03 April 2010

Taken well out of context

As happened some years back when Pope Benedict quoted the words of a certain medieval king in the East, Fr. Raniero Cantalamesa, Preacher to the Papal Household, is coming under fire for quoting a letter from one of his Jewish friends.

Here, the context of what he said, with my emphases:

By a rare coincidence, this year our Easter falls on the same week of the Jewish Passover which is the ancestor and matrix within which it was formed. This pushes us to direct a thought to our Jewish brothers. They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms. I received in this week the letter of a Jewish friend and, with his permission, I share here a part of it.

He said: "I am following with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the Church, the Pope and all the faithful by the whole world. The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism. Therefore I desire to express to you personally, to the Pope and to the whole Church my solidarity as Jew of dialogue and of all those that in the Jewish world (and there are many) share these sentiments of brotherhood. Our Passover and yours undoubtedly have different elements, but we both live with Messianic hope that surely will reunite us in the love of our common Father. I wish you and all Catholics a Good Easter."

And also we Catholics wish our Jewish brothers a Good Passover.
The full text of his homily is avaiable via Zenit.

Looking at the context, the comparison with the current attacks on the Church and the person of Pope Benedict XVI particularly, did not originate with Fr. Cantalamesa but with his friend, who is a Jew.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks. Brings an entirely different understanding to Fr Cantalamesa's statement knowing that the quote is from that of a Jewish friend. Too bad the media will likely not emphasize, and Liberal Jewish group critics will not acknowledge the following words from the same Jewish friend: "Therefore I desire to express to you personally, to the Pope and to the whole Church my solidarity as Jew of dialogue and of all those that in the Jewish world (and there are many) share these sentiments of brotherhood."

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  2. So far the media have attributed the quote to the letter, but other groups feel offended nonetheless. They really ought to be writing to Fr. Cantalamesa's friend.

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  3. Yes but how much of the article does one have to read before coming to the knowledge that the reference to anti-semitism is from a Jewish friend? Six paragraphs according to the NYT story that I read.

    I expect the media to add this to a narrative they seem to be currently developing that the Vatican has 'bungled' it's response to recent scandal allegations. I've already seen "Shame on Father Cantalamessa" in one TV news banner.

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  4. That's very curious. The BBC article I referenced in the original post mentioned it right off the bat.

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