Thursday, April 21, 2005

Michael Lerner on the new Pope

If you haven't discovered Tikkun magazine, let me recommend it now. A progressive Jewish publication, it is energized by the creativity and social conscience of editor Rabbi Michael Lerner. I've always respected Rabbi Lerner and so I paid attention when I came across a Tikkun article entitled, "The New Pope is a Disaster for the World and for the Jews". It is a short article and so I recommend that you click through and read the whole thing. But here's an excerpt that will give you a taste:

Since the days in which he served in the Nazi army in Germany to his role as the leader of the forces that suppressed the liberatory aspects of Vatican II and purged or silenced the Church of its most creative leadership (including German Catholic theologians Eugene Drewermann and Hans Kung, Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff, and several prominent American Catholic thinkers), to the present moment in which he is recognized as the leader most identified with the forces of reaction and suppression of dissent within the Church, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has distinguished himself as a man who can be counted on to side with the most anti-humane and repressive forces, in opposition to those who seek to give primacy to a world of peace and justice, " said Rabbi Lerner.

Although normally Jews would welcome any choice of leadership by our sister religion, we have particular reason to comment on this choice.

Rabbi Lerner then goes on to enumerate the particular reasons that he is dismayed by the elevation of Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy. I was particularly stuck by this sentence:

Those of us in the Jewish world who have enormous respect for Christianity and for the wisdom and beauty of the Catholic tradition are in mourning today that the Church has confirmed for itself a destructive direction that will hurt not only Catholics but all those who seek peace and justice in the world.

I agree.

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