mortified for them to hear the Irish boys blather on about how honored these Jews must feel that B16 is visint them. It was awful.
Very cool that Cdl. Lutsiger was sitting amongst the congregation and not with the visiting prelates.
What was the big volume that B16 gave to the synagogue? Was it an old codex or something? It was huge.
Anybody know how to TIVO on-line streaming?



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Donna

posted August 19, 2005 at 11:48 pm


Mark: Beats me too. I do not agree with Joseph that JPII “didn’t do anything” for the Jews. (I absolutely agree with his second post in this thread.) I visited a notably pro-Israel website on the day JPII died and many of the Jewish regulars left very gracious messages of condolence for the Catholic visitors to the site, and said how much they admired the man. One Jewish lady wrote about JPII’s Jewish childhood friends – which was something that was news to me!
I am touched and heartened by these pictures of Benedict at the synagogue. I have long had a great respect for Judaism and am a strong supporter of Israel. That is not to say I think the Israeli government, or individual Jews, are always right and noble.
But any hint of anti-Semitism (and I’m certainly not referring to you, Mark!) just raises my hackles, and I’m sorry to say I’ve seen more than a hint of it in my wanderings around St. Blog’s Parish – from both the Right and the Left. I thought we had moved beyond that.



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Donna

posted August 19, 2005 at 11:52 pm


What was the big volume that B16 gave to the synagogue? Was it an old codex or something? It was huge.
Julia: Maybe a Torah? Those things can be pretty massive:-)



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Donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 12:20 am


Donna: I’ve never seen a torah that wasn’t a scroll. But it did look like it had parchment leaves – very bulky. Maybe some really old stuff from the Vatican collections that he had bound for the occasion. The outside binding was very white and new-looking.
The shofar didn’t look new, either. I didn’t get to hear it very well due to the blathering Irish priests.



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Donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 12:26 am


That last post was from Julia (I assume). Just don’t want people to think I’m talking to myself!
You’re right, Torahs are always scrolls. I’d be interested in finding out what that huge volume is too.



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het

posted August 20, 2005 at 1:05 am


Donna: What was “somewhat spurious”? That the meeting was canceled…one in a series of canceled meetings since the Vatican recognized Israel in exchange for courtesies and considerations (mainly, the protection of church property, schools, hospitals and holy sites from ruinous taxes)that Israeli negotiators have stalled on enacting for more than 10 years? Do you need to be told that the Vatican already performed on its end 10 YEARS ago. Is it “spurious” that Israel has argued before their own Supreme Court that they don’t have to ever perform on their end? If you answer “yes” to either, Donna, forgive me, but you are woefully uninformed on the subject of the negotiations.
Is it “somewhat spurious” that a violent,false and vicious attack was made on the same day? Did you read the FULL statement? Is it “spurious” that NO ONE from the government or from any synagogue anywhere has retracted or apologized for the outrageous affront? Again, Donna, you need to do more reading and less self-aggrandizing sniffing for whiffs of “anti-semitism”. Some of us are able to wish nations and peoples well but still know the facts about the holy sites. No one disputes that Israel has stalled for 10 years, except you, I guess.
Usually,one would think, when you are having a guest in and he has been viciously attacked as condoning and even desiring the murder of your tribesmen, you make it clear that you don’t agree; they said nothing. Why might one expect this? Maybe because our popes are expected to apologize for- and have – something some peasant said 900 years ago. JP2 apologized for everything every Christian or nominal Christian ever did or said since the beginning of the church. You’ll forgive me for having to point this out to you.
“against which we can balance some equally stupid pro-Palestinian comments made by Vatican officals who have bought into the left-wing Euro line”: Donna, come to think of it, your ignorance is embarrassing. Please provide “comments” that “balance” the attacks on JP2 & B16 – but read the full statement first.



