Monday, July 25, 2005

Is the Pope an anti-Semite?

Yeah, and I'm pro-Mafia b/c I don't condemn them on this blog.

Valle d'Aosta, Jul. 25 ( - The Vatican has reacted sharply to a verbal attack on Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) launched by the Israeli foreign ministry.

In a harsh public statement released on July 25, the Israeli government expressed outrage that the Pope had not explicitly included Israel among the countries he listed as recent victims of terrorism. The Pope, during his public audience the previous day, had condemned all terrorism, but particularly mentioned the "execrable terrorist attacks" that had occurred in recent days in England, Egypt, Turkey, and Iraq.

The Israeli government statement charged that the Pontiff had deliberately failed to mention a suicide bombing in Israel on July 12-- an omission which, the foreign ministry said, "cries out to the heavens." The Pope's statement, the Israeli ministry continued, placed a "moral stain" on Church leadership, by "granting legitimacy to terrorist attacks on Jews."

(An analysis by the AsiaNews service characterized the Israeli government statement as an "unprecedentedly crude and violent" personal on the Pontiff. The AsiaNews report said that the foreign ministry appeared to have issued the statement in haste, and the Hebrew text was marred by errors in spelling and punctuation.) Responding to the Israeli complaint later in the day on Monday, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls emphasized that the Pope condemned all forms of terrorism, and the suicide bombing that killed 5 Israelis in the town of Netanya on July 12 would certainly be included in that "general and unreserved" condemnation. Navarro-Valls noted that the Pope, during his Angelus remarks, had "referred expressly to the attacks "of these days," and listed only the most recent incidents. The bombing in Netanya took place 12 days before the Pope's audience, whereas the terrorist attacks on England, Egypt, Turkey, and Iraq has occurred within the past 72 hours.

"It is surprising that someone would have wanted to distort the Pope's intention," the director of the Vatican press office observed.

Navarro-Valls told reporters that the apostolic nuncio had already spoken with officials at the Israeli foreign ministry about the Pope's remarks. In its public statement released earlier in the day, the Israeli government said that it had summoned the nuncio to lodge a formal protest of the papal statement.

Later in the day, Israeli foreign minister adopted a more conciliatory statement, saying that he thought the Pope's failure to include Israel on his list of recent terror victims was "mistake and not a deliberate omission."

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