Pope Benedict XVI is a man of patience and hope. God gave the Catholic Church one more giant in the face of mediocrity and meanness from those who look for reasons to find fault where there is none. Rather than build for a future that supports true peace between men called to live as children of the One God of Abraham, some chose nitpicking.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, responded to criticism in the Israeli press that in part misrepresented the Pope’s obligatory enrollment in the Hitler Youth during the war (clarified by the Pope in his book “Salt of the Earth”and also for using the word “killed” in his address at Yad Vashem instead of “murdered” and the word “millions” (of Jews) instead of “six million.” The Pope had already referred to “six million Jews” in an earlier address on his arrival that day.
Zenit reports that Fr. Lombardi pointed out that the speech was not a treatise on the Holocaust and noted other discourses where the Pope has mentioned Germany and his past, and Nazism.
“Moreover in the morning, he had already said that six million Jews died and that we can’t forget, and that there is still anti-Semitism,” the spokesman said, referring to the Holy Father’s first address in Israel at the Tel Aviv airport, delivered just hours before his visit to the Yad Vashem.
Father Lombardi commented that Benedict XVI does not get offended when the press alters or takes issue with his words.
“He does not react superficially or immediately,” the spokesman said. “He is very patient and is ready to listen to the others — everyone can voice their ideas. It’s true, he feels that he has not been understood, and I feel the same, but we know how the world is and how attitudes are. There is not always a willingness to understand well; sometimes there are prejudices and not everyone is open to an attitude of readiness to listen.