Vatican Compares Criticism of Church’s Handling of Child Rape to Persecution of Jews

April 2, 2010

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The New York Times reports that a senior Vatican priest speaking at a Good Friday service compared the uproar over the scandals surrounding the Catholic Church’s handling of child rape – which have included reports about Pope Benedict XVI’s oversight role in two cases – to the persecution of the Jews. The remarks sought to focus attention on the Church as the central victim.

Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, who holds the office of preacher of the papal household, delivered his remarks at the traditional Good Friday prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica. He said that Jews "know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms."

Father Cantalamessa then quoted from what he said was a letter from an unnamed Jewish friend. "I am following the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful by the whole word. The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt, remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism."