Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jews outraged at Vatican scandal comparison

(Reuters) - Jewish groups around the world have reacted with shock after Pope Benedict's personal preacher compared attacks on the Church and pope over a sexual abuse scandal to "collective violence" against Jews.

...The pope's personal preacher, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, in a Friday sermon in St Peter's Basilica, said attacks on the Catholic Church and the pope over a sexual abuse scandal were comparable to "collective violence" against Jews.

Jewish leaders around the world used words like repugnant, obscene and offensive to describe the sermon, particularly, as Di Segni noted, it came on the day that for centuries Christians prayed for the conversion of the Jews, who were held collectively responsible for Jesus' death.

"How can you compare the collective guilt assigned to the Jews which caused the deaths of tens of millions of innocent people to perpetrators who abuse their faith and their calling by sexually abusing children?" demanded Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the international Jewish rights group.

..."This ridiculous attempt to hide the crimes of the (Church) hierarchy inside of Jewish suffering shows just how far this Pope seems willing to go to stop the truth from emerging," said Peter Isely, a spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

The Vatican has denied any cover-up over the abuse of 200 deaf boys in the United States by Reverend Lawrence Murphy from 1950 to 1974. The New York Times reported the Vatican and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, were warned about Murphy but he was not defrocked.

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