Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Thursday, April 18, 2002
And another, sad thing we've learned recently: the Catholic Church has not changed. I've been a huge fan of the current Pope, for a few simple reasons. His piety is manifest. His strong anti-Communism was instrumental in the largely bloodless Western victory in the Cold War. He has been a passionate advocate for changing Roman Catholic teaching with respect to the status of Judaism and the Jewish covenant with God. He has been a persistent defender of a culture of life that is under attack in the West by an advancing culture of death that threatens to undermine all values. But in the end, he may leave the Catholic Church largely unchanged. The moral courage he has shown seems likely not to have rubbed off on the heirarchy of which he is the head. The most obvious evidence is the utter failure of the heirarchy to respond to the sexual crimes committed by a number of priests. Even now, it appears that the Church doesn't get it, doesn't understand that it has institutionally committed a crime because it has institutionally aided and abetted the crimes committed by individuals. Even now, the heirarchy seems to view the primary problem as one of public relations, of protecting the heirarchy itself from accountability. I've blogged before that this reminds me of the main charge levelled against the Church with respect to its conduct during the Second World War: that it failed to do all it could, and all it ought, to speak out against the Nazis because it was primarily concerned with protecting the institutional church and not with fulfilling the church's mission.

And we see the same pattern in operation with respect to the standoff in Bethlehem. 200 Palestinian gunmen have seized the church and held the clergy hostage. Whether or not the clergy actually support the gunmen, what is the possible reason for the Vatican to castigate Israel, which has been assiduous is trying to avoid damage to the church, rather than the gunmen inside? It is clear what the reason is for Rome's actions: the Vatican is intimidated by the violence and, rather than stand up to it, prefers to surrender to it and blame those who are waging a moral war against terrorists. The Church seems willing to burn up all the good will it earned with the Jewish community for its changes in doctrine and recognition of Israel by surrendering to blackmail. I gave the Pope a pass for remaining silent when the Syrian President accused the Jews of deicide in his presence. No more passes.