Monday, May 11, 2009

Papal Pal: a Potpourri of this week's Popery

Politics already have intruded on the Pope's personal pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Benedict XVI has called for an independent Palestinian homeland and publically condemned the Shoah, the 'Final Solution' devised by the Third Reich which involved the systematic slaughter of six million Jews. (It's a touchy subject for the priest formerly known as Der Rottweiler. Some Israeli commentators did not detect sufficient contriteness nor compassion in a speech delivered by an erstwhile member of der Hitler Jugen. Benedict went on to serve in the German Army during the Second World War before deserting in the final year.) At an interfaith meeting in East Jerusalem, an angry Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi reportedly launched into a political speech denouncing Israel for atrocities in Gaza and when it was translated from Arabic, rabbis in attendance complained and the pope walked out shortly afterward. Among other things, the sheikh was upset that the pontiff had worn shoes inside a Jordanian mosque. His unscheduled speech lasted for six minutes, urging Christians to unite with Muslims against the Zionists! The pope shook his hand before departing, so he did not exactly leave in a huff.
Further Islamic ire was raised after the pope met the family of the kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in Jerusalem but ignored Palestinian prisoners' families. There is disappointment that the Pope will not be visiting Gaza, where a lively Christian congregation of 3000 worshippers await him in the rubble of Operation Cast Lead. Permits for 100 Catholics to travel from Gaza and greet the Pope were granted by Israeli security, while 150 applicants were turned away.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Vatican denounced false media reports that Benedict had been drafted into the Hitler Youth in 1941.

"The pope has said he never, never was a member of the Hitler Youth, which was a movement of fanatical volunteers," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told a news conference.

As a 16-year-old seminarian, the pope was a member of an auxiliary air defence squadron "that had nothing to do with Nazism or Nazi ideology," the spokesman said.

That statement ran counter to what the pontiff had said in numerous interviews, in which he stated that he was an involuntary member of the Hitler Youth during World War II.

So which is it?