Rome rabbi says attacks on pope cannot be compared to anti-Semitism
Apr 3, 2010, 11:10 GMT
Rome - Rome's chief rabbi condemned Saturday a sermon by Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher in which recent attacks against the Catholic church over sexual abuse were compared to the persecution of Jews.
The comparison was 'out of place,' and a 'fall in style,' Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni told Turin daily La Stampa.
At a Good Friday ceremony in St Peter's Basilica, with the pope present, Father Raniero Cantalamessa said Jews throughout history had been the victims of 'collective violence.'
Then he read from the letter in which a Jewish friend referred to accusations against Benedict and the Catholic church over the handling of sexual abuse of minors by priests.
Cantalamessa's friend, who was not cited by name, wrote that he was 'following with disgust the violent and concentric attacks against the Church and the Pope.'
'The use of stereotypes, the shifting of personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism,' Cantalamessa quoted from the letter.
The views expressed in the letter were not those of the Vatican, papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said later Friday.
Lombardi was responding to criticism by Jewish representatives in Germany and elsewhere as well representatives of the victims of sexual abuse by priests.
Di Segni noted how the remarks were all the more offensive because 'no one from the Jewish community had until that stage intervened on the scandal of sexual abuse against minors committed by priests.'
Di Segni said they also came amid the spreading of 'rumours that the 'Jewish lobby' was behind the attacks on the Church'.