Another Tack: The Holy See’s Unholy Sanctimony

Pope Paul VI at Meggido in 1964: He made sure the name Israel would never escape his lips. President Zalman Shazar stands to his right.

Pope Paul VI at Meggido in 1964: He made sure the name Israel would never escape his lips. President Zalman Shazar stands to his right.

The Vatican’s recognition of a Palestinian state (which despite its popularity abroad does not in fact exist) shows that the Holy See can be awfully speedy when it so suits it – even headlong and precipitate.

This is quite a departure from our Jewish experience with the Catholic hierarchy. With isolated exceptions, Jews have consistently encountered an entrenched severity, even hardheartedness – and that’s putting it very mildly.

With impetuous haste the Vatican rushed to recognize a state that so far consists of only radical Muslim bands distinguished only by their brands of zealotry. This is in stark contrast to the excruciating tardiness, indeed the unconcealed reluctance by the same church to recognize Israel.

The Vatican’s ill-will lasted decades after the Jewish state was born, after it survived genocidal attacks by seven Arab armies only three years post-Holocaust, after it successfully absorbed millions of Jewish refugees and after it created a functioning democracy second to none, along with all the institutions of civil society.

Despite Israel’s exemplary attributes of sovereignty, the Vatican remained sour, begrudging and glacially aloof – and that again is resorting to understatement.

So whereas a Palestinian state is recognized prematurely – before actual self-determination – it took the Vatican a whopping 45-and-a-half years after the fact to bring itself to officially recognize Jewish self-determination. Egypt – Israel’s bitter foe for decades – beat the Vatican by 14 years. Continue reading