02 April 2010

Idiot of the (Holy) Week

These days, when people catch flak for saying that criticism of a Jewish state is anti-semitism, you can imagine the response when anyone suggests that criticism of something else is like anti-semitism. Nevertheless, a Vatican preacher pressed on bravely during a Good Friday service, basically equating a Pope criticized for his alleged role in covering-up for alleged pedophile priests with the victims of a pogrom. The "collective violence" waged against the Vatican, and by implication against the Catholic Church as a whole, Rev. Cantalamessa said, reminded him of "the most shameful aspects of anti-semitism."

Cantalamessa and I may not agree on what was the most shameful aspect of anti-semitism, but until he contradicts me I have to assume that he was comparing the perceived persecution of the Pope and the Vatican hierarchy not just with pogroms, but with the Holocaust itself. He pre-emptively excused himself by saying that a Jewish correspondent first made the suggestion to him. This same person, Cantalamessa said, reported his indignation at the "violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful of the whole world."

From this account you might expect to learn, on Good Friday of all days, that mobs across the planet are besieging cathedrals and stoning Catholic school students. They aren't? Then that's why Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa is a late entrant in our Idiot of the Week competition. Vatican spokesmen are distancing themselves from Cantalamessa, stressing that he did not speak as a representative of the Holy See. That should help make it obvious to even the most obtuse, including Cantalamessa himself, that this comment is no concentric attack against his church, but a boot to his own thick head.

No comments: