Lose the Cross: Rabbi Asks Pope to Take Off His Cross When Visiting the Western Wall

120px-bentoxvi-30-10052007 A controversy has erupted over the request by the Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitch, that Pope Benedict XVI take off his cross before a visit to the wall in May. Rabinovitch stated “My position is that it is not fitting to enter the Western Wall area with religious symbols, including a cross. I feel the same way about a Jew putting on a tallit and phylacteries and going into a church.”

Actually, asking someone to remove a cross is more like asking them remove yamaka in a church, which would be an outrageous demand. As someone raised as a Catholic, I would also never ask a Jewish person to remove a tallit or phylacteries.

In 2000, Pope John Paul II prayed at the Western Wall without removing his cross. Rabinovitch has made headlines in recent years by blocking clergy wearing crosses.

In November 2007, he blocked a group of Austrian bishops led by the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schonborn, stating that “crosses are a symbol that hurt Jewish feelings.” That seems less of a view of religion than prejudice. I am married to a Jewish woman as is one of my brothers and they clearly do not view crosses in such a way. I would view a Jewish person praying in a church to be a sign of respect and interfaith connection.

It seems to me that the symbol of intolerance in this controversy is Rabbi Rabinovitz as when he barred access in May 2008 to a group of Irish prelates from both Catholic and Protestant churches. The Rabbi has converted a symbol of faith and tolerance into a place of exclusion and prejudice. I would be interested in hearing particularly from our Jewish bloggers as to whether Rabbi Rabinovitz’s views are shared by the mainstream of the Jewish community.

The politics of the wall has been marred in past years by attacks on Jewish women who seek to hold prayer sessions at the wall, here and here and here.

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236 thoughts on “Lose the Cross: Rabbi Asks Pope to Take Off His Cross When Visiting the Western Wall”

  1. Having read the last entry by Agepetus, I have decided to withdraw my offerings….

    If anyone is interested in my grilled marinated butterflied leg of lamb recipes with rosemary, garlic, lemon, olive oil-with and without yogurt, let me know. let me know.

  2. Thank you again Oh Great One,
    But Mrs. S is already a top shelf item and is thus on board.

  3. Mike Spindell:

    Please feel free to use my name if you need to talk your wife or significant other into allowing you to buy the good “stuff”.

    To Mikes’ Significant other:

    By holy writ of Agapetus I Mike Spindell shall be required to purchase only “Top Shelf” liquor for his consumption. If he does not he will “arrive” early.

    With flourish and etcetera and etcetera,

    Agapetus I
    (holy most high order of Pontifical Pontificators)

  4. Oh Holy Agapetus I,
    I promise to only drink top shelf liquor and I already stay away from Waffle Cheese Fries. I offered them to you because your holy digestive tract and countenance would be unaffected by their fat and cholesterol. I also offered them up because no matter how bad they are, they still taste so damned good.

  5. The Blasphemer cites his theological definition of blasphemy, which is no doubt that of the RCC, how convenient. I prefer my own definition since I try to think for myself, rather than have others do their thinking for me.

    To me, if there is a God that created the Universe the ways of that God are unknowable to humans. Since we are much less than ants compared to the magnificence of the Universe. As I said way before this, only to be ignored by the Blasphemer, think of the feeling inside that one might have looking up at a clear night sky in a remote desert. The sense of wonder and awe at this sight can not be intellectualized. A posited God, creator of the Universe, would evoke an even more inexplicable process. The possibility that this theorized Creator may have inspired certain religious writings is not beyond the realm of imagination, at least to my way of thinking. Then too there may well have been prophets whom the Creator has touched. Neither form could possibly fully explain the ways of this Creator, they only could deal in the roughest of approximations, of which these prophets and we humans would barely be able to comprehend.

    That is my sense of existence and life. In that context any person or institution that would claim to understand the motivations and actions of this creator, would be committing blasphemy. This is because any claim by humans and their institutions to understand the unknowable Creative processes of such a being would be to demean that being with their hubris. That is their blasphemy and in the end that is their downfall. The RCC is not the only institution to claim this inside knowledge and presume to order people’s lives by it.
    The Fundamentalists of all religious stripes and the Mormons believing the current prophet speaks from God, are examples of this hubris and therefore blasphemy.

    The Blasphemer on this thread doesn’t claim direct knowledge, but in his intimations of the perfection of the RCC, he exhibits the hubris to believe he know Gods’ wishes and the blasphemy to believe they are revealed by the RCC and its’ Pope. The truly Saintly people that I have met, read or listened to in my life exhibited no such hubris, but instead a humble awe of the ineffable and a practice of the “Golden Rule.” All other supposed manifestations of piety are fraud committed in the defense, or service of ego and power.

  6. Coinidentally, you are the people that brought up pedophiles. I am the one who assigned them to the ranks of being homosexual in orientaion. I think that is what really bothers you.

  7. Over 90% of child molestation by priests is done to underage boys. Yeah, that’s right they are really closet heterosexuals!

  8. Over 90% of child molestation by priests is done to underage boys. Yeah, that’s right they are really closet hetersexuals!

  9. Gregory:

    I have it on very good authority that MikeS is set for a permanent residence here in about 50 years as long as he only drinks good top shelf liquor and stays away from waffle cheese fries.

    The other Popes and I have been talking and we think you are protesting too much about this homosexual pedophile thing.

    Are you a reformed sinner per chance? We have asked around but all we get is myob. So it would appear that the Big Man is not about to drop a dime on you yet. We have heard some grumbling though, although that could just be thunder.

  10. As I have stated in my earlier blogs. The Church that Jesus founded is the Catholic Church. It is a matter of historical record. The fact that there are bad Catholics never made the dogmas and teachings of the Church bad. Some of the greatest scientists and thinkers the world over are Catholic, by birth and choice.

  11. I too believe priests should be in jail if they are homosexual pedophiles. Or do you prefer the word pederast?

  12. I believe you would not get your info from the Regent University law review , you get all your info. from Pravda West. We all know how objective they are!

  13. MikeS:

    you are right about that. Personally I believe the “priests” should be in jail. But I thought the hetero/homo pedophile psychology issue was an interesting tangent. I actually learned a little bit in the process, namely that pedophilies are a subset all to themselves. Previously I thought you could classify them as hetero/homo.

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