Op-Ed: The Vatican's Resounding Silence
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
A few days ago, an ecumenical prayer was celebrated by Pope Francis in the Vatican in the presence of Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel’s President Shimon Peres.
The Islamic clergyman who offered the “prayers for peace” in the Vatican ended with a quotation from the last verse of Sura 2 in the Koran, which reads: “You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people”.
The “disbelieving people” are the “unbelievers” or “infidels”.
A few days later, three Jewish teens were abducted by terrorists coming from Abbas’ territory and returning to it. And the Vatican stood silent. It is a shame that the Catholic Church and the Pope didn’t raise their voice calling for the release of the Israeli teens.
During the Gulf War in 1991, Pope John Paul II only protested after 19 Iraqi scuds had fallen on Tel Aviv and millions of Jews had to wear gas masks inside their own houses. And he mentioned “the civilians”, not the Israeli Jews.
In 2009 Pope Benedict XVI spoke out repeatedly against the Israeli war centered on Gaza. The authorities of the Church, and Benedict XVI himself, raised their voices in condemnation of “the massive violence that has broken out in the Gaza Strip in response to other violence”, only after Israel began bombing the military installations of the terrorist movement Hamas. Not before. Not when Hamas was launching rockets every day against the Jews in the surrounding area.
One Friday night in Itamar Tamar Fogel took part with other friends in a scouting event until midnight, close to her village. She arrived home and knocked on the door. Nobody answered. She went inside with a neighbor and she saw her mother, her father, her three brothers (respectively 11, 3 years and 3 months old) slaughtered with their throats cut. What did the Holy See’s say? Nothing.
The Vatican, which professes to deplore violence on both sides of the Israel-Palestinian equation, has been totally silent on the slaughtering of the Fogels. Neither the US institutionalized Churches nor the Vatican made reference to the Itamar attack at all.
And now it is the turn of Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel. The Vatican’s excuse for not speaking out against the crime of abducting three innocent Jews might be because the “anger” of the Arab perpetrators is justified in the Pope’s eyes.
It reminds me of the Christmas message from Pope Pius XII in 1942, which was incredibly peaceful; meanwhile the German Eintzagruppen were killing hundreds of thousands of Jews in the eastern territories, the Polish Jews were already entering en masse into the gas chambers of Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka and Chelmmo, and in Yugoslavia the Shoah was already a fait accompli.
Through the Pope’s propaganda filled visit in Bethlehem, the Vatican’s ecumenical prayer in Rome and the resounding silence in the face of the three teens’ abduction, the Vatican has made itself complicit with Palestinian terrorism.