Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Pope and Israel

Spengler is the pen name of the anonymous columnist for Asia Times Online. Even though he's not one of the Vaticanisti or even known to be Catholic, his writings are as astute as they come when it comes to analysis of the current pontificate.

Benedict's tragedy, and Israel's
By Spengler []

World history is the history of Israel, argued the great German-Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig - not the tiny Jewish nation as such, but the Jewish idea, embraced by billions in the form of Christianity, or parodied and rejected by additional billions in Islam. The trouble is that no one wants to actually be Israel, least of all the Jews, who recite with fervor the prayer of Sholom Aleichem's Tevye: "God of mercy, choose a different people!" Jealousy at Israel's Election has provoked the persecution of the Jews for millennia, and it is not surprising that many Jews look for safety in insignificance.

Like many Jewish prayers, Tevye's prayer to be un-chosen also has become popular among some Catholics. The Catholic Church holds itself to be Israel, the People of God descended from Abraham in the Spirit. But many Catholics, including some in leading positions in the Roman Curia, think it an affront to the sensibilities of other cultures to insist on the unique role of the Church. At the other extreme , misnamed traditionalists do not think that the mustard-seed of faith is sufficient, and that the Church cannot fulfill its function without returning to the bygone days of state religion. Pope Benedict XVI, like his predecessor John Paul II, has fought manfully against these prospective deserters within his ranks. The tawdry burlesque over the case of the paranoid Jew-hater and Holocaust denier Richard Williamson is a sad gauge of his degree of success.

Go and read the rest.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Feeling Good, Europe?

Bishop Williamson and his alleged Holocaust denial may be only the tip of the iceberg for a hypocritical Europe...

One-third of Europeans blame the economic collapse on ...
posted at 12:20 pm on February 13, 2009 by Ed Morrissey []

... the Joooooooos. Anti-Semitic attitudes have increased in the wake of the economic collapse, a study across seven European countries has found, with a third of Europeans blaming the Jews for the economy. Spain appears to have the highest levels of animosity towards Jews:

The Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday that a survey it commissioned found nearly a third of Europeans polled blame Jews for the global economic meltdown and that a greater number think Jews have too much power in the business world.

The organization, which says its aim is “to stop the defamation of Jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment to all,” says the seven-nation survey confirms that anti-Semitism remains strong.

The poll included interviews with 3,500 people - 500 each in Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Spain.

It says that in Spain, 74 percent of those asked say they feel it is “probably true” that Jews hold too much sway over the global financial markets. That is the highest percentage in the survey.

Nearly two-thirds of Spanish respondents said Jews were more loyal to Israel than they were to their home countries.

Anti-Semitism is an old security blanket for people when they can’t get around to blaming themselves. It’s a superstition as old as two millenia, with no rationality to it at all. Europe indulges in this on a regular basis. When Germany collapsed in World War I, no one wanted to take responsibility for conducting an utterly destructive war that bankrupted their nation and killed millions. It was a lot easier to blame the Jews for their own failures — and it led to disastrous consequences.

America isn’t immune to this, either, nor the rest of the Anglosphere. In fact, one of Barack Obama’s appointees, Samantha Power, made an allusion to this a few years ago in an interview, and others in American political life have been less subtle. In Britain last year, 50% surveyed thought British Jews more loyal to Israel than the UK. At the same time, 31% of Americans thought the same about American Jews. Do people question the loyalties of Catholics, Anglicans, the Irish? Perhaps a fringe do, but nowhere near as mainstream as these numbers suggest.

Make no mistake about it; the Jews of the West are in danger of getting completely marginalized at a very bad time in history for it to happen. If those numbers continue to grow, we can expect pressure from these Western nations to abandon Israel, and more importantly, to abandon the fight against radical Islamist terrorism and Iranian hegemony in the Middle East.

Father Maciel and the LC

Remember when I covered the allegations surrounding Father Maciel a long while ago and then his exile just before his death? While a large portion of the Catholic and secular media and blogosphere have been debating the Williamson affair, it came out recently that Father Maciel, in addition to the other things, fathered a child... It's been about two weeks and I don't want to explain the entire thing, so I will direct your attention:

Note as well Dr. Peters' covering of the situation from the canon law standpoint. Check out American Papist as well which is referenced a lot by FUMARE's bloggers.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rabbi Speaks on Williamson and the FSSPX

Via Father Z...

