Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lickspittle Alert

Here's Abe Foxman kissing the Papal toes in Huff Post, with my fisking:

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, which officially takes effect on February 28, brings to a sudden and unexpected close a remarkable eight-year period of very positive relations between the Vatican and the Jewish people.

Positive relations? Yeah right. What was so positive about it? Ok, he didn't publish antisemitic articles in his official newspaper like most of the 19th century posts or propagate antisemitic encyclicals like the 15th, 16th and 17th century Popes, or steal our children like all of the Popes, or condemn us to eternal slavery like the worst of the Popes so, sure, by the standards of his predecessors Benny was decent. But that's a terribly low bar. Here's a thought: Instead of judging him against former Popes, why don't we measure him against ordinary standards of human decency? Are we measuring him as a Pope or a person? Because even a reasonably decent Pope can still be quite an awful human being. 

Pope Benedict was the only German Pope in history who was an eyewitness to the Holocaust.

Did Abe's ghostwriter read this over before publishing it? 

He may be the last Catholic leader of that generation to serve as the spiritual leader of more than one billion Catholics around the world.

I mean seriously. The ADL can't spring for a proofreader?

His was a memorable papacy of mostly positive relations with the Jews. During his tenure Benedict made a series of important, defining statements on antisemitism and the Holocaust.

Can you name one? Because I've read your whole article already and it appears that you can't.

These are remarkable statements coming from a German native who had been unwillingly drafted to serve the Nazi war machine, first in Hitler's Youth as a teen and later in the German anti-aircraft corps.

Right. So where is an example of one of those "important, defining.. remarkable statements"?

In assessing Pope Benedict's record with the Jewish people, one must take into account the symbolic gestures as well as his statements and actions.

Ok, so no "important, defining, remarkable statements", eh? Just symbolism?

In October 2011, the pope hosted an extraordinary delegation of world religious leaders for a day of dialogue and reflection in Assisi, Italy.

In 2011 was it so extraordinary for a bunch of religious leaders to get together? I don't see why. Did something amazing happen at this seminar, or did everyone just stand around and mug for the camera?

It was a strikingly colorful scene. Hindu swamis in flowing orange garb mingled with Orthodox Christian clerics in black hoods. Daoist priests in ceremonial vestments chatted with bearded turbaned Sikhs and bald Buddhist monks in saffron robes.

This happens any day of the week in any number of diverse, multinational cities. Why should I be impressed at something so ordinary? It only matters if you consider the Pope to be some kind of spiritual giant with his faith having some kind of special claim on truth. Then you can be pleased that the leader of the Absolute and True Faith in making room around the table for us. But as a Jew I reject the claims of Catholicism. Which is why none of this impresses me.

But one of the most striking images was the special attention that Pope Benedict gave to the small delegation of Jewish representatives. At the closing ceremony, Benedict singled out the Jewish participants, "who are particularly close to us."

Six words, and Abe Foxman's panties get all wet. Sorry for the crudeness, but I can't think of a better way to let you know how I really feel. Benedict brought back antisemitic prayers and antisemitic bishops. He continued an evil man on his path to sainthood. But all that is forgiven because he said some Jews were "particularly close" to him.

And really, why would any Jew with any sense WANT to be "close" to that decrepit antisemite?

And when he visited Washington, D.C. in 2008, holding an interfaith meeting with American religious leaders, Benedict arranged for a special private meeting with the Jewish delegation in order to wish us a happy Passover.

Jesus God. A "happy Passover" and he's some kind of Jew loving superstar? This is like applauding a well-educated adult for tying his shoes.

The official record of Pope Benedict's relationship with Jews and Israel is formidable.

Has their theologically-tainted diplomatic position been revised? No, it has not. So "formidable" probably isn't the right word.

First, it is important to remember that Pope Benedict, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, worked closely for 26 years with his predecessor Pope John Paul II in developing a historic new relationship between Catholic and Jews as "loving brothers and sisters" after centuries of tragedy.

What is this new relationship of which you speak? Where, exactly, is the love? What have they done, aside for ceasing to torture us? For this they deserve roses? The Buddhists and the Canadians don't torture us . Where is their testimonial dinner

Shortly after being elected in 2005, Pope Benedict arranged meetings with ADL and other world Jewish leaders. Four months later he visited a synagogue in Cologne. He would visit several other synagogues, most notably in Rome, and become the first pope to visit a synagogue in the United States.

BFD. When the Vatican pays reparations for the synagogues they destroyed you can get back to me.

