Tag Archives: Pope Benedict

Catholic Common Sense In Sweden

We apparently are in an era when people seek to outdo one another in depicting leaders of religious bodies in other than pleasant ways. The youth wing of the Swedish Social Democrats (SSU) printed a caricature in their newspaper that does not make Pope Benedict XVI come across as a sympathetic person. The cartoon has the pontiff sitting in a chair and reaching out to a mother with a child in order to have the little girl sit on his lap from which a huge bulge appears under his robe and he says, “Let the child come to me.” Daniel Suhonen insists it is not a personal attack on the pope. “It’s a sharply acidic satirical image that reflects the systematic abuse of children at the hands of representatives of the Catholic Church. It’s not an attack on the pope.” If one is going to be a satirist please do not satirize oneself with such silly remarks. Of course, it is an attack on Pope Benedict XVI.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Sweden, Maria Hasselgren pointed out the editor made clear he would not draw caricatures about Muslim leaders because Muslims are an oppressed minority in Sweden. She then shrugged her shoulders, and said the Catholic Church would not protest the caricature because all that would do is make it famous.

Thank God for some common sense on the part of the Swedish Catholic Church. If attacked, grin and bear it–and keep your mouth shut!

Pope Comes Out Against Marriage!!

It has always been my assumption that Pope Benedict XVI was a firm believer in the institution of marriage and worked hard to ensure that all had the right to be married. It is therefore shocking to discover the Pope has some reservations concerning marriage, particularly when they entail the right of same-sex people to marry one another. He termed such activity to be “insidious, and dangerous threats to the common good.” I am confused, Sir Pope, if you believe in marriage how can any marriage be against the common good? He tried to clarify the issue by acknowledging his support for traditional style marriage, “the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman.” Let me get this straight. Pope Benedict is for marriage, but against gay marriage although he is for marriage.

As for his claim about something termed, “indissoluble marriage” I am really lost. In just about every industrial society, nearly one out of two marriages ends in divorce so how could they be “indissoluble marriages?”

Pope Blames Church, Not World!

One report after another concerning abuse of children by priests in the Catholic church, and the response, so far, has been to criticize the messenger, not the culprit. Pope Benedict XVI in an interview in Portugal finally uttered words of sense and responsibility. He told the world, “the greatest persecution of the church doesn’t come from the enemies of the church, but is born from the sins within the church.” He said it was time for members of the church to take responsibility for their actions and work toward change. Although this was the first statement on his part that looks within rather than without, it was not matched by any positive course of action.

The first step in dealing with sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is to revisit the decision of celibacy which came hundreds of years after the death of Christ. Jesus never spoke about any need on His part for priests to be celibate. If it was good enough for Jesus, why not allow priests and nuns to marry?

Bad Day For Bishops And Saints

These are not good times for leaders of the Catholic Church, particularly, when two new sex abuses scandals emerge within a few days dealing with famous priests. In Belgium, Roger Vaheluwe, Bishop of Bruges, admitted that years ago he molested a boy and feels guilt at the psychological damage his acts did to this person. He announced his resignation. In Chile, four men instituted criminal charges against the Rev. Fernando Karadima who is regarded by many people in Chile as a living saint. Some are furious at the men for making public their claims to being sexually abused while others are furious at the reverend for mistreating young men. Charges are flying back and forth from those who insist they were secretly abused by Karadima for years while his defenders insist no such abuse ever occurred.

One can only conclude that Pope Benedict XVI must finally summon a conclave to deal with this situation and seriously examine the issue of celibacy in the church. What next– a charge against the Pope?

Anti-Pope Feeling Growing In UK

As the saying goes, there is something rotten going on in European nations as increasing anger towards the Catholic Church rises. More than 10,000 people in the UK have signed petitions opposing Pope Benedict’s proposed visit to their nation. Perhaps, even more ominous is an investigation by some British lawyers as to whether the Pope could be charged as an accomplice in a systematic cover-up of sexual abuses by priests. Universal jurisdiction– a concept in international law– allows judges to issue warrants for nearly any visitor accused of grievous crimes, no matter where they live. British judges have been more open to this concept than most judges in the world.

Geoffrey Robertson, a former UN appeals judge, notes, “unlike in the United States, where the judges commonly uphold what the executive says the British courts don’t accept these things at face value.” However, most probably few would dare to open such a can of worms in the United Kingdom. In the end, it is necessary for the Catholic Church to monitor its own system.