Left Wing of the Catholic Church Destroying the Faith Says Orthodox Rabbi []

By Hilary White, Rome correspondent

ROME, February 11, 2009 ( - The dissident, leftist movement in the Catholic Church over the last forty years has severely undermined the teaching of the Catholic Church on the moral teachings on life and family, a prominent US Orthodox rabbi told Rabbi Yehuda Levin, the head of a group of 800 Orthodox rabbis in the US and Canada, also dismissed the accusations that the Holy See had not sufficiently distanced itself from the comments made by Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) on the Holocaust.

"I support this move" to reconcile the traditionalist faction in the Church, he said, "because I understand the big picture, which is that the Catholic Church has a problem. There is a strong left wing of the Church that is doing immeasurable harm to the faith."

Rabbi Levin said that he understands "perfectly" why the reconciliation is vital to the fight against abortion and the homosexualist movement.

"I understand that it is very important to fill the pews of the Catholic Church not with cultural Catholics and left-wingers who are helping to destroy the Catholic Church and corrupt the values of the Catholic Church." This corruption, he said, "has a trickle-down effect to every single religious community in the world."

"What's the Pope doing? He's trying to bring the traditionalists back in because they have a lot of very important things to contribute the commonweal of Catholicism.

"Now, if in the process, he inadvertently includes someone who is prominent in the traditionalist movement who happens to say very strange things about the Holocaust, is that a reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater and start to condemn Pope Benedict? Absolutely not."

During a visit to Rome at the end of January, Rabbi Levin told that he believes the media furore over the lifting of the excommunications of the four bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X is a red herring. He called "ridiculous" the accusations that in doing so Pope Benedict VXI or the Catholic Church are anti-Semitic and described as "very strong" the statements distancing the Holy See and the Pope from Williamson's comments.

Rabbi Levin was in Rome holding meetings with high level Vatican officials to propose what he called a "new stream of thinking" for the Church's inter-religious dialogue, one based on commonly held moral teachings, particularly on the right to life and the sanctity of natural marriage.

"The most important issue," he said, is the work the Church is doing "to save babies from abortion, and save children's minds, and young people's minds, helping them to know right and wrong on the life and family issues."

"That's where ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue has to go."

Although numbers are difficult to determine, it is estimated that the Society of St. Pius X has over a million followers worldwide. The traditionalist movement in the Catholic Church is noted for doctrinal orthodoxy and enthusiasm not only for old-fashioned devotional practices, but for the Church's moral teachings and opposition to post-modern secularist sexual mores. Liberals in the Church, particularly in Europe, have bitterly opposed all overtures to the SSPX and other traditionalists, particularly the Pope's recent permission to revive the traditional Latin Mass.

The Vatican announced in early January that, as part of ongoing efforts to reconcile the breakaway group, the 1988 decree of excommunication against the Society had been rescinded. Later that month, a Swedish television station aired an interview, recorded in November 2008, in which Bishop Richard Williamson, one of the four leaders of the Society, said that he did not believe that six million Jews were killed in the Nazi death camps during World War II.

At that time, the media erupted with protests and accusations that the Catholic Church, and especially Pope Benedict XVI, are anti-Semitic.

Rabbi Levin particularly defended Pope Benedict, saying he is the genius behind the moves of the late Pope John Paul II to reconcile the Church with the Jewish community.

"Anyone who understands and follows Vatican history knows that in the last three decades, one of the moral and intellectual underpinnings of the papacy of Pope John Paul II, was Cardinal Ratzinger.

"And therefore, a lot of the things that Pope John Paul did vis-à-vis the Holocaust, he [Benedict] might have done himself, whether it was visiting Auschwitz or visiting and speaking in the synagogues or asking forgiveness. A lot of this had direct input from Cardinal Ratzinger. Whoever doesn't understand this doesn't realise that this man, Pope Benedict XVI, has a decades-long track record of anti-Nazism and sympathy for the Jews."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Pro-life Message

I have no idea what this girl is saying, but I watched half of it and she looks pretty animated while saying it.

Backsliding in Mainland China

We haven't hit on ChiComs lately, but Sandro Magister quotes at length a piece by the founder of Asia News.

The main points:
The bishop of Beijing, who was approved by the Vatican, has been giving speeches that appear to place him under the thumb of the Communists. As summarized by Magister:

In fact, the new bishop, Joseph Li Shan (in the photo) whom cardinal secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone had hailed as "a very good and suitable person," is increasingly stringing together actions submissive toward the regime. To such an extent that many among the faithful already consider him a "traitor."