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Julia

posted August 20, 2005 at 1:28 am


Sorry about that, Donna.
I got curious and have been googling. For what it’s worth I found that Jews did not do codexes until about 900 AD or so. This was much later than Christians, probably for liturgical reasons. It seems that they continued to make Torahs for use in services, but also started docexes for Mishna, Targum and the like. There are lots of them from Germany from around 1400s – parchment and some vellum. AND the Vatican is supposed to have lots of them.
Maybe B16 had them round up some that had been made in Cologne and gave them back. JPII returned a famous icon to the Orthodox – this may have been the same kind of gesture.
These exchanges of gifts can be quite important.



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Julia

posted August 20, 2005 at 1:30 am


Sorry about that, Donna.
I got curious and have been googling. For what it’s worth I found that Jews did not do codexes until about 900 AD or so. This was much later than Christians, probably for liturgical reasons. It seems that they continued to make scroll Torahs for use in services, but also started codexes for Mishna, Targum and the like. There are lots of them from Germany from around 1400s – parchment and some vellum. AND the Vatican is supposed to have lots of them.
Maybe B16 had them round up some that had been made in Cologne and gave them back. JPII returned a famous icon to the Orthodox – this may have been the same kind of gesture.
These exchanges of gifts can be quite important.



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aka donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 1:43 am


“Some looked to explain the harshness of the Israeli reaction. One commentator suggested the broadside was an excuse to scuttle a meeting between Israeli and Vatican negotiators scheduled for Monday, to discuss agreements on the financial and juridical status of church institutions in Israel. Those negotiations have been dragging on for 11 years.
Others suggested that traditional Jewish sensitivity to alleged papal “silences” on anti-Semitism, and not the specifics of the current negotiations, were more likely the underlying motive.
Whatever the case, sources tell NCR that the Israeli/Holy See negotiations are currently stalled, among other things, over the question of what force an agreement would have under Israeli law. In essence, the Israelis want the agreement to be subject to the ordinary legislative process, so that if the Knesset decides a year from now to overhaul the country’s tax system, church institutions would be included. Vatican negotiators insist that the point of a bilateral agreement is that its terms cannot be unilaterally altered by one party.
Optimism that an agreement could be worked out quickly seems, in the wake of this dispute as well as the new diplomatic flap, to have abated.”
http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word072905.htm



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Roger C.

posted August 20, 2005 at 1:59 am


“Israel’s Attack on the Pope Is a Smokescreen for Abandoning Talks with the Holy See
by Arieh Cohen
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – AsiaNews has learnt that the unprecedented personal attack on Pope Benedict XVI launched by Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Monday 25 July was meant as a smokescreen for the Ministry’s decision to abandon the negotiations with the Holy See planned for the same day. These negotiations, explicitly mandated by Israel’s 1993 Fundamental Agreement with the Holy See – the international treaty that is the “magna charta” of all relations between the Jewish State and the Catholic Church – have the purpose of achieving a new treaty to confirm the Church’s centuries’ old tax exemptions and property rights, which have been eroded by the State since its establishment. The negotiations began officially on 11 March 1999. However, in recent years Israel has been reluctant even to meet the Holy See to negotiate, and on 28 August 2003, the Israeli delegation abandoned the negotiations altogether, and only came back to the table a year later in response to pressure from the Church and the Government of the United States. After agreeing to very few meetings in 2005, Israel agreed to meet on 19 July, only to cancel the meeting at the last moment, and have it transferred to 25 July. Apparently Israeli officials feared the consequences of cancelling this meeting too at the very last moment, so they contrived to find fault with the papal Angelus address to cover up their non-compliance with their treaty obligation to negotiate with the Holy See.
Recently Vatican officials have spoken openly of Israel’s persistent failure to comply with any of its treaty obligations vis-a-vis the Holy See. Neither the 1993 Fundamental Agreement nor the1997 “Legal Personality Agreement” has been made into Israeli law, and last year the Government officially informed Israel’s Supreme Court that it did not regard itself bound by the Fundamental Agreement at all. In spite of the protests from the Holy See, this position has not changed.”
Catholic World news links to this story:
http://www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=3789
http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=38611
Catholic World News has not retracted this obvious connection. I’ve read similar news items in conservative and liberal periodicals.
(“The Wanderer” and “America”.)



