I was stunned to read in your November 11 article that Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Vatican’s emissary, said the cross should be viewed as the definitive Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is about reminding and insisting that individuals need to take responsibility for their behavior. The cross is about avoiding responsibility by having Jesus take responsibility for the sins of his believers. The two concepts are mutually exclusive. Koch’s clarification ‘that he was addressing the Christian duty, because of the cross, to reconcile with other religions’ is diametrically opposite to the history of Christian interaction with Jews and other religions.
The recent history of Catholicism during the middle of the 20th century in Europe bears out that fact. Hitler and top Nazis were Christians, and many, including Hitler and Himmler, were Catholics. Pope Pius, who is on the way to beatification, did not have strong public words opposing Hitler or the Nazi policies toward Jews or the other victims. It is also safe to infer that if the Vatican was indeed proud of Pius during that period, their archives would be open for all to see.
Instead of preaching to others, instead of hiding from the truth, the Catholic Church needs to institute a holiday patterned after Yom Kippur so it can learn how to accept responsibility for its shortcomings and how to atone for its sins.
Peter R. Waitze