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Thursday, August 24, 2017
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Confession-Box in Jerusalem?

Is an 'infallible' Church capable of confessing its crimes, or is it simply continuing the silence of Pius XII about the holocaust by staging a clever masquerade? Even by Rome's own definition John Paul II has produced neither 'confession' nor 'penance' in the Holy Land.
Professor Arthur Noble

The farce continues. On March 23, 2000, half a century after "Hitler's Pope" Pius XII refrained from condemning the genocide of six million Jews, his successor John Paul II stood at the very epicentre of remembrance and announced:

"I have come to Yad Vashem to pay homage to the millions of Jewish people who, stripped of everything, especially of their human dignity, were murdered in the Holocaust. As Bishop of Rome and successor of the Apostle Peter [!], I assure the Jewish people that the Catholic Church, motivated by the Gospel law of truth and love [!] and by no political considerations [!], is deeply saddened by the hatred, acts of persecution, and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews by Christians at any time and in any place. The Church rejects racism in any form as a denial of the image of the Creator inherent in every human being."

Could this be a confession? Confession is one of the central practices of Romanism. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (§1480-1484), it is one of the seven sacraments and the ritual by which penitents seek forgiveness of sins. Roman Catholics must prove true repentance by painfully admitting their transgressions to a priest, who claims to represent the ear of God. Only then may the priest absolve the sins in the name of God.

By the measure of the Roman Church's own strict sacrament, then, this cannot be a confession. Besides, is a man who said: "Don't go to God for forgiveness of sins: come to me" [The Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1984] likely to admit that he needs to confess at all? Is an 'infallible' Church likely to renounce its 'infallibility' by confessing to having made mistakes?

The masquerade in the Holy Land went, in fact, no further than the 14-page Vatican document of March 12, which merely reminded members of the Church to think about what they did, or failed to do, during the Holocaust. Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Director of the Israel Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, described that document as "a total cop-out on the role of Pope Pius XII" which "fails to take responsibility for the doctrinal anti-Semitism which paved the way for Nazi anti-Semitism, and which enabled Catholics to participate in the Holocaust – not only in Germany, which is half Catholic, but more especially in places like Lithuania and Croatia". The document, he said, "makes no mention of the Nazi escape routes – the ratlines – aided by some priests", or of "the shelter offered to fleeing Nazis by some churches, or of "the continuing anti-Semitic statements of some post-war Church leaders".

The lack of any genuine or sincere confession by the Pope during his Israel visit amounts, in effect, to a continuation of the silence of Pius XII. It prompted Dr. Zuroff to remark: "The last thing we need from Popes is silence. The Pope should have condemned the silence of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust." [The Jerusalem Post, March 24, 2000.]

Dr. Zuroff also criticised the Pope for saying that "only a godless ideology could plan and carry out the extermination of a whole people", and for his call to "build a new future in which there will be no more anti-Jewish feeling among Christians or anti-Christian feeling among Jews". "To blame a godless ideology is totally to shirk responsibility for the teachings of the Catholic Church," he said, "which helped create the conditions which made the Holocaust possible." He added that John Paul "created a symmetry that doesn't exist in reality between anti-Jewish feelings by Christians [read: 'Roman Catholicism'] and anti-Christian feelings by Jews."

Dr. Yehuda Bauer, Director of the Holocaust Research Institute at Yad Vashem and Professor of Holocaust studies at the Hebrew University, pointed out that "without Christian [read: 'Vatican'] anti-Semitism there would have been no Nazi anti-Semitism":

"Nazi propaganda repeated Church anti-Semitism from previous centuries. […] The Nazis repeated the legend of Jews in a world-wide conspiracy, a force for corruption and evil. They expanded on rulings of the 13th-century Lateran Council of the Church – ideas of physically separating Jews from Christian society, of making them wear a yellow patch, of professions forbidden to Jews." [The Jerusalem Post. March 24, 2000.]

Closer analysis of ecclesiastical history proves Dr. Bauer right. The fourth Lateran Council under Pope Innocent III – which was also the 12th Ecumenical Council (1215) – is generally considered the most significant before the Council of Trent. One of its main purposes was the recovery of the Holy Land – a mission surprisingly similar to that of John Paul II today. Besides sanctioning the word 'transubstantiation' for eucharistic doctrine and condemning the teachings of the Cathari and the Waldenses, it did indeed order both Jews and Saracens to wear distinctive dress. Innocent also decreed a four-year ecumenical truce or ecumenical among Christian rulers so that a new crusade could be launched to promote the doctrines of Romanism.

Clearly, anti-Semitism was not a Nazi invention but a Vatican one! No wonder Hitler confessed to having appropriated his main ideas from the Roman Church that he admired so much!

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