by Vivienne Hewitt in Rome • THE strongest condemnation yet of allegations of Vatican anti-semitism has come from Rome's Jesuits in a publication this week which Secretary of Sete Cardinal Agostino Casaroli examined before it went to print.
In Catholic Civilisation, . a twice-monthly magazine, Jesuits lament Israel's failure to learn from the Jewish experience of violence. They are replying to a Rome Rabbi's allegations last month that the Vatican "is behind publications hostile to Hebrew people and to Israel". He also claimed the Holy See advanced such attacks (Catholic Herald, May 20).
"If the Catholic press protests against the politics of the Israeli Government with regard to Palestinians, if it is indignant at the grave maltreatment of Palestinian demonstrators, then it is justified in considering this is violent, oppressive behaviour which offends the morality and which is contrary to the rules of civility", the Jesuits' publication says.
The mairazine expresses its "stupour" at the use of such methods "after and in spite of the terrible Jewish experience which should be a lesson for all".
Jesuits urge the accusing Rabbi, Elio Toaff, who has visited the Pope at the Vatican and who welcomed John Paul to a synagogue service three years ago, to speak no more of Catholic anti-semitism.
They said the harshness of certain judgments did not depend on an anti-Israeli or, worse, anti-Jewish prejudice, but rather on the moral and political gravity of behaviour which would be equally condemned if it originated elsewhere.