Jody Bottum writes:
Cardinal Martino is the former representative of the Holy See to the United Nations, and he now heads the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace—from which perch he recently commented, to an interviewer at Il Sussidiario, about the Israeli invasion of Gaza.
“The consequences of this selfishness is hatred, poverty, injustice,” he explained. “Defenseless populations are always the ones who pay. Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp.”
This will not do. Condemn the Israeli offensive as ill-advised, if you think it so. Denounce it as immoral, if you feel you must—although the moral case against Israel is harder to make, in just-war reasoning, and, in La Repubblica, Martino did apparently try to offset his remarks by condemning the Hamas rocket attacks that provoked the Israelis.
But the deliberate invocation of the Holocaust—the use of a loaded phrase such as “concentration camp”—is worse than wrong-headed. For that matter, it’s worse than choosing up sides in the battle between Hamas and Israel.
What it is, really, is stupid, and it can only serve to worsen the already dangerously strained relations between Catholics and Jews.
How does Martino think the Vatican will be able to influence the behavior of Israel if Jews around the world are convinced a senior Vatican official has equated Gaza and the Holocaust?
The only thing I have to add are is that the bureaucracy of the Church is, at the top, staffed with old Europeans whose personal prejudices frequently color their statements. In these instances, they do not speak for the Church as the Church, but for the Church as institution, as polity, as terribly fallible, fallen, sinful, and pitiful.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.