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article imageOp-Ed: Watching the Vatican writhe in self-inflicted guilt and paranoia

By R. C. Camphausen     Apr 2, 2010 in World
First the media were blamed for all the bad news about the church, then the world was reminded that the pope is a head of state with immunity, now the church's suffering is compared to the holocaust. All in all, the Holy See shows symptoms of paranoia
The latest attempt meant to portray the Roman Catholic Church as suffering undue allegations and critique comes from a man who, in his 30 years of experience in an exalted position at the Vatican, should have known better. The man in question is the Rev Raniero Cantalamessa, Pope Benedict's personal preacher and a senior Vatican priest since 1980.
While speaking at a service on Good Friday, he compared what he regards as attacks on the Church with the suffering of Jews throughout history. In todays New York Times he is quoted as saying “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.”
To be sure, the Rev Cantalamessa did not claim that he, himself, has those thoughts. Instead, all reference to the Jews and their suffering, the collective violence against them, the use of stereotypes that should remind us of the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism - were read from a letter sent to him by an unnamed Jewish friend who - according to the BBC, was "following with disgust the violent and concentric attacks against the Church, the Pope ..."
To David Clohessy, a leading advocate for sex abuse victims in the United States, the unwarranted comparison between the present criticism of the church and the 20th century persecution of the Jews is “breathtakingly callous and misguided” - while to an observer like myself, this rant is a sign of pure paranoia.
After all, the church is far from being persecuted, it's not even being prosecuted as yet by a combined global task-force. As to suffering collective violence ... it's not the church and her priests who actually suffer, but the thousands of abused boys - and a few girls - who have come forward up to now ... and the potential tens of thousands that have not done so as yet.
Another recent sign of paranoia can be detected in the preemptive statement by Giuseppe dalla Torre, a top legal official for the Vatican. According to Yahoo News (Reuters), he said that Pope Benedict cannot be called to testify at any trial because he has immunity as a head of state.
Indeed, aberrant as it may be, the pope is indeed regarded as a head of state - with the smallest population in the world. It is therefore time that all well meaning nations make legal moves to cease recognizing the Vatican as a state, and the pope as a head of one.
Such a move, plus the coming out of many more of the abused, could perhaps aid the world in coming to grips with what one can only call crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated by individuals priest, but has been watched - one is forced to think - through very tainted and pink-colored glasses by various bishops and archbishops, primates and inquisitors - last not least arriving at the boss of them all: the infallible Il Papa.
Although voices in the Vatican have said Cantalamessa's words did not represent the official view of the church, the Rev Cantalamessa's sermon was printed in full on the front page of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's official media outlet.
A note to potential Christian readers of the catholic kind.
I have not attacked you, personally. The word Christianity does not appear in this article. This is about the catholic church as an institution, the so-called Holy See. If there is a god who guides and guards the people who run this business, we'll see him - or his hit-squad - strike me down soon enough; so you don't have to.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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