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Archbishop Dolan, speaking from the pulpit of Saint Patrick's Cathedral on Palm Sunday, said the pope is "suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob and scourging at the pillar as did Jesus." Dolan continued that the Pope is a "man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo."

These comments are frighteningly anti-semitic.

(Diarist's note added after 126 comments: the invocation of "the mob" is an unmistakeable reference to the supposed Jewish mob who, in the Christian anti-semitic gospels, calls for the killing of Jesus. Thus, Dolan is not just equating the Pope with Jesus, he is equating those who exposed the cover-up of the Catholic abuse scandals with the supposedly deicidal Jewish mob -- the same metaphors used to whip-up anti-Jewish pogroms for centuries.)

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Dolan didn't explicitly refer to the New York Times by name in that sermon, instead referring to "certain sources," but his complaints about putative anti-catholicism in the New York Times are well known (and he repeated the claim in his March 30 blog post). His audience knows which paper broke the stories, so they could not mistake his claim of who was responsible for metaphorically crucifying the Pope. According to the (London) Times, Dolan complained that, "Truth and falsehood are scandalously mingled in the New York Times reconstructions" of the Catholic hierarchy's cover-up.

What Archbishop Dolan is doing is trying to distract from the abuse scandal and its cover-up by engaging in the millenia-old Catholic tradition of blaming the Jews for killing Jesus. That's why he is accusing the implicitly Jewish New York Times of metaphorically crucifying the current pope. Basically, he's saying, "the Jews are at it again."

I think Dolan's accusation of deicide is at least as egregious as Father Raniero Cantalamessa's now infamous sermon (which the Vatican has attempted to roll back), comparing the exposure of the Catholic hierarchy's cover-up of abuse to anti-semitism.

James Carroll, (the Boston Globe columnist and author of the amazing book, "Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews," which I'm in the middle of reading), wrote a prophetic column over a week ago warning of the danger of precisely this kind of official Catholic anti-semitism:

Carroll wrote:

"Now begins the most sacred week of the Christian year — and the most dangerous. In Holy Week down through the centuries, mobs have poured out of churches in search of Jews to harass and kill. (In 1096, beginning on Good Friday, Christians killed something like 10,000 Rhineland Jews in a few short weeks — Europe’s first pogrom). And why? The Passion narratives that Christians hear proclaimed from pulpits between now and Friday explicitly blame the murder of Jesus on 'the Jews.'"
I would hope that Archbishop Dolan knows well the murderous consequences of Catholic charges of deicide, yet he chose to invoke precisely that metaphor. Why?

Carroll ended his column explicitly calling on Christians to repudiate the anti-semitism of the Gospels, something that, as an atheist Jew, before I started reading Carroll's book, I never allowed myself to hope I would hear from a Christian.

"This week, Christian preachers must preach against these texts. Christians must hear these texts as if they are themselves Jewish, having foremost in mind that Jesus never stopped being a faithful Jew. If Christians had remembered that, and measured both their doctrines and their behavior against their Lord’s undying love of his own people, the history of the last 2,000 years would be very different."
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Originally posted to samdiener on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 02:15 PM PDT.

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