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Chief Rabbinate cuts ties with Vatican
The Jerusalem Post ^ | Jan 28, 2009 | MATTHEW WAGNER

Posted on 01/28/2009 11:11:13 AM PST by forkinsocket

Pope Benedict XVI insisted on Wednesday that he felt "full and indisputable solidarity" with Jews.

Benedict spoke days after his decision to revoke the excommunication of a bishop who says no Jews were gassed during the Holocaust provoked an outcry among Jews.

Benedict said Wednesday that he hoped the memory of the Holocaust would also serve as a warning against the "unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the hearts of men."

He spoke during a public audience at the Vatican.

The Vatican had already distanced itself from comments by bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied that 6 million Jews were murdered during World War II. The Holy See said that removing the excommunication by no means implied the Vatican shared Williamson's views.

But on Tuesday the Chief Rabbinate of Israel broke off official ties with the Vatican indefinitely in protest over the Pope's decision to reinstate a known Holocaust denier.

The Chief Rabbinate also canceled a meeting scheduled for March 2-4 in Rome with the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.

In a letter to the commission's chairman, Cardinal Walter Casper, Chief Rabbinate Director-General Oded Weiner wrote that "without a public apology and recanting, it will be difficult to continue the dialogue."

According to a Chief Rabbinate source, the letter was leaked to the Israeli press before it was received by the Vatican, which might further complicate relations between the Chief Rabbinate and the Catholic Church.

Last week, in an attempt to heal a decades-old rift between the Church and a group of ultra-conservative breakaway group of clergymen, Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of four bishops. The four Catholic bishops belong to the Society of Saint Pius, which opposed changes in Catholic doctrine made in the 1960s under the Second Vatican Council.

One of them is Britain's Bishop Richard Williamson, who is being investigated for Holocaust denial in Germany, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

In a recent interview with Swedish state television, Williamson denied the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis.

"I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews died in Nazi concentration camps, but none of them in gas chambers," Williamson told the interviewer.

"The historical evidence is hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler. I believe there were no gas chambers," Williamson reportedly said.

He has also reportedly endorsed the anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion and claimed that Jews are bent on world domination.

In a parallel development Tuesday, Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the Society of Saint Pius, distanced himself from Williamson's comments.

Fellay said he has forbidden Williamson from speaking publicly about any historical or political questions and that his views "don't reflect in any way the position of the society."

"We ask forgiveness of the Supreme Pontiff and all the men of good will for the dramatic consequences of this act," Fellay said.

Haifa Chief Rabbi Shear Yishuv Cohen, chairman of the Rabbinate's commission, told The Jerusalem Post that he expected Williamson to publicly retract his statements before meetings could be renewed.

"I understand the Pope's efforts to bring about unity in the Church, but he should be aware that, indirectly, he hurt Jews. We expect him to do the best to repair the situation." Weiner's letter called Williamson's comments "odious" and "outrageous."

Rabbi David Rosen, Director of the American Jewish Committee's Department for Interreligious Affairs, and an advisory member of the Chief rabbinate's commission, said that the Pope's decision has created an atmosphere of "bad faith."

Rosen reckoned that the Pope's move to lift Williamson's excommunication, which was made public just days before International Holocaust Day, was made due to a lack of proper consultation.

"I tend to believe that the Pope simply was not informed about Williamson in advance and now he is in a very uncomfortable situation."

Rosen said that the Pope had a history of improper preparation, leading to large-scale blunders. He cited a speech made in Regensburg, Germany, in which he quoted a medieval emperor who called Islam "evil and inhuman," comments that sparked a wave of Islamic-led violence against Catholic churches around the world.

Rosen said that the Rabbinate expected the Pope to take tangible steps against Williamson.

"I don't think it is my place to tell the Church precisely what to do. But Williamson should be censured in some way or forced to retract his statements.

"Until that happens, we may be in contact with the Vatican on an individual level, but there will be no official meetings."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Israel
KEYWORDS: holocaust; israel; rabbinate; rabbis; vatican
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1 posted on 01/28/2009 11:11:14 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

This is pure ignorance or spreading misinformation. The lifting of excommunication had nothing whatsoever to do with the Holocaust denials, which have already been condemned. This bishop was one of a number of renegade bishops involved in the illicit consecration of bishops by SSPX, which was in fact the chief ground for excommunication in the first place.

The Pope has no control over these people, who are basically outside the Church and run their own operation. He cannot remove them from office because he didn’t install them in the first place.