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Ann D'Uh

posted August 20, 2005 at 2:20 am


Joe D’H:
Your wish is our command:
“The Pope’s spokesman replied that the pontiff had explicitly indicated he was referring to all the recent attacks. He said it was “surprising that one would have wanted to take the opportunity to distort the intentions of the Holy Father”.
The generally conciliatory tone of the Vatican’s initial response appeared to have put an end to the row. But the next day an Israeli foreign ministry official told the Jerusalem Post that it has been Vatican policy for years not to condemn terrorism in Israel.
Thursday’s statement was framed as a response to that claim. It included a long list of references to statements made by the late pope, John Paul II, condemning violence against civilians in Israel. ”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/pope/story/0,12272,1539343,00.html
That was a l-o-n-g list, Joe D’H, two pages long. So there, nothing is too much to ask. You can google up the l-o-n-g list yourself since you won’t find it in frontpage.
By the way, Joe D’H, why is this sort of statement essential? “Israel has repeatedly demanded that other governments recognise Palestinian attacks as part of an international Islamist campaign against western democracy, therefore implicitly not connected to its own actions in the occupied territories.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/pope/story/0,12272,1539343,00.html



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Bauer

posted August 20, 2005 at 2:34 am


“Rather, it’s people like Deal Hudson who exploit the plight of Palestinian Christians to hide their ignorance and apathy toward Israelis — all the while refusing to admit that the Palestinian Christians are more appressed by Palestinian Muslims.”
One little article in “Crisis”, with photos that didn’t lie of the monstrosity of a giant concrete wall…one little article amidst the thousands ignoring the subject, and Joseph is a bitter man; guess it doesn’t take much.
Palestinian Christians such as negotiator and government official Hanan Ashrawi no doubt would disagree, as would Catholic religious like George Stephanoupolas’ real life sister. But what do they know? They only live there. Wanting peace with justice doesn’t make you ipso facto anti-Israel, does it Joseph? You’d never say an insane thing like that.



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Mark Shea

posted August 20, 2005 at 2:40 am


Joe:
You said, “What’s most important is that Benedict transfrom this good will toward Jews into stronger support for Israel (unlike his predecesor).” The clear inference is that John Paul did not support Israel. If you wish to take back that idiotic statement you are welcome to. But you apparently wish to suggest that anything less than uncritical belief in the Immaculate Conception of the State of Israel and its preservation from all sin original and actual constitutes “anti-Israeli (if not anti-Semitic) attitudes”. That is a frickin’ moronic thing to attribute to either John Paul *or* Benedict. But then, you are a fountain of frickin’ moronic opinions when it comes to both these men.



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zarryo.com

posted August 20, 2005 at 7:45 am


open book: Visit to the Synagogue

open book: Visit to the Synagogue



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dympna

posted August 20, 2005 at 9:57 am


Gee, you guys get so excited over nothing. Israel is a secular government. It has nothing to do with Israel of the Bible. Therefore we don’t have love it blindly. Having said that, given a choice between Israel and the Palestinians I would choose Israel every time. Now, would it be too much to ask if this thread get back to the orginal point? The pope visited a synogouge. It wasn’t at all necessary but was a very nice gesture, bless his heart.



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Mark Shea

posted August 20, 2005 at 10:02 am


Now, would it be too much to ask if this thread get back to the orginal point? The pope visited a synogouge. It wasn’t at all necessary but was a very nice gesture, bless his heart.
Hear, Hear!



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reluctant penitent

posted August 20, 2005 at 10:09 am


‘I would have been mortified for them to hear the Irish boys blather on about how honored these Jews must feel that B16 is visint them. It was awful.’
I agree it was quite silly. If they weren’t able to translate the Rabbi’s speech they could have just remained quiet. They didn’t seem to be part of the EWTN crew.



