Sunday, April 10, 2005

Shmuley Boteach is worth hearing on this

The exotic Rabbi Boteach writes about the Pope in the Jewish Press, and encapsulates the reservations about the Pope held by those not totally enthusiastic about this religious leader:

" .....The great failing of John Paul`s life was that he actually loved too much. Like a parent who cannot see the failings of a child, John Paul refused to accept that real evil lurks in the heart of men. John Paul II so loved God`s children that he could not see that there were those whose actions had erased the image of God from their own countenance and forever severed themselves from a compassionate Creator.John Paul loved the innocent but he never hated the wicked. He loved justice, but he all too seldomly condemned injustice. He fought for the poor and the oppressed, but he would not fight their oppressors – the exception being Soviet oppressors. Declaring in word and deed that hatred of any sort was an ungodly emotion that dare not be given sanctuary in the human heart, John Paul II never summoned the faithful to have contempt for the wicked, instead extending them the considerable softness of his gentle touch....."

I think that on this occasion Shmuley has it accurately - perhaps better than the much-respected Israeli expert on the Vatican, diplomat and historian Yitzhak Minerbi, who argues in an interview in the Jerusalem Post that JP2's actions/attitudes on Jews and Judaism were a) only continuing a process started by John XXIII b) were always balanced with reciprocal gestures tot he Palestinians and c) in fact showed no departure from traditional Catholic theological negativism regarding Jews and Judaism. a) and b) may be correct; I don't accept c). One of the most astonishing aspects of the coverage of the death and funeral of the Pope has been the prominence given to his gestures towards Jews and Judaism - it sometimes seemed (eg on CNN) that that was the story.

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