Pope Benedict Will Not Listen To “Petty Gossip”

Pope Benedict XVI is a man who has spent his life in service to the Catholic Church and to God, but somewhere along the road to salvation he has somehow wandered off the road of respecting the rights of Catholics. In an Easter sermon given in St. Peter’s square he asked God’s help to lead one “towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion.” He also asked God to help “the young and those who work to educate and protect them” against harm. One hopes the Pope will read these remarks and reflect on his responsibility as head of the Catholic Church to protect those who are in Catholic schools against being harmed by priests and nuns.

The remarks reflect a lack of understanding as to the gravity of the situation confronting the church he heads. To term as “petty gossip” documented cases of child abuse by priests is simply shocking. To ask “God” for help when it is YOUR responsibility is shocking. God did not sanction the abuse of children, SOME priests and nuns did.

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Silence Of The Vatican!

The record of the Catholic Church in World War II was rather mixed with examples of great heroism on the part of some priests and indifference on the part of many others. The behavior of Pope Pius XIi during the Holocaust remains a source of dispute, but most evidence suggests he could have done more than he did. Czech Roma groups are shocked at the indifference of Pope Benedict XII to the rampant prejudice against them in the Czech Republic. Roma spokesman, Vaclav Miko of the Roma Realia, commented: “we are witness of a historical moment when Rommanies are being betrayed by the Vatican in the form of silence and no statements, although the head of the Catholic Church is now on a visit to the Czech Republic.”

The movement has attempted to meet with the Pope in order to discuss issues of bigotry and oppression, but they have yet to achieve that form of dialogue. Once more the silence of the Catholic Church damages the lives of innocent people.

Pope And Holocaust Denier

It remains unclear when the Pope learned about the priest who was a Holocaust denier and what he did, if anything, about this knowledge. A Swedish TV program claims that Vatican officials knew that an ultraconservative British bishop was a Holocaust denier when he received news that his excommunication from the Catholic Church had been lifted. Jews and many Catholics throughout the world were shocked when Pope Benefict XVI lifted the ban on Bishop Robert Wiliamson. After a controversy raged in the world, Pope Benedict insisted he never knew that Williamson was a Holocaust denier.

Naturally, the Vatican proclaimed it was absolutely without foundation to claim the Pope knew about the views of Wiliamson about the Holocaust. Methinks, the Vatican protest too much. Pope Benedict blundered, after all, he is not God, he is only human.

Middle Eastern Religious Dialogue Anything But Religious!

One of the most unreported topics in the Middle East has been failure on the part of religious leaders to assume the mantle of peace rather than of hate. The occasion of the visit by Pope Benedict was seen by peace activists as an opportunity for those of all religions to come together and speak of the importance of peace and forgiveness of the transgressions of others. Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamini, the chief Islamic judge of the Palestinian Authority had originally not been scheduled to speak, but he decided to make his views known and proceeded to engage in what Pope Benedict XVI felt was a venomous attack on Israel. The Pope’s response was to walk out of the interreligious dialogue.

Where are the rabbis and imams of peace? Where are religious leaders who can speak to their people of the need to forget the past and focus on current opportunities for peace? Here was an opportunity to express love and the importance of faith in the process of peace, but once again Muslim religious figures only proved they could be as pig headed and obstinate as their Jewish religious opponents. We can only assume these learned individuals who study religious documents believe God is on the side of hate and war.

Pope Benedict Straddles Fence In Israel-Maybe?

Pope Benedict XVI did his best to straddle the fence on the touchy issue of an independent Palestinian state while visiting Israel. “I plead with all those responsible to explore every possible avenue in the search for a just resolution of the outstanding difficulties, so that both peoples may live in peace in a homeland of their own within secure and internationally recognized borders.” In reality, he was urging the creation of an independent Palestinian homeland which was not welcome music to the ears of the Netanyahu government. The Pope has been under attack from Muslim sources due to a comment he made three years ago when he quoted from a Medieval document which made disparaging references to Mohammed.

Benedict’s tour de force was valiant and most probably he will wind up getting someone angry at him. He visited the family of a captured Israel soldier which got Muslims upset because he did not visit the families of imprisoned Muslim leaders. One can only wonder if the Pope wishes he simply remained in Rome and stayed away from the certainty regardless of what he said or did, the only result would be anger on the part of someone over something. Now, as to the Holocaust and the role of Pope Pius XII, ……