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Julia

posted August 20, 2005 at 10:40 am


Just for the record:
If you paid attention to interviews and commentary while the settlers in Gaza were being removed, you’d notice that giving up the settlements is seen by many Israelis as giving up the dream of “Greater Israel” (meaning the full extent of Solomon’s state). This is not a lot different than Palestinians wanting the entire territory. However, methods used to try to achieve these goals have been different.
Many on both sides have been thinking they could just wait it out and tough it out and the other side would eventually just go away.
Keeping “Israel” the state separate from the “Judea, Samaria & Judea” of the Bible is difficult for Israelis themselves and the rest of us. Sometimes the connection is there and sometimes it isn’t. Same for “Jews” and “Israelis”.



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Julia

posted August 20, 2005 at 11:46 am


Donna:
Here’s the scoop from Tim Drake’s Young & Catholic.
“After the speech, Jewish leaders presented him with a type of ram’s horn. He presented them with a complete handwritten collection of documents from Alexandria that dated from the 3rd century. Then a series of Shoah survivors came forward to greet the pope. Each was presented with a gift in a small green Vatican box. Usually the pope gives out rosaries. I’d like to know what the Vatican hands out to those who are not Christian.”



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het

posted August 20, 2005 at 12:52 pm


Julia: “Just for the record:
If you paid attention to interviews and commentary while the settlers in Gaza were being removed”
Julia: “Just for the record”: what you didn’t hear is that the transfer of civilians to lands acquired by war is illegal according to international law and for nearly 40 years the settlements have been in violation of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention. Pesky international law; why mention it?



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Donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 1:10 pm


Julia: Thank you. Now I’m curious to know what Benedict gave the Shoah survivors!
het: I remembered reading on some blog (I thought it was Amy’s) that the story was spurious and spent a bit of time hunting around for this morning. However, I can’t find that quote, and since “I remembered reading on some blog” no more constitutes evidence any more that “many feel” does, I am willing to eat my words on that one.
I did say earlier that I thought the Israelis were behaving stupidly regarding that issue and I wrote “That is not to say I think the Israeli government, or individual Jews, are always right and noble.” Again, I don’t know why on earth you insist that some rabbis in Germany are honor bound to apologize for something done or not done by the secular Israeli government.
Maybe because our popes are expected to apologize for- and have – something some peasant said 900 years ago
There’s a bit more to that history than “something some peasant said 900 years ago” and if you don’t know that, you’re guilty of the ignorance you attribute to me.
I do not claim to be a Middle East expert. I do know something about the Middle East, having read Daniel Pipes and Bernard Lewis and Conor Cruise O’Brien’s fine history of Zionism, “The Siege.” I highly recommend MEMRI’s website. I realize that many prefer to have their views formed by NPR, the Guardian, the Economist, PBS, the New York Times, etc. Those sources are also consistently anti-Catholic and do a great deal of sneering at the Pope and the Church’s position on abortion, birth control, women priests, etc., but when it comes to Israel, the accuracy and fairness of their reporting is never to be doubted, I guess.
Regarding the statements of Vatican officals on the Arab/Israeli conflict, well, I would point you to the Front Page articles, Joe D’H has posted, but since Joe D’H posted them, that automatically invalidates them, right?
As for “aka Donna” – well, since you don’t have the guts to use your own nic or a real email address, I don’t see why your post deserves any attention whatsoever.
The pope visited a synogouge. It wasn’t at all necessary but was a very nice gesture, bless his heart.
Yes, it was. And that’s all I intended to say with my first post. Seeing those pictures and reading what the Pope had to say made me very proud to be Catholic.



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Donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 1:23 pm


Another book I’d recommend to those who are under the impression the Church’s relationship with the Jews boils down to “something some peasant said 900 years ago” is Paul Johnson’s “A History of the Jews.” Johnson is an English Catholic, by the way, and also wrote a fine “History of Christianity” and the classic “Modern Times: A History of the World from the 1920′s to the 1990′s.”



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Donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 1:38 pm


Pesky international law; why mention it?
The Palestinians, of course, are wonderfully law-abiding types, particularly when they use suicide bombers to blow up buses, Passover Seders, marketplaces, discos, etc.



