According to the Guardian (UK)
Pope Benedict’s resignation [is] a stunning shock.
As John Paul II’s right-hand man, he watched a papacy fall into decrepitude. Benedict may have had no wish to follow suit.
No pope has willingly resigned since Pope Celestine V in 1294. Pope John Paul II hung on for years while dying of Parkinson’s disease, while the machinery of the Vatican rotted about him.
During the decrepitude of John Paul II, Pope Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, was his right-hand man. It may be that his experience then planted in him a wish to leave office while he was still able to discharge his duties. Modern medicine does not work well with autocratic regimes traditionally renewed by death or disease, and the papacy remains the last absolute monarchy in Europe.
[According to the Pope’s statement of resignation] “In today’s world … both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.”
Nothing is known in detail of the 85-year-old pontiff’s health that would force his resignation.
Benedict leaves a church battered in the west by child abuse scandals.
Meanwhile, in London, Rabbi (sic) Chaim Halpern, battered by allegations of sexual misconduct and a beit din ruling calling for him to step down, shamelessly manipulates the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC)/ Kedassiah to the point where they issued three contradictory statements in 24 hours. Chaim’s latest move to extend his career is a lawsuit against the blog, If You Tickle Us ordering Google (UK) to
Disclose the registered name, address or IP address in their possession in respect of the blogger Ifyoutickleus”, as well as those of the other individuals complained of who made comments about the rabbi.
I feel terrible for all those threatened by this nasty Halpern maneuver. Unfortunately, the laws in the UK favor targets of public criticism over those making the allegations. An extreme example was the lawsuit filed by David Irving against historian Deborah Lipstadt over her book about holocaust denial. Lipstadt had to defend her assertions in court rather than just letting the public decide. She prevailed but it was an arduous and costly legal battle.
Right now it is not clear if the blog will be able to overturn this ruling. It is also not clear how much this will damage those fighting Halpern. I am guessing that if Halpern succeeds in finding out the identities of those commenting he will go after them with a vengeance getting their kids thrown out of schools, poisoning marriage prospects, undermining livelihoods, and otherwise harassing his accusers.
Because some of those comments were written from the US, and other parts of the world we can expect some of our domestic peers to also be exposed. I think we will discover international achdus by the cover-up artists.
Intimidation is business as usual for the royalty and papacy of the ultra orthodox world. They say go to beit din and ignore the rulings of batei dinim when it suits them. They say, don’t go to civil courts, but go when it suits them. All the rules boil down to one: We make the rules and change the rules to suit ourselves. Nothing short of rebellion will undo this perversion of Jewish values and traditions. Nothing short of reports to civil authorities will finally address rampant sex abuse.
- Share expressions of solidarity here and on other blogs. If you go to If You Tickle Us either take precautions to protect your identity or be ready for the consequences.
- I ask all bloggers, who have not already done so, to craft their own expressions of solidarity.
- Learn about how to protect your anonymity on the internet.