No Repentance from Vatican
by Steven Shamrak
October 23, 2008
THE VATICAN AND ISRAEL
by Bernard J. Shapiro (1992)
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
Not long ago, a spokesperson for Pope Benedict XVI said that the Pope would not visit Israel until a caption attached to a photo hanging in Yad Vashem of Pope Pius XII, who reigned during the Holocaust era, was removed. The caption states that Pius XII "abstained from signing the Allied declaration condemning the extermination of the Jews" and "maintained his neutral position throughout the war".
Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, stands by the description and affirms that it has ensured that the presentation of the subject in the Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem is based on the best research regarding this topic.
Millions of Christians also died during WW2 including priests and nuns, but Pope Pius XII did not protest! The Church did not protest about the genocide of the Roma people or the Nazi hunt for the members of the 'wicked' Christian denominations.
The Vatican claims that Pius worked "secretly and silently". We must be direct and honest about it: Yes, he was silent! Some assert that the Vatican was actively involved in saving up to 860,000 Jews by establishing an escape network in some countries. Even if this is true, they disregard the fact that by speaking out against Nazi policy toward Jews, Pope Pius XII could have stopped or at least greatly reduced collaboration with Nazis by the Catholics in Poland, the Baltic region, Ukraine and France, as well as the co-operation of all Christians in Europe. Without the local 'assistance' that the Christian population eagerly provided to the Fascists, or their silence, the Holocaust would not happened and most Jews in Europe would have survived!
In addition to physical reduction of the 'unholy' Jewish population in Europe, the Vatican had another hidden agenda - 'Saving' Jewish souls! For example, it is estimated that in Hungary alone, up to 80,000 Jews were baptised by the Church authorities. Most of the time, newly issued baptismal certificates were ignored by the Nazis and many Jews were killed as 'Christians', at least in the twisted mind of the Church's statistical bureaucracy. Conversion of Jews, which the Church is still pursuing since the end of the Great Inquisition, is another big theological and moral issue!
The ugliest part of this saga is that during the last 60 years since the end of WW2, and several pontiffs later, the Vatican has still not changed its medieval attitude toward Jews. The Church leadership has shown a high level of contempt for the main Christian doctrines: "Love your neighbour" and "Repentance". They are applicable to everything and anything, as long as it is not about Jews! Ordinary Catholics must confess their sins, but not the leaders of the Church with the blood of the fellow Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Africans, American Indians and Australian Aborigines on their hands, spilled during the many centuries of Catholic reign and influence.
Well, with this continuous anti-Israel attitude and the lame apology made by the Vatican several years ago, who needs another… Well, unfortunately, there are too many hostile international hypocrites visiting Israel!
THE VATICAN AND ISRAEL Diplomatic Relations, Recognition & Reparations
by Bernard J. Shapiro (1992)
As most Jews are preparing to celebrate Israel's 44th year of independence, the Vatican is embroiled in a weighty discussion of whether to recognize the Jewish State. Most of us who have followed this issue over many years placed most of the blame for lack of relations on the Vatican's fear of offending the Arabs who have substantial Christian minorities in their countries.
During Israel's early years, the official Vatican excuse for not establishing relations was Israel's refusal to internationalize Jerusalem. That was a part of the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan the was rejected by the Arab states. The Jordanians who controlled the Christian Holy Places in Jerusalem during that time period also rejected internationalization. In modern times, the Vatican has recognized the impossibility of turning the clock back on Jerusalem, and now insists on a resolution of the Palestinian conflict before establishing relations.
Dr. Michael Kaniel, writing in the Jerusalem Post (April 25, 1992), analyzes the religious origins of the Vatican's anti-Israel policies. He shows how the real reason the Vatican has withheld formal recognition is because the Jewish State represents a vexing contradiction to Catholic theology. When Theodor Herzl met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Merry del Val to request support of the Zionist movement on January 22, 1904, the cardinal said: "as long as the Jews deny the divinity of Christ...how can we agree to their regaining possession of the Holy Land?...They should first have to accept conversion." Three days later Pope Pius X told Herzl: "the Jews have not recognized our Lord; therefore we can not recognize the Jewish people."
The persistence of the Jewish people goes against the Christian teaching that the Church is now the true Israel. Kaniel writes: "However, the foundations for modern antisemitism and the Church's antagonism to Jewish return to their ancestral homeland lies in the implacable contempt for Judaism and the Jewish people felt by all the Fathers of the Church, especially Justin, Augustine and Chrysostom. The Church Fathers taught that Jewish misfortune is Divine punishment for the rejection of Jesus, and that consequently Jews must be kept in degradation as living witnesses to the truth of Christianity - Justin Martry adding that the Land of Israel should be rendered a desert and Jews be forbidden to go to Jerusalem."
