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Imams Visit Auschwitz, Pray For Holocaust Victims

30 05 2013
Muslim Imams during prayer for Holocaust victims at Auschwitz

Muslim imams during prayer for Holocaust victims at Auschwitz, Poland

Muslim leaders from across the globe paid tribute Holocaust victims this week during a visit to Auschwitz, the former Nazi concentration camp, where they prayed at the Wall of Death for those who were killed by genocide and suffered under violent anti-Semitism.

The imams, who hailed from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bosnia, Palestine, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey and the United States, performed Islamic prayers while facing Mecca as part of a Holocaust awareness visit funded in part by the U.S. State Department.

“What can you say? You’re speechless. What you have seen is beyond human imagination,” Imam Mohamed Magid, President of the US-based Islamic Society of North America, told Agence France-Presse.

“Whether in Europe today or in the Muslim world, my call to humanity: End racism for God’s sake, end anti-Semitism for God’s sake, end Islamophobia for God’s sake, end sexism for God’s sake… Enough is enough,” said Magid, who leads the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Northern Virginia.

The visit, which runs through Friday, is scheduled to include a tour of Warsaw’s new Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a kosher dinner with Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, and a meeting with the Polish Righteous Among the Nations. The group of imams, which includes Muzammil H. Siddiqi, president of the Fiqh Council of North America and the former president of the Islamic Society of North America, is also scheduled to meet with Muslim, Jewish and Catholic leaders in Poland.

“We thank [the imams] for their willingness to come. Our task is to encourage proper understanding between our faiths in ways that stress our common humanity,” said Rabbi Jack Bemporad, who is the Executive Director of the New Jersey-based Center for Interreligious Understanding and is leading the visit. “Understanding our particular histories will help us better understand each other so that we can unite in combatting prejudice against all religions.”

“I think that the imams that came here having very little knowlege in many cases of the Shoah are now convinced that any kind of Holocaust denial or Holocaust revisionism is simply out of the question,” Bemporad said.

Ahmet Muharrem Atlig, a Turkish Muslim and former imam, said that despite being educated in “much informaiton about Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Holocaust,” the visit was a “turning point” for him.

“As soon as possible, I will bring my family here … I will organize Turkish imams and muftis to go to Holocaust sites. My people don’t know what happened here. It’s not an agenda. It’s a reality. This is not Jewish heritage, it’s world heritage. Jewish people were mostly affected but the lessons are global,” Atlig said.

“The US imams told us that their trip was transformative and they shared their experiences with their American Muslim communities. We thought a trip with an international group of imams and religious leaders to be of vital importance,” said Catholic University of America law professor Marshall Breger, an Orthodox Jew and former Reagan White House liaison to the Jewish community who helped organized both trips.

“Increasing compassion and preserving man’s humanity starts with unveiling falsehoods that shore up bigotry. Unfortunately, one of those is Holocaust denial. Muslims and millions of others also suffered and Holocaust denial denies them, too, not just Jews who perished,” Breger said.

Source: Huffington Post

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Vatican spokesman says pope is wrong, atheists still going to hell

28 05 2013

catholic_church_vatican-1280x720
The Vatican has clarified that atheists will still go to hell if they reject God, after Pope Francis broke with tradition to deliver a homily stating non-believers who do good will be redeemed through Jesus.

The Pope’s words made headlines around the world after he gave an unprepared speech in which he emphasised the importance of “doing good” as a principle which unites all humanity.

After international media attention, the Vatican attempted clarify how exactly one gets in to heaven, with Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, saying that people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

That is, atheists are still going to hell.

It’s sort of problematic to contradict someone who’s supposed to be the infallible voice of your religion, but that’s apparently what’s happened here.





What is Interfaith? Stephanie Dowrick explores a very contemporary question

25 05 2013

By on Apr 27, 2013 in Frontpage

“Interfaith” is a word increasingly used. It’s used as an adjective. It’s used as a noun. We can even do interfaith in the sense of engaging with a range of activities that might include the local rabbi, imam, Buddhist monk, Hindu priest and Catholic nun sharing insights around an urgent social need, as well as people getting together without their religious labels to share sacred silence, a day of prayer, peace-making, forgiveness or healing, an experience of art, poetry or music, or a service in a church, temple or under the trees that draws on humankind’s shared spiritual inheritance and is in every way inclusive. This last word matters most. From this perspective, no one is “lesser than”; no one is “left out”.

