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A Bavarian Provocation

by TARIQ ALI Monday, Sep. 18, 2006 at 12:05 PM

Violence was and is not the prerogative of any single religion as the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestine demonstrates. During the Cold War the Vatican, with rare exceptions, supported the imperial wars. Both sides were blessed during the First and Second World wars; the US Cardinal Spellman was a leading warrior in the battles to destroy Communism during the Korean and Vietnam wars. The Vatican later punished the liberation theologists and peasant-priests in Latin America. Some were excommunicated.

A Bavarian Provocation

By TARIQ ALI

Was Benedict's most recent provocation accidental or deliberate? The Bavarian is a razor-sharp reactionary cleric. A man who organises his own succession to the Papacy with a ruthless purge of potential dissidents and supervises the selection of Cardinals with great care leaves little to chance.

I think he knew what he was saying and why.

Choosing a quote from Manuel II Paleologos, not the most intelligent of the Byzantine rulers, was somewhat disingenuous, especially on the eve of a visit to Turkey. He could have found more effective quotes and closer to home. Perhaps it was his unique tribute to Oriana Fallaci.

Perhaps.

The Muslim world with two of its countries---Iraq and Afghanistan-- directly occupied by Western troops does not need to be reminded of the language of the Crusades. In a neo-liberal world suffering from environmental degradation, poverty, hunger, repression, a 'planet of slums' (in the graphic phrase of Mike Davis), the Pope chooses to insult the founder of a rival faith.

The reaction in the Muslim world was predictable, but depressingly insufficient. Islamic civilization cannot be reduced to the power of the sword. It was the vital bridge between the Ancient world and the European Renaissance. It was the Catholic Church that declared War on Islam in the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily. Mass expulsions, killings, forced conversions and a vicious Inquisition to police the cleansed Europe and the reformist Protestant enemy.

The fury against 'heretics' led to the burning of Cathar villages in Southern France. Jews and Protestants alike were granted refuge by the Ottoman Empire, a refuge they would have been denied had Istanbul remained Constantinople. 'Slaves, obey your human masters.For Christ is the real master you serve' said Paul (Colossians 3: 22-24) in establishing a collaborationist tradition which fell on its knees before wealth and power and which reached its apogee during the Second World War where the leadership of the Church collaborated with fascism and did not speak up against the judeocide or the butchery on the Eastern Front. Islam does not need pacifist lessons from this Church.

Violence was and is not the prerogative of any single religion as the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestine demonstrates. During the Cold War the Vatican, with rare exceptions, supported the imperial wars. Both sides were blessed during the First and Second World wars; the US Cardinal Spellman was a leading warrior in the battles to destroy Communism during the Korean and Vietnam wars. The Vatican later punished the liberation theologists and peasant-priests in Latin America. Some were excommunicated.

Not all Christians joined in the crusades old and new. When Pope Urban launched the crusades the Norman king of Sicily refused to send troops in which Sicilian Muslims would be compelled to fight against Muslims in the East. His son, Roger II, refused to back the Second Crusade. In doing so they showed more courage than the leaders of contemporary Italy, who are only too willing to join the imperial crusades against the Muslim world.

'To make sure of being right in all things', said the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola, 'we ought always to hold to the principle that the white I see I should believe to be black if the hierarchical church were so to rule.'

Today most Catholic prelates in the West (including the Bavarian in the Vatican) and politicians of Centre-Left/Right worship the real Pope who lives in the White House and tells them when black is white.

Amen.

Tariq Ali is author of the recently released Street Fighting Years (new edition) and, with David Barsamian, Speaking of Empires & Resistance. He can be reached at: tariq.ali3@btinternet.com

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 47 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Provides a different perspective won't see this in the mainstream media Monday, Sep. 18, 2006 at 12:07 PM
US Taxpayers' and Christian Zionists' money misspent on Israeli apartheid, militarism, colonialism Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 7:13 AM
Misinterpretations Abound Pro Israel does not mean anti- Palestinian Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 7:24 AM
"two state solution" death to the Zionist enity Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 8:20 AM
Unfortunately it is true Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 8:27 AM
When Jews emigrate to Israel ethnic cleansing or forced resettlement? Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 8:44 AM
not unintended so what Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 9:58 AM
very simple so what? Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 10:14 AM
Zioists are liars and forgers So what Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 10:29 AM
try and keep up earlier posts Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 10:46 AM
no matter words are cheap Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 10:54 AM
Just the facts, ma'am Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 11:06 AM
Shoel is perfect so what Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 11:18 AM
stop whining so what Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 11:33 AM
Hamas as a reaction to GENOCIDE so what Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 11:45 AM
why is it so what Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2006 at 1:07 PM
sick of Zionist Spammers Stinkey Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2006 at 3:14 AM
Whats going on clear Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2006 at 11:55 AM
Huda [Guidance] Army Organization Hah Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2006 at 12:00 PM
If you can't win then piss on it Zionazi Porn is Typical Saturday, Sep. 23, 2006 at 10:23 AM
doesn't like being hidden all day yesterday Zionazis get frustrated Saturday, Sep. 23, 2006 at 10:49 AM
You're hereby invited to a Shabbat prayer! Indybay editor Saturday, Sep. 23, 2006 at 12:12 PM
Shabbot sha-scrotum! Fuck the shabbot Saturday, Sep. 23, 2006 at 3:09 PM
aas for the above comment fk Saturday, Sep. 23, 2006 at 4:43 PM
What does one expect from a crypto-Nazi hater? fuque Saturday, Sep. 23, 2006 at 7:07 PM
Attacks all over the IMC network stop blaming each other Saturday, Sep. 23, 2006 at 8:24 PM

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