Relationships between Jews and Catholics have been historically uneasy. And why have relationships between Jews and Catholics been historically uneasy? As The New York Times helpfully informs us, both sides are at fault.
Here’s how the paper of record’s Elisabetta Povoledo put it in a piece about a new joint exhibit arranged by Rome’s Jewish Museum and the Vatican: “Jews and Catholics have a long history of mutual suspicion and conflict, but relations between the two religions have been increasingly positive.”
Increasingly positive is a good thing, especially given how much mutual conflict there’s been. Remember the Jewish Inquisition? Or the Catholic ghettos those meanie rabbis set up all across Europe? Or the time when armed Jewish crusaders stomped across England and France and Germany and left many of the Church’s innocent adherents dead? No wonder we’ve so much mutual suspicion!
And God bless the Times for being so nuanced and smart! A lesser newspaper might’ve written something gauche, like “Jews and Catholics have a long history of one side subjecting the other side to unspeakable violence and persecution, but that’s over now and they’re really sorry and that’s great.” But that would be almost as unthinkable as writing that Israelis and Palestinians currently have a relationship in which one side stabs, bombs, and burns civilians while the other just tries to survive. And that’s wrong. Because if there’s one thing the Times teaches us, it’s that violence is always a cycle, that there are always two sides, and that both sides are always and forever to blame.