But that very range of experiences ought to give us pause: pause to celebrate that such events are increasingly commonplace; pause, too, to reflect that those vitally inclusive and welcoming experiences are unlikely to be enhanced when a definition of “interfaith” becomes rigid or constraining. Or when some experiences are regarded as more authentically “interfaith” than others.

Definitions matter. They can be thrilling and illuminating. They can also be used to create hierarchies and exert power. Or even to humiliate or batter those who see the world differently. It’s unhelpful to think about the definition of some words without taking into account who is doing the defining, and why. This is particularly true surely when it comes to those highly subjective, densely loaded words that attempt to describe, much less define “faith” or “belief”. In fact, as I write this images rush through my mind of countless individuals shunned, defiled, even murdered for religious claims or definitions that were regarded as so offensive they were called heretical. That has happened throughout human history. It still happens.

A great deal of religious and spiritual experience comes to be defined by what it is not. Growing up in the latter part of my childhood within the Roman Catholic tradition I learned very quickly to divide the world into Catholics and non-Catholics. (I’d come into the former world from the latter one: from Protestant Mars to Catholic Venus – or so it felt.)

That kind of sheep/goats talk is commonplace in other traditions too. The inference is clear: far better to be what “is”, than what is “not”. In those same childhood years I also heard people speak about a loss of faith in tones as hushed and concerned as might be used to speak about the death of a loved one. For many, it was equivalent. Yet when someone “loses” their faith this could mean a huge range of experiences within each individual from no longer believing in or accepting the God of their childhood to no longer believing that their faith is the “one, true” and only – or that it has any right to condemn “others”; to giving up on religion entirely – with all manner of shifts between.

The sacred is more likely to be found through experiences that engage the emotions than through dogma that rigidifies the mind. Self-righteousness, or insistence on “one way” trumping all others, is the enemy of the subtle, infinitely powerful, never-entirely-knowable sacred. Vulnerability, compassion, hope, tenderness, good humour, patience, forgiveness, love: these are sacred and sustaining qualities that belong to all of humanity and need not depend on religious belief. For some, they reflect the infinite and unconditional love that God has for our human family. But this is not always true. Nor is it true that people who are explicitly theist practise these qualities more obviously or profoundly than those who are neither theist nor atheist. “God” can be inspiration as well as source; but not for all and never within a context of fear.

The great twentieth-century visionary poet Rainer Maria Rilke was, like most poets, extremely wary of definitions and mistrustful of our anxious grasping after them. When it came to priests and their confident reading of the mind of God, he was particularly scornful. “Middlemen”, he called them. When it comes to questions of faith, religion and the awesome “sacred”, we must, Rilke believed and so do I, learn to trust an inner authority based on experiences, one that’s tempered by humility as well as wisdom as life continues to mellow us.

There is some argument as to whether Rilke did or did not call God “a direction of the heart”. (He called God many names and addressed God with sublime intimacy and often equally sublime lack of certainty: one of many reasons why he is a poet for our times.) But this gentle, questing notion of “direction of the heart” may be useful to some of us, too, as we think about faith, about our faith in thinking about faith…and about interfaith.

Modesty as well as humility is a great blessing here. I am thrilled when I hear people speak to one another about the interfaith services I lead in inner city Sydney with delightful familiarity as in, “Will I see you at interfaith next week…?”.  I love their confidence that “interfaith” experience is real for them and that they are eager to have those experiences together. But is interfaith also a “noun”?  I am not sure.

I have been teaching from a spiritually inclusive perspective for a quarter of a century. For at least an entire century our human family has been increasingly open to finding inspiration and ethical guidance from wherever it feels most inwardly refining and outwardly effective, in the sense of growing a love for our diverse human family, and service to it. As an ordained “interfaith minister” (and graduate of one of New York’s several interfaith seminaries), I have been leading those services to a large inner-city congregation for seven years, since 2006. During those years, and as a writer and public spokesperson for an interfaith practice and perspective, I have felt often that I am standing on the margins – where change in attitudes is most likely to happen – and quite simultaneously that I am right in the heart of where positive change is occurring. What I am sure of is that I am witnessing change as much as I am possibly contributing to it.

