On behalf of the Diocese of Toledo, I write regarding Dr. Amjad Hussain's Sept. 25 column, "What was Benedict hoping to accomplish?" Dr. Hussain seems to be a man who values religious faith and seeks to promote dialogue and greater understanding. Sadly, his most recent column contains some mischaracterizations of statements made by Pope Benedict.
In particular, Dr. Hussain stated that Pope Benedict, speaking at Auschwitz this past May, "partly blamed Jews for their ordeal for not standing up for themselves and said that the real victims of the Holocaust were God and Christianity." This is a grave distortion of the Pope's words. Nowhere in his Auschwitz address does the Pope blame the Jewish people for anything. Nor does he claim "the real victims of the Holocaust were God and Christianity."
Some commentators, perhaps unfamiliar with the Christian scriptures, have misunderstood Benedict's use of the phrase "the taproot of Christianity," in reference to biblical Israel, an image drawn from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans. It was also used by the Second Vatican Council, which taught that the Church "draws sustenance from the root of that good olive tree [the Jewish faith] onto which have been grafted the wild olive branches of the Gentiles."
Rather than claiming that the "real victims" in the Holocaust were God and Christianity, Benedict is acknowledging Christianity's deep Jewish roots. The Pope's point is that if they had succeeded in eradicating the Jewish people, the Nazis would ultimately destroy Christianity, too, since Judaism is the root of Christianity.
Director of Communications
Catholic Diocese of Toledo
The latest cover-up in Washington has to do with the way the Geneva Conventions relating to treatment of detainees have been scuttled by our one-party system of government. All hope of improvement in the progress of international law has been jettisoned. We stand up and work either for principles or, as al-Qaeda, decide to do what suits us. We cannot have it both ways. Why talk about the Geneva Conventions? In an administration run on PR stunts, the first casualty is truth.
World leaders are acting like gangs in the street. Insults like "axis of evil" and "devil" are exchanged. We will "stay the course" until we have established gangs all over the world. The head of one wing of the Christian Church appears to join the crowd, when he should actually be engaged in reforming things.
It takes a leadership of a different breed to fight a war in a civilized way befitting humans. Its premise is freedom without law, and nonviolence will not only be meaningless but will actually be our downfall. Regardless of the end, the means adopted should be based on truth. It begins first by how you speak to your opponent (not enemy), and how much you can separate the evil from the evil-doer. Gandhi showed how you can oppose an evil but still befriend its doer. It takes the guts of a human to wage his kind of war. He claimed that in his war more will be killed than in other wars, but his war was the only way to end all wars. Other wars will surely begin a new one. The coward brute seeks refuge by blowing himself up or dropping cluster bombs in the dead of night.
The Blade should be aware that wrongful convictions do occur. Whether Fr. Gerald Robinson is the victim of such I would not presume to know, though your editorial seems to allow no such possibility. The very system that convicted the priest rightly permits appeals. What could possibly be wrong in using a church as a conduit for raising money to defend someone who might, however remotely, be innocent?
If The Blade is equally certain concerning other convictions, it is at least consistently unfair in giving so little consideration to potential error.