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Re: 4,259 days: 9-11 NEVER FORGET
— by Exodus 20:5 Exodus 20:5
"You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,"




Criticism of Catholic actions in history

This section, organized chronologically, covers some of the historical actions for which the Western church and the Catholic Church, have been criticised.


Persecution of heresy and heretics

See also: Catholic response to heresy

Before the twelfth century, the Great Church[90] gradually suppressed what it saw as heresy usually through a system of ecclesiastical proscription, excommunication, anathema, and imprisonment. During this time in history, an accusation of heresy could be construed as treason against lawful civil rule, and therefore punishable by death, though this penalty was not frequently imposed, as this form of punishment had many ecclesiastical opponents.[91][92] Later those convicted of heresy were often handed to the state for execution under state laws.


Crusades

Main article: Crusades

The Crusades were a series of military conflicts of a religious character waged by much of Christian Europe against external and internal threats. Crusades were fought against Muslims, pagan Slavs, Orthodox Christians, Mongols, Cathars, Hussites and political enemies of the popes.[93] Crusaders took vows and were granted an indulgence.[93]

Elements of the Crusades were criticized by some from the time of their inception in 1095. For example, Roger Bacon felt the Crusades were not effective because, "those who survive, together with their children, are more and more embittered against the Christian faith."[94] In spite of some criticism, the movement was still widely supported in Europe long after the fall of Acre in 1291. From that time forward, the Crusades to recover Jerusalem and the Christian East were largely lost. Later, 18th century rationalists judged the Crusaders harshly. As recently as the 1950s, Sir Steven Runciman published a highly critical account of the Crusades which referred to Holy War as "a sin against the Holy Ghost".[94]

Medieval Europe consisted of hundreds of small states and principalities. Simultaneously, Europe faced encroachment of Muslim military forces from both the East via the Balkans and the West via Spain and North Africa. The Catholic Church, representing all of Western Christendom, encouraged crusades against Islamic controlled territories in Europe and in the Holy Land from 1095 through 1272 after Islam had conquered most of the Byzantine empire, including the Holy Land.


Inquisition

Main article: Inquisition

See also: List of people burned as heretics

The Inquisitions of Medieval Europe were partially born out of the effort to drive Muslims out of Europe, an effort which was partly successful. Recent popes, such as John Paul II and Benedict XVI, have worked for improved relations with other churches and religions by holding ecumenical and interfaith discussions trying to find common ground on certain issues.

During the Inquisition, the governments of Spain (and Italy, and sometimes France) prosecuted those Christians who publicly dissented from key doctrines of the Catholic Faith. Believing that the souls of those deemed to be heretics were in danger of being consigned to hell, the authorities used whatever means they considered necessary to bring about a recantation. Although the Church originally condoned these proceedings, they were difficult to regulate, and abuses eventually caused the Pope to call for an end to them. In spite of (relatively rare) instances of torture and wrongful execution, it was still widely considered in Europe to be the fairest (and most merciful) judicial system in Europe at that time, as evidenced by records of people blaspheming in secular courts intentionally for them to be brought before the Inquisition for a more just and fair trial.[95][96][97]


Anti-semitism in medieval Europe

See also: Antisemitism in Europe (Middle Ages)

In the Middle Ages, religion played a major role in driving antisemitism. John Chrysostom published material that attacked Jewish Christians for participating in their old faith's rituals and traditions. Frequent uses of hyperbole and other rhetorical devices painted a harsh and negative picture of the Jews. This was largely ignored until the Jewish anti-Christian teachings began to surface in Muslim Andalusia in the 11th and 12th centuries.[98]

The Church responded by reviving, among others, "Adversus Judaeos"—Against the Jewish People, ultimately justifying their ejection from conquered Spanish lands. Anthony Julius quotes the phrase, “Rejecter of Christ, their land has rejected them. Their dispersion is proof of their wickedness.” [99] Historically, Christians, including members of the clergy, have held the Jewish people collectively responsible for killing Jesus.

As stated in the Boston College Guide to Passion Plays, "Over the course of time, Christians began to accept... that the Jewish people as a whole were responsible for killing Jesus. According to this interpretation, both the Jews present at Jesus’ death and the Jewish people collectively and for all time, have committed the sin of deicide, or God-killing. For 1900 years of Christian-Jewish history, the charge of deicide has led to hatred, violence against and murder of Jews in Europe and America."[100]

The Fourth Council of the Lateran, summoned by Pope Innocent III with his papal bull of 19 April 1213, approved ‘Canon 68’. It required Jews and Muslims to wear special dress or badges to enable them to be distinguished from Christians. They were also forbidden to hold any public offices.


