Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Israel & The Vatican

In the long tortured, and ultimately triumphant, history of the Jewish people, the fairly recent emergence of the state of Israel as a refuge for the horror that befell the Jews during the Second World War by the German government of Adolph Hitler; the Catholic Church acted with great courage and passion, doing all it could to help, literally saving the lives of thousands of Jews.

However, the Vatican’s record since the formation of the state of Israel, has been less courageous, according to this article from Chisea, seen through the perspective of the current troubles in Gaza.

An excerpt.

“ROMA, January 4, 2009 – During the days of the Christmas celebrations, Benedict XVI spoke out repeatedly against the war centered on Gaza.

“But his words have fallen on deaf ears. Failure isn't new to the authorities of the Holy See, every time they address the question of Israel.

“In more than three years of pontificate, Benedict XVI has introduced innovations in relations between the two faiths, Christian and Jewish. These innovations have come at the risk of misunderstanding and opposition, both among Catholics and among Jews.

“But in the meantime, little or nothing seems to have changed in Vatican policy toward Israel.

“The only change – and it's a marginal one – is in tone. Until a couple of years ago, with Cardinal Angelo Sodano as secretary of state and Mario Agnes as director of "L'Osservatore Romano," the criticism of Israel was incessant, heavy-handed, sometimes shameless. Not any more. With Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the secretariat of state has softened its tone, and under the direction of Giovanni Maria Vian, "L'Osservatore Romano" has stopped launching invective and has made more room for religious and cultural debate.

“But the general policy has remained the same. Of course, the authorities of the Catholic Church do not defend the existence of Israel – which its enemies want to annihilate, and is ultimately at stake in the conflict – with the same explicit, powerful determination with which they raise their voices in defense of the "nonnegotiable" principles concerning human life.

“This has been seen in recent days. The authorities of the Church, and Benedict XVI himself, have raised their voices in condemnation of "the massive violence that has broken out in the Gaza Strip in response to other violence" only after Israel began bombing the installations of the terrorist movement Hamas in that territory. Not before. Not when Hamas was tightening its brutal grip on Gaza, massacring the Muslims faithful to president Abu Mazen, humiliating the tiny Christian communities, and launching rockets every day against the Israelis in the surrounding area.

“About Hamas and its vaunted "mission" of wiping the Jewish state from the face of the earth, about Hamas as an outpost for Iran's expansionist aims in the Middle East, about Hamas as an ally of Hezbollah and Syria, the Vatican authorities have never raised the red alert. They have never shown that they see Hamas as a deadly danger to Israel and an obstacle to the birth of a Palestinian state, in addition to its being a nightmare for the Arab regimes in the area, from Egypt to Jordan to Saudi Arabia.”