This pope has spent much of his life trying to build better relations with religious Jews. It’s too bad when you get a hasty reaction like this, hitting out against a friend on the word of trouble makers who are perhaps less supportive of Israel than the Pope.


2 posted on 01/28/2009 11:18:11 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: forkinsocket
This guy Williamson sounds like a genuine crackpot but his antisemitic views have been firmly disavowed and condemned by all concerned..

The Pope must not let himself be stampeded by onlookers. He has his reasons for his decision, and I trust he knows what he is doing, just as he did at Regensburg. Critic Rosen didn't get that either, but it has been a good thing with the passage of time.

3 posted on 01/28/2009 11:22:57 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: forkinsocket
"I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews died in Nazi concentration camps, but none of them in gas chambers," Williamson told the interviewer.

The nutcase Williamson probably hasn't had a single thought uninfected with anti-Semitism since he was just a wee lad.

4 posted on 01/28/2009 11:28:10 AM PST by Mr. Mojo
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To: forkinsocket

For Catholics, the Holocaust is a matter of history, not religion. Those for whom it is a religion will have to accept that — esp. if they want to paint Christian “proselytising” as objectionable.


5 posted on 01/28/2009 11:30:50 AM PST by Romulus ("Ira enim viri iustitiam Dei non operatur")
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To: forkinsocket; Cicero
"I don't think it is my place to tell the Church precisely what to do. But Williamson should be censured in some way or forced to retract his statements. "Until that happens, we may be in contact with the Vatican on an individual level, but there will be no official meetings."

The Vatican, like Cicero said, is not involved because there's not ful reconciliation yet. Even if it were, there aren't any provisions in canon law that I'm aware of for deposing/excommunicating a bishop simply on his historical beliefs. The most that the Vatican could do would be to take exception to his remarks, which they have.

Williamson is, however, in a religious order, and his Superior has just ordered him to shut up on matters of history. So a censure has indeed been applied.

6 posted on 01/28/2009 11:36:11 AM PST by Claud
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To: Romulus
>For Catholics, the Holocaust is a matter of history, not religion. Those for whom it is a religion will have to accept that

-------------------------------------

Williamson holds strong views regarding gender roles and dress. He opposes the wearing of trousers or shorts by women,[43][44][45] and has urged greater "manliness" in men.[44][45]

Williamson promoted conspiracy theories regarding the Kennedy assassination and the September 11 attacks, claiming that the latter were staged by the US government.[45][3][46]

Williamson has expressed controversial views about Jews. He called Jews "enemies of Christ" and urges their conversion to Catholicism.[47][48][49] He claims that Jews and Freemasons have contributed to the "changes and corruption" in the Catholic Church[50][51][52][47] He has also stated that Jews aim at world dominion[3][53] and believes The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to be authentic.[3][54] Williamson has denied that he is anti-semitic, stating that he goes against "adversaries of Our Lord Jesus Christ", that not all Jews are such, and that he also attacks other groups such as Communists and Freemasons.[3][47][48][38]

Williamson has been charged with Holocaust denial.[47][52][55][51][56] He has denied the existence of gas chambers and has claimed that not six million but 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps.[17][15] Williamson has also praised Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel.[47][51][52][48]

Williamson's Wikipedia entry

7 posted on 01/28/2009 11:41:09 AM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: forkinsocket

The excommunication and thus the de-excommunication had nothing to do with Williamson’s nutty historical views, and the Vatican has made it clear that it is not an endorsement of those views. This reaction by the Chief Rabbi seems like a overreaction by someone who deliberately wants to distort the meaning of what the Pope did.


8 posted on 01/28/2009 11:47:17 AM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: forkinsocket

Was he reinstated as a bishop or just have the ban of excommunication lifted?


9 posted on 01/28/2009 11:50:21 AM PST by Tribune7 (Obama wants to put the same crowd that ran Fannie Mae in charge of health care)
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To: theFIRMbss

lol...Williamson is a “truther” (9/11 conspiracy nut) as well? He’s a man of many tinfoil wardrobes.


10 posted on 01/28/2009 11:51:06 AM PST by Mr. Mojo
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To: Mr. Mojo
>He opposes the wearing of trousers or shorts by women
>>He’s a man of many tinfoil wardrobes

The Jews and George Bush
are fair game, but attacking
Daisy Dukes? DAMN him!