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reluctant penitent

posted August 20, 2005 at 3:25 pm


Joseph,
Though I disagree with the critics, one can be critical of Israel without being an anti-Semite. Your irresponsible claims about the Vatican seem to be winning adherents in Israel, to Israel’s disadvantage. With friends like you Israel doesn’t need enemies. In the spirit of Jonathan Swift: You’re an idiot.



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Mark Shea

posted August 20, 2005 at 4:16 pm


It’s fascinating how Joe can take any thread and turn it into a) a series of advertisements for his own articles, and b) an insane insult or two (in this case for Amy’s alleged “masturbatory joy” (why she doesn’t kick your sorry ass off I’ll never know).
The original thread was about Benedict’s visit to a synagogue. A German Pope. Going to a synagogue in friendship. 60 years after the worst act of genocide against the Jewish people in their history. By Germans.
Normal people see this as an ocassion of joy.
Only a man like Joe D’Hippolito could pervert such a happy ocassion into yet another chance to talk about himself and spew his hatred at everybody else.



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het

posted August 20, 2005 at 5:12 pm


Donna, with all due respect, you seem to have difficulty making distinctions and following points that aren’t really particularly subtle.
The international law that applies to
settlements of civilians on land acquired through war is valid whether or not Palestinians, or Kuwaitis or Pakistanis or Tutsis or Hutus are “wonderfully law-abiding”.
Secondly, the illiterate peasant from 900 years ago was a device, not an actual person. To make a point. That if a Pope in 2000 is expected to apologize for actions taken by someone else, why wouldn’t rabbis from all over – particularly those whom he has agreed to take time from WYD and visit – apologize for or distance themselves from the vitriolic and slanderous attack from just a few weeks ago? I said this because you seemed to think it a fantastic notion that a religious figure in Cologne would comment on a statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry – but not fantastic that a Polish pope in 2000 would apologize for a rock thrown by a French peasant in 900 over a debt he couldn’t pay. Now relax, Donna: not an actual rock, not just a rock, not necessarily a debt, not just in 900.
I never said anything suggesting that that was the only contact ever made between Christians and Jews; you knew that but you wanted to plug some cogs in the Israeli propaganda machine. Daniel “taking names” Pipes and MEMRI. You’re right: you don’t know much, and what you know is spun, flawed and sometimes just dead wrong, if that’s your source.



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Mark Shea

posted August 20, 2005 at 5:38 pm


People:
The Pope just went to a synagogue in friendship. Can’t we all just quiet down and celebrate that?



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Boniface McInnes

posted August 20, 2005 at 6:19 pm


Apparently not.
But it is still a marvelous moment, both corporately and personally. It will definitely be a topic of conversation Monday at breakfast with the fellows.



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Donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 7:37 pm


Ahh, yes, the infamous “Israeli propaganda machine” (brought to you by the Evil Zionist Cabal, remember) – the one that has so much sway over the AP, the BBC, CNN, the New York Times, etc.
And yes, I am happy and proud that our Pope chose to visit our elder brothers and sisters in faith. The meanspiritedness and lack of charity of some members of his flock is another matter.



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Greg Hessel

posted August 20, 2005 at 8:18 pm


Well…one thing we know for sure. The Pope will never publicly ask for prayers for the conversion of the Jews to the Catholic faith. That would destroy all the ecumenical progress of the past 40 years and anger the ADL to boot.



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Boniface McInnes

posted August 20, 2005 at 8:24 pm


Mr. Hessel,
How would this destroy our ecumenical progress? Wouldn’t the evangelicals, at least, welcome such a move? Would the mainline denominations be terribly upset over it? I just don’t understand, though i am well aware why the ADL would be upset, as well as other Jewish organisations.



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Donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 8:41 pm


Oh, and I apologize. I spent so much time reading books about the Middle East, Islam, Jewish/Christian relations, and the history of Zionism without realizing that those tomes had not received the blessing and Nihil Ostat of het and are therefore useless. I will henceforth confine my sources to the Guardian, the Beeb, Daily Kos, Pat Buchanan, David Duke, the ECUSA, and the Al-Jazzera (sp?) network. Since, unlike het, I actually read articles by people who I disagree with every once in a while, I know all of them are singing off the same sheet of music when it comes to Israel.
Greg: I thought that several years ago, the Vatican actually forbade efforts to convert Jews, although Jews who choose to become Catholics are welcomed like any other converts, of course.