He clearly condemned anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

He did not. But, even so, why would we dance a hora for someone condemning antisemitism and holocaust denial in freaking 2013? Why is Abe Foxman so desperate to give this Pope a gold star?

His visit to Israel solidified the Vatican's relationship with the Jewish State, and his church's commitment to its security and survival. In Israel, he honored the memory of the "six million Jewish victims of the Shoah,"

While meanwhile the ongoing sainthood effort for evil Pope Pius and the already completed cannonization of Edith Stein dishonors the Holocaust and denies the historical reality of what happened and what helped cause it. 

and said that "every effort must be made to fight anti-Semitism wherever it is found." By going to Yad Vashem and the Western Wall, he helped institutionalize a precedent set by Pope John Paul II.

Yes, yes. We know that by the standards of 1913 Pope B was a hell of a guy. Alas, he served in 2013.

To be sure, there were also missteps, starting with his 2005 speech at Auschwitz, when he failed to acknowledge the legacy of Christian anti-Jewish teachings -- the soil in which Nazi ideology was planted.

Right. A mere "mishap" and not the latest in a series of things the Church has done to paper over the facts and deny the reality of their role in causing the destruction of European Jewry. A little oops, and not part of a strategy to absolve itself of blame for the holocaust.

His decision to rewrite the old Latin version of the Good Friday prayer (still) titled "For the Conversion of the Jews" -- and his lifting of the excommunication of four bishops from an anti-Semitic schismatic -- were a profound disappointment. 

So let me get this straight, Abe. Wishing us a "happy Passover" is awesome times 20 and proof he loved us with his whole heart, whereas rehabilitating holocaust deniers and antisemitic prayers are silly little mishaps. 

He also moved wartime Pope Pius XII one step closer to sainthood, even as the Vatican's Secret World War II archives remained closed to scholars and Holocaust survivors.

We know enough about what Egenio Pacelli said and did (and didn't do) as nuncio, Vatican Secretary 
of State and Pope to pass judgement on him. He was a Jew-hater par excellence.

Yet at the same time, Benedict issued historic positive theological and historical statements about Judaism.

He said that the Catholic Church should not try and convert Jews.

My God. That isn't what he said! Also he didn't do it as Pope! He did it before he became Pope. In brief, Ratzinger wrote that at the end of time all Jews will convert, and that therefore the Church no longer has to make winning every single one of us over to Jesus their #1 overarching occupation. (Notably American Cardinals disputed this saying that a Catholicsm that didn't actively seek our conversion wasn't Catholicism) But never mind, because it wasn't a display of respect for Judaism. Ratzinger/Benedict still thinks we are wrong. He still thinks God's covenant with us is broken. He still thinks we're all going to hell, and he still thinks that Jews, as individuals, should be missionized. The statement wasn't about our theological fitness, it was about the Churchs goals regarding all of us as a people. Foxman makes it seem like the Church's historic mission of converting us has been dropped, which is completely not so. See more here

In his trilogy on the life of Jesus of Nazareth, Benedict re-interpreted problematic passages in the Gospels of Matthew and John, dismissing negative images and false charges against the Jewish people which prompted millennia of persecution and death.

I don't know what this is a reference to. Help?

So what is Benedict's legacy with the Jewish people?

How can you even ask? He wished us Happy Passover. Best Pope EVER!!

Holocaust issues are still a cloud looming over us. The archives are not open, but Pius XII has not been beatified -- yet.

What did Benedict do to slow it down? Oh right. Nothing. In fact he moved it one step closer. 

One measurement is whether his positive teachings about Jews become embedded in Catholic education around the world -- particularly the fast-growing regions in South America, Africa and Asia -- where knowledge of Judaism is stuck in the problematic past.

There is no reason to expect this to occur in that (a) there were no positive teachings and that (b) the little bit he did say about us was said by a scholar named Ratzinger, not the Pope.

Pope Benedict clearly demonstrated his closeness to the Jewish people, symbolically, and in word and deed. He listened to our concerns, and tried to address them.

Oh, this is just such horse manure I don't even know how to respond. Can you name one concern that he addressed? Just one. And what closeness? The happy Passover? The shoutout at a conference? That's all you need? How sad. How unbecoming. I don't know what's worse. That you desire the Pope's approval, or that you're satisfied with so little.

That demonstrates the trust and respect that has evolved between our two faith communities, and how much more work we need to do together, Catholics and Jews, to help repair a broken world.

Nothing in either Catholic or Jewish theology allows for us working together, as some kind of generic, neutered "people of faith" to heal the world.

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