Saturday, February 16, 2008

Archaic case of alleged blindness

For a long time, Catholics have looked upon Jews as potential Christians who have the misfortune of not seeing the Light, for they have been blinded. To hammer home the point, the medieval Church often represented Judaism in sacred art as a blindfolded female, suggesting that she might be enlightened by removing the blindfold... which has always been a theme of Christian proselytism.

Today, few people get worked up about such an interpretation of religious beliefs. Pope Benedict XVI is one of the rare religious leaders who persists in considering that such a matter still lies in the domain of valid contemporary preoccupations. Accordingly, he has just released a revised version of the Latin wording of a prayer in the traditional Tridentine Mass. Before Vatican II, the prayer evoked explicitly the "blindness" of Jews, and exhorted God to "lift a veil from their hearts", enabling them to be converted to Christianity. The new wording from Benedict XVI is slightly more soft: "Let us pray for the Jews. May the Lord Our God enlighten their hearts so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, the savior of all men."

Jews are unlikely to be reassured. I often have the impression that the Lord has bestowed a rare gift upon Benedict XVI: a subtle talent for stirring up constantly an optimal quantity of shit.

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