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marty

posted August 20, 2005 at 8:50 pm


donna,
challeging your attacks on others doesn’t make one mean-spirited.
if you’re going to play hall monitor, you need to refrain from throwing spitballs.



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Ted Eskridge

posted August 20, 2005 at 9:03 pm


“the Vatican actually forbade efforts to convert Jews”
Hardly.
Think about what you just wrote: Jesus came for everyone except Jews. What a racist, exclusionary thought.
See what happens when a well-intentioned, gracious pope visits a synagogue? Catholics like Donna, if that is what she is, start posting as Donna has posted throughout. Maybe that’s why most of the other popes took a pass.



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Donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 9:17 pm


Marty: I’ve admitted when I was wrong. I also didn’t say I thought the Israeli government was right about everything.
But according to het, I wanted to “plug some cogs in the Israeli propaganda machine.” Het has also told me I’m ignorant, because my sources don’t meet his standards of approval (i.e., they don’t agree with het = propaganda).
And I’m the one throwing spitballs? Sheesh.



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Donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 9:41 pm


Ted:
As it turns out, the Catholic bishops in the US (not the Vatican) did say Catholics should not try to convert Jews. Here’s a link:
http://www.catholicexchange.com/vm/index.asp?vm_id=2&art_id=15428
Note that the article does not approve of this stance. And I did not say I approved of it either! I only said, “I thought that several years ago, the Vatican actually forbade efforts,…,” Kindly note that I wrote “I thought.” Not “I approve” or “I think that is great.” I am happy when souls like Dawn Eden come to Christ.
Ted: kindly tell what other posts of mine offended you so? Lord, I never realized saying that I am a Catholic who loves and supports Israel and Jews (while recognizing that individually and collectively they are not perfect) would draw such anger and disdain.
Maybe that’s why most of the other popes took a pass.
Well, maybe Catholics like het and Ted are why many Jews took a pass on Christianity.



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reluctant penitent

posted August 20, 2005 at 9:42 pm


het has decided to join Mr. D’Hippolito and turn this into a thread about Israel. At least some of his claims should be answered. Israel fought a defensive war and continues to be willing to hold negotiations about territories won in that war. In fact they’ve just recently withdrawn from territories and forced settlers to leave–an act of enormous political courage that, unfortunately, is being interpreted by the genocidal maniacs in Hamas as a victory for them. Israel is doing this in spite of the fact that the other side has refused to declare a formal cessation of hostilities. It is unheard of that a side that has been attacked and wins territories in a defensive war reurns those territories before the attacking side makes a commitment not to attack again. Yet the Israelis have done precisely that. The same international bodies that het no doubt adores and that have been crying crocodile tears over Israel’s occupation do not give a damn about truly terrible occupations–China’s occupation of Tibet or, until recently Indonesia’s occupation of east timor. Their international law is not worth the paper it’s printed on. Please do not answer what I’ve said. I’ve merely posted so that people know that there are many who peruse this blog who do not agree with him. They can decide for themselves which one of us is right without being presented a pamphlet on the evils of Israel.
Then, on the other side, there’s Mr. D’Hippolito. According to him and his comrades if someone in the Vatican makes a critical remark about Israel or fails to mention Israel in a condemnation of terrorism it’s because the Vatican curia secretly hate the Jews and want to see them dead. The Vatican has no more obligation toward ISrael than it does toward any other country in the world. The Vatican’s obligations are to improve relations with Jews, to maintain normal diplomatic relations with Israel, to tend to Israeli Catholics and the access of Catholics to Israel’s holy sites. But it simply cannot now become a cheerleader for Israel. The Church is under seige in most of the middle east. If it were to begin taking sides Israel would not gain much–the Vatican does not really have much clout in Saudi Arabia and Iran, you see–and the Vatican would place the lives of Catholics throughout the middle east in danger. Furthermore, some in the Vatican may have concerns about certain Israeli policies. I may not agree with their concerns but I have the presence of mind to see that such concerns are without additional evidence not evidence of anti-semitism. The Israeli left has said much harsher things about ISraeli policy than any Vatican diplomat. Are they anti-semites? On second thought don’t answer that question…



