Skip to comments.Robert Spencer in FrontPage Mag: Pope Francis: ‘The Che Guevara of the Palestinians’?
Posted on 05/23/2014 7:48:40 AM PDT by BlatherNaut
In FrontPage today I discuss the ill winds blowing as Pope Francis prepares to visit the state of Palestine:
The Che Guevara of the Palestinians is set to visit Palestinian Authority-controlled Judea and Samaria next week, beginning in Bethlehem, and the city of Jesuss birth is already in high excitement. The bearer of that illustrious title is none other than Pope Francis. According to Israel National News, Rabbi Sergio Bergman, a member of the Argentinian parliament and close friend of Pope Francis said that the pope intends to define himself as the Che Guevera of the Palestinians and support their struggle and rights during his visit.
If the Pope or anyone around him has expressed a similar intention to speak out about the Muslim persecution of Palestinian Christians, it has not been recorded in sharp contrast to the abundance of signals that the Pope has sent to Palestinian Authority officials. Fr. Jamal Khader of the Latin patriarchate of Jerusalem explained: He is taking a helicopter directly from Jordan to Palestine to Bethlehem. Its a kind of sign of recognizing Palestine. In anticipation of his doing just that officially, Palestinian officials have put up posters proclaiming State of Palestine and depicting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.
Not only that, but while in Bethlehem, Pope Francis will meet with Abbas; he also plans to celebrate Mass there rather than in Jerusalem, a move that Israel National News says has been called a show of support for the PA. He then plans to visit a Palestinian refugee camp.
Khader predicted: Knowing who he is, and his sensitivity for all those who suffer, I am sure that he will say something defending all those who are suffering, including the Palestinians who live under occupation. Ziyyad Bandak, Abbass adviser for Christian affairs, was enthusiastic: This visit will help us in supporting our struggle to end the longest occupation in history .We welcome this visit and consider it as support for the Palestinian people, and confirmation from the Vatican of the need to end the occupation.
All this comes after a Church official in Jerusalem criticized Israeli authorities for asking that a sign announcing the Popes visit be taken down from a historic site on which such signs are prohibited for preservation reasons. The unnamed official referenced recent Hebrew-language hate graffiti spray-painted on mosques and churches, saying that he and other Church officials question the fact that the police, instead of taking action against the extremists who paint hate slogans on mosques and churches, choose to remove a sign with a positive message that welcomes the pope in three languages. We hope the police will act with the same determination to prevent the growing incitement and violence against Christians.
While referring to the graffiti as incitement and violence against Christians, however, Church officials have been much more reticent regarding Muslim persecution of Palestinian Christians, even when it has included actual violence. According to Israel National News, Christian Arab residents of the village of El-Khader in the Bethlehem area were savagely attacked by local Muslims as they celebrated a Christian holiday two weeks ago. A report by CAMERA, an organization which monitors anti-Israel bias in the media, reported that Christians attempting to enter Saint Georges Monastery in the village were intimidated and attacked with rocks and stones.
Yet about this and other incidents of Muslim persecution of Christians, Pope Francis, as well as Vatican and Church officials, have said little. Last November, Pope Francis decried the plight of Christians who suffer in a particularly severe way the consequences of tensions and conflicts in many parts of the Middle East. He added that Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other areas of the Holy Land sometimes overflow with tears and declared: We wont resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians who for two thousand years confess the name of Jesus, as full citizens in social, cultural and religious life of the nations to which they belong.
Neither on that occasion or any other, however, has Pope Francis ever ascribed the suffering of Middle Eastern Christians to anything beyond the consequences of tensions and conflicts in many parts of the Middle East. Apparently he believes that if those tensions and conflicts could somehow be resolved, Christians would be able to live freely in the Middle East. After all, he has famously asserted that authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence, thereby dismissing the possibility that Christians may be facing persecution from Muslims who are obeying the Quranic imperative to fight them until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (9:29).
Whats more, when Pope Benedict XVI spoke out in January 2011 against the jihad bombing of the Coptic cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the worlds most prestigious Sunni Muslim institution, reacted angrily, breaking off dialogue with the Vatican and accusing the Pope of interference in internal Egyptian affairs. In a statement, Al-Azhar denounced the pontiffs repeated negative references to Islam and his claims that Muslims persecute those living among them in the Middle East. When Pope Francis succeeded Benedict, Al-Azhar and other Muslim authorities expressed hopes that he would repair relations between Muslims and Christians by not repeating the mistakes of his predecessor including speaking out about the Muslim persecution of Christians.
Francis complied, affirming his respect for Islam and apparently accepting al-Azhars stipulation that casting Islam in a negative light is a red line that must not be crossed. He has not, in any case, crossed it, even to decry the actions of Muslims to harass, victimize and persecute Christians because of Quranic declarations that they are accursed of Allah for saying Jesus is the Son of God (9:30); are unbelievers for affirming the divinity of Christ (5:17; 5:72); and must be warred against and subjugated (9:29).
And so during his trip that the Palestinians are awaiting with such excitement, it is likely that he will have little, if anything, to say about how core beliefs held by the Palestinians he is celebrating are used to justify the oppression of their Christian brethren. It is even less likely that he will note that Christians in Israel enjoy greater rights and freedoms than their brethren in any Muslim country. We may only hope that whatever the Che Guevara of the Palestinians says in Bethlehem or elsewhere in the Palestinian Authority, that it will not be capable of being exploited, by those persecutors of Christians he seems determined to ignore, to justify their actions and perpetuate that persecution.
