Saturday, April 19, 2008

Borgias and Nazis and Queers PART II

The Hypocrisy of a Pope Behind Kind Words

In the post below, I said that Pope Benedict XVI would never be seen shedding tears at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall. However, today he was seen visiting a synagogue in New York and well as addressing a group of Christian evangelical leaders:

The Jewish community makes "a valuable contribution to the life of the city," Benedict said. "And I encourage all of you to continue building bridges of friendship with all the many different ethnic and religious groups present in your neighborhood." ("a valuable contribution" - just not the right contribution)

At his visit with Christian leaders, the pontiff said allowing individual congregations to interpret the Gospel undermines evangelism at a time when "the world is losing its bearings" and needs "persuasive common witness" to salvation in Christ. (i.e. you cannot interpret the Bible - only church theologians and hierarchy. THEY will interpret it for you - THEY will tell you what to think!)

"Only by holding fast to sound teaching will we be able to respond to the challenges that confront us in an evolving world," Benedict said at the evening service with Protestant and Orthodox clergy at St. Joseph's church, which was founded by German immigrants and still regularly celebrates Mass in German. (And who determines sound teaching?)

"Only in this way will we give unambiguous testimony to the truth of the Gospel and its moral teaching. This is the method which the world is waiting to hear from us." (What? "the method" - should clergy study Stanislavski?) ("unambiguous testimony" - sounds dangerously like a fundamentalist - for a noted theologian, he's not very bright on this score.)

I wonder if Pastor John Hagee will call him a whore if he meets him.

And I still don't see him shedding any tears for anyone.

In the Roman Jewish Ghetto

EXTRA!! Movie About Christian Anti-Semitism Premiers Today!

Good Timing!

The book, Constantine's Sword, deals with Christian anti-Semitism from the time of Emperor Constantine's "conversion" (313 CE) to today's Benedict XVI and all of the Christian Right. Written by former Catholic priest, James Carroll it was the winner of the 2001 National Book Award. It's very large (750+pages) but very engaging. Carroll takes you through the astonishing struggle Judaism has had under Christianity in a largely personal way. He was interviewed yesterday on ABC News and, while struggling to seem unbiased, has to admit to the Catholic Church's complicity in the events leading to the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust: i.e., while many people have called Pius XII "Hitler's Pope" Carroll correctly defines the pope as "Hitler's Cardinal" (before he became pope, Pacelli as the Vatican's Secretary of State, was directly responsible for the treaty between the Vatican and Germany - the ReichsConcordat of 1933).

Today, a documentary based on the book premiers:

In reviewing the Ben Stein movie
Exposed (see post below), TV Guide reviewer Ken Fox has this to say:

Check out the documentary CONSTANTINE'S SWORD, released in theaters on the very same day as this slickly produced bit of nonsense, if you need a reminder of the atrocities fueled by terrible distortions of religious beliefs. --Ken Fox

John Anderson (Newsday) In "Bowling for Columbine," Michael Moore went looking for the heart of darkness in American culture. In the considerably more serious, sober and oh-so-solemn "Constantine's Sword," writer and ex-priest James Carroll goes looking for the genome of violence in Christianity and has little trouble finding a churchly culture based in conquest and awash in blood.

Ron Wilkerson (Monsters & Critics):

Although the film starts out as an apparent frontal attack on the Catholic Church, it subtly widens its perspective to look at a much larger and more important picture. The real issue becomes the genesis of hate replacing love as the central doctrine of organized religion. The present day microcosm is the Air Force Academy’s apparent obsession with evangelical Christianity, which has reached the point of obsession based on the documented reports of anti-Semitic slurs and harassment by the cadets. Remember, these cadets are the guys who will control your nuclear weapons in a few years.

Andrew Sullivan (New York Times Book Review):

And it is a book of a deeper sort -- a rigorous theological and moral dialectic that Carroll, the author of ''An American Requiem,'' never removes from the personal necessity of choice, for good over evil, for memory over denial and for love over power.

I intend to see this movie. Hope it's as good as the book.