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Donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 9:46 pm


Ted: Here is my very first post in this thread, before I became embroiled in an argument with het:
Imagine the rage this photo would inspire in Hitler. A German Pope visiting a synagogue in a German city. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. I don’t believe that the survival of the Jewish people, after centuries of relentless persecution, is a fluke either. Despite all the horrors visited on them, “the people of Israel live.”
We would all be toast without the Jews. Remember that. Remember that for as long as you live.
Spot on, Joseph. Or, as a Jew we all hold in very high regard around here once said, “Salvation is from the Jews.”

What a terrible, awful post! What sort of Catholic could have written that??? Pure heresy!



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Donna

posted August 20, 2005 at 10:25 pm


Thank you for your calm and well-reasoned post, RP.



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het

posted August 21, 2005 at 12:59 am


reluctant: Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”. Period. No exceptions. No parsing about defensive, pre-emptive or aggressive. No civilian occupation, period.
That is an irrefutable fact.
Joseph posted about Israel, Donna agreed with his post.
I entered by noting the awkwardness of the situation, given the recent attack on him. All the commentary I heard on radio and tv (except EWTN) framed his visit by saying he had been accused of not caring about terror in Israel. What is *never* mentioned by commentators when covering papal visits for reconciliation is that it is a two way street and the Vatican has been stiffed for 10 years. That is also an irrefutable fact.



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reluctant penitent

posted August 21, 2005 at 1:34 am


het,
Israel is at this very moment using its military to remove its own citizens from occupied territory as it withdraws from these territories. Israel does so even though the opposing side has made no viable peace treaty or non-aggression agreement. In my books these are heroic acts. The UN and international courts obsesses over even the most minor Israeli transgressions while ignoring real cases of mass murder and genocide. They have no moral authority.



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reluctant penitent

posted August 21, 2005 at 1:49 am


To return to the topic of this thread…
It was very moving to see the enthusiastic applause that the Holy Father got at the synagogue. A historic moment. And the Cantor was outstanding!



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Donna

posted August 21, 2005 at 2:02 am


Darn, I can’t sleep.
Joseph posted about Israel, Donna agreed with his post.
No, I agreed with what Joe said about the Jews. (As I have said for the upteenth time on this thread, I don’t consider the Israelis to be perfect. How many times must I repeat that? Can’t people read?) See my first post in the thread.
I entered by noting the awkwardness of the situation, given the recent attack on him.
Awkward to you, het. Perhaps you’re guilty of a bit of projection. It didn’t look to me like Benedict was experiencing any awkwardness.
Mark Shea wrote:
The Pope just went to a synagogue in friendship. Can’t we all just quiet down and celebrate that?
I can. Het, why can’t you? Can’t you set aside whatever political animus against Israel you have for a second and celebrate a Pope meeting with Jews in friendship in a synagogue destroyed by the Nazis?
I see great beauty and poetry in that photo. You look at it and apparently all you can think of is “Grrrr,…,recognition accords,….grrrr,…,why don’t they apologize,…,grrr,Israeli propaganda machine.”
And I was lambasted for calling your reaction “meanspiritedness and lack of charity?” Well, that’s exactly what it looks like to me.



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reluctant penitent

posted August 21, 2005 at 2:08 am


‘the awkwardness of the situation, given the recent attack on him’
Those words came from one Israeli politician and one Israeli journalist. The Holy Father would have to be an idiot to think that the people in the Cologne synagogue had something to do with those two individuals in Israel. And I am quite confident that the Holy Father is not an idiot.



