Monday, April 05, 2010

Attacks on the Church and the Holy Father

At the conclusion of his homily on Good Friday, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household, stated:
By a rare coincidence, this year our Easter falls on the same week of the Jewish Passover which is the ancestor and matrix within which it was formed. This pushes us to direct a thought to our Jewish brothers. They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms. I received in this week the letter of a Jewish friend and, with his permission, I share here a part of it.

He said: "I am following with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the Church, the Pope and all the faithful by the whole world. The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism. Therefore I desire to express to you personally, to the Pope and to the whole Church my solidarity as Jew of dialogue and of all those that in the Jewish world (and there are many) share these sentiments of brotherhood. Our Passover and yours undoubtedly have different elements, but we both live with Messianic hope that surely will reunite us in the love of our common Father. I wish you and all Catholics a Good Easter."

And also we Catholics wish our Jewish brothers a Good Passover. We do so with the words of their ancient teacher Gamaliel, entered in the Jewish Passover Seder and from there passed into the most ancient Christian liturgy:

"He made us pass
From slavery to liberty,
From sadness to joy,
From mourning to celebration,
From darkness to light,
From servitude to redemption
Because of this before Him we say: Alleluia."

Apparently, this quote from Fr. Cantalamessa's Jewish friend has caused a stir in some quarters, as some people feign outrage that one might compare attacks on the Church to the worst of anti-Semitism. It should not.

The Lord Himself told us on the night that He was betrayed and arrested:
"If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, 'No slave is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours."
--John 15:18-20

Of course these latest attacks on the Church are like "the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism." Jesus Himself said it would be so, that the world would hate us and persecute us.

Viva il Papa!

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