Mentioning the Catholic Church when discussing political matters doesn´t endorse me to non-Catholics, I realize that.
But what about this:
In order to take a position against the Catholic Church on the matters of Israel and Zionism – and also on the matter of financial oppression and Imperialism, which I will discuss in my next post,- one should know, what her position is.
(I promise I will discuss the matter in the comment section with anybody, who cares to comment. I will keep all comments and answer them, no matter how critical, under the conditions the commenter will not denigrate God, Christ and the Virgin Mary nor the prophets and sages revered in Islam, and he or she will not use obscenities either.
Otherwise, he will have to exercise his right to “free speech” some place else, and I exercise my right to not listen to obscenities and blasphemy.)
It´s my opinion, that we live in times of severe crisis, and that we, religious and secular people, alike will have to find some common ground, from which we together struggle against a terrible inhuman system, which is threatening to draw as all into the catastrophe of a new World War. Whatever divides us at this moment cannot be so big, that it justifies us to fight and hate one another, while our whole world is about to go down the drains.
No doubt our differences are important, and we do not and cannot lay them aside totally. But I think we have to reserve them for later.
In order to cooperate, we do not have to join the same organizations and agree to a single program. It might even be a lot better to work for peace from a very diverse spectrum of opinions, a decentralized approach. But we need to stop bitching against one another.
We need to stop falling for the “divide and conquer” tricks of the war-party.
Maybe we can show one another a bit of tolerance and respect, so cooperation on important matters can become easier.
One important aspect of respect is, to really be interested in the whole story, and not just read the tiny out-of-context quotes the main-line media presents.
The mainline media does everything to frame all social matters in such a way, it will keep ordinary people divided along ethnic and sectarian lines – unable to understand one another, unable to join hands for a common cause, a cause we ordinary people all over the world actually agree upon.
There is no doubt in my mind, that the official Catholic church, with it´s center in the Vatican of Rome, opposes Israel´s crimes against the Palestinian people. The Church opposes the oppression, the land-theft, the expulsion, the discrimination and the open, brutal war-fare.
In this the Church stands far more on the side of the Palestinian people, both the Christians as well as the Muslims, than ever on the side of Israel.
On the page “The Catholic View on Palestine”, I quoted a call for written by members of the Catholic peace organization “Pax Christi”. This one I set on top on the list of quotes.
Different from many other Catholic organizations, “Pax Christi International” operates from out of the very center of the Church. The organization works to counter all wars and all forms of oppression, military or economic oppression, by peaceful means. While “Pax Christi” is far more outspoken in it´s calls and it´s critizism than the Vatican, still all declarations of “Pax Christi” are sanctioned by the official Church.
At this moment, according to “Pax Christi” and Vatican sources, the political solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the Church endorses, seems to be a two-state-solution on the borders of before 1967. However, more and more people working for justice in Palestine, are coming to the conclusion, that Israel has, by his constant building of illegal settlements, created “facts on the ground”, which make a two-state-solution no longer viable. And in the long term a single state of two ethnicities and three major religions, all enjoying equal citizen rights, will be the only just alternative.
No matter, which one of these alternatives in the end become the most viable and accepted by both sides, the Church will endorse it.
For the Church sees herself to be tasked – by Christ Himself – to become an instrument of peace.
The Church believes, that peace cannot be achieved by open confrontation, but it must be sought through compromise and reconciliation.
No matter, how just the Palestinian cause and how unjust the Israeli cause, according to the Church, both sides must be heard and considered.
“There cannot be peace without justice, and there cannot be justice without forgiveness”, says the Pope.
The Church believes that victory against injustice can only be won by non-violent means.
Of course, there are many people out there, who will see the Church´s call for total non-violence in a struggle against violent oppression and the worst kind of injustice, as hypocritical, given the Church´s own violent history in her medieval past.
And I can understand this view by non-Catholics. With her history she has brought this kind of distrust and anger upon herself.
And this is exactly the point:
The Church has a history of a violent past.
But every time, when Church officials justified brutal violence against some perceived problems, facing the Church or it´s membership, the long-term repercussions of her those actions made things worse.
When Christianity became state-religion in the Roman Empire, some tribes within the Empire, like the Saxons, were converted “by fire and sword”. This had been a very, very bad idea, since a forced conversion is no conversion at all. Just as bad an idea was the forced “conversion” of the Spanish Jews after the Christian armies reconquered Spain from the Islamic Moores.
The Crusades, the purpose of which was supposedly the protection of Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land, became an absolutely indefensible orgy of violence.
They consequently bought not only a many centuries lasting distrust between Muslims and Christians, they also brought a curse upon the Church. It was a curse of her own making, in form of a group of neo-pagan, man-hating, imperialistic, authoritarian sectarians, who first infiltrated and corrupted the Church thoroughly, and later on they fought openly and covertly against her.