This intense familiarity with broadly interfaith questions and context does not, though, and should not mean that I want to offer a confident definition for interfaith beyond the key phrases of “spiritual inclusion” or “spiritually inclusive”.

My own inner calling to ministry was undoubtedly to spiritually support all who sought that, whatever their faith experiences, beliefs or questions. The teachings, prayers and practices that inspire and shape my work and life are those that could best be described as universal or mystical. They are challenging. They leave no one out. They do not assume that all religions are the same, or that all religious teachings should be valued equally. Universal teachings of the kind I cherish derive from love and urge us to live a life of love – without exceptions. There is nothing new in that. Universal Sufism and Vedanta are just two of many paths that have explicitly defied the idea that Truth revealed itself to a single privileged group.

Love, whether it is human or divine is considered to be sacred, in the view of the mystics, philosophers, and thinkers. That it is possible to regard it thus is shown by the fact that in its root it is beyond both the human and the divine. As it is written in the Bible, ‘God is Love’: three words which open up an unending realm for the thinker who desires to probe the depth of the secret of love. In ordinary life, we make this word mean affection for our surroundings, for our relatives or our beloved, but when we think deeply about it, we see that from start to finish it represents the power underlying the power of all activities and all intelligences.
 – Hazrat Inayat Khan, 20th-century Sufi teacher

 

Following a spiritually inclusive way of life has been, for me, both liberating and demanding, as it should be. It’s been liberating in that it has opened me to the incredible treasure trove of spiritual resources that each faith has nurtured, despite everything. It is demanding too – and I welcome this – in that it calls and depends upon an ethic that is also at the heart of all faith and spiritually philosophical traditions: the ethic of the “Golden Rule”.

Interfaith practice unequivocally calls me to consider who and what I am, who and what my “neighbors” are, and particularly how I treat and regard them as well as myself. How I live matters. How each of us lives matters. It also matters whether our beliefs nourish our relationships with one another, or destroy them. Looking at faiths as well as faith close up it is easy to see the complex human dimension in them all: the weaknesses are painfully similar; the strengths are encouragingly similar.

A “spiritually inclusive” attitude and way of living is a choice that challenges prejudices and stereotypes. It also challenges the power imperatives that characterize some conventional religious thinking and practice. Given the shockingly irreligious, sexist, homophobic and violent nature of much “religious” behavior, and given the violence that continues to be waged in the name of religions and faiths, I believe that we can safely say that in any of its sincere forms, interfaith activity is a change for the better in human consciousness. It offers a vital shift not only in how we think about religion and religious adherence, but also – and more profoundly – in how we think about humanity and what we are capable of doing and being. The time for tribal thinking is over. It has become too dangerous. This is a time for thinking that is both global and intimate; bold and delicately receptive and nuanced. It is a time for thinking and behavior that is self-responsible, self-respecting, and simultaneously caring of the effect of our choices on the world around us.

In a recent Huffington Post article, Chicago-based activist Eboo Patel claims three reasons why “interfaith efforts matter more than ever”: These are: “1. Interfaith helps harmonize people’s various identities. 2. Interfaith efforts help us to separate the worst elements of communities from the rest. 3. Interfaith efforts remind us America [I would add, all multi-cultural nations] is about welcoming the contributions of all communities and nurturing cooperation between them. “

Like Patel, I am confident that interfaith experience is brilliantly suited to these times. It is unconditionally rooted in care for others and a willingness to look way beyond one’s own garden gate; it is overtly harmonizing and peace-making; it is open to change; it is self-evidently more interested in questions of “how should we live” than in staking an exclusive claim to “truth”. I would also add that it offers a vital chance to “grow up”: to claim one’s inner authority and conscience that returns us to the profound simplicity of the Golden Rule and all that implies.

None of us “owns” God. Nor can any of us rightly claim to speak for God – particularly when those claims are arrogant, violent or divisive.  What we can know is how urgently humanity needs a more peaceful, self-respectful and caring way of thinking about – and living out – religion, faith, religious identity and belief.