11 posted on 01/28/2009 11:59:13 AM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: Tribune7
Willimson (Note that I use no title) was consecrated a bishop illicitly ... that means in defiance of the Pope (John Paul II), for which he was automatically excommunicated. He has never held any office of Bishop within the Catholic Church, and does not now. Three other men were, at the same time, also illicitly concecrated and consequently excommunicated, along with the (legitimate) Bishop who did the consecration. B-XVI has lifted the penalty of excommunication on all four ... it has nothing to do with Williamson personally, and everything to do with attempting reconciliation with the sane members of their traditionalist religious community. Whether Williamson himself will choose to walk the path of sanity remains to be seen.
12 posted on 01/28/2009 12:05:56 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Well said. That was what I was trying to indicate.

You can’t give the boot to someone who already walked out the door on his own perverse initiative.


13 posted on 01/28/2009 12:14:22 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: theFIRMbss
Oh ... just so you know:

Pope Benedict specifically rebuked Williamson's holocaust denial, and Bernard Fellay (leader of the group to which Williamson belongs) told Williamson to shut up.

Both rebukes are the subject of threads on this forum.

14 posted on 01/28/2009 12:15:40 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Cicero
Right. You can invite them back, however, and even open the door for them. I believe that most of SSPX and the lay folks who hang with them are sane, and will come home.

The rest ... there's just not much that can be done.

15 posted on 01/28/2009 12:19:34 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

OK, thanks


16 posted on 01/28/2009 12:27:41 PM PST by Tribune7 (Obama wants to put the same crowd that ran Fannie Mae in charge of health care)
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To: theFIRMbss

So Williamson has personal opinions on non-religious matters. What’s your point?


17 posted on 01/28/2009 12:45:04 PM PST by Romulus ("Ira enim viri iustitiam Dei non operatur")
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To: forkinsocket
Isn't this the same rabbi who led the complaints against the fact some Roman Catholic prayers ask God [GASP!] to enlighten the Jews to accept Jesus as Messiah?

Jesus Christ himself couldn't please people like this.

Come to think of it, He already tried . . . .

18 posted on 01/28/2009 12:47:51 PM PST by TaxachusettsMan
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you'd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

19 posted on 01/28/2009 1:45:12 PM PST by SJackson (The American people are wise in wanting change, 2 terms is plenty, Condi Rice)
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To: Cicero

Well, I’m sure that Catholics would be suitable outraged in the following scenario:

Let’s say, after an Islamic dictator killed off half the world’s population of Catholics...

...that the Grand Mufti in Mecca then brought back into the fold an imam that said it never happened at all.


20 posted on 01/28/2009 4:03:08 PM PST by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: theFIRMbss

Wow, could he be any more of a nutjob?


21 posted on 01/28/2009 4:17:42 PM PST by netmilsmom (Psalm 109:8 - Let his days be few; and let another take his office)
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To: gogogodzilla

>>Let’s say, after an Islamic dictator killed off half the world’s population of Catholics...

...that the Grand Mufti in Mecca then brought back into the fold an imam that said it never happened at all.<<

There is a bit of a difference. The Catholic Church had nothing to do with the killing of Jews. Many Priests, Nuns and even the Pope condemned the actions then worked to save those being killed. Do the Muslims have a Irena Sendler in their midst?

Would the Grand Mufti be able to say the same knowing that the Quran calls for non-Muslims to be a slave, a muslim or dead?


22 posted on 01/28/2009 4:22:58 PM PST by netmilsmom (Psalm 109:8 - Let his days be few; and let another take his office)
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To: theFIRMbss
He has denied the existence of gas chambers and has claimed that not six million but 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps

Sounds like a real piece of crap!

23 posted on 01/28/2009 4:24:51 PM PST by Eaker (Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat)
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To: AdmSmith; Berosus; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fred Nerks; justiceseeker93; ..

Israel expels Venezuela envoy
BBC | 28 January 2009 | Staff
Posted on 01/28/2009 11:04:51 AM PST by forkinsocket
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2173622/posts


24 posted on 01/28/2009 7:27:23 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: Romulus
You are suggesting that Orthodox Jews have no actual religious faith other than the Holocaust.
For all the comments about Jews having a problem with proselytising, it was the Catholics who condemned proselytizers and converts to death.
25 posted on 01/28/2009 11:51:22 PM PST by rmlew (The loyal opposition to a regime dedicated to overthrowing the Constitution are accomplices.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

And will Williamson remain a bishop, return to being a priest, or be defrocked?


26 posted on 01/28/2009 11:53:38 PM PST by rmlew (The loyal opposition to a regime dedicated to overthrowing the Constitution are accomplices.)
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To: rmlew
"Remain" a bishop?

