The Catholic Church has been in a curious light as of late. The world community was like way grossed-out by several salacious sex scandals. The ball started rolling over in Ireland and the Pope began to sweat — not too sweet. Then more was uncovered from under the covers, that is, in: Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and even Brazil, priests and other members of the Roman clergy were accused of molesting youngsters — and, well the rest is really too terrible to tell.
They say that Pope Benedict, while still a German archbishop, knew of such activities but kept them in the dark. There were rumors that he would be forced to step down now that the past has been brought to the light. The likelihood of that is not good.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is something of a hero â€“ he is to me anyway. His Website calls him, “America’s Rabbi“, and I wonder if that is not untrue, a kind of post-Lubavitch religious hipster with clout and growing at that, minus one red string on wrist â€“ thank God. You had to love his show, Shalom in the Home, on The Learning Channel.
He debates everybody! He debated Christopher Hitches at the 92nd street Y in Manhattan about the existence of God, and sounded like a brilliant post-enlightenment, science age Theologian â€“ an Orthodox rabbi steeped in all kinds of philosophical and scientific fact â€“ cold hard facts. Yes we checked out the Taliban and the current state of extreme Islam, we’ve read Darwin, Einstein and that other loud-mouth Briton with all of the books and documentaries â€“ what’s his name? No we won’t stop believing in God, as Americans, Jews and human beings! And have you reduced your carbon footprint today?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach knows that Pope Benedict has an ambiguous stance about Jews. The one-step forward, two-step back kind of post-Holocaust Pope. Pro-life and pro environmental reform who was photographed last week dozing off in the middle of Mass. God bless him.
So Boteach’s reaction to the Pope, now sweating in embarrassment over the sex scandal, who brought back to Catholic liturgy a call for Jews to save themselves by converting to the religion of the cross â€“ the old one, the Roman one â€“ has gone to console the panicky Vicar in the Vatican. The Vicar who quietly protests on behalf of Palestinians but kisses Kotels and visits Manhattan synagogues â€“ and who knows what happened to the Jews of Italy during the Second World War? Anyone?
Boteach’s suggestion was that the church â€“ in all of its glory â€“ promote family Shabbat dinners on Friday nights, similar to the Jewish custom. Rabbi Shmuley claimed it would be a good way for the church to re-establish its pro-family image. This initiative, said Boteach, would help the church demonstrate that it is not only concerned with opposing same-sex marriages and abortions â€“ other issues which have found it further damned by disagreers and offendees â€“ (?) and they who hate their family (?)
No real response was received on the matter.
After meeting with the Pope Boteach received an invitation to have lunch with Cardinal Walter Kasper, who is responsible for the Vatican’s relations with Jewry.
During this meeting the rabbi harshly criticized the church for covering-up the sex abuse scandals â€“ surprising, that’s all he could think of criticizing the Vatican for?