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Faithless Catholic bishops in the Middle East

The Synod of Bishops of the Middle East in Rome, which ended on Oct. 23, threw out the Hebrew Bible, specifically, its sanctification of the the Land of Israel by and for the Jewish people.

“Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of G-d to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable,” the bishops said.

Exactly which injustices are justified by theological and biblical positions? Certainly not the oppression of any person, Jewish or not, Israeli or not, Palestinian or not. The Hebrew Bible is replete with verses to treat the resident and the stranger in the Land of Israel alike.

Which can only mean that the “injustice” that the Catholic bishops refer to is the actual existence of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel — and in Jerusalem, too.

“We have meditated on the situation of the holy city of Jerusalem. We are anxious about the unilateral initiatives that threaten its composition and risk to change its demographic balance,” said the bishops.

We proudly admit: Since the disciples of the Vilna Gaon began to settle in Jerusalem roughly 200 years ago, Jews have changed the demographic balance of the holy city. Once a minority, the Jews have gradually become a majority. They did so by exercising a human right: it’s called emigration. Obviously, the reality of a majority of Jews in the holy city of Jerusalem, which, after all, was founded by a Jew, King David by name, threatens the Catholic bishops of the Middle East.

News flash: The position of the Catholic Bishops of the Middle East is also threatened by recent theological developments in, and acts of, the Catholic Church itself. The Catholic Church now recognizes the Jewish state. Pope John Paul II visited Jerusalem and the Western Wall. No words from the Pope about turning back the demographic majority of Jerusalem — about expelling Jews from Jerusalem — were uttered.

It is only the Catholic Bishops of the Middle East who imply that “unilateral initiatives” must be reversed; i.e., expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem to restore the previous demographic balance. Expulsion, we had thought, had long been banished from the Catholic vocabulary. Yes, the Catholic Church expelled Jews from France, from Spain, from Portugal and from many other places. That was long, long ago, we had thought.

The Catholic bishops of the Middle East have obviously not come to terms with the reality of a Jewish state, a Jewish Jerusalem, and a people that is no longer letting others expel them from anywhere, let alone from their own homeland, in order to achieve a politically correct demographic balance.

Another news flash: There is expulsion in the Land of Israel. It is the expulsion of Christians from Arab cities, such as Bethlehem — expulsions carried out by Muslim Arabs. These are the only “unilateral initiatives” we know of that actually threaten the demographic balance.

Participants in the Synod of Bishops of the Middle East included 170 Catholic bishops from Muslim countries. The real injustice here is the politicization of Catholic theological and biblical positions. Does this represent the current Pope? We trust not. But if it does, medieval times have returned. Blessedly, the Jewish people are in a far different position today. Synod of Bishops of the Middle East: Get used to it.

Copyright © 2010 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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