In the sacramental sense, yes. Of course.

In the practical sense, I think not. In fact, I won't be too surprised if, should the bulk of SSPX formally reconcile with the Church, Williamson departs from SSPX and starts his own religion with himself at its head. It wouldn't be the first time something like that has happened, and he seems to have the right combination of nuttiness and arrogance. Of course, the alternative of obeying Fellay's order to STHU and ending his life in quiet obscurity (for the good of the order and of the Church) is also possible.

The big picture, here, is a lot bigger than one recalcitrant, illicitly consecrated, antisemitic nutcase.

27 posted on 01/29/2009 4:31:45 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Romulus
Christianity is a religion based in historical truth, specifically, the historical truth of the Resurrection. If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then no amount of handwaving could save Christianity, Catholic or otherwise.

The Holocaust is also a historical fact, and one much closer in history, much broader in scope, and therefore much easier to verify. A man who is either so poor in his understanding of history or so twisted that he would deny the widespread slaughter of the Jewish people has no business in a position of power in an organization that stands or falls on the basis of historical truth.

Reinstating Williamson is a massive blunder, and given Israel's situation--surrounded by enemies who deny the Holocaust but want to make another one happen--the rabbinate has every right and every responsibility to consider it a hostile act against the Jewish people.

Shalom.

28 posted on 01/29/2009 6:19:55 AM PST by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Unam Sanctam
This reaction by the Chief Rabbi seems like a overreaction by someone who deliberately wants to distort the meaning of what the Pope did.

"Deliberately"? You want us to take everything the Vatican does in the best possible light, but you cheerfully slander the Rabbinate at the drop of a hat?

I think you should apologize and rephrase.

29 posted on 01/29/2009 6:28:19 AM PST by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: rmlew
You are suggesting that Orthodox Jews have no actual religious faith other than the Holocaust.

No I'm not. I'm suggesting that some Jews have no other faith. And the Orthodox are the last I'd suspect of this.

30 posted on 01/29/2009 7:00:22 AM PST by Romulus ("Ira enim viri iustitiam Dei non operatur")
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To: Buggman

So, you’re suggesting the Pope should have ignored the issue of reconciling the SSPX and left the excommunications in place, just to not look bad?


31 posted on 01/29/2009 7:08:57 AM PST by B Knotts (Worst economy since the Third Punic War)
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To: Buggman

Shalom aleichem.

I don’t think anyone here is disputing the historicity of the Holocaust. Certainly I am not.

The Resurrection is the good news of man’s triumph over death in the divine man Jesus. It is the indispensable basis of Christian faith and hope. The Holocaust is equally real, but no faith relies upon it. Jews would have continued to be Jews if the Holocaust had never happened.


32 posted on 01/29/2009 7:10:13 AM PST by Romulus ("Ira enim viri iustitiam Dei non operatur")
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To: B Knotts
I think the Rabbinate has every right to protest in the strongest possible manner, given the general atmosphere of Holocaust denial that's infected the Middle-East and growing segments of Europe of late. Like it or not, the Pope's move sends out the (inadvertent, given what I know of Pope Benedict XVI, including reading his writings as Cardinal Ratzinger) message that the RCC considers Holocaust denial to be no big deal--not only to the Rabbinate, but to the deniers themselves.

I think that a wiser course would have been to issue the reconciliation and a general excommunication of Holocaust deniers at the same time. And I think that the knee-jerk defense of the Vatican and pile-on to the Rabbinate demonstrated by some of the laity here doesn't help Jewish-Christian relations, and needs to be called out.

Understand, I like the current Pontiff. I do think that he made a misstep. I also think that if the Rabbinate responded any less strongly, the concerns of the Jewish people on this matter would be swept under the rug with a few platitudes.

Shalom.

33 posted on 01/29/2009 8:28:12 AM PST by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Buggman

Are you suggesting that anyone who denies the holocaust should be excommunicated? What about non-Catholics? What would happen to them?


34 posted on 01/29/2009 8:33:22 AM PST by ladyjane
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To: Romulus
My friend (and I mean that), I'm not seeing Holocaust denial on FR--but what I am seeing is a complete lack of understanding of just what the Holocaust means to the Jewish people--or the very real present danger to Israel inherent in Holocaust denial.