One of my own community members, herself long versed in Sufi universalism, wrote to me recently: “Interfaith in my experience does not water down one’s own particular religious tradition. It seeks to strengthen by its intrinsic and explicit acknowledgement of the value of all religious traditions. In this way, the interfaith movement seeks to unite in a universal service by drawing together people to celebrate the essential Divine humanity expressed through diversity. Some call this a uniting path of love.”

My sense perhaps my hope is strong that in all its diversity, “interfaith” experiences – including shared worship –  will be increasingly available and supported within our global world. They will, though, be diversely lived. For some, this will strengthen a “home faith”. For some, it will involve a softening of attitudes about faith as well as interfaith, with a greater understanding of those who live or worship differently. For some, “spiritual inclusivity” will itself be a chosen and cherished path.

Accepting that diversity of experience can be challenging. Yet “interfaith” can itself be our finest teacher about what we more profoundly share. Bowing our heads together in silence, allowing ourselves to be transported by poetry or music, listening deeply to one another’s stories, offering consolation in grief and celebration in joy: these are unifying moments and may even be transformative.

Seeking meaning in and through life (and in and through our reflections upon it) is among the most profound quests that our human family shares. An interfaith perspective is likely to acknowledge this as a human activity, expressed and inspired in many ways, but transcending through first-hand knowledge and respect all the familiar separations of religion, culture, race, class and gender. In short, it’s a way of bringing people together around what matters most. It’s a way of opening hearts as well as minds.

In 21st-century life, interfaith activities, ideals and spiritually inclusive experiences can add substantially to our urgent needs for peace making, social and economic justice, care for the physical universe, and global as well as intimate, daily and personal understanding of one another. They also witness to what we share, rather than to what divides us. This is no small thing. In truth, I find it quietly hopeful.

*

Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick leads spiritually inclusive services each 3rd Sunday of the month at Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street, Sydney, 3pm. She also leads retreats and events in Australia, NZ, and Japan. For further depth on interfaith and spiritual seeking, please see her book, Seeking the Sacred. This article is copyright. If you wish to reproduce or share it, please write to uhn @  stephaniedowrick.com (close up spaces) and acknowledge this website as your source. You are invited also to follow her on Facebook for spiritually inclusive, socially conscious inspiration.





IN MEMORIAM

24 05 2013

Don Andrea Gallo

18 July 1928 – 22 May 2013

don_gallo

“My gospels are not four… We follow since years and years the gospel according to De André, a path that is in stubborn and of contrary direction. And we can confirm it, note it: from diamonds nothing is born, from dung flowers bloom.” — Don Andrea Gallo

Andrea Gallo was drawn to as a child by spirituality of Salesians of John Bosco, and entered the 1948 in their novitiate of Varazze. In 1953, after studying philosophy in Rome, Gallo was asked to leave Italy for missions, and he was sent to São Paulo, Brazil, where he attended theology courses. Since the Brazilian dictatorship forced him to return to Italy, in 1954 he went to Ivrea to continue the studies and was ordered priest on 1 July 1959.

A year later he was sent as a chaplain to the training ship Garaventa, trying to introduce a different setting in teaching and to replace the repressive methods with an education based upon trust and freedom. After three years Gallo was moved to another position, and in 1964 he decided to leave the Salesians and asked his superiors to incardinate in the Archdiocese of Genoa. After that, the cardinal Giuseppe Siri, archbishop of Genoa at that time, sent him to Capraia, as the chaplain of the prison.

Two months later he was assigned as assistant pastor to the parish of Mount Carmel, where he remained until 1970, when the cardinal Siri moved back to Capraia. In the parish of Mount Carmel Andrea Gallo started to gather young people and adults from all over the city, especially the poor and the marginalized. In the summer of 1970, after a den of hashish was discovered in the same district, Gallo, taking a cue from the fact, he recalled in his homily that there are many other drugs, for example those of language, thanks to which a boy may become “unsuitable for studies” “if he is the son of poor people, or a bombing of helpless people can become action in defense of freedom.” He was accused of being communist, and this lead the curia to decide his removal. The measure of the archbishop caused the parish and the town to protest, but the curia did not turn back and ordered Don Gallo to obey. However, he refused the assignment to Capraia, believing that there he would be totally and permanently isolated. Some time later he was welcomed by the parish priest of St. Benedict at Port of Genoa, Don Federico Rebora, and together with a small group he established the Comunità di San Benedetto al Porto.

