Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jews for Benedict?

“The official Jewish response to Pope Benedict XVI’s recent decision to reach out to the St. Pius X Society and to revoke the excommunication (though not yet determining the status) of four bishops says a great deal about the psycho-social state of American Jewish leadership — or at least the leadership that claims to speak for American Jews. …

“Perhaps this called for a little understanding of what it must be like to actually run a 1.2 billion person spiritual community … and to be trying to create some sense of unity from right to left, from extreme liberalism to extreme traditionalism. …

“How about cutting a pope — who we know along with the previous pope is probably amongst the most historically sensitive popes to the issues of anti-Semitism, Holocaust, and the relationship to Judaism and Jews — a little slack, given how he is trying to heal his own community. … Would we Jews like to be judged by the crankiest, most outlandish, hurtful and stupid thing any rabbi in the world said about Catholics or Christians?”

— Rabbi Irwin Kula, writing on “The Jewish Reaction to the Pope’s Welcoming Back Holocaust Denying Bishop: Disproportionate!,” on Feb. 2 at the Huffington Post

Against Rome?

“It makes me wonder if, in some less formal and perhaps not entirely conscious way, the American Catholic Church has begun to split into camps not unlike those in China. There is the ‘Patriotic’ church - the one which seeks to ‘eschew politicization of the Eucharist,’ seemingly ignores the directives of Rome while pretending to be faithful, fears reprisals over a failure to be politically correct and is willing to support the socialist policies of the increasingly barbarous left in America, including their cult-like leader; and there is the ‘underground’ Church, the seeming minority of Catholics in this nation who stand for orthodoxy, no matter how unpopular, search far and wide to find worship that is spiritually nourishing and reverent, and fear the coming difficulties they may face for their obedience to the Magisterium, to Christ, and to the truth.

“I do not mean by this analogy to make light of the situation in China, which is far more severe than anything we face here. In fact, I think that the situation in China highlights the weakness of American Catholics. Chinese ‘underground’ Catholics are willing to face persecution, torture, even death, to remain faithful - and yet they constitute the majority of Catholics in that country. Here, faithful Catholicism risks only the possibility of unpopularity, diminished social status and an uphill political battle.”

— Steve Skojec, writing on “An American Patriotic Church,” on Jan. 29 at Inside Catholic

Jews for GOP?

“The flirtation of the American Jewish voter with the Republican Party over the past quarter-century has been, like all great flirtations, a lure and a torment. Both were in evidence again throughout 2008. Barack Obama was dogged throughout the year by questions about his close associations with Rashid Khalidi, an academic profoundly hostile to Israel who served as an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1980s; with Jeremiah Wright, the pastor whose church issued flagrantly anti-Semitic literature; and with several aides and advisers who laid the blame for the failure of the Arab-Israeli peace process almost exclusively on the Jewish state. The controversy over these ties and Obama’s offer to meet without precondition with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad … together suggested that the 2008 election might prove a watershed for Jews and the GOP. …

“But the Jewish flirtation with the GOP proved to be just that and nothing more. Obama ended up receiving 53 percent of the vote nationwide, but around 75 to 78 percent of the Jewish vote. … More striking, his performance almost equaled that of Al Gore among Jews in 2000, when Gore’s running mate was Joseph Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew.”

— Shmuel Rosner, writing on “Jews and the 2008 Election” in the February issue of Commentary magazine

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