Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you're not Catholic. Would you presume to dictate to the Catholic Church which prayers it was allowed to say? Sounds pretty crazy, doesn't it? And yet that is precisely what many of the major Jewish organizations are doing, and have done ever since Pope Benedict liberated the Latin Mass from its Babylonian Captivity at the hands of liberal bishops. Everyone thinks it was quaint when the Eastern and Western churches split, way back when, based on differences about things like the filioque clause. That was so silly, so irrational! What possible difference does it make? And yet here's Abe Foxman having one of his weekly apoplectic fits about... now get this... one prayer said once a year and only by people celebrating the traditional Latin, i.e. Tridentine, Mass. And the prayer in question is... what? For God to “wipe Israel off the map”, which is the fervent prayer of all good Moslems? Nope. For God to see to it that the Jews “get their comeuppance”, in whatever way He sees fit? Nope. It's a prayer for _conversion_ – i.e. for the conversion of the Jews to Christianity, i.e. for them to recognize Christ as the Messiah they've been waiting for for much too long (nearly 2000 years too long, in fact). This, in the mind of those of the Foxman persuasion, is the ultimate chutzpah – not only that the Church is implying that Judaism is not quite up to snuff as a religion (as if most Jews today were even vaguely religious!), but that they would be better off joining the ranks of the hated, despised, and feared “goyim”, and worshiping that dude who the Jewish authorities of circa 30 AD rightly brought up on charges of blasphemy.

The practical result of this controversy is that, as of yesterday, the Italian rabbis “are pulling out of the Italian Catholic Church's annual celebration of Judaism”. (Personally, I don't know what that celebration consists of... but I can't imagine it being all that threatening.) The reason? The pope has “negated 50 years of interfaith progress” by approving the Latin Mass, which contains that annoying once-per-year prayer, for unlimited use. Oh, the shame! The infamy! That the Church would have the infernal gall to make more widespread a prayer which is so threatening to Judaism, so... “unecumenical”. Of course, we all know what people really mean when they use terms like “ecumenism” and “interfaith” -- they mean the Catholic Church becomes less like itself while everyone else gets to stay the same. There is nothing new about this scam. I suppose they would condemn Aquinas' Summa Contra Gentiles because it was designed to convert the wise men of Judaism and Islam. Again, what a nerve! To think that any religion would consider itself superior in any way! One rabbi, in an article published in a Jesuit (what else?) magazine, said that it amounted to “the cancellation of the last 50 years of church history”. Well... frankly, I think there's a lot about those last fifty years that ought to be “cancelled”, like for instance Vatican II and the “pedophile priest” scandals. Yeah – let's wipe _them_ off the map, shall we? Let's return to a time when the Catholic Church was not expected to apologize, 24-7, for things like the Third Reich... and when Catholics were not expected to feel inferior to... well, just about everybody else on earth. In fact, let's go back to a time when Catholics had the self-respect that Jews have. That would be fair, wouldn't it?

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