Since then he has committed for pacifism and in the recovery of marginalized people, even asking the legalization of soft drugs: in 2006 Gallo was fined for smoking marijuana in the town hall of Genoa to protest against the law on drugs in Italy. He actively supported the movement No Dal Molin of Vicenza against the construction of a new U.S. military base in Padua. In April 2008 Gallo joined the V2-Day organized by Beppe Grillo. On June 27, 2009 he participated to the Genova Pride 2009, complaining about the uncertainties of the Catholic Church in respect of homosexuality.

A LGBT rights advocate, on August 15, 2011 Gallo has been honored as Gay Character of the Year by Gay.it in Torre del Lago. In 2013 he said that the Catholic Church needs an openly gay pope.

He died in Genoa on May 22, 2013 at the age of 84. His death was announced by Domenico Chionetti, spokesman for the Community of San Benedetto al Porto.

Don Andrea Gallo singing Italian antifascist song with his parishioners





Pope Francis has called on world leaders to put an end to the “cult of money”

16 05 2013

Pope Francis has called on world leaders to put an end to the "cult of money"

Pope Francis has attacked the “dictatorship” of the global financial system and warned that the “cult of money” was making life a misery for millions.

By AFP

VATICAN, May 16, 2013

Pope Francis has denounced the global financial system, blasting the “cult of money” that he says is tyrannizing the poor and turning humans into expendable consumer goods.

In his first major speech on the subject, Francis demanded Thursday that financial and political leaders reform the global financial system to make it more ethical and concerned for the common good.

Francis, who has made clear the poor are his priority, made the comments as he greeted his first group of new ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.

He said free-market capitalism had created a “tyranny” and that human beings were being judged purely by their ability to consume goods.

“Money should be made to serve people, not to rule them”, he said, calling for a more ethical financial system and curbs on financial speculation.

Countries should impose more control over their economies and not allow “absolute autonomy”, in order to provide “for the common good”.

The gap between rich and poor was growing in many developed countries, the Argentinian Pope said, two months after he was elected as the successor to Benedict XVI.

“While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling,” said Francis, who as archbishop of Buenos Aires visited slums, opted to live in a modest flat rather than an opulent Church residence and went to work by bus.

In poorer countries, people’s lives were becoming “undignified” and marked by violence and desperation, he said.

Francis made the strongly-worded remarks in his first major speech on finance and the economy, during an address to foreign ambassadors in the Vatican.

It underlined a reputation he has established in the last two months for showing deep concern for the plight of the poor and vulnerable.

“The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal,” Francis told the ambassadors.

As the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Argentina, he often spoke out about the plight of the poor during the country’s economic crisis.

Unchecked capitalism had created “a new, invisible, and at times virtual, tyranny”, said the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.

“The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but the Pope has the duty, in Christ’s name, to remind the rich to help the poor, to respect them, to promote them,” he said.

Francis will make the first foreign trip of his papacy to Brazil in July, during which he will visit a slum in Rio de Janeiro and meet young prison inmates.

He will attend World Youth Day, a week-long event which is expected to attract more than two million people.

 

 





HUNGARY: Christians Churches Fight Right Wing Anti-Semitism

14 05 2013
Main synagogue in Budapest, Hungary

Main synagogue in Budapest, Hungary


By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

BUDAPEST, May 14 (Reuters) – When Hungarian radical right-wingers rallied against a Jewish conference in Budapest in early May, a well-known Protestant pastor hid behind the stage while his wife stepped up to the podium to denounce Jews and Israel.

Lorant Hegedus could have preached the same anti-Semitism as his wife, a deputy for the populist Jobbik party in parliament. But his part in launching the rally may cost him his role as the far-right’s favourite clergyman.

With anti-Semitism on the rise here, Christian churches are working with the Jewish community to counter the provocations against Jews and the Roma minority that have won Jobbik support among voters fed up with the country’s economic crisis.

The Hungarian Reformed Church has begun proceedings that might end up defrocking Hegedus and depriving him of his high-profile base at the Homeland Church on the upscale Freedom Square, near the central bank and the United States embassy.