Because the Church held such anti-Semitic positions, a wide range of priests, monks, bishops, cardinals, and popes felt justified in almost any act that would injure the Jewish community of their region. Jews were forced to listen to conversion sermons. Blood libels were invented that claimed that Jews killed Christian children and used their blood to make matzo. Needless to day Jews were massacred every Passover to save the children. The masses were frequently encouraged to murder, rape and pillage the Jewish population. All in the name Christianity. The Church blamed the Jews for the Black Death in 1347-9 by claiming that they had poisoned the wells. This resulted in the massacres of Jews in 200 communities in Europe.
The Church forcibly converted many Jews and then had the Inquisitor hunt down, torture and burn to death those found to be still practicing Judaism. Jewish populations were expelled in dozens of countries at the whim of the Church (200,000 from Spain alone in 1492). All this was just the precursor to the Holocaust. Hitler told German Bishop Berning and Monsignor Steinman that he was merely going to do to the Jews "what the Church had done for 1500 years.
Israel and the Vatican are about to begin a dialogue that would mark the first concrete step forward on the long road to diplomatic relations. Israel radio last week said the Vatican was dispatching a delegation to Jerusalem in May to discuss ties. Both the Israel Foreign Ministry and the Holy See denied the story. Despite the denials, informed sources are pointing to numerous signals and the convergence of some important historical forces that will lead inevitably to such negotiations.
Some signs of the thaw in relations were seen recently when Avi Pazner, Israel's ambassador to Italy was warmly received by Pope John Paul II in the Vatican. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Vatican's Congregation of Doctrine, came to Israel on what was described as a private Easter visit. Not only was he the most senior Vatican official to visit Israel since 1964, but he also initiated private discussions with Israeli officials concerning tax exemption for Vatican property in Jerusalem.
Historically, the Vatican is way out of step. The cold war is over and all the states of the former Soviet bloc including Eastern Europe have already established diplomatic relations with Israel. Both China and India and most of Black Africa have recently established (or in the case of Africa, reestablished) diplomatic relations with the Jewish State. With Arabs and Israelis actually engaged in peace negotiations, the rationalizations and excuses used by Vatican spokespersons in years past seem absurd today.
I would like the Israelis to take pause and not rush too eagerly into relations now that the long awaited talks with the Vatican are approaching. The Vatican needs relations with Israel badly now so that it can have a say concerning the Holy Places in Jerusalem. A topic likely to come up during Arab-Israeli peace talks.
The Jewish people have a long account to settle with the Church and we are within our rights to make a few demands before we grant them diplomatic recognition. The Vatican owes a debt of immense proportions to the Jewish people for its systematic plunder of its property during the last 1700 years. One of the reasons Jews were frequently expelled from European countries, was to allow confiscation of their property and wealth. The Church was not only the instigator of most expulsions but the prime beneficiary. All over Europe there are hundreds of former synagogues which have been stolen by the Church and converted to Christian religious buildings.
The Vatican library and hundreds of churches and monasteries throughout Europe are in possession of thousands of rare Hebrew manuscripts and books stolen from their rightful owners. Jewish ritual art and ceremonial objects of great value are in the hands of the Catholic church. At the very least, Israel must demand the return its manuscripts and Judaic objects. The ancient Jewish burying ground in the catacombs of Rome are still under Vatican control. This must stop.
Dagobert D. Runes in his book DESPOTISM A Pictorial History of Tyranny makes the observation that the Jewish population in ancient times was of such size ( e.g., in the year 70 C.E. Rome was 10% Jewish and Alexandria, Egypt had one million Jews) that through natural population growth could have reached 900 million by modern times. The one thing that interfered with that natural growth was the murder of Jews with the Church as the leading instigator.
I suggest that if it was legitimate to demand of Germany reparations after World War II, it is just a legitimate to demand reparations from the Vatican. Israel should offer the Vatican absolution for a penance of say: $100 billion plus the return of all Jewish property in their possession.
They may not accept such a proposal. They may be offended. But one thing is certain, they will know that we will not be victims anymore. They will know we have long memories. Someday they will have to deal with us.
======== Bernard J. Shapiro is the chairman of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies www.freeman.org and editor of publications.
[This article was first published in the Jewish Herald-Voice (Houston) on May 14, 1992.]