Saturday, 3 April 2010

The meaning of words

We have heard a lot about twisting words in the media recently, and several Catholic prelates have suffered it. Now it is the turn of the Archbishop of Canterbury. I am sorry. We may be in an awful pickle at the moment, but I have no desire to pull anyone else into the pot.

I read this morning in several places that the said prelate refused his blessing to those Anglicans who wish to become Catholics.

In fact, what he said was:

They believe they ought to be in communion with the Bishop of Rome. I can only say fine, God bless them. I don't at the moment.

i.e. he doesn't believe he ought to be in communion with the Bishop of Rome at the moment, not that he refuses his blessing to those who do.

He might indeed have been more careful in choosing his words about the Church in Ireland, but I don't really think his words were worse than, say, Bishop Conry's statement about being holed beneath the waterline. Both are expressions of the gravity of the situation, about which nobody is in doubt.

These things are simply more attempts of bored journalists trying to whip up a story where there ought to be none.

You can read more of the Archbishop of Canterbury's words here on the Times on line site. And you might care to note that the Archbishop of Dublin is called 'Mr Martin'. I hope that was a mistake and not a deliberate insult.
(This page has now been changed, I see)

As for Cantalamessa…… Well, if not actually wrong, then he was gravely imprudent, to say the least. There are people out there who are understandably sensitive about any comparisons with the holocaust. This is not a time to be making that comparison, if ever there were a good time!


Marc Puckett said...

What P. Cantalamessa actually said, if the Zenit transcript is right:

"This pushes us to direct a thought to our Jewish brothers. They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms."

And he then goes on cite a rambling note from a Jewish friend or acquaintance.

The media, who have their own agendas, created this nonsense story and have driven it.

I wondered yesterday when I saw what I believe was your first? previous? post on the Good Friday homily--having just, as chance would have it, read the Zenit transcript or text: what can he be going on about?

I read daily, and take this opportunity to thank you for all your good and faithful work for your parish and our Church. Happy Easter!

(I have disagreements with R. C.'s preaching, what of it I've read, but have to say per impossibilem that I'd trade my local homilists for him any day....)

bedwere said...

I hope you're right, Father. Have a blessed Easter!

GOR said...

I do believe that Fr. Cantalamessa’s words were taken out of context. He was quoting a Jewish friend who likened the attacks on the Church to the persecution Jews have sustained for centuries – not just in the 20th century Holocaust. Any reference to ‘Jewish persecution’ is immediately associated with The Holocaust by those with short memories or who have little knowledge of history.

Discrimination against, and persecution of, Jews didn’t just begin in the 20th century in Nazi Germany. It has a long history – reaching back to Old Testament times - and The Holocaust was the most egregious example of this in modern times.

That said, Fr. Cantalamessa would have been better advised to use other examples of the treatment of the Vicar of Christ and the Church. The “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah might have been a better example - not to mention the treatment of Him whose Vicar the Holy Father really is - and to Whom the Church belongs.

Sir Watkin said...

Thank you so much, Father, for these measured and level-headed comments. You are absolutely spot on in everything you say here. Bravo!

Christos anesti!

Justin said...

Have you mentioned this to Ruth Gledhill, Father? I think you should...

Robert said...

I took the liberty of using your interprestaion of the Archbishop's words is a letter in the Church times which was published. I also wrote of other matters including the dreadful treatment of the Pope by the media. Lambeth Palace have told me that I- and therefore you- are right.