In politics (and this is politics), appearance is everything. Like it or not, whether it was the intention or not (and I know that legitimizing denial was not the Pope's intent), accepting Williamson back into the fold will be read as a tacit acceptance of those who deny the slaughter of six million Jews by those who are in denial, not just by the Rabbinate. Since the current stance of the Palistinian Authority, Hamas, Iran, and most of the Muslim world is that the Holocaust never happened (though they think it's a good idea) and therefore Israel is illegitimate, the Pope's appearance of acceptance represents a danger to Israel's appearance of legitimacy, and therefore to her continued survival.

The Rabbinate would be irresponsible if they let this slide without the strongest possible protest, especially since the Vatican has been trying to position herself as a neutral arbiter of affairs in the Holy Land for several decades now.

Shalom.

35 posted on 01/29/2009 8:45:12 AM PST by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Buggman
"Deliberately"? You want us to take everything the Vatican does in the best possible light, but you cheerfully slander the Rabbinate at the drop of a hat?

I think you should apologize and rephrase.

Actually, people with charitable relations do take people's actions in the best possible light. In this case, it is simply not reasonable to interpret the excommunication as an endorsement of Williamson's wacky views when the Pope has specifically contradicted those wacky views countless times, and most recently again as a result of this brouhaha. The Pope and the Church in general are not Holocaust deniers, and as the Church made clear in the Vatican II magisterial document Nostra Aetate, are not anti-Semitic and reject any doctrine of collective guilt. Given the above, I feel it must be a deliberate desire to slander the Pope and the Church for the Chief Rabbi to treat them as if this action shows they were endorsing Holocaust denial. Neither the excommunication nor the lifting thereof clearly have ANYTHING to do with endorsing Holocause denial. Having nutty views on historical matters not part of the deposit of the faith is not an excommunicable offense.

36 posted on 01/29/2009 8:45:58 AM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: Unam Sanctam

See posts #33 and 35.


37 posted on 01/29/2009 8:53:43 AM PST by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: ladyjane
Are you suggesting that anyone who denies the holocaust should be excommunicated?

Yes. Quite aside from the moral issue (denying the Holocaust amounts to bearing false witness against 16 million people), a blanket excommunication of all Holocaust deniers would send a message that the Vatican will not countenance the perversion of history by its members. This would have the not-incidental benefit of sending a message to the leaders of the Middle-east as well.

What about non-Catholics? What would happen to them?

Non-Catholics are obviously out of the Pope's chain-of-command, and therefore not his responsibility.

Shalom.

38 posted on 01/29/2009 9:00:35 AM PST by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Buggman

I’ve got a hard time agreeing that the deniers should have religious sanctions against them.

What about those who think that 9/11 was staged?
What about those who think the world is flat.
What about those who think the sun revolves around the earth?
And those who don’t believe in the Armenian genocide?

Should they be excommunicated?


39 posted on 01/29/2009 9:05:08 AM PST by ladyjane
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To: ladyjane
Why not? Roman Catholicism has excommunicated those who denied the doctrines of indulgences and Jews who wanted to keep the practices of their fathers while following a Jewish King. The Vatican has made it pretty clear over the centuries that it has the right to break off or restore official relations with groups as it sees fit.

But the Rabbinate also has the right to break off relations with those whose decisions empower and encourage Israel's enemies.

Shalom.

40 posted on 01/29/2009 9:27:47 AM PST by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Buggman

It just seems so silly that people from one religion would tell people of another religion how they should run their religion.

They have a right to their opinion, of course. I guess that’s why we have so many different religions. It still seems odd - sort of like the Catholics telling the Episcopalians that they shouldn’t have women ministers. Actually more like telling the Episcopalians that they should all believe Henry VIII was a murderer. Why would the Catholics care what the Episcopalians believe about Henry?


41 posted on 01/29/2009 9:49:36 AM PST by ladyjane
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To: Buggman; ladyjane
But the Rabbinate also has the right to break off relations with those whose decisions empower and encourage Israel's enemies.

Amen Amen!
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach Adonai
42 posted on 01/29/2009 10:01:22 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 78:35 And they remembered that God was their ROCK, And the Most High God their Redeemer.)
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To: forkinsocket

“Rosen said that the Pope had a history of improper preparation, leading to large-scale blunders. He cited a speech made in Regensburg, Germany, in which he quoted a medieval emperor who called Islam “evil and inhuman,” comments that sparked a wave of Islamic-led violence against Catholic churches around the world.”

Oops, just lost all respect for Rosen.

It is time for Jews to stop fighting the last war and fight the current one - Islam.

