Pope Benedict XVI faced fresh criticism yesterday after attacks on the Catholic Church over the furor of pedophile priests were compared to anti-Semitism, further marring Easter Week celebrations.
Jewish groups and those representing victims of abuse by Catholic priests denounced the remarks by the pope’s personal preacher during a Good Friday homily.
Joining the chorus of criticism, Rome’s chief rabbi said in an interview published yesterday: “It’s an inappropriate parallel and of dubious taste.”
The comparison was not made on “any day, but on Good Friday, that is the saddest day in the history of relations between Christians and Jews,” Riccardo Di Segni told the Italian daily La Stampa.
The parallel was drawn in a letter that Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher to the Papal Household, said he received from an unnamed Jewish friend.
“The stereotyping, the transfer of personal responsibility and blame to a collective blame reminds me of the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism,” Cantalamessa quoted him as writing.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi later told reporters the comments were from “a letter read by the preacher and not the official position of the Vatican.”
However, a top official of the Central Council of Jews in Germany said he found it highly unlikely the pope’s preacher would make such a statement without Vatican approval.
“It was a step taken at a high level to relativize anti-Semitism and the Holocaust,” Stephan Kramer said, adding that such remarks make religious dialogue between Jews and Catholics impossible.
Benedict made no mention of the child abuse controversy during a traditional procession later on Friday at Rome’s Colosseum re-enacting Jesus Christ’s Passion.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the largest and most active of such groups in the US, denounced the remarks, saying they insulted “both abuse victims and Jewish people.”
“The remarks are shameful, inaccurate and a complete distortion of history,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, demanding an apology from the pope himself.
The new woes for the 82-year-old pope came as he prepared to lead an Easter vigil in St Peter’s Basilica late last night.
The child abuse scandal has engulfed much of Europe and the US, prompting harsh criticism of the Vatican’s handling of the scourge.
The pope himself faces allegations that, as archbishop of Munich and later as the Vatican’s chief morals enforcer, he helped to protect predator priests.
The Archbishop of Canterbury told the BBC in a radio interview to be aired next week that the Irish Catholic Church had lost “all credibility” over its massive abuse scandal compounded by evidence of cover-ups by high-ranking prelates, the Times of London reported yesterday.
Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of more than 70 million Anglicans, called the scandal a “colossal trauma” in comments that risk creating tensions with the Vatican ahead of the pope’s visit to Britain in September.
COMMITMENT: The world’s biggest contract chipmaker said that its new 2nm chips, as well as next-generation, cutting-edge 1.4nm chips, will be produced in Taiwan Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday said that the majority of its most advanced chips would continue to be manufactured in Taiwan and that it is boosting advanced chip packaging capacity to catch up with fast-growing demand driven by generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications like ChatGPT. Deeply rooted in Taiwan, TSMC is expanding production capacity for its most advanced 3-nanometer (nm) chips at its Tainan fab and is building new plants to produce new 2-nanometer chips in Hsinchu and Taichung in 2025. The chipmaker also plans to produce next-generation, cutting-edge 1.4-nanometer chips, which are currently under development, at home, it
FIRST STEP: Business groups in Taiwan welcomed the deal, which does not include tariff reductions at this stage, as they called for the elimination of double taxation Taiwan and the US yesterday signed an initial agreement under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. The agreement was signed yesterday morning by Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Managing Director Ingrid Larson in Washington, the Office of Trade Negotiations in Taipei said. The ceremony was witnessed by Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and Deputy US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi. Taiwan and the US started talks under the initiative in August last year, after Taipei was left out of the Washington-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. “The deal that will be signed tonight is not only very historic,
PASSAGE DISPUTE: A US and Canadian transit was a provocation and an attempt to ‘exercise hegemony of navigation,’ China’s defense ministry told a forum in Singapore The Ministry of National Defense yesterday urged the Chinese Communist Party to avoid provocative behavior after a Chinese navy ship crossed the paths of a US destroyer and Canadian frigate transiting the Taiwan Strait. A Chinese ship on Saturday “executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of [the USS] Chung-Hoon,” an American destroyer, the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement. The vessel “overtook Chung-Hoon on their port side and crossed their bow at 150 yards [137m]. Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 [knots, 18.5kph] to avoid a collision,” the statement said. It then “crossed Chung-Hoon’s bow a second time
HARD-WON FREEDOM: Beijing’s 1989 crackdown on protesters has not been and should not be forgotten, as China tightens its grip on Hong Kong, Lai said Taiwanese enjoy democracy and freedom and have multiple ways to express their creativity, and hopefully young people in China would also one day have the freedom to sing and express themselves, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s bloody crackdown on student-led protests in Beijing in 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident. Tsai posted a photograph taken in March in a subway station in Guizhou, China, where hundreds of young people gathered to sing People With No Ideals Don’t Get Hurt (沒有理想的人不傷心), saying that they