Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Notre Dame SNAFU - This Time in Jerusalem

The Pope attended a meeting for interreligious dialog, at Notre Dame Centre in Jerusalem. The meeting didn't go quite as planned.

'Muslims and Christians Unite Against the Murdering Jews' - I'm Not Making This Up

The Palestinian Authority's Chief Islamic Judge, Sheik Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, wasn't on the program, but he took the microphone anyway, after the Pope had spoken. He had an interesting proposal: That Muslims and Christians should work against 'those murdering Jews.'

The sheik dragged out the usual 'Jews murder women and children' thing.

The Chief Islamic Judge's little speech was bit awkward, since there were quite a number of 'those murdering Jews' at the meeting.

The Holy See's press office director, Father Federico Lombardi, had a statement ready a few minutes later:
" 'The intervention of Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi was not previewed by the organizers of the interreligious meeting that took place at Notre Dame Centre in Jerusalem,' the message read. 'In a meeting dedicated to dialogue, this intervention was a direct negation of what [it] should be,' it continued.

" 'We hope that such an incident will not damage the mission of the Holy Father aiming at promoting peace and interreligious dialogue, as he has clearly affirmed in many occasions in this pilgrimage,' Father Lombardi added.

" 'We hope also that interreligious dialogue in the Holy Land will not be damaged by this incident,' the message concluded...." (Jerusalem Post)

Points for Thinking Outside the Box: But Pogroms are a No-No

I'll give the sheik credit for stepping outside the usual 'death to the Jews/death to the great Satan America' box. His call for a Muslim/Christian pogrom might have gotten a more favorable reception a few generations ago. Anti-Semitism isn't quite as popular as it was, though, before a German leader's efforts to cleanse Europe's gene pool, back in WWII.

Still, Maria Monk, Thomas Nast, Tony Alamo, and all notwithstanding, anti-Semitism isn't really part of Catholic teachings.

I know: Over the last couple thousand years, some Catholics have done mean things to Jews. And, more recently, a few priests raped boys in this country. The Church is made up of human beings - and some of us aren't very nice. That doesn't mean that the Catholic Church has a 'go and sin some more' philosophy.

Actually, quite a chunk of the Catechism of the Catholic church discuses 'human solidarity:' Article 3 / Social Justice.
"...After the meeting, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said, "In a meeting dedicated to dialogue, this intervention was a direct negation of what a dialogue should be.

" 'We hope that such an incident will not damage the mission of the pope aiming at promoting peace and also interreligious dialogue, as he has clearly affirmed on many occasions during this pilgrimage. We hope also that interreligious dialogue in the Holy Land will not be compromised by this incident,' Father Lombardi added.

"[Carol] Tabash, a Catholic who works for the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations, told Catholic News Service, 'It would have been better if he (the sheik) had stuck to interreligious dialogue....'" (UPI)
The Pope had an interesting idea, regarding the Palestinians:
" 'I plead with all those responsible to explore every possible avenue,' the pope said, 'So that both peoples may live in peace in a homeland of their own, within secure and internationally recognized borders.'..." (CNN)
Providing that people with the sheik's mindset aren't running the show, that's an idea that could work.

More-or-less elated posts:
About the title: "Notre Dame" university, in America, claims to be a Catholic institution. The last I heard, the number of American bishops who have gone public in criticism of the allegedly Catholic university's defiance of Catholic teaching was still growing. More at "Notre Dame: Lots of Prestige, Lots of History, About as Catholic as Harry Blackmun" (May 3, 2009).

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