I am more concerned about this -—

The Pope’s justice minister, Cardinal Renato Martino, has sharply criticised Israel’s actions and likened the Gaza Strip to a “big concentration camp”.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7817019.stm


43 posted on 01/29/2009 10:55:59 AM PST by dervish (Gitmo, coming soon to a neighborhood near you)
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To: ladyjane
It just seems so silly that people from one religion would tell people of another religion how they should run their religion.

LJ, I'm defending the right of the Rabbinate to run their own religion. I posted in response to those who wanted to tell them how they should conduct their relations with the Vatican. This is an inter-religious issue, not just an internal one to Catholicism.

All I did was explain why this issue is so important to the Rabbinate and express my own opinion how this little diplomatic crisis could have been averted and how it could be handled even now. I did so in response to Catholics here on FR who were attacking the rabbis. I don't expect the Pope to read FR, see my post, and say, "By golly, I have to do everything this weird Messianic fellow tells me to." He can make his own decision about whether to embrace the Jews or embrace those who deny the Holocaust, whether to support Israel or to undermine her.

And the rabbis will make their decisions as how best, or even whether, to formally associate with the Vatican in response to Pope Benedict XVI's decision. Fair's fair.

Shalom.

44 posted on 01/29/2009 10:58:30 AM PST by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Buggman
accepting Williamson back into the fold will be read as a tacit acceptance of those who deny the slaughter

Then they are wrong, and misinterpreting what the Church is. The Church on earth is full of sinners, with very few saints. The church exists to bring men the means of salvation -- not to validate their already-saved status. One is joined to the Church through baptism and belief, not behavior.

If the Rabbinate or others want to know what excommunication is and is not, they need to consult those who impose it and lift it. If they consult only themselves, they should keep their conclusions to themselves.

No one -- not even the Pope -- is responsible for the distortion of his words and deeds by others. The Church is in the truth business, not the appearances business.

45 posted on 01/29/2009 12:34:38 PM PST by Romulus ("Ira enim viri iustitiam Dei non operatur")
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To: Romulus
Then they are wrong, and misinterpreting what the Church is.

That's irrelevant, whether or not it's true. This is politics (religious politics, but politics nevertheless), and in politics you cannot simply dismiss the messages you send by your actions, however unintended, as simply "wrong."

The fact is that the Vatican has not been exactly been on the best of terms with the Jewish people for the last two millennia, nor has it been on the best of terms with Israel for most of the last sixty. Remember, Pope John Paul II only recognized Israel in December 1993. So let's look at this from the perspective of the Rabbinate:

1) The Vatican refuses to acknowledge Israel's existence for the first 45 years, and has only acknowledged her for the last 15.

2) Even having formally recognized Israel, the Vatican has tried to position itself as a "neutral" arbiter over Jerusalem's holy sites, including the Temple Mount, rather than recognizing full Israeli sovereignty.

3) As a result of the above, the Vatican has repeatedly been, shall we say, less-than-wholeheartedly-supportive of Israel when she has taken steps to defend herself.

4) At the same time that Israel's enemies are saying that the Holocaust is a Jewish lie (though they think having one would be a wonderful idea), the Vatican welcomes back into the Catholic fold a very vocal Holocaust denier.

And that's just the last sixty years. Jews have very long memories, and we haven't forgotten how we've been treated by Christians and Muslims for the last centuries. As a result, the rabbis are a bit sensitive to any hint that Christian leaders are (once again) turning on us. You might argue that it's over-sensitivity, but if you have any clue about the history of Jewish-Christian relations, you can't deny that the Rabbinate has a very real basis for its concern, especially given how narrow Israel's margin for survival is right now.

Given how sensitive the Catholics on this forum are to Protestant criticism, I'd think you'd understand.

One is joined to the Church through baptism and belief, not behavior.

And this is why the rabbis rightly point out that Christianity is the religion of the creed, while Judaism is the religion of the deed. As Jacob (James), the Lord's brother, pointed out and as Catholics are quick to quote when in debates with Protestants over sola gracia, "Faith without works is dead."

If the Rabbinate or others want to know what excommunication is and is not, they need to consult those who impose it and lift it. If they consult only themselves, they should keep their conclusions to themselves.

So . . . you're saying that the Rabbinate has no right to decide whom to maintain formal relations with?

No one -- not even the Pope -- is responsible for the distortion of his words and deeds by others.

So you're basically saying that nobody has any right to interpret the Pope's actions in anything but the most rosy way possible--but that you're free to dismiss the rabbis actions as ill-informed at best, deliberately distorting the Pontiff's position at worst. Got it.

Say, is that a beam in your eye?

The Church is in the truth business . . .

