The Pope is insufficiently self abasing for his critics in the Holy Land. Israeli newspapers are full of references to his cold demeanor and his failure to apologize for what we call "the Holocaust." I put Holocaust in quotes because it is a recent locution meant to focus attention on the six million Jewish victims of the Third Reich at the expense of the approximate 5.5 million other victims of the Nazi's who did not happen to be Jewish.
Precisely what is the Pope supposed to apologize for? For being born in Germany? For having been dragooned into the Hitler Jungen when he was a youth? For serving his country as a child soldier in an anti-aircraft unit? Or was he just supposed to atone for all Christians everywhere for every bad turn they ever did to any Jew since the 1st century? From the statements issued by the Speaker of the Israeli lower house of Representatives, you'd think the Jesuits were running the camps in 1942. The fact that the Nazi's despised Christianity at least as much as the speaker never seems to come up. The Speaker did make a point of mentioning that the Pontiff is of German blood. So I guess the old business of blood libel runs in only one direction now. This unhealthy desire to have people apologize in perpetuity is an unseemly and counterproductive element in the Jewish Catholic dialog. The Pope keeps reaching out to Jews and Muslims and both seem fixated on grievances alone.
In this latest visit the Imam speaking for the Muslim Brotherhood echoed his Jewish counterpart in finding not enough public abasement from this kindly old German priest regarding a comment about Islam's early history of military conquest. This last falls into the category of Hate Facts. Hate Facts are the equivalent of hate speech except they happen to be true. We are to understand now that factual statements that happen to put given groups in a bad light are just as objectionable as falsehoods aimed in the same direction. So if I say that 100% of made men in the Mafia are Sicilian, this is a true but unpleasant fact. If I say that something like 90% percent of American pornographers are Jewish, that's definitely a hate fact. And of course I apologize for bringing it up.
The Pope needs to realize that no one is interested in having a dialog with him in the Middle East. He is nothing more to the regional players than a convenient punching bag. He needs to have a dialog with the Episcopalians. Perhaps he can help lead them back to Christianity.