Another WOW: yesterday’s
statement by Pope Francis that Good Roman Catholics do not need to breed like "rabbits"
I don’t know
what they put in the Pope’s drink on his visit to the Philippines.
Years ago, a
Catholic friend from Montreal told me how their priests would visit families
and demand an explanation, if a year had gone by without a new pregnancy. With
one Papal remark, all those Catholics who followed their priests’ teaching and
expectations to have large families must feel really dumb.
else come out with a statement “Catholics breed like rabbits”, the uproar would
have been enormous. Charlie Hebdo
would party. The Pope would have demanded more respect for his faith and his
flock of…His message would have
been repeated from every pulpit.
PS: and if
you wondered… contraceptives are still out. Tough.
Obama has the solution,
European governments should try to better assimilate their Muslim minority
populations - he said, adding, “our Muslim populations feel themselves to be
Americans and there is this incredible process of immigration and assimilation
that is part of our tradition.” That must be the reason why his opponents have
filled the Internet with suggestions that he was actually a Muslim. The
underlying implication being that had he been open about it, he would not have been
He may not be a Muslim but he is also no
great student of history. Unlike the USA, European countries do not consider
themselves immigration countries. Those coming to the US, go there for the “American
Dream”, they want to become Americans. In principle, at least, that is the deal
on offer. European countries accept foreigners seeking asylum, or in certain
cases seeking jobs. They generally do not seek to become “Europeans”, let alone
French or German. That makes integration a much harder task.
A week after the archbishop of Paris came
out in support of freedom of the press, whatever the price, Pope Francis spoke
out to contradict him.
He spoke about the recent murders in Paris.
That is, he chose to speak about the murders at Charlie Hebdo and not about the killing of Jews at the Kosher
The Pope’s response reminds one of those who
explain rapes by criticising the raped woman’s short skirt: “in freedom of
expression there are limits. … One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other
people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.” This is, of course, some Huzpeh, considering the track record of
his organisation in insulting and degrading Jews over many centuries.
The Pope takes advantage of the attack on
the caricaturists, to lobby for a special status for his group of power
holders, all religions. FORGET IT FRANCIS. No entity that has power over others
– be it political, economic or religious - should be immune. This is essential
to prevent abuse of their power. They should and must be scrutinised,
criticised, provoked, made fun of – anything that might question the power they
have over us.
To explain his thinking, the Pope added, “If my good
friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch.
It’s normal. It’s normal.” WOW. So now, the Catholic Church has formally
adopted “an eye for an eye” theology and abandoned Jesus’ turn-the-other-cheek preaching
in the Sermon on the Mount. This is some revolution. Congratulations!
On Sunday, the Central Council of Jews in Germany elected Josef Schuster as its new
Will he, like his predecessors, consider that acting as a sort of Israel spokesman comes with the job? Should it really be up to the Central Council of Jews to be a warning beacon against antisemitism? The German daily, Süddeutsche
Zeitung, has published my welcome words, Josef Schusters wichtigste Aufgabe,as an op-ed in yesterday’s edition. Here it is
As part of its continuous, concerted and successful
action-plan to hold onto the Occupied Territories, Israel is cold bloodedly
taking advantage of today’s murderous attack by two Arabs from East Jerusalem,
to slander the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.
Netanyahu: “the terrorists’ act was a direct result of incitement
led by Hamas, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and irresponsibly
ignored by the international community…”
Economy Minister Bennet: "Abbas, one of the
biggest terrorists to have arisen from the Palestinian people, bears direct
responsibility for the Jewish blood spilt … while we were busy with delusions
about the [peace] process."
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz "The hands that held the axes
were those of the terrorists, but the voice is that of Abbas." And Foreign Minister
Lieberman called on the international community to condemn Abbas'
"anti-Semitic statements, which lead to terrible acts of slaughter like the
one at the synagogue this morning."
Netanyahu and his senior ministers are lying. More
than that, with their inciting defamatory statements, Netanyahu and his cabinet
are igniting the fire or at least adding fuel to it. Here is what the head
of the shin bet, Israel’s internal security service, Yoram Cohen, said
today: "Abbas is not interested in terror and is not inciting to terror.
He's not even doing so behind closed doors." Moreover, Cohen laid the
blame for the rising tensions in Jerusalem on visits by right-wing Israeli
members of parliament to the Temple Mount and their attempts to introduce
legislation, which would change the status quo on the holy site.
A few weeks ago The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has condemned as “disgraceful”
a description of Netanyahu, as “chickenshit”, attributed to an unnamed US
official. Netanyahu may now be a certified “non- chickenshit” but he should
probably not risk asking for a similar certificate to prove that he is not a
defaming, inciting liar. It is up to the US and the EU not to be chickenshits
and to finally read Israel the riot act.
– according to one of the dictionaries is slang for: “a misfit,
especially someone who has never or seldom been successful at a job, personal
relationship, etc.” There is something unattractively
condescending in the use of this term. Indeed, one of the dictionaries defines loser as “a person who
one feels is below one's social stature.”
So here I go: David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is rapidly becoming the
king of losers. Instead of approaching UKIP and the supporters of this “UK
Independence Party” head on, Cameron tries to convince that group of losers that
he and his Tory party will deliver even more effective anti-Europe,
anti-Foreigners, anti-Immigration, anti-Aid results, than UKIP will.
As a real loser, the spoilt brat Cameron succumbs to
pathetic macho talk and irresponsible brinkmanship. Instead of trying to
out-ukip UKIP, the Tories and Labour too, must stand up against the frightened “let’s
draw the bridge up” rhetoric of UKIP with both values and facts.
There is a wonderful, truly wonderful Rembrandt exhibition at the
National Gallery in London. Go!
Many exhibitions are just marketing ploys and I did not expect
much. Anyway, has one not seen them all? The exhibition concentrates on Rembrandt’s
late works and does include some of the well-known paintings. But, it also has
some lesser-known and truly beautiful and some very interesting
It was a true joy to see so many of them together. This cannot be said
about the visitors that crowd exhibitions. As I was queuing to get in with
the first group at 10 in the morning, a VIP group of Royal Bank of Scotland
guests was just leaving. Seeing the VIPs coming out with their goody-bags was
not made easier by one of the very important females smiling benevolently at us,
the group of plebeians standing in the rain waiting to be let in, with the
remark "you are up for a real treat."
There are better ways to spend ten pounds and an hour of your time than to go to the Germany: memories of a nation - A 600-year history in objects exhibition at the British Museum. You do not learn more than you would by reading the relevant article in Wikipedia and that is not good enough.