Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Reaction to the Pope's visit

Pope Francis
I am wondering quite what was achieved by the Papal visit to the Holy Land, as it was billed a year ago as primarilly a meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch Bartholomew I was rather hoping for an exciting ecumenical breakthrough between East and West but this didn't happen, Constantinople has to keep an eye on Moscow and the Third Rome is rather more wary of Francis than it was of Benedict.
Photo: History will be made again this weekend...
There seemed to be a great deal of talk but not much listening. perhaps it was just unfocussed.

For the Palestinians it seems to been an occasion which has provoked more attacks against them and the Holy Sites from Jewish hard-liners.

The Jerusalem Post regarded the Pope's spontaneity as rude and the visit generally as unfriendly, to the point where it has undone much of the hard work building friendships between Jews and Catholics since the Council.

12 comments:

mgl said...

Well, we should be fair here: can you even imagine the Jerusalem Post's response if the Holy Father had exhorted the Jewish people to turn from their error and embrace the one true Church?

Instead, we have an object lesson in just how much real-world mileage you can get out of "spontaneity" and "humility" when the stakes are high and people have something to lose. Odd how those who court the world's favor so often end up achieving the opposite, isn't it? I could have sworn someone warned against it in some old book I read.

Most of the Post's complaints leave me unmoved. The "Aramaic" interjection was rude, yes, but by this time, Catholics are accustomed to our ad-libbing pontiff.

And it's just a hysterical overreaction to call the incident at the security barrier "anti-Semitic" and license for Holocaust denial. This Pope has gone farther out of his way than any of his predecessors to make nice with Jews: hosting Rabbi Skorka at his residence, attending Seders, claiming that the Old Covenant is still in effect, etc. I suspect the truth is that he (or his handlers) simply couldn't resist yet another photo that would go round the world, advertising our Pope as a humble man of peace.

Likewise his remarks with Abbas and the Latin Patriarch. Francis seems inclined to say whatever he thinks will please the ears of whoever he happens to be with at the moment (orthodox Catholics excepted), and I doubt he gave the wider import of his remarks a moment's thought.

Childermass said...

That commemmorative image juxtaposing Francis-Bartholomew and Paul-Athenagoras is interesting. The Patriarchs look the same, but papal dress certainly has changed a lot in only 50 years.

Is that not the tip of the iceberg regarding ecumenical difficulties with the East today? Constantinople and Moscow are understandably wary of any big moves with us, because who can predict what radical thing could happen next with each new papal administration? So much has changed on our side since 1964.

A law of the market is also a law of ecumenical projects: uncertainty and unpredictability discourage investment!

Jacobi said...

Yes once again the Holy Father’s actions have left so many of us guessing – and a lot of Israelis upset.

What worries me slightly is the lack of what I would call a specifically Catholic message. He is the Keeper of the Keys after all. What he has done during this visit is no different from what any other Christian leader of any denomination, or for that matter, any recently elected international politician out to make a mark for himself, would have done. No visit to Bethlehem or the Via Dolorosa, as far as I know?

Israel is the only state in the Middle East which is treating Christians with tolerance. I think that might have been better brought out?

Nicolas Bellord said...

Usual confusion. Did he kiss the security wall? If so what was that supposed to mean? If he came to Belfast would he do the same with the peace wall. I must say he looked pretty glum at times.

mgl said...

To further complicate matters:

The Pope claims in EG 247, "[the Jews'] covenant with God has never been revoked". If this is the case, doesn't that imply that the Jewish people have an incontestable right to the Jewish homeland, and to Jerusalem in particular? Under the Old Covenant, the Jews were ordered by God to expel alien peoples from their midst so as to avoid idolatry and defilement. In modern times, this would presumably allow the expulsion of Muslims and Christians, by violence if necessary.

So why does the Holy Father express sympathy for the Palestinian cause, and call for a two-state solution? The Jews are governed by the Old Covenant, and thus would seem to have the God-given right to impose whatever one-state solution they can manage.

Of course, this is not my position. But it does seem to be the Holy Father's, if we follow the logic of EG 247 to its conclusion.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Interesting!

Fr Ray Blake said...

Interesting!

dcs said...

The Pope claims in EG 247, "[the Jews'] covenant with God has never been revoked".

Correct, it wasn't revoked but fulfilled. Either way it has been superseded.

viterbo said...

It seems that the most recent visit to the Holy Land is a carbon copy of the last few decades - crawley bums - um - pleasantries to various vipeeps; a crawley - uh - unwailing happenings at a Roman built wall near the destroyed herodic Temple. What is new, is laying a wreath - to the Greeks a wreath was bestowed upon the victor - upon the grave of one who tried to 'gulliguilt' Pius X into endorsing something that is contrary to proper papal conscience -and since it is the sixtiest anniversary of the Canonisation of Pius X, it is, well, relavent. Said trier has now been given a gold medal by a suckssecor of Pius X.

Liam Ronan said...

My impression, and it is just that, is that Pope Francis and the U.S. President Obama seem to share an inner conviction that their mere words and physical presence suffice to turn the tide of any difficulty. As with the Star Trek commander, Jean-Luc Picard, they seem convinced that their force of will alone would have Number One "Make it so".

Nicolas Bellord said...

Pope Francis justifies his statement with a reference to Romans 11:29. I am no expert on exegesis but reading Romans 10 & 11 it seems to me that St Paul is saying that many of the Jews have been unfaithful to the Old Covenant in not accepting the New Covenant. Is not St Paul saying that the Jews will only regain Jerusalem entirely when they and the whole world have been converted?

Sadie Vacantist said...

The JP article is unflattering to the Holy Father so he must have done something right. As soon as we get an African or Asian pope the better. Very few dare to correct Bibi in public and only a 3rd World type could pull it off.