Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa is the “Custodian of the Holy Land,” in charge of Catholic rights in Christian holy places in Israel and Palestine. Normally, Custodians are fairly circumspect. This week, however, Fr. Pizzaballa gave an interview to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, in which he criticized Israeli law enforcement for failing to do enough to prevent attacks on Christians. Fr. Pizzaballa’s comments came in response to a recent arson attack by Jewish settlers on an 11th-Century Trappist monastery. The monastery’s door was set on fire and anti-Christian graffiti sprayed on the walls. Although the Israeli government condemned the attack, Pizzaballa alleges that police are not taking the crime seriously. In his view, Christians are convenient scapegoats in the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians. “Those who sprayed their hateful slogans expressed their anger at the dismantlement of the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank,” he says. “But why do they vent this anger against Christians and Christian places of worship?”The Haaretz interview requires a subscription, but you can read an account in the Telegraph, here.
A Missouri court this week convicted Bishop Robert Finn of failing to report suspicion of child abuse by a priest in his diocese, a misdemeanor offense. Bishop Finn is now the highest ranking Catholic cleric to be convicted in the sex abuse scandal. Religion Clause has the details here.