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The ‘Poor Pope Benedict’ Syndrome

Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.

I was surprised to learn that my friend Jan had fallen into the “Poor Pope Benedict” syndrome that is taking hold in certain Catholic circles after his recent visit to the Holy Land.

“Wasn’t it terrible how the Holy Father was harassed for saying 'millions of Jews' were killed instead of 'six million Jews' when he visited Yad Vashem?” Jan asked me. “And did you see how he was censured for not apologizing in the prayer he inserted into the Wailing Wall? And then the Jewish rabbis were furious because he did not mention the Nazis or apologize for his participation in a Nazi Youth Group.”

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Benedict paid homage to the Jews at Yad Vashem
My dear Jan, don’t be sidetracked. This smokescreen of accusations is to divert attention from reasons why Catholics should be shocked and scandalized by Pope Benedict’s actions. The ones to blame are not primarily the Jews or the media, but Benedict XVI himself.

Indeed, the homage that he willingly paid to the Jews at the Jewish memorial was more shocking for Catholics than any supposed arithmetic error was for the Jews. For a Pope to pray at the remains of the Jewish Temple was in itself the serious offense to God.

In effect, Benedict carried out the same kind of actions - and more - that John Paul II made in 2000 on his trip to the Holy Land. Like JPII, he entered places of false worship and praised false religions, preaching a Masonic unity among confessions instead of the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Benedict’s recent “pilgrimage for peace” was based on the same false premise for unity: that the three monotheistic religions that pretend to adore the same God are legitimate and means to achieve salvation. Everywhere, his actions sent to Catholics the erroneous message that there is no need for Jews, Muslims or Schismatics to convert to the one true Faith. They would only need to unify around humanitarian goals, without mentioning Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Everywhere the Pope sang the song of a one-world religion, where doctrinal differences could be set aside so that people of all confessions might “live together in profound respect, esteem and appreciation.” (1)

Truly shocking actions

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Conciliar Popes paying homage to the Jews where God punished them for killing Jesus Christ
You need not look far to find samples of the truly shocking actions of Benedict XVI in the Holy Land, Jan. I can provide a few examples.

It should be deplorable for Catholics to hear the Pope praise the Al-Hussein Mosque as “splendid” - “a jewel that stands out across the earth’s surface”? He is speaking of a place of false worship where Our Lord is rejected and reviled and the false god of Mohammed is adored. In the times of Christendom, the Popes spearheaded expeditions to re-take such desecrated buildings and consecrate them to the true God.

Where is the shock at seeing the Supreme Pontiff removing his shoes to enter the Dome of the Rock and pay profound respects to the Mohammedan religion, calling that mosque a “sacred place”?

Shouldn’t Catholics be offended that the Vicar of Christ made a prayer with no reference to Our Lord Jesus to insert in the Western Wall?

I am amazed that more traditional Catholics were not repulsed by the nauseating scene inside Nazareth’s Basilica of the Annunciation when, at the end of an interfaith meeting, Benedict XVI jubilantly joined hands with a rabbi and a Druze religious leader and sang “Shalom, Shalom.”

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Benedict joins hands with a rabbi and a mufti and sings for a peace without Christ
Any one of these actions should have been enough to elicit some outrage from Catholics faithful to the perennial Magisterium and Tradition of the Church. But there was very little criticism. Instead, in a remarkable turn of events, we are seeing traditional Catholics playing into the hands of Progressivism, making excuses for Benedict XVI.

Many traditionalists who clearly saw that the actions of John Paul II in the Holy Land conflicted with the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church are now blinded by a smokescreen of pseudo-accusations. Suddenly they lost their sight and can’t see Benedict repeating the same actions, carrying the same inter-confessional message, putting aside Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implicitly affirming that no conversion to the Catholic Faith is necessary to attain eternal salvation.

I can only hope the blinding effect of this smokescreen will not be long-lasting…

Destroying the missionary and militant character of the Church

In the Resistance Statement that I had the honor to sign in 2000, we opposed precisely this conciliar ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue that deny the unity and oneness of the Catholic Faith. To illustrate the objectionable behavior of John Paul II, we posted his photos inserting a prayer in the Wailing Wall and receiving rabbis and muftis, scenes recently repeated by his successor.