When the Church then tried to fight against those infiltrators, once again using the means of violence, with torture and death-penalties, the result was at first, that some truly bad men, who truly had blood on their hands and an inhumane ideology in their minds, were made into martyrs, and hundreds, or even thousands, of innocent men and women were tortured and killed.
The long-term consequences of the inquisition and the hunt for “witches” and “heretics” over the centuries were even worse. They caused altogether even more devastation, suffering and loss of lives, namely when the man-hating ideology went underground.
Ever since, it has resurfaced over and over again in different forms, either in esoteric or in secular ideologies like the ones of Macchiavelli, Nietzsche, Malthus, Dalton, Mussolini, Hitler, Leo Strauss, Prince Phillip, Richard Perle, David Rockefeller or Henry Kissinger.
It is exactly with this history, that the Church can say from her own experience, that violent methods do not work very well. No matter, how righteous one think´s one´s cause to be, and the church officials always thought their cause was righteous, the long-term consequences of the Church´s violence was, that they only became a breeding ground for more violence.
The violent history of the Church also caused, at least a temporary, a loss of the moral high ground.
And this violent history is also the main reason, why nowadays many decent and compassionate people in the world mistrust the Catholic Church and her good will.
This can´t be helped.
The only thing the Church can do, is learn from her own history and warn others of the mistake in using violent means to pursue an aim of true justice.
Now, the Church´s call for non-violence is understandable.
But why wouldn´t the Pope visit Gaza, when he came to Palestine this year?
This would after all have been a non-violent act of support for the Palestinian people.
The reason might be, that Israel would not allow it.
If the Pope had visited Gaza, he would have to have talked to the Hamas leadership in the same way as he has talked to the Fatah leadership and president Abbas.
This would have given Hamas more legitimacy in the eyes of the Catholic world. Israel wanted to prevent this kind of legitimacy at all costs.
If the Pope would have gone against the Israeli government in this, Israel would have let the Palestinian Christians suffer the consequences.
One other thing:
Shortly before the Pope´s visit to Palestine, the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu made the prediction, that AlQaeda was planning to blow up the “Church of the Holy Sepulchre” in Jerusalem.
Now we know,that there is not a single true-believing Muslim in the whole wide world, who would ever even consider to do such a thing. Blowing up one of the most holy places in Christendom would seem absolutly insane for even the most fanatic Muslim, especially since the AlAqsa Mosque, one of the most holy sites in Islam, is practically right next door.
This means that those who would possibly blow up this church, they would not be Muslims.
But Muslims would be framed for it.
Such an attack on such a large pilgrim-site might kill hundreds, possibly thousands of people.
And while there is a possibility, the Church could protect this one church with better security, the Church will never be able to protect all local churches all over the world.
Now, everybody has the right to risk his or her own life, when standing up for truth and justice.
But the Pope is a symbolic figure. If he provokes certain ruthless people too much, he wouldn´t just be risking his life but the lives of many others.
I think, that he went as far on behalf of the Palestinian people, as he thought was possible under the circumstances without provoking retaliation.
I do understand, why some people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, are disappointed that the Pope didn´t go any farther.
But from everything I read about him and from him, I´m certain, that Pope Benedict VI. is not a Zionist stooge.
Of course people can stick with this opinion, if they want to. Everybody has their own reasons for their own opinions. I only can tell you, what I think, and explain you, why I do think so.
While the Pope was called a Zionist stooge from one side, he was also called a Nazi-loving Anti-Semite from the other side, supposedly because he was once a member of the Hitler Youth.
And occasionally, I´ve seen him called both from the very same people.
Fact is, Pope Benedict joined the Hitler Youth, when he was a child of 13. And he stayed in there only for a few months, and he left on his own accord. The reason, why he joined at all, although he and his family were staunch Catholics, was probably to prevent his father, a small-town policeman, to get into trouble.
(B.t.w.his sister, a down-syndrome child, was killed in a Nazi-institution according to the Nazi policy of eliminating “unworthy life”.)
Now, to blame a 13 year old child living under a dictatorship that he had joined an organization, that was next to mandatory (those who didn´t join were endlessly harrassed), is in my lowly opinion just plain ridiculous. (Besides he wasn´t Pope then, was he?)
Personally, I would like to see the official Church in Rome, including the Pope, to be more outspoken on the issue of Palestine. However, I´m just an ordinary Catholic, I do not have all the information the Vatican is acting upon.
I´m sure, that there are many discussions going on in the Vatican about Palestine. I also trust, that many prayers are spoken in hope and faith, that God will guide the Church to do and say the right things.
And I truly believe, that in the end truth and justice will conquer all the lies.
And all injustice and oppression will end .