Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Is the Pope Catholic?

According to a story in Reuters, the Pope is being criticized for a prayer that asks for the conversion of Jewish people. Now, I personally have trouble swallowing the idea that wanting others to join your religion is discriminatory. We're not talking about picketing of synagoges. We're talking about praying to God for more people to go to heaven. Now Jews and other non-Catholics can say "No thanks," but is it really offensive?

This prayer is old news anyway--he brought it back as an acceptable version last year but it hit the news again Good Friday. Apparently he even recently revised the prayer to be less condescending toward Jews.

But here's the really disturbing (and rhetorically relevant) part: Charlotte Knobloch, whom Reuters reports as the "president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany," said "The inter-religious dialogue has suffered an enormous setback because of this version and I assume that one will find a way very soon to continue the dialogue, but at the moment I don't see it happening."

That is, because the Pope allows Catholics to openly pray for Jews, Jews and Catholics can't even talk to each other. Knobloch seems to suggest that all this is Pope Benedict's fault, yet she seems to be wielding cut off dialogue like a threat. If dialogue is as important as Knobloch lets on, it shouldn't be cut off at every sign of offense.

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