Catholic Supremacy

Yesterday, for the second time in a week, Pope Benedict XVI reversed positions of the Second Vatican Council, which in the 1960s instituted several Catholic reforms, including moves that paved the way for Jewish-Catholic reconciliation.

On Saturday, Pope Benedict eased restrictions on the Latin Tridentine Mass, a move already seen as troubling for intergroup relations.

Amid opposition from other Jewish groups, the Anti-Defamation League condemned the change on Saturday, calling it a “body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations.� While an earlier reference to “perfidious Jews� was removed officially from the Tridentine Mass just before the council, which set the stage for progressively better relations between Jews and Catholics, the group condemned a remaining prayer on Good Friday calling for Jews’ conversion. (MORE)

But yesterday’s move, in which the pope declared that “other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation” is even more troubling.

It’s a small step from believing you are theologically superior to thinking you’re just plain superior.

The moderating interpretations of Vatican II were, to some extent, a response to the Holocaust: a recognition that anti-Semitic teachings helped forge a Christian culture that could perpetrate genocide. In a world that has seen a revival of religious fundamentalist violence, its sad (and scary) to see the Catholic Church begin to reverse course.

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