Today, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who represents the heavily Jewish district in which I live, called for a probe of the bloody Israeli raid of a pro-Palestinian flotilla off the coast of Gaza. More to the point, Rep. Frank, a Jew himself, said in the same interview that “as a Jew,” Israeli treatment of Arabs around some of the West Bank
settlements “makes me ashamed that there would be Jews that would
engage in that kind of victimization of a minority.” Good for him. If I were a Jew, I, too, would be deeply ashamed -- not just of this incident, but of Israel's long history of horrible victimization of the Palestinians.
I'm not a Jew. So, shame is not the emotion I feel. Anger and disgust are the emotions I feel.
Good thing I'm not the U.S. president. I would cut off diplomatic relations with Israel. And I would do everything I could to cut off all aid to Israel. We have supported this horrible regime far too long.
Israel should not only be condemned for its most recent (!!) horrific acts; it should be isolated and punished, labeled for what it is -- a ruthless and immoral state.
Note that I deplore the Israeli government, not the Israeli people. But at some point, the difference becomes difficult to sustain. Are the Israeli people different from their government? Sure. Are they responsible for their government? Yes, to the extent that Israel is a democracy and the Israeli people have put a succession of awful governments in place. Netanyahu is a nightmare. The Israeli government is a heartless, immoral regime that deserves the condemnation of the world -- and more.
Every day brings new abominations from the lunatics at the Vatican. Yesterday, the Pope essentially blamed the victims of clergy abuse. That's my reading (uncharitable as you may think it to be) of what he meant when he said that it was necessary for Christians to “repent” in light of “the attacks of the world, which speaks to us of our sins.” What kind of nonsense is that? Christians don't need to repent. The Catholic faithful don't even need to repent. They didn't do anything. The Catholic clergy and hierarchy need to repent; they are the predators, the enablers, the sick criminals who prey on the vulnerable.
For a time I was puzzled by Pope Benedict’s response to the crisis in the Catholic church. We might disagree about the course of Catholicism. In uncharitable moments, I might mutter that the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was politician as much as priest; his piety merged with ambition some time ago. Yet the Pope indisputably was highly intelligent. Surely he could see what was happening.
Now, I think I understand. The pontiff is a globaliser. He can feel the world’s geopolitical plates shifting. He grasps as well as any politician or business leader that the west has had its day. The opportunities to spread the gospel lie elsewhere – in societies more respectful of authority and less questioning of past crimes.
Pope Benedict, after all, cannot be blind to the crisis of faith among his flock in Europe and North America. He must have known as well as anyone else how many tens of millions had walked away even before the revelations of clerical child abuse and episcopal cover-ups.
He has seen what has happened in Ireland where unerring fealty to Rome has given way to revulsion and disillusionment. He knows seminaries across Europe are empty, and Catholicism in the US convulsed.
No, the dismal reality, I now think, is that the Pope does not care – or at least does not care enough to bend from the unflinching defence of temporal power that described his personal path to the throne of St Peter. If the eventual choice is one between the implosion of the church in the west and a dilution of the blind obedience he sees as an anchor of papal authority, Pope Benedict is ready to stand in the ruins.
That's the view Brian McGrory takes in his column in this morning's Boston Globe. I agree with him. BC is a so-so college that has an inflated sense of itself and doesn't pull its weight locally. Here's McGrory's take:
Suppose for a second that the ball fell through Gerard Phelan’s
fingertips and bounced to the Orange Bowl turf on that famous November
afternoon in 1984, the Miracle in Miami rendered but a dream.
Would Boston College admissions be
anywhere near as selective these days? Would BC have such a prominent
And would one
of its officials, when asked this week why BC doesn’t provide the
same kind of money to the City of Boston that other area colleges do in
lieu of taxes, respond that the school is “opposed’’ to those kinds of
You see, BC, God
love it (and ask any alum, He does), is a unique place. It views
itself as a college on a hill, never mind that it’s just Chestnut Hill.
It firmly believes that if it were not for its very presence,
Boston as we know it — as a center for culture and commerce — would
cease to exist.
always this way. BC used to be the place kids would go when they had
more ambition than achievement. The school would accept a fire hydrant
if it could pay the tuition. Once in, you could be certain of three
things: a diploma, a spouse, and a job. Everyone at BC marries someone
from BC (and has children who go to BC), and it’s a Vatican mandate that
graduates hire BC graduates.
references say you’re chronically tardy, you have a police record, a
sense of entitlement, and a 2.0 from BC. How soon can you start?’’
Then the great Doug Flutie threw the ball
from midfield to good-guy Phelan and every honors student in New York
and New Jersey wanted to be at The Heights. The alumni acted like they
had graduated from Harvard with priests. The same tribalism that seemed
quaint when the school was adequate became insufferable as it prospered.
Tensions rose Wednesday over comments made on Monday by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who called homosexuality “a pathology” and linked it to pedophilia. The comments came as the Vatican was trying to calm a scandal over sexual abuse by priests.
Gay rights and victims’ groups protested the comments — and on Wednesday even the French government weighed in, calling the remarks by Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican’s second in command, “an unacceptable conflation, and one that we condemn.”
Everyone should condemn this sort of tripe. Shame on this church.