Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Archbishop Gilbert of Port of Spain accused of Anti-Semetic speech

Knowing Archbishop Edward Gilbert, I am sure that the comments made were a slip of the tongue rather than hate for Jews. I understand why the Jewish group JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) would make an issue of it. You make issues of slips of the tongue so that others would choose their words carefully.

But how would the JTA get the scripts of the Archbishops homily. As far as I know the homily was not broadcast, and the group listening were Catholics. How weird. Or is it?

In my mind, this all started with comments made by certain politicians, of a racist nature. The Archbishop chastised these politicians and they made issue by reporting him to the anti defamation league. Poor guy. He has been so politically correct for too long, and as he starts to make issue he gets attacked.

The reading for the day was taken from Matthew 22:34-40
"When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 'Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?'

Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment.

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hangs all the law and the prophets."

All the comments made were in reference to the local politicians and the reading. It was a Homily about love. In the Homily, and according to the Anti Defamation League article Gilbert spoke of the ORIGINAL Jews.

So I beleive the issue is an over reaction and a blatant attack on the Archbishop and the Catholic Church.

Here is the Article from the Anti Defamation League website:
New York, NY, October 25, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said it was deeply disturbed by disparaging remarks about Judaism from Archbishop Edward Gilbert, the leader of the Catholic Church in the Port of Spain, who reportedly likened politicians in Trinidad and Tobago to Jews and suggested that, "…they have the mindset of the original Jewish people."

Archbishop Gilbert was reported to have made the remarks during a Jubilee Mass held October 24 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church in San Fernando to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Roman Catholic mission there.

"The Jews were compassionate and caring for their own, they were compassionate and caring to the people of their nation, to the people of their race, to the people of their ethnic communities. However, that wasn't enough for Jesus. Jesus took that teaching and universalized it," Archbishop Gilbert told his congregation, according to a news report. "In many cases in this country, there are people who love one another, who are compassionate, but they have the mindset of the original Jewish people. They are good to their own ... but they have not universalized the concept of love."

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said the archbishop's statements as reported were "a disturbing repackaging of ancient anti-Jewish canards and supersessionist beliefs."

"Archbishop Gilbert devalues Judaism over and against Christianity," said Mr. Foxman. "The false notion that Jews only care about themselves and don't care enough about others is one of the major pillars of classical anti-Semitism."

"While the Catholic Church has made tremendous strides in countering anti-Jewish notions such as the belief that the advent of Christianity superseded Judaism, Archbishop Gilbert's statements show that he has not internalized the important reforms of Vatican II."

The article speaks of the Vatican II reform document. It is called NOSTRA AETATE, Latin for "In our Time". The document calls for good relations between Catholics and other Religions: Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and other religions. The last paragraph of the document states:
The Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, color, condition of life, or religion. On the contrary, following in the footsteps of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, this sacred synod ardently implores the Christian faithful to "maintain good fellowship among the nations" (1 Peter 2:12), and, if possible, to live for their part in peace with all men, so that they may truly be sons of the Father who is in heaven.

I am sure, that Archbishop Edward Gilbert will issue a public apology. Not for the sentiment expressed (Love your fellow man universally, as Christ loved), but the slip of the tongue that may have caused offence to Jews. But then if he does that, does that mean he has to apologise to the politicians who make awful statements. What is the church if we cannot speak out against injustice?

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