Reformation

Main article: Anti-Protestantism

Main article: European wars of religion

The Protestant Reformation (16th century in Europe) came about in no small part due to abuses of church practices by corrupt clergy in addition to these same theological disputes.[3] Before the Reformation, the Catholic Church had a uniquely powerful position in the political order of medieval western Europe; its clergymen occupied a privileged location in the social class structure; and theologically, it claimed to be the only legitimate Christian Church. Because Protestantism emerged from within the Catholic Church, and began as a protest against Catholic worldly practice and religious doctrine, the Papacy and Catholic rulers felt compelled to deal with Protestantism as a dangerous, destabilising influence in politics and society, as well as characterising Protestants as heretical and schismatic.[citation needed]

Within a few decades after the Reformation, governments in most of Europe sought to impose a particular religion, whether Catholicism or a variety of Protestantism, on all the population they ruled. Apart from outright war, members of the "wrong" church were often persecuted or driven into exile. In Catholic countries, the Spanish Inquisition and the Council of Troubles in the Habsburg Netherlands were among the bodies pursuing persecution by judicial means. In France, the French Wars of Religion included numerous massacres, most notoriously the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572. After a long peace following the Edict of Nantes in 1598, Louis XIV reopened the issue in the late 17th century, and the persecution known as the Dragonnades was followed in 1685 by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes and the expulsion of all French Protestants. Religious refugees from both sides were common in many parts of Europe. The Vatican long remained opposed to the limited religious toleration that gradually became accepted in many parts of Europe.

With the consolidation of Protestantism, the extirpation of 'heretics' became a much broader and more complex enterprise, complicated by the politics of territorial Protestant powers, especially in northern Europe. Persecution of Protestant groups ended only as Europe's rulers tired of fighting each other, despite the objections of the Pope, especially at the end of the Thirty Years' War.


Relationship with Nazi Germany

Main article: Catholic Church and Nazi Germany

See also: Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust

German Catholics met the Nazi takeover with apprehension, as leading clergymen had been warning against Nazism for years.[101] A threatening, though initially mainly sporadic persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany commenced.[102] After initially making an effort to negotiate a modus vivendi with Nazi Germany, the church found such accommodation increasingly difficult in the face of ever more aggressive challenges by Nazi Germany.

Adolf Hitler became chancellor on January 30, 1933. On March 23 he addressed the Reichstag, prior to the vote for the Enabling Act. Hitler promised the Weimar Parliament that he would not interfere with the rights of the churches. With power secured in Germany, Hitler quickly broke this promise.[103][104] Cardinal Bertram, on March 28, announced that the bishops had dropped their prohibitions against Nazi membership. The bishops' decision opened the way for a Concordat between the Holy See and the nominally functioning Weimar Republic.[105] Kershaw wrote that the Vatican was anxious to reach agreement with the new government, despite "continuing molestation of Catholic clergy, and other outrages committed by Nazi radicals against the Church and its organisations".[106] The non-Nazi Vice Chancellor, Franz von Papen was chosen by the new government to negotiate for a Reich Concordat with the Vatican.[107] The Concordat was signed on July 20, 1933. It gave the Catholic Church what it wanted in order to preserve the autonomy of ecclesiastical institutions and their religious activities; it assured Hitler that the Church would end so-called political Catholicism. Article 31 acknowledged the Church would not support social or political causes. Nevertheless, Hitler routinely dishonoured the concordat and permitted a persecution of the Catholic Church in Germany.[108]

The German bishops issued a collective pastoral on 19 August 1936 to endorse Hitler's support for Franco.[109] The Vatican felt it necessary to issue two encyclicals opposing the policies of Mussolini and Hitler: Non Abbiamo Bisogno in 1931 and Mit Brennender Sorge in 1937, respectively. Mit Brennender Sorge included criticisms of Nazism and racism.

Joachim Fest, a biographer of Adolf Hitler, wrote that; "At first the Church was quite hostile and its bishops energetically denounced the "false doctrines" of the Nazis. Its opposition weakened considerably in the following years [after the Concordat] [-] Cardinal Bertram developed an ineffectual protest system [-] Resistance..remained largely a matter of individual conscience. In general they [both churches] attempted merely to assert their own rights and only rarely issued pastoral letters or declarations indicating any fundamental objection to Nazi ideology."[110]

The relationship between Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust has long been disputed[Note 1], with some scholars arguing that he kept silent during the Holocaust, while others have argued that he saved thousands if not tens or hundreds of thousands of Jews.


