Friday, April 27, 2007

Eggs Benedict

Pope Benedict XVI is turning out to be a major pain. First he goes to Auschwitz and wasn't going to mention the Jews in his speech except someone in his camp told him he had to (as was reported in the New Yorker). Then he offends Muslims by quoting some obscure medieval text where it says something to the effect that nothing good has ever come of Islam, inciting riots:

...many of the Vatican correspondents who, like Politi, travelled to Regensburg with Benedict doubt that there was anything accidental or inadvertent in the citation. They had received copies of his speech at six in the morning of the day he gave it, and, at ten, they assembled in the university’s makeshift pressroom and informed the Vatican spokesman, a Jesuit priest and Vatican Radio director named Federico Lombardi, that the passage was going to be incendiary. “The point is that at 10 A.M. somebody got the message that the text was explosive,” Politi told me, adding that when the Pope had gone to Auschwitz to speak, last May, “we got copies of that speech, too, and it never mentioned the Shoah, so we said, ‘Hey, where is Shoah?,’ and he changed it.” Putting aside the obvious question of whether reporters should be in the business of saving Popes from embarrassment, the question remains whether Benedict got the message.
Now he wants to go back to a Latin mass where there are prayers for the conversion of the Jews. He wants to backtrack from the reforms of Vatican II, which for the first time in centuries tried to mend the horrific, inexcusable, murderous, antisemitic attitudes of the Catholic Church towards the Jews. The BBC reports:

Concern is now focused on traditional mass's Good Friday liturgy which contains a prayer "For the conversion of the Jews". The prayer reads: "Let us pray also for the Jews, that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ."It refers to their "blindness" and prays for them to be "delivered from their darkness."

Well, I have news for Benedict: You wish. It ain't gonna happen.
Why the hell should Jews convert to a religion that has brought them death, persecution and nothing but grief for 2000 years?
Benedict is supposed to be an intellectual and a theologian, but I just think he is not interested in human beings or human suffering or human reality. His church is on decline. It has become irrelevant for a lot of people, for a number of reasons; from pedophilia scandals, to intransigence about issues of basic human nature, to displays of pomp and power but not of pity. He thinks that making it hardcore is going to make people flock back to it. Whatever.
I just hope that when they pray this stupid prayer, they don't provide translations. The last thing Jews need right now is a Catholic Church that rears its ugly antisemitic head again.

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