A rabbi and the pope

From the Catholic News Agency come snippets of an interview with Rabbi Jack Bemporad, director of ther Center for Interreligious  Understanding in New Jersey, United States. Rabbi Bemporad is presented as a ‘lone voice’ accusing the media attacks on the person of Pope Benedict XVI “one dimensional”. He said so after the comparison drawn in Father Raneiro Cantalamessa’s Good Friday homily, between anti-Semitism and the media depiction of the Catholic Church. Although the rabbi concedes that Fr. Cantalemessa used a “poor example”, his “point is correct”.

“We’re so quick to judge, we’re so quick to condemn,” Rabbi Bemporad said. “There’s no charity, there’s no compassion, no sympathy, and no, by the way, self-criticism”.

“The tragedy of the media,” Rabbi Bemporad went on, “is that it has a capacity to educate, instead what it does is cater to the worst element in human beings. The most voyeuristic element”.

The crimes committed by certain representatives of the Church are horrible and should be condemned by all well-thinking people. There is no disagreement about that. But in the light of these terrible acts we must keep a clear mind in order to come up with solutions. I’ve stated this before: the emotional response is understandable but immature. Immaturity is not bad, but it does indicate that there is a mature response which will ultimately lead to solutions that are agreeable for all. At the moment, major parts of the media remain stuck in the immature emotional response, mindlessly lashing out at anything that even looks Catholic. In that process the innocent are accused and slandered along with the guilty. That can never be the goal of a society which considers itself civilised.

As the visible head of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI deserves and needs our support. In France, several bishops and representatives of religious communities and laity have taken the initiative to write a letter of support to the pope. You can sign it here.