The Pope’s personal preacher has angered Jews worldwide by likening sex abuse allegations made against the Catholic Church to anti-Semitsm.
Father Raniero Cantalamessa, quoting from a letter written to him by a Jewish friend, told worshippers:
“The use of stereotypes, the shifting of personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”
But the comments from the preacher to the papal household drew a stinging rebuke from a New York-based Jewish rights group.
“Anti-Semitism, which brought about pogroms, explusions and inquistions, can’t be compared to a crisis in the Church,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
A Vatican spokesman later sought to downplay Cantalamessa’s remarks, saying he was speaking in a personal capacity and it was not an official position of the Catholic Church.