Giacomo Babini 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
LONDON – An Italian Catholic Web site is claiming that a retired bishop has blamed the Jews for the current backlash against the church over sex abuse claims.
Giacomo Babini, 81, the emeritus bishop of Grosseto, allegedly said in an article on the Pontifex Web site that he believed a “Zionist attack” was behind the criticism of the church, considering how “powerful and refined” the criticism was.
“They do not want the church, they are its natural enemies. Deep down, historically speaking, the Jews are God killers,” he was quoted as saying.
The comments were spotted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) on Friday.
Referring to the comments as anti-Semitic libel and to Pontifex as an extremist Catholic right-wing Web site, AJC is calling on the Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CEI) to condemn the comments.
“Babini, the retired Bishop of Grosetto, referring to the pedophile scandals, accused Jews of a ‘refined Zionist’ media attack against the Church. He called Jews a ‘Deicide’ people and inferred that the Holocaust took place due to Jews ‘strangling Germany economically’ through ‘usury,’” the AJC said.
“We urge the Italian Bishops Conference to categorically condemn these slanderous stereotypes, which sadly evoke the worst Christian and Nazi propaganda prior to World War II,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s International director of Interreligious Affairs.
“The high level of mutual trust and solidarity that binds our two communities today demands that there be zero tolerance for such defamatory statements by religious representatives.”
One of the highest representatives of the CEI told the AJC that Babini’s comments were contrary to Catholic thinking.
“These remarks are entirely contrary to the official line and mainstream thought of the Catholic Church,” Bishop Vincenzo Paglia told the AJC.
In a statement, CEI denied that Babini had given the interview.
“Statements I have never made about our Jewish brothers have been attributed to me,” Babini said on Monday.
a response posted on its Web site, Pontifex said it stood by its story
and that Babini has previously made anti-Semitic comments.
claimed that in an interview on January 27, Babini said: “The Jews use
the Holocaust as a club” and on January 25 said: “The Jews are no
longer our brothers, they overslept at the coming of Christ, they have
chosen not to be our brothers.”