In the context of an address to visiting prelates from formerly communist countries of Central Asia, Pope Benedict XVI recently said that even though there was a growing plague of terrorism in some of their jurisdictions and that laws were necessary to oppose this terrorism -
"the force of law should never itself promote a lack of justice, nor can the free exercise of religion be limited, because to freely profess one's faith is a fundamental and universally recognized human right."
The Pope went on to recall that:
"the Church is the first promoter of religious freedom, since it never imposes, but only proposes, the faith."
The Church knows, he said, that:
"conversion is the mysterious fruit of the Holy Spirit's work. Faith is a gift and a work of God, and hence excludes any form of proselytism that forces, allures or entices people by trickery to embrace it."
Just three days earlier, an Israeli Jesuit priest, Father David Neuhaus, unwittingly exposed in advance the Pope's breathtaking lies when he contrasted current and former Catholic Church attitudes to Jews in an address to Jewish leaders. Father Neuhaus claimed that Pope Benedict XVI had worked a "subtle revolution" in his recent trip to Paris just by quoting the Talmud.
In the context of commenting on the importance of the Sabbath, the Pope said:
"Does not the Talmud Yoma (85b) state: 'The Sabbath has been given to you, but you have not been given to the Sabbath?'"
Father Neuhaus explained that the Church in France has a history of censoring the Talmud, the body of Jewish civil and ceremonial law.
"In 1239, Pope Gregory IX sent out a letter to the monarchs in Europe ordering them to confiscate the volumes of the Talmud from the Jewish communities that lived in their lands," the Jesuit wrote. "Accusations had been made that the Talmud contained blasphemies against Christian belief and constituted an obstacle to Jewish conversion to Christianity.
"Little action was taken by the European monarchs outside of France, although in many places censorship of the Talmud was imposed.
"In France, as a result of the Pope's letter condemning the Talmud, the first public disputation was staged between Jews and Christians between June 25 and 27, 1240, in Paris. Two years later, in June 1242, 24 wagonloads of books, including many precious handwritten volumes of the Talmud, were burnt.
"The French King, Louis IX, ordered further confiscations in 1247 and 1248 and future monarchs in France upheld the principle. A further book burning was held in Toulouse in 1319."
"The Jesuit asked, "Is it not then a subtle revolution that to the Holy Father not only warmly greets the Jewish community in Paris, but that he also quotes the same Babylonian Talmud? Is it not significant too that he quotes from a Talmudic teaching that resonates deeply with the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth?"
Some may protest that the Roman Catholic Church's attitude to the Jews has changed since those long-ago days. In answer to those critics, I will just repeat what I said in The Holy See and The Holy Places:
"In her dealings with Israel, we see encapsulated the timeless animating principles of the Vatican’s will to power: there is no deception she will not entertain, there is no hypocrisy she will not tolerate, there is no calculated lie she will not tell, there is no pledge she will not break, and there is no friend she will not betray in her relentless campaign to establish ‘spiritual’ hegemony over the entire world. In the case of Jerusalem, the goal is a legally enforceable international religious status for the city, which will of course require the oversight of a religious institution, which will of course be none other than herself.
"Tactics have changed according to century and circumstance - they have certainly adapted magnificently to the modern trend towards pious platitudes about freedom of religion, peace and justice - but the ultimate goal has never changed, and never will until victory or doomsday.
"To this, and every other end, the Vatican invokes tradition, custom, and previous judicial decisions to establish ever-more demanding and encroaching treaties and agreements with civil authorities under a voluminous spiritual cloak of piety, peace, ecumenism and universal brotherhood which amply conceals their very temporal and millennial aspirations to universal power and solo sovereignty over the entire world, supposedly in the name of 'Jesus Christ.'
And the epicentre of that world is not Rome but Jerusalem.