Then purge the false witnesses from your midst, and stop complaining about others pointing out when you're embracing them instead.

Shalom.

46 posted on 01/29/2009 2:02:15 PM PST by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: forkinsocket

What a drama queen.


47 posted on 01/29/2009 2:03:58 PM PST by big'ol_freeper (You tell me that you've got everything you want, And your bird can sing, But you don't get me)
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To: Buggman
the Vatican has not been exactly been on the best of terms with the Jewish people for the last two millennia

By "the Vatican" let's assume you mean the See of Peter. Yes, there has been tension -- though historically speaking, popes have tended to be be more Jew-friendly than other bishops, monarchs, and Catholics in general. Moreover, there has been plenty of bad behavior on the Jewish side. Not to play tu quoque, but haven't many Jews over the years said and even prayed unfriendly things about Christians? Doesn't the Talmud contain contemptuous and gratuitously obscene passages alluding to Jesus and his mother? In some Orthodox communities doesn't there survive to this day a sentiment of loathing and disgust for Christians? Let's not play into black and white victimhood categories, OK?

nor has it been on the best of terms with Israel for most of the last sixty.

The Church had good reasons to be slow in recognising the state of Israel -- whose conception was not exactly without original sin. There were and are questions of justice to Gentiles that have been overlooked or neglected. Nor has Israel been in a hurry to maintain good relations with the Holy See (has that Fundamental Agreement been postponed again? One loses count how many times).

Yes, the Holy See has been slow to ratify Israel's conquest of lands outside the borders drawn by the UN. If this is how anti-semitism is to be defined, it will lose all meaning.

Yes, the Holy See has declined to issue Israel a moral blank check for any and all decisions it makes in pursuit of its interests. I'm sure we all feel "special" in our own way, but even the Lord's own people according to the flesh aren't that special.

The Church welcomes a great many oddballs and sinners into her fold. It's for their sanctification and salvation. I have already pointed out that that's not validation. Get over it, please.

Long Jewish memories seem mostly to fail when it comes to the heroic life-saving achievements of Pius XII.

Judaism is the religion of the deed.

I understood it to be a religion of the circumcised. Surely a bad or unobservant Jew doesn't cease to be Jewish. Bad Catholics don't cease to be Catholics unless they consciously apostatise.

you're saying that the Rabbinate has no right to decide whom to maintain formal relations with?

Of course not. I'm saying they shouldn't presume to instruct the Pope how to correct his errant sheep.

So you're basically saying that nobody has any right to interpret the Pope's actions in anything but the most rosy way possible

Please don't be tiresome. I'm saying that the Rabbinate have no right to expect the Roman pontiff to manage his affairs to suit their agenda.

Then purge the false witnesses from your midst, and stop complaining about others pointing out when you're embracing them instead.

Conversion is a life-long calling for every Christian. None of us is perfect, and none of us should be scandalised to discover that fact. The Church does not save sinners by driving them away.

48 posted on 01/29/2009 3:00:01 PM PST by Romulus ("Ira enim viri iustitiam Dei non operatur")
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To: Romulus
Not to play tu quoque, but haven't many Jews over the years said and even prayed unfriendly things about Christians?

Certainly. But it's been eighteen or nineteen centuries since Jewish rhetoric had much in the way of power to cause harm to Christians, unlike the reverse.

Doesn't the Talmud contain contemptuous and gratuitously obscene passages alluding to Jesus and his mother?

There are passages that may or may not have originally referred to Yeshua. However, when they provide any historical context, they don't match up with the right dates. My own belief is that passages and legends that originally referred to other heretics were later reinterpreted to refer to Yeshua and His mother.

However, most modern Talmuds expunge the offending passages, and while there are still ultra-Orthodox who use "Yeshu" as a curse, the majority view in modern Judaism is to regard Yeshua as a Torah-observant Jew, most likely a pharisee (read: Orthodox Jew), whose later followers distorted his teachings. Indeed, most modern rabbis who have read the Gospel accounts are very complimentary towards Yeshua's insight, though they are not yet ready to accept the Messianic claims.

Btw, many of the Church fathers, including Justin Martyr and John Chrysostom, had some rather slanderous things that they said about the Jewish community as well. Have you expunged them from the ECF the way most rabbis have expunged the anti-Yeshua references from the Talmud?

In some Orthodox communities doesn't there survive to this day a sentiment of loathing and disgust for Christians?

Yes, but most likely not for the reasons you imagine. The disgust is that Christianity has for two millennia forced conversion and assimilation among Jews, cursed the Jews, slandered the Jews, and killed the Jews.