The quoted article by Father Bernardo Cervellera points out that a second letter sent by Cardinal Bertone to the Chinese bishops was seen as weak and that many younger bishops of the official church have no role models and do not remember a time without Communist control. Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong has spoken out to sound the alarm on this backsliding.

The cardinal continues: "So, martyrdom has become a stupid thing? That’s absurd; a short-sighted view! Reaching compromises might make sense as a short-term strategy but it cannot last forever. Being secretly united with the Holy Father and at the same time affiliated with a Church that declares itself autonomous from Rome is a contradiction."

Finally, Cardinal Zen ends with a fraternal appeal: "Dear brother bishops and priests, look at the example of Saint Stephen and all the martyrs of our history! Remember that suffering for the sake of the faith is the basis of victory even if right now it might appear as defeat."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Eluana Englaro

Italy faces constitutional crisis over coma woman
Michael Day in Rome
The Observer, Sunday 8 February 2009

The Italian government has been plunged into a constitutional crisis over the fate of a 38-year-old woman who has been in a coma for the past 17 years. Eluana Englaro was left in a vegetative state after a car crash in 1992. After a decade-long court battle, doctors reduced her nutrition on Friday in preparation for removing her feeding tubes, which her father claims would be in accordance with her wishes.

But in an extraordinary turn of events, the country's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, after consultation with the Vatican [which the Vatican denies], has issued an emergency decree stating that food and water cannot be suspended for any patient depending upon them, reversing the earlier court ruling. On issuing the emergency decree, Berlusconi declared: "This is murder. I would be failing to rescue her. I'm not a Pontius Pilate."

Justifying his campaign to save Englaro's life, the prime minister added that, physically at least, she was "in the condition to have babies", a remark described by La Stampa newspaper as "shocking". Giorgio Napolitano, Italy's president, has refused to sign the decree, but if it is ratified by the Italian parliament doctors may be obliged to resume the feeding of Eluana early this week.

But, in a moving interview with the Observer, Eluana's father Beppino said last week that the doctors were carrying out his daughter's wishes by allowing her to die. "If she couldn't be what she was (before the accident in 1992) then she would not have wanted to live". [Hearsay, though I suppose if there's been a court battle, this has been weighed by competent authorities.]

The case has deeply divided Italian society and raised concerns over the influence of the Vatican. Yesterday Pope Benedict indirectly referred to Englaro in a message delivered to mark the World Day of the Sick, stating that society had a duty to defend "the absolute and supreme dignity of every human being" even when "weak and shrouded in the mystery of suffering". But even some of Berlusconi's political allies, including the president of the lower house of parliament, Gianfranco Fini, have stated that the supreme court ruling should be obeyed and Englaro should be allowed to die.

Opposition leader Walter Veltroni, of the centre-left Democratic party, said the government should leave the Englaro family in peace and warned that Berlusconi's intervention "could cause a very dangerous constitutional crisis". Last night demonstrations in support of Eluana's right to die and the supreme court ruling were taking place across Italy.

[Details of the woman's planned death are elaborated upon here.] The process means the Englaro family and their doctors are now in a race against time as they try to end Eluana's life before the Berlusconi government and its backers in the Vatican halt the process.

Beppino, 67, was last night in the family home in Lecco, 30 miles north of Milan, caring for his wife and Eluana's mother, Saturna, who is gravely ill with cancer. After a long, agonising fight to allow his daughter to die, he described the government's last-ditch attempts as "a grotesque attack on my family".

Prior to issuing the decree, Berlusconi was involved in frantic telephone exchanges with the Vatican head of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone [See above about this alleged conversation and note the complete misunderstanding of Bertone's role as secretary of state], who implored the prime minister to prevent Eluana's death. The cardinal reportedly told Berlusconi: "We have to stop this crime against humanity."

Doctors have confirmed that, after 17 years and with such catastrophic brain damage, Eluana will never regain consciousness or awareness. The anaesthetist caring for her, Professor Antonio de Monte, said: "Eluana died 17 years ago."

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


I was going to post on Sandro Magister's look at how Benedict has been isolated in this whole Williamson affair. I went over to Father Z for any updates from the overnight and found this.

Michael Dubruiel
November 16, 1958-February 3, 2009

His wife, Amy Welborn, is a fellow blogger whom I follow and have exchanged email with from time to time. Please pray for the repose of Mr. Dubruiel's soul and for his wife and children.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

One Holy Catholic Church

Let us pray for His Holiness the Pope as he works to reconcile all things to Christ.