3 P’s: Keeping Company

How strange our world is changing, not necessarily for the good.  The three P’s are now in the limelight whereas previously they had been sheltered.

The first P is the American President whom some in Congress want to see impeached.

The second P is the Israeli Prime Minister about to be indicted for bribery and fraud.

The third P is Pope Francis, present  head of the Catholic Church, on accusations of heresy.

Three leaders keeping company !

The cases of President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have long been publicized and citizens of their countries are fully aware of the charges against them.

Both action against the first two P’s is imminently possible.

But how can a Pope be impeached? And on what charges?

A group of 19 Catholic Bishops and Academics have signed a letter to the Holy See in the Vatican in which they accuse His Holiness the Pope of committing heresy.

Their claim is that the Argentinian Pope is too welcoming of Protestants and too concerned about Muslims. Fortunately there is no complaint about his relationships with the Jews.

In addition, the Bishops claim that the Pope is sympathetic to homosexuals, that he violates church doctrine regarding giving communion to divorced Catholics, and his opinions concerning the controversial Confession Bill with which the Conservative clerics do not agree.

That he has condemned the hundreds of Catholic priests, Bishops and even Cardinals for sexual abuse against children and has taken a stern stand on that unhappy problem seems to go unnoticed by the 19 Bishops who accuse him of heresy and who want him to step down from his papal throne.

I am not a student of Papal history within the Catholic church but I do not recall any previous demands for the resignation of a sitting Pope. The six few resignations by popes have all been voluntary.

But now, three P’s are keeping unwanted company in the eyes of the world. I can agree with charges against President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu but I fail to understand the depth of charges which accuse a Pope of religious heresy.

In former centuries, heretics were burned at the stake by defenders of the Catholic faith. The most memorable of those tragic incidents was the infamous 1492 Inquisition in Spain under orders of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella at the request of the Catholic Cardinal and their Confessor, Tomas de Torquemada.

Thousands of Jews were forced to convert to Catholicism or to be burned alive.   Conversos,  Jews who converted to the Roman Catholic faith but who secretly practiced Jewish customs in their homes hidden from the sight of anyone, if found were arrested, tortured and then burned at the stake.

Those Jews who were fortunate enough to leave Spain settled in North Africa, particularly in Morocco, and in the European region of Turkey. They preserved their Jewish faith, practiced it freely, and continued to speak Ladino, a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish, still spoken today by many Sephardic Jews who trace their ancestry to Spain.

Vatican records which detail the life and the term of reign of each of the 266 elected popes, reveal that of the 266, only 6 resigned of their own freewill.

The first Catholic pope to resign in the earliest days of the Catholic Church was St. Pontian who resigned on September 28 in the year 235 of the common era.

Pope Benedict IX resigned in September 1044. Pope Gregory XII resigned on July 4, 1406. Pope John XVIII offered his resignation in July 1009.  St. Celestine V  resigned on December 13, 1294 and the last resignation was that of Pope Benedict XVI on February 28, 2013.  He was succeeded by the present Pope Francis.

There have been no papal resignations since the 15th century.  It remains a job for life.  Only three popes since  the 20th century were cordial in their relationships with Jews.

Netanyahu could not care a whit of being in the company of the present 3 P’s.  Trump would rejoice in it.

And as far as the present Pope Francis, the verdict of his alleged heresy has not yet been officially rendered.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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