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Pope Ignores the War, Gets Free Pass on Sex Abuse

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in the U.S. last week against a macabre backdrop featuring reports of torture, execution and war. He chose not to notice.
 
 
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Torture: Fresh reporting by ABC from inside sources depicted George W. Bush's most senior aides (Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Rice and Tenet) meeting dozens of times in the White House during 2002/03 to sort out the most efficient mix of torture techniques for captured "terrorists."

When initially ABC attempted to insulate the president from this sordid activity, Bush abruptly bragged that he knew all about it and approved. That comment and the action memorandum Bush signed on Feb. 7, 2002, dispelled any lingering doubt regarding his personal responsibility for authorizing torture.

Execution: Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court, with a majority of judges calling themselves Catholic, was openly deliberating on whether one gram, or two, or perhaps three of this or that chemical would be the preferred way to execute people.

Always colorful prominent Catholic layman Antonin Scalia complained impatiently, "Where does it say in the Constitution that executions have to be painless?"

Scalia did not seem at all concerned that the Pope might remind him and his Catholic colleagues about the Church's teaching on capital punishment, i.e., the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent." ( Evangelium Vitae 56).

It was enough to bring this student of German history (and five-year resident there) vivid memories of frequenting those places where precisely these kinds of torture and execution policy reviews were conducted at similarly high levels by Hitler's inner circle -- yes, including judges.

War: Can the Pope possibly be so suffused with his peculiar brand of theology that he is oblivious to what happened when he was a young man during the Third Reich?

Is it possible that papal advisers forgot to tell him that the post-WWII Nuremberg Tribunal described an unprovoked war of aggression, of the kind that the Third Reich and George W. Bush launched, as the "supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes only in that it contains the accumulated evil of the whole?"

Could they have failed to tell the Pope he would be hobnobbing with war criminals, torturers and the enabling cowards in Congress who refuse to remove them from office?

For this Catholic, it was a profoundly sad spectacle -- profoundly sad.

Not since WWII, when the Reich's bishops swore personal oaths of allegiance to Hitler (as did the German Supreme Court and army generals) have the papacy and bishops acted in such a fawning, un-Christ-like way.

With very few exceptions, the bishops (Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran) collaborated with the Nazis. Meanwhile, Hamlet-like Pius XII kept trying to make up his mind as to whether he should put the Catholic Church at some risk, while Jews were being murdered by the thousands.

Albert Camus

In 1948, in the shadow of that monstrous world war, the French author/philosopher Albert Camus accepted an invitation from the Dominican Monastery of Latour-Maubourg.

To their credit, the Dominicans wanted to know what an "unbeliever" thought about Christians in the light of their behavior during the '30s and '40s. Camus' words seem so terribly relevant today that it is difficult to trim them:

"For a long time during those frightful years, I waited for a great voice to speak up in Rome. I, an unbeliever? Precisely. For I knew that the spirit would be lost if it did not utter a cry of condemnation ...

"It has been explained to me since, that the condemnation was indeed voiced. But that it was in the style of the encyclicals, which is not all that clear. The condemnation was voiced and it was not understood. Who could fail to feel where the true condemnation lies in this case?

"What the world expects of Christians is that Christians should speak out, loud and clear, and that they should voice their condemnation in such a way that never a doubt, never the slightest doubt, could rise in the heart of the simplest man.