Canadian Jewish groups rankled by Pope preachers anti-Semitism comparisons

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Pope Benedict XVI presides over the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession on Good Friday in Rome, Friday, April 2, 2010. The evening Via Crucis procession at the ancient amphitheater is a Rome tradition that draws a large crowd of faithful, including m

Two of Canada's largest Jewish groups say they are outraged that the Pope's personal preacher would compare the uproar over sex abuse scandals rocking the Catholic Church with anti-Semitic persecution.
Frank Dimant, chief executive officer of B'nai Brith Canada, called it "a very unwise choice of analogies and verbiage."
Bernie Farber, chief executive officer for the Canadian Jewish Congress and a child of Holocaust survivors, said such comparisons "trivialize the history of the persecution of the Jews."
At a solemn Good Friday service, Pope Benedict's personal preacher, Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, compared the wide-ranging accusations against the pontiff and the church to "collective violence" suffered by the Jews.
While delivering his homily, Cantalamessa quoted a letter from a Jewish friend saying, "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."
Although a Vatican spokesman has said Cantalamessa's remarks are not an official position of the Catholic Church, the comments aren't sitting well with the Jewish community in Canada and abroad.
"The most shameful aspect of anti-Semitism was the Holocaust," Dimant said. "That's the ultimate shame of anti-Semitism."
Dimant added that the fact Cantalamessa was quoting from a letter from a Jew made no difference. "It's a very inappropriate choice of words."
News of the Cantalamessa's remarks spread like wildfire across the global Jewish community.
"It's rippled right around the world," said Farber. "This has taken on quite a significant tone. Such comparisons just send shivers down your spine."
Farber said his organization has rejected Cantalamessa's comparison outright. "It disrespects the victims and it cheapens their suffering," he said.
"When anti-Semitism is used like this as a metaphor, for any sort of unpleasantness, its lessons are diminished."
Farber added, however, that news of the Vatican distancing itself from Cantalamessa's remarks was welcome.
"I think that the Vatican reacted so quickly, is good news."
The Pope and the Catholic Church have faced a slew of allegations in recent weeks that the pontiff has covered up sex abuse cases by members of the church for years.
The Vatican has said the church is being singled out and collectively stereotyped for the problem of pedophilia, which it says is a society-wide issue.
But victims say Benedict - both as a former archbishop of Munich and later as a Vatican cardinal directing the Holy See's policy on handling abuse cases - was part of a culture of confidentiality that protected the church hierarchy.

Organizations: Catholic Church, Canadian Jewish Congress

Geographic location: Holy See, Canada, Munich

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Recent comments

  • what odds
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    just forget the lie and tool that is religion and it won't be no thang.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    It is clear that the Roman Catholic Church has a long way to go before they can change some of the entrenched attitudes of some the hierarchy of the church.

    It is classic behavior to see how quite often the accused will attempt to make themselves out to be the victim.

    Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa should be immediately dismissed from his position, not just reassigned and put out to pasture so to speak in some far flung area of the Roman Catholic Church. Someone has got to start to send a message that no matter what level you maybe in the church you are accountable for what you may say or do.

    Quite obviously this man does not have a good grasp on the realities that are going on around him within the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Jack.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    To grant fron nl: me and my buddies have killed many ants over the years ourselves. In fact when I was a kid, I used to drop firecrackers down the holes of ant hills and wipe out whole colonies with one blast. So?

  • george
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    http://www.4marks.com/articles/details.html?article_id=2690

  • grant
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    terrible. in newfoundland there are catholics whos fathers grandfathers uncles and ants who where tortured, and killed by the nazis. the pope being a former hitler youth, believed it was right and also believed in the killing of jewish men woman and children. I worked with a former hitler youth and heard the horror stories from the horses mouth so to speak. and if the pope visited st johns today those same people who lost there love ones to the nazis whould flock just to kiss his hand.

  • amazed
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    This pope needs to step down. He's been nothing but embarrassing for the Catholic church, for many reasons. In recent news he reinstated a Bishop that Pope Paul excommunicated (for good reason), and now this Bishop is off telling people that the Holocaust never happened, and this pope keeps him there, still. The most terrifying is that this pope turned a blind eye to a priest that abused hundreds off children, the proof is there. This after the pope chastising the Bishops in ireland for the same thing. He's a hypocrite and will do anything for power. The law should really step in. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I was raised Catholic my whole life but I'm not anymore. This guy is evil. Grant, I for one wouldn't be flocking to see him other than to protest him. AND Jack, you are ignorant. I know you are just trying to get a rise out of people but get a life.