Support for the Ustaše during World War II

Main article: Catholic clergy involvement with the Ustaše

Ante Pavelić, the leader of the Ustaše in Croatia during World War II, was granted a "devotional" audience with Pius XII in Rome.[112] The historian John Cornwell views this act as "de facto recognition by the Holy See" of the Independent State of Croatia, which committed genocide against its Serb, Jewish and Roma citizens.[112] Soon afterwards, Abbot Ramiro Marcone was appointed apostolic legate to Zagreb.[112] Cornwell is unsure whether the Vatican was aware of the exact atrocities committed by the Ustaše by this point, but he noted "it was known from the very beginning that Pavelic was a totalitarian dictator, a puppet of Hitler and Mussolini, that he had passed a series of viciously racist and anti-Semitic laws, and that he was bent on enforced conversions from Orthodox to Catholic Christianity".[112]

Corrado Zoli and Evelyn Waugh have argued that many Catholic clergy members participated directly or indirectly in Ustaša campaigns of violence.[113] The most notorious example is that of expelled Franciscan Miroslav Filipović, known as "the devil of Jasenovac" for running the Jasenovac concentration camp, where estimates of the number killed range between 49,600 and 600,000.[114][115][116] Ivan Šarić is believed to have been the "worst" of the Catholic bishops who supported the Ustaša; his diocesan newspaper wrote: "there is no limit to love. The movement of liberation of the world from the Jews is a movement for the renewal of human dignity. Omniscient and omnipotent God stands behind this movement".[117] Bishop Šarić also appropriated Jewish property for his own use.[118]

Pope Pius XII protected Ante Pavelić after World War II, gave him "refuge in the Vatican properties in Rome", and assisted in his flight to South America; Pavelić and Pius XII shared the goal of a Catholic state in the Balkans and were unified in their opposition to the rising Communist state under Tito.[119] Pius XII also believed that Pavelić and other war criminals could not get a fair trial in Yugoslavia.[120] After arriving in Rome in 1946, Pavelić used the Vatican "ratline" to reach Argentina in 1948, along with other Ustaša,[121] Russian, Yugoslav, Italian, and American spies and agents all tried to apprehend Pavelić in Rome but the Vatican refused all cooperation and vigorously defended its extraterritorial status.[122] Pavelić was never captured or tried for his crimes.[123]

According to Michael Phayer, "the Vatican's motivation for harboring Pavelić grew in lockstep with its apprehension about Tito's treatment of the church".[124]


Relations with the Orthodox Church

After the end of communism in Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church experienced a resurgence. The recent expansion of the Catholic population in Russia strained the Catholic-Russian Orthodox relationship. Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow has demanded that the Vatican curb "proselytism" by Catholic clerics in Russia and eastern Europe.[125] Catholic officials have replied that their efforts in Russia were not aimed at Orthodox believers, but were reaching out to the vast majority of Russians who are not churchgoers.[125]

According to a Catholic Church CDF document called "Doctrinal Note on some aspects of evangelization,"[dead link][126] the Church does not see that as proselytism but rather as evangelism, although it's converting Orthodox Christians to Catholicism.[127]


Sexual abuse controversy

Main article: Catholic sex abuse cases

See also: Roman Catholic sex abuse cases by country

In January 2002, allegations of priests sexually abusing children were widely reported in the news media. It became clear that the officials of various Catholic dioceses were aware of some of the abusive priests, and shuffled them from parish to parish (sometimes after psychotherapy), in some cases without removing them from contact with children. A survey of the 10 largest U.S. dioceses found 234 priests from a total 25,616 in those dioceses, have had allegations of sexual abuse made against them in the last 50 years. The report does not state how many of these have been proven in court.[128]

Some of these reassignments were egregious, the worst leading to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law from the Boston archdiocese. Victims of such abuse filed lawsuits against a number of dioceses, resulting in multi-million dollar settlements in some cases. Similar allegations of abuse in Ireland led to the publication of the Ferns report in 2005, which stated that appropriate action was not taken in response to the allegations.

In response, in June 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops initiated strict new guidelines ("zero tolerance") for the protection of children and youth in Catholic institutions across the country. The Vatican revisited what it regarded as the issue of homosexuality and a gay subculture within the clergy, because the vast majority of the cases consisted of males preying on male adolescents (over 90% of the sexual abuse victims were teenage boys rather than girls or prepubescents).[129]