On pages 22-24 of We Resist You to the Face (which I suggest you read), we set out the grave consequences of conciliar ecumenism and dialogue. Permit me to make a brief review, Jan, so you will understand our objections are not arbitrary or based on some personal animosity.

What John Paul II and Benedict promoted on their Holy Land visit was theological pluralism, a notion according to which there is not just one Faith, one Revelation and one interpretation of it, as the Catholic Church has always taught. Their actions imply that the Jews and Muslims could also have their own “revelations” and legitimate interpretations. This notion denies the unity of the Catholic Faith and the oneness of the Church.

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Rabbi Yona Metzger reveals Benedict's decision for Catholics to cease the mission to convert Jews
This practice of ecumenism also destroys the militant characteristics of the Catholic Church. The presupposition of ecumenism is that evil and error no longer exist. No one is really bad-intentioned. The progressivists affirm that as soon as the various points of view are well explained, the differences can be resolved. This is equivalent to saying that there are no more enemies of the Church and she need no longer fight. In the Holy Land, the words and actions of Benedict XVI not only denied the glorious militant past of the Church, but indicated that the Church Militant had died.

The missionary character of the Church would also have no reason to exist. It is no longer necessary to convert the schismatics, heretics, Jews and pagans. In fact, we saw Benedict politely listen as Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger brazenly thanked him for stopping missionary activity with Jews. The Pope confirmed by his silence that those words of the rabbi were true.

Instead of conversion, the Conciliar Church undertakes to unify the various religious confessions, thus falsifying the true apostolic missionary characteristic of the Church.

Therefore, Catholics who see the abdication of both the militant and missionary characteristics of the Church have the duty to resist these actions that clash with the perennial Magisterium. This was the presupposition of the Resistance Statement - which was valid not just regarding the actions of John Paul II but also those of Benedict XVI.

If wishes were horses…

Welcoming Benedict XVI as a “pilgrim of peace,” Jordan’s Prince Gazhi bin Talal praised him for making “inter-faith and intra-faith dialogue a top priority of his reign.” (2) It is difficult to understand why some traditionalist Catholics cannot see what even a Muslim clearly recognizes - that Benedict is continuing and even augmenting the false ecumenism of his predecessors.

Why are traditionalists so loathe to admit that this Pontiff continues the progressivist policies of his predecessor? Because of certain allowances he has made for the saying of the Latin Tridentine Mass and his “lifting of the excommunications” of the SSPX Bishops, some would have him be a Pope persecuted and manipulated by the Vatican progressivists. Say what you will about Benedict, but do not pretend this is a puppet Pope. He continues the progressivist revolution because he is committed to it.

He himself stated his full commitment to the reforms of Vatican II immediately after he was raised to the Papacy. (3) He has repeated it many times since. In fact, he affirmed this unequivocally to the rabbis on his first day in Israel at the headquarters of the Chief Rabbinate: “Today I have the opportunity to repeat that the Catholic Church is irrevocably committed to the path chosen at the Second Vatican Council for a genuine and lasting reconciliation between Christians and Jews.”

If he makes some few and disputable concessions to traditionalists, it is not without a price, and that cost is the acceptance of Vatican II.

Yes, Jan, some would wish that Benedict XVI were a closet traditionalist, secretly pining to restore Christendom and the Holy Church. They wish it so much that they select his texts and edit his actions to have it be so. But despite such contrivances, it just isn’t so.

I recall the old nursery ditty, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride; and if turnips were watches, I would wear one by my side…” We should not leave our solid position of resistance. Otherwise, based on false hopes and unfounded dreams, we may find ourselves on foot carrying the turnips of the Vatican II reforms.
1. Speech of Benedict XVI to representatives of inter-religious dialogue at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, May 11, 2009.
2. Address of Prince Ghazi Muhammad bin to Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to the King Hussein Mosque in Amman, Jordan, May 9.
3. First Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI at the end of the Eucharistic Concelebration with the Members of the College of Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel,” Vatican online, April 20, 2005. See also The True Colors of Benedict XVI
Posted on May 26, 2009

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