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New Papal Nuncio in Gulf excuses terrorism
The Holy See has a new Nuncio for the Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, and Qatar - Lebanese archbishop Mounged El-Hachem.
They must wish they had appointed somebody else. His first
public interview caused dismay in the Vatican, as he made excuses for Islamist terrorism, and compounded this by misquoting Pope Paul VI to make him appear to share his sympathy with terrorists.
First, his own views:
I consider that terror is the result of repression, of suffering, of injustice directed against a person, a group or a particular people, who lose all that they possess and no longer have anything to regret or to lose…. … Terrorist acts flow from distress and from a despair of ever recovering one’s rights. And such is the despair, in some cases, that an individual may be driven to suicide as a means of protest and of drawing attention to his plight
I must emphasise that Pope Paul did not say the following. Archbishop El-Hachem, at one time the vice-director of the Holy See’s press office, made it up:
This reminds me of the distressing incident at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, when young Palestinians massacred Israeli athletes. I recall the shocked outcry throughout the world and the strong condemnation by the international community. At that time I was in the Vatican. It was a sunny Sunday and Pope Paul VI appeared at his window and addressed the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square in these words: “We too reprove and denounce the massacre in Munich, but we ask the following question: why have young Palestinians committed this act? We reply: because the Palestinian people (it was the first time anyone had spoken of the Palestinian “people”) have been the victims of the most dangerous of injustices in the history of humanity, an innocent and peaceable people turned out of their land, who have lost their roots and identity amid the indifference of the entire world… What impelled these young men to commit this act was to attract the attention of the world to their cause”.
But if you re-read the words Paul VI really spoke at the Angelus and at the Wednesday general audience before that, where he also commented on the massacre in Munich, you will find nothing of what El-Hachem puts into his mouth, even using quotation marks to give a false appearance of authenticity.
In the authentic words of Paul VI, one does not find the expression “Palestinian people,” nor, above all, the explanation of the massacre carried out by the terrorists as something animated by their condition as innocent victims.
You can read Pope Paul’s real words in the Chiesa article linked above, and they bear little resemblance to the Lebanese Archbishop’s fictional version.
We also deplore the manner [of the attack] – which has become common, almost fashionable – a devious method, because it is directed against persons who do not expect it, who cannot defend themselves. We cannot help but raise up our voices as well, and the swelling of our emotions, which still intend to be sentiments of fraternity, peace, and love in a world that remains so disturbed by this scene of violence and blood.
...terrorism is unworthy of civil and valorous men; it strikes innocents and shatters faith in peaceful coexistence;
El-Hachem tells us that ‘the first task of an apostolic nuncio is that of “representing the pope as the head of the Catholic Church.”’ His views on terrorism do not represent the views of either Pope Paul VI or the present Pope. Perhaps he should be given another job, where he can't do any harm. I suggest chaplain to an enclosed convent.