This is starting to change today because evangelicals have been wholehearted in their love and support for Israel and the Jewish people and because there are a growing number of Jews who, while professing Yeshua to be Messiah and Son of God, are steadfastly refusing to become Christians--that is to say, who remain in the Jewish community, keeping not only the Torah but the traditions of our fathers, just as Yeshua Himself and His first-generation followers did (cf. Mat. 23:2, Acts 21:20ff).

And because of this, Messianic Jews (who are born Jews; proselytes like myself will be an issue for years to come) are receiving increasing acceptance in Israel: See this news report from Israel. There is still a lot of tension, especially with some of the ultra-Orthodox, but I have been in contact with a very major rabbi and an anti-missionary teacher, both in Jerusalem, who are favorable to accepting Messianic Jews as fully Jewish.

Let's not play into black and white victimhood categories, OK?

I'm not. I'm explaining the Jewish perspective on the Rabbinate's decisions to a group of Catholics who frankly don't understand why such a dramatic gesture was needed. To you, sixteen centuries of Christian persecution of Jews is just an unfortunate historical footnote; to Jews, its both a personal wound and a precedent for the future. We are used to Christians going through waves of friendliness towards the Jewish people, only for the goodwill to dry up when the conversions don't roll in. The RCC receiving a Holocaust denier back into the fold looks to the Rabbinate like a beginning step in yet another about face.

So don't decry "black-and-white victimhood" even while you engage in it. The Pope is not a victim of the Rabbinate; he made a decision that has far-reaching implications that threaten Israel's very survival, and they reacted in a way that, in their view, is perfectly appropriate. Hopefully, it will get his attention in a way that a simple protest would not, and a workable compromise will be reached.

The Church had good reasons to be slow in recognising the state of Israel -- whose conception was not exactly without original sin.

We disagree, and in any case you undermine your own protests against the Rabbinate: You claim that the Vatican had the right to withhold formal recognition of Israel because of her perceived "original sin"--yet you can't acknowledge the right of the Rabbinate to break formal ties with the Vatican over a perceived current sin.

As usual, you are trying to have it both ways.

Yes, the Holy See has been slow to ratify Israel's conquest of lands outside the borders drawn by the UN. If this is how anti-semitism is to be defined, it will lose all meaning.

I never mentioned anti-semitism--but one wonders why you don't think Israel should keep territory that she conquered fighting defensive wars. Should the United States return the Thirteen Colonies to the British? And that was a rebellion, not a defensive war against a foreign power.

Yes, the Holy See has declined to issue Israel a moral blank check for any and all decisions it makes in pursuit of its interests.

So why exactly should we give the Roman Catholic Church a blank check on any and all decisions that it makes in pursuit of its interests?

I understood it to be a religion of the circumcised.

It is the religion of the covenant people, yes. But being God's covenant people has responsibilities to live up to--something that the NT agrees on.

Surely a bad or unobservant Jew doesn't cease to be Jewish.

In an ethnic sense, no. But the rabbis do teach that a Jew who does not keep God's commandments--with a far greater emphasis on the moral commandments than the ceremonial ones, btw--is not worthy of the name and should be treated like a pagan until he repents. The Apostles agreed.

I'm saying they shouldn't presume to instruct the Pope how to correct his errant sheep.

Nor should you presume to instruct the rabbis on how to conduct their diplomatic relationships. Nor do you have the right to expect the Rabbinate to conduct their affairs to suit your preferences.

The Church does not save sinners by driving them away.

Neither does it do them any favor by coddling them in their sins, particularly sins that affect the physical well-being of others.

Throughout your post, you've demonstrated an amazing double-standard, refusing to accord to the Rabbinate and Israel the respect, assumption of good intent, and right to decide how to conduct their affairs without criticism that you demand that we accord Roman Catholicism's leadership. All I've done is try to point that out and explain the other point of view to you. Since there is no way to conduct an open discussion with a person who holds himself so above the rules he holds everyone else to, I, like the Rabbinate, am going to terminate this discussion here.

Shalom.

49 posted on 01/30/2009 7:37:00 AM PST by Buggman (HebrewRoot.com - Baruch haBa b'Shem ADONAI!)
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To: Cicero
This is pure ignorance or spreading misinformation.

Errr...the Jewish Chief Rabbinate doesn't see it that way. The Protestants don't see it that way. Perhaps the problem isn't the fault of the Jews or Protestants.

50 posted on 02/03/2009 5:49:43 PM PST by HarleyD
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