Nah, that would never happen.
Irish priest Denis Flaherty made a career out of attacking Jews as the origin of "naturalism"(???) and once wrote an anti-Zionist book entitled An Unholy People in the Holy Land. He remains a hero to many right wing Catholics and his books are easily available.
Another rabidly anti-Jewish priest was Fr. Leonard Feeney (father of "Feeneyism"), whose St. Benedict Center still publishes and posts anti-Jewish material, including a little gem entitled "The Chosen People is Now the Accursed Race."
As much as I sympathize with pre-VII Catholicism I have never been under any illusions of their feelings about Jews and Israel. In addition to the above figures from the past the Society of St. Pius X, Gerry Matatics(sp?), and Robert Sungenis are also believers in a Jewish conspiracy. Right wing Catholics seem to assign the role `Amaleq plays in Judaism to `Am Yisra'el even as they usurp the role of "chosen people" for themselves.
Not all Catholics. I am still on the side of the Jews. Of course as my country is going down the drain so is my Church.
Che was a COLD BLOODED KILLER, Robert!
Argue the politics and forget the phony labels.
Unfortunately, that marks you a post-VII liberal Catholic on that issue.
Since the Catholic Church lacks any Biblical sentimentalism, the only philo-Semitism is knows is of the liberal/tolerant/multicultural variety, and it on this that liberal Catholic philo-Semitism is based. Fundamentalist Protestants still see the Jews as the Biblical Children of Israel, so philo-Semitism for them is an orthodox rather than liberal position.
Che was a cold blooded killer, but if I read the article correctly that is not what Robert Spencer is calling the pope. It’s what the pope is calling himself.
That's my point. Your support of Israel is a product of liberal Catholicism. For Catholics, supporting Israel is like supporting abortion or "gay marriage." For Fundamentalist Protestants the exact opposite is true.
But then again, he has not read the famous passage in the Koran about wife-beating:
So post number 10 proves there is plenty of violence promoted in Islam.
Spencer (MA, Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) has been studying Islamic theology, law, and history in depth since 1980. As an Adjunct Fellow with the Free Congress Foundation in 2002 and 2003, he wrote a series of monographs on Islam: An Introduction to the Quran; Women and Islam; An Islamic Primer; Islam and the West; The Islamic Disinformation Lobby; Islam vs. Christianity; and Jihad in Context. More recently he has also written monographs for the David Horowitz Freedom Center: Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future (with David Horowitz); Obama and Islam (with David Horowitz); What Americans Need to Know About Jihad; The Violent Oppression of Women In Islam (with Phyllis Chesler); Islamic Leaders Plan for Genocide; and Muslim Persecution of Christians.
Some say that Israel is now Babylon, due to the talmud having been compiled there. I don't believe that. But as a Catholic I do believe that the Catholic Church is the new Israel, the Israel of the New Covenant. If one believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ, it isn't a "usurpation" but a simple fulfilment of the law, the old made new. The Temple veil was torn when Jesus died for a reason, after all.
Thanks, Z.C., for doing Catholics’ thinking for them.
Anyone with a normal reservoir of human decency & the ability to distinguish good from evil should support the state of Israel.
FWIW, I support Israel because it’s an island of good in a sea of Islamic evil (Israeli democracy, equal rights, &prosperity) AND because its existence validates the will of G-d.
Yes, I’m worried about Pope Francis.
I know a girl from high school who is catholic. She went to catholic college, and always talks about being catholic like it was some sort of status symbol.
Anyways, she is the biggest lib I’ve ever known. She not only supports things like abortion but belongs to some of the biggest left wing groups out there. Not only that, she is the mean spirited. If you oppose her, she will get nasty. That always boggled my mind. How could come one be catholic and yet be, what I feel, evil to the core? You’d think the years of going to church, some of the gospel might have sunk in....
Arrg! I am not attacking you! I'm simply pointing out that support or even sympathy for Israel in Catholicism is a liberal, unorthodox, post-VII position. It is not a conservative position for Catholics. I wish that it were, but it is not.
If you are conservative and pro-Israel, then good for you. I wish there were more conservative Catholics who were pro-Israel. But I'm merely pointing out that in orthodox, pre-VII Catholicism the Jews are the villains and their returning to Israel is to build a temple for the "antichrist." And those conservative Catholics who do support Israel do so for reasons of American ideology rather than any theological reason (unlike Fundamentalist Protestants). I wish it were otherwise, I truly do. But it is not.
Why don't you investigate a few traditionalist Catholic web sites and see what I'm talking about?
Would it do any good to point out that these are all beliefs and that they are not self-evidently true? By insisting on reading the Hebrew Bible through the lens of the "new testament" all chrstians are guilty of the logical fallacy of "affirmation of the consequent."
Fundamentalist Protestants, whose only "chrstendom" is Biblical Israel and for whom historical chrstianity is "the great apostasy," have a very different position from yours.
The traditional magisterium (and not only the magisterium of today) is supposed to do Catholics' thinking for them, and until VII liberalism that thinking was decidedly unfriendly to the Jews and the idea of their returning to Israel. These are simple facts for which I am not to blame.
I suggest a tour of a few sites and sources that represent pre-VII Catholicism.
Thank you for supporting Israel, though the western democratic ideology is in grossly in error.