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Donna

posted August 21, 2005 at 2:27 am


The Holy Father would have to be an idiot to think that the people in the Cologne synagogue had something to do with those two individuals in Israel.
Exactly so. Do I have to run around saying “I’m sorry” every time Catholics, say, Roger Mahony and McBrien say something asinine? If I did, there would be no end to the apologies I’d have to issue.
1. Israel is a secular government.
2. There is no one person in Judaism who is analogous to the Pope. Nobody can speak in behalf of Judaism the way the Pope speaks in behalf of Catholicism, not even the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.
Goodnight all.



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het

posted August 21, 2005 at 4:04 pm


reluctant:
“Nimrod Barkan, head of the foreign ministry’s Jewish affairs bureau… added that Pope Benedict XVI’s predecessor, John Paul II, had also failed to condemn attacks against Israel.
He told the Jerusalem Post that if his protest proved ineffective, “we will have to weigh other steps”.
Mr Barkan seemed unconcerned at whether his protest might harm relations with the new pontiff, who recently accepted an invitation to visit Israel. “What could be worse than implying that it is OK to kill Jews? What else am I supposed to do?” The Vatican said Israel was trying to distort the Pope’s intentions. It added that the Church condemned “all forms of terrorism”.
The row follows a long period of improving relations and threatens to undermine sensitive talks to cement diplomatic ties…
Rome’s Chief Rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, said the Holy See was acting in the matter like “a political institution, with precise interests to protect in the chess game of the Middle East”. He added: “I hope that Benedict, who knows theology so well, will quickly try to also grasp the ways of politics and the art of diplomacy.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/30/wpope30.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/07/30/ixworld.html



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Robin

posted August 21, 2005 at 4:24 pm


Not just a politician and a journalist. I won’t waste my time retreiving reports you won’t credit, but several government officials, rabbis and community leaders in the US, as well, at least, were commenting but not defending Pope John Paul or Pope Benedict or the Vatican. As a Jew, I think the false charges by the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman should have been vigorously slapped down immediately by Jews here and in Israel and not left to “blow over” because otherwise the impression is left that there was truth to the condemnations.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1122701218975&p=1078027574097
“Nimrod Barkan said that Israel had for years quietly protested that John Paul had refrained from condemning attacks in Israel and was now going public with its protest in hopes that the new pope would change the policy.
“Since they never paid a price for the lack of a condemnation, they continued to do it. But if they understand we won’t let this pass quietly, I assume they will change their ways,” Barkan said.
…Seymour Reich, who has been involved in Jewish-Vatican negotiations in the past…
Reich, who is past chairman of the New York-based International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, an umbrella group of major Jewish organizations, said he thought the issue would die down and that the pope’s upcoming visit to a synagogue in Cologne would go ahead as planned.”



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Carole

posted August 21, 2005 at 5:17 pm


I just read through the entire thread. I didn’t know about the Vatican Accord business so I learned something for all that reading, and I agree that “reconciliation is a two way street”.
I did notice that there does seem to be a bit of a double standard about speaking up. If you know an accusation is false and unwarranted, you have a moral duty to speak up, no matter who or where you are. The double standard is that people who weren’t members of the Nazi party and weren’t Hitler or Goebbels in the 1930s and 1940s have been savaged for not speaking up loudly enough when false things were being said in the buildup to the camps. Not to equate the situations in total, of course, but if the question is “who should speak up?” then I think there is a double standard in this thread.



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Maureen

posted August 21, 2005 at 7:26 pm


Reluctant Penitent said:
>And the Cantor was outstanding!
Chaim Adler was his name. Clearly a relative of Irene’s…. :)



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Joseph D'Hippolito

posted August 22, 2005 at 3:33 pm


Let me remind everybody of the following:
John Paul II found sexual immorality, let alone child abuse, personally abhorent. That didn’t mean that he was aggressive in holding clerical pedofiles or their epsicopal enablers accountable.
JPII also found anti-Semitism personally abhorent. That didn’t mean that he abandoned any strategy of appeasing Arab-Muslim dictators who encourage quasi-Nazi sentiments against the Jews (cf, Assad’s comments when the late Pope arrived in Damascus), or discouraged the more extreme comments from Vatican subordinates.
What Popes find personally abhorent is one thing. How they hold those under them accountable is quite another, as we have all unfortunately seen.



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