Vatican Compares Criticism of Church’s Handling of Child Rape to Persecution of Jews

April 2, 2010

The New York Times reports that a senior Vatican priest speaking at a Good Friday service compared the uproar over the scandals surrounding the Catholic Church's handling of child rape - which have included reports about Pope Benedict XVI's oversight role in two cases - to the persecution of the Jews. The remarks sought to focus attention on the Church as the central victim.

Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, who holds the office of preacher of the papal household, delivered his remarks at the traditional Good Friday prayer service in St. Peter's Basilica. He said that Jews "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."

Father Cantalamessa then quoted from what he said was a letter from an unnamed Jewish friend. "I am following the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful by the whole word. 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."


#1 dougsmith on Friday April 02, 2010 at 2:53pm

Kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

#2 J. (Guest) on Friday April 02, 2010 at 4:12pm

Would there have been less of a scandal had the RCC addressed the personal responsibility issue by removing and reporting the pedophiles to the police? Is it irellevent or unfair or anti-Catholic to consider the behavior of the pope, how he did and is handling sexual abuse by priests and the policies he did and does set? This is about the pedophiles, the princes of the church and the CEO. So why are they talking about being attacked with “collective guilt” by “the Jews.” (In other reports Jews in New York were identified as being behind the attacks on the church.) The RCC has a less than shining history of how it treated and still treats Jews and it seems that the Jews are still the problem, not the pedophiles and certainly not the church. Are we surprised that the church means well and the Jews are persecutors? When in doubt blame the Jews.

#3 asanta on Friday April 02, 2010 at 4:43pm

The amount of hubris and contemptuous disdain for the victims,and in the protection of the perpetrators,  just boggles my mind.

#4 Fred (Guest) on Friday April 02, 2010 at 6:33pm

This is absolutely horrific.  They have been persecuted because people “dare” speak out against the systematic rape of thousands of children?  Right, they, not the children, are the victims.  These people know no bounds.

#5 Michael De Dora on Friday April 02, 2010 at 8:01pm

Peter Isely, spokesman for the US victim support group Snap, said the sermon had been “reckless and irresponsible.”

“They’re sitting in the papal palace, they’re experiencing a little discomfort, and they’re going to compare themselves to being rounded up or lined up and sent in cattle cars to Auschwitz? You cannot be serious.”

#6 dougsmith on Saturday April 03, 2010 at 7:19am

More’s the point, Michael, they’re experiencing discomfort due to an unwillingness to face up to their own past malfeasance. It’s simply shameless.

#7 Old Rockin' Dave (Guest) on Saturday April 03, 2010 at 7:21am

What the two things have in common is that where the Church wasn’t actually at fault, it failed to do anything substantive.

#8 dougsmith on Saturday April 03, 2010 at 9:25am

Thread about this on the forum:

There’s been reaction:

#9 J. (Guest) on Saturday April 03, 2010 at 10:28am

The RC church wants to limit criticism that generalizes on the basis of what apologists have characterized as a minute percentage of aberrant episodes being used to brand the church with collective guilt and of the pope in particular. It would be most welcome for the Vatican to release all the records of future pope, Cardinal Ratzinger’s role in the disposition of charges of sexual abuse of children under pastoral care of the church. What are the chances of that happening?

#10 asanta on Saturday April 03, 2010 at 10:40pm

Who is left that is NOT furious with the RCC? They have pretty much alienated bit by bit, each part of their congregation, so now they had to find someone new and riled up the Jewish community, so as to have a united front against them. I suppose it allows them to feel like martyrs. I don’t think it will get very far. I’m curious to know how much lower they can go..

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