“This is a permanent provocation,” Gusztav Bolcskei, the Church’s presiding bishop, said of Hegedus’s political activity. “It has nothing to do with the Gospel.”

Hungary’s small community of 80,000-100,000 Jews appreciates the Christian support. “We’re satisfied with the actions of the churches,” said Peter Feldmajer, who stepped down as head of the community on Sunday.

“I think, at the end of the day, he will be fired,” he said.

Hegedus declined to be interviewed for this article.

RELIGION IN POLITICS

Supporter of Hungarian far right party Jobbik

Supporter of Hungarian far right party Jobbik

Anti-Semitism has deep roots in Hungary, which began passing anti-Jewish laws in 1920, more than a decade before Nazi Germany. About half a million Hungarian Jews died in the Holocaust, which the Christian churches failed to oppose.

Other trends that resonate with sections of Hungarian society are a tradition of vibrant nationalism after centuries of foreign domination and, more recently, a strong resentment against the country’s largest minority, its 700,000 Roma.

With the country in economic crisis and voters disillusioned by the previous Socialist governments, Jobbik tapped these emotions to win 17 percent of the votes in the 2010 election.

While conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban has condemned anti-Semitism and rapped Jobbik in recent comments to an Israeli newspaper, he shied away from denouncing the party in a May 5 speech to a World Jewish Congress assembly here only minutes after WJC President Ronald Lauder urged him to do so.

“If Orban goes too hard against Jobbik, he’s worried he won’t be able to scoop up Jobbik’s voters,” said Robin Shepherd, author of a study for the WJC on neo-Nazi parties in Europe.

Neutralised in public during the four decades of communism that ended in 1989, religion has crept back into Hungarian politics in recent years as Orban’s Fidesz party stresses the country’s Christian roots while Jobbik fans resentment of Jews.

This has come despite a dramatic fall in church affiliation. Census figures show that self-declared Roman Catholics dropped from 54 to 39 percent of the population between 2001 and 2011 and self-declared Reformed from 16 to 12 percent.

The Jewish community remained stable at 0.1 percent.

DIFFICULT TO DEFROCK

The resurgent mixture of nationalism and anti-Semitism has presented a challenge for the Reformed Church, which has a strong patriotic tradition rooted in opposition to the Catholic Habsburgs plus church laws allowing wide leeway to its pastors.

Its national leadership has denounced anti-Semitism several times but failed a decade ago to oust Hegedus, whose father was bishop of Budapest at the time. It renewed the effort to defrock him last month after he called for the anti-Jewish rally.

“According to our democratic rules, this should start at the church district level,” Bolcskei said. If the district agrees to move against a pastor, the case then goes up the hierarchy and through church courts before a final decision.

“It can be done, but it’s a very long procedure,” he said.

Thanks to regular dialogue between Jews and Reformed Church leaders, Feldmajer said he understood why Bolcskei – who he said was “totally with us” – could not easily expel Hegedus.

He thought only about 10 percent of Reformed preachers and congregants harboured anti-Semitic views, a figure that matches pollsters’ estimates of Jobbik’s core political support, and hoped the Church leadership could change their minds.

CARDINAL CRITICISED

Hungaran Cardinal Peter Erdo

Hungaran Cardinal Peter Erdo

“It’s easier in the Catholic Church,” said Feldmajer, who praised Cardinal Peter Erdo for his strong support for the Jewish community “not just in a closed room but also in public.”

Jews used to feel some hostility from some Catholic clergy, he said, but that faded away after Erdo became archbishop of Budapest a decade ago, he said.

The Catholic bishops issued an open letter before the 2010 election warning against “neo-pagan tendencies” in some political parties, a clear reference to some Jobbik ideologues who hark back to Hungary’s pre-Christian history.

Erdo, who was frequently mentioned earlier this year as a possible successor to retired Pope Benedict, joined the 2012 Budapest March of the Living to remember the Holocaust.

“I’ve received some hostile letters and criticism in some newspapers saying that the Catholic Church is not patriotic enough,” the cardinal said. “There are also people who say Jesus Christ was not a Jew. Come on, this is crazy.” (Editing by Anna Willard)








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