  • End the regin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Yes I concur Amazed. Help bring abount the prophecy of Nostradamus and bring on the end of the world.

  • Saucy Face
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    The fact that the pope has been called into question (and rightly so) and backed into a corner over this is about the only way the Catholic church can finally end this sad chapter and move on. As a survivour of abuse at the hands of a priest myself, I feel for all fellow victims and believe like me they want the pope to ask for forgiveness both personally and on behalf of the church and take concrete measure to ensure this never happens again. While as I said, I feel for my fellow victims my sympathy ends when they reach out their hands for money from the church.
    For me personally money solves nothing; only understanding, remorse and action does. I suffered by the hands of a sick priest but was also healed by the hands of many good priests and theses good priests are needed more now than ever. It is Easter, our holiest time of the year and if we as survivours cannot forgive and help those serving within the Catholic church who are genuinely asking for our forgiveness, then what is the point?
    This is all coming to a head within our church and I have no doubt that in the end, the Catholic Church will do the right thing and for doing so will finally emerge from its darkness. Have a very happy Easter everyone, regardless of your opinions and beliefs.

  • grant
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    To jack. Iam sure you dont make any mistakes, but i have to admit i did. i misspelled aunt, too bad you couldnt figure that one out. dont forget to take lots of money to church this weekend to help your priest to fight there abuse cases, and please grow up.

  • what odds
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    just forget the lie and tool that is religion and it won't be no thang.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    It is clear that the Roman Catholic Church has a long way to go before they can change some of the entrenched attitudes of some the hierarchy of the church.

    It is classic behavior to see how quite often the accused will attempt to make themselves out to be the victim.

    Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa should be immediately dismissed from his position, not just reassigned and put out to pasture so to speak in some far flung area of the Roman Catholic Church. Someone has got to start to send a message that no matter what level you maybe in the church you are accountable for what you may say or do.

    Quite obviously this man does not have a good grasp on the realities that are going on around him within the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Jack.
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    To grant fron nl: me and my buddies have killed many ants over the years ourselves. In fact when I was a kid, I used to drop firecrackers down the holes of ant hills and wipe out whole colonies with one blast. So?

  • george
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    http://www.4marks.com/articles/details.html?article_id=2690

  • grant
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    terrible. in newfoundland there are catholics whos fathers grandfathers uncles and ants who where tortured, and killed by the nazis. the pope being a former hitler youth, believed it was right and also believed in the killing of jewish men woman and children. I worked with a former hitler youth and heard the horror stories from the horses mouth so to speak. and if the pope visited st johns today those same people who lost there love ones to the nazis whould flock just to kiss his hand.

  • amazed
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    This pope needs to step down. He's been nothing but embarrassing for the Catholic church, for many reasons. In recent news he reinstated a Bishop that Pope Paul excommunicated (for good reason), and now this Bishop is off telling people that the Holocaust never happened, and this pope keeps him there, still. The most terrifying is that this pope turned a blind eye to a priest that abused hundreds off children, the proof is there. This after the pope chastising the Bishops in ireland for the same thing. He's a hypocrite and will do anything for power. The law should really step in. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I was raised Catholic my whole life but I'm not anymore. This guy is evil. Grant, I for one wouldn't be flocking to see him other than to protest him. AND Jack, you are ignorant. I know you are just trying to get a rise out of people but get a life.

  • End the regin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Yes I concur Amazed. Help bring abount the prophecy of Nostradamus and bring on the end of the world.

  • Saucy Face
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    The fact that the pope has been called into question (and rightly so) and backed into a corner over this is about the only way the Catholic church can finally end this sad chapter and move on. As a survivour of abuse at the hands of a priest myself, I feel for all fellow victims and believe like me they want the pope to ask for forgiveness both personally and on behalf of the church and take concrete measure to ensure this never happens again. While as I said, I feel for my fellow victims my sympathy ends when they reach out their hands for money from the church.
    For me personally money solves nothing; only understanding, remorse and action does. I suffered by the hands of a sick priest but was also healed by the hands of many good priests and theses good priests are needed more now than ever. It is Easter, our holiest time of the year and if we as survivours cannot forgive and help those serving within the Catholic church who are genuinely asking for our forgiveness, then what is the point?
    This is all coming to a head within our church and I have no doubt that in the end, the Catholic Church will do the right thing and for doing so will finally emerge from its darkness. Have a very happy Easter everyone, regardless of your opinions and beliefs.

  • grant
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    To jack. Iam sure you dont make any mistakes, but i have to admit i did. i misspelled aunt, too bad you couldnt figure that one out. dont forget to take lots of money to church this weekend to help your priest to fight there abuse cases, and please grow up.