Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rabbit Pope: You Don't Have to Breed Like Catholics

Pope Warren XXIII*

From the inimitable David Swindler, writing in the Times of Israel:
Butte, Montana, January 21 – The spiritual leader of the lagamorph community caused an uproar today when he announced that, contrary to popular perception, there is no inherent obligation for adherents to reproduce without restraint, in the manner of Roman Catholics. 
Pope Warren XXIII addressed followers during a convocation at a burrow in this pastoral town, telling them that it is possible to remain a faithful, good Rabbit even if one seeks to limit the number of kittens one brings into the world. While Warren’s message fell on long, welcoming ears, some traditionalists bristled at the common language in which the pope chose to express it. 
“I appreciate that Pope Warren has given us what many would consider a new interpretation of ecclesiastical law,” said Bishop Buck Cottontail of the White Harvey diocese, a known conservative. “Churchbunnies may differ as to the extent to which human reproduction as part of marriage is a value on which we must, as a species, not compromise. But what I feel I and my colleagues cannot countenance is the lowly terminology with which the Holy Father seems to have issued his statement.” 
“It would have been just fine to say something like, ‘We Rabbits hold as sacred the practice of breeding, but there is no inherent obligation to engage in it without limits,’ and the message would have gotten across just fine,” concurred Archbishop Flopsy of the Oswald diocese. “There was no need to indulge in what many in our community would hear as vulgar terminology." 
But many adherents welcomed the change in tone. “It’s abut time we had a leader who speaks the language of his colony,” gushed Mopsy Buggs, a lay leader in her MacGreggor Farms congregation. “There’s nothing sacred about a mode of speaking that no one uses anymore unless they want to sound aloof. I’d bet my lucky foot this helps stem the tide of young Rabbits leaving the colony.” 
This marks the second time in a year tat Warren has courted controversy. Last March he suggested that defeat of the Fudd might not be necessary, a position that shocked adherents who had always been taught there was no room for compromise in that existential struggle.
Is Swindler a Catholic? An adherent of Judaism? Or perhaps a Lagamorphist? I have no idea. But he's very funny. More from Swindler, shortly.

Our take on Rabbitgate is here.

*For members of Catholic terrorist groups, opposed to satirical depictions of the current Pope: The above is NOT a picture of the current Pope. It's a rabbit wearing a Pope hat. Also, I have a family.

**I know there are actually no Catholic terrorist groups. I was making an ironic comparison with you know who and you know what.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The BBC is Not Charlie

We're often told that only a small percentage of Muslims are "extremists", and only a subset of those are terrorists or endorse terrorism, etc. But apparently the BBC wants to shrink that to zero.

In an interview with the British Newspaper The Independent, the head of BBC Arabic"the largest of the BBC’s non-English language news services", according to The Independent (the largest?)—stated that the policy of the news service is to avoid initiating the use of the word "terrorist”.
The Islamists who committed the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris should be not be (sic) described as “terrorists” by the BBC, a senior executive at the corporation has said. 
Tarik Kafala, the head of BBC Arabic, the largest of the BBC’s non-English language news services, said the term “terrorist” was too “loaded” to describe the actions of the men who killed 12 people in the attack on the French satirical magazine. 
Mr Kafala, whose BBC Arabic television, radio and online news services reach a weekly audience of 36 million people, told The Independent: “We try to avoid describing anyone as a terrorist or an act as being terrorist. What we try to do is to say that ‘two men killed 12 people in an attack on the office of a satirical magazine’. That’s enough, we know what that means and what it is.”
So, to be fair and clear, according to the BBC they can quote someone if they use the word, or say that so and so was brought up on “terrorism charges” (if those were the words of the authorities), but otherwise they should avoid the term.

Now, also to be fair, this is not completely unreasonable given that “terrorism” can be a politically loaded term. But on the contrary side, other terms that the BBC would elsewhere state are okay to use, can also be loaded—“massacre” or even “murder”, for example. The idea of absolutely neutral reporter-speak is a non-starter.

Unless you’re reporting about Muslim terrorism.

But there are some other odd things about the statement to note:

“…we know what that means and what it is.” We do? Who is the “we” here? Palestinians, who either thought of the Charlie attacks as a “military operation” or a Mossad frame up? And if we know what it is, why not say it? Unless we don’t know, in which case, why does the head of BBC Arabic say we do?

And there’s also some inconsistency with current and relatively recent BBC reporting. Again to be fair, this inconsistency doesn’t obviously fall into neat non-Muslim (terror) versus Muslim (non-terror) lines. (Sorry, Islamophobes like me.) But it is inconsistent. For example, here is a relatively recent (2012) BBC Sport story about the 1972 Olympics attack:
At the Munich 1972 Olympics, Palestinian terrorists calling themselves Black September attacked members of the Israeli Olympic team.
Perhaps Sports coverage is exempt from the policy. Or maybe the PLO of almost fifty years ago was not sufficiently Muslim. (In truth, those evil and bloodthirsty terrorists of another generation seem positively secular compared to what we have now.)

But then there is this from a 2014 BBC story:
There are some things you just don't do. Making bomb threats in an airport is one. Terrorism messages directed at airlines on Twitter is another.
This was a story about a 14-year old girl who made a bomb threat as a joke.

So, pretend terrorism is terrorism but real terrorism is…well, we know what it is. So what’s the big deal if we don’t say it?

There's also this headline from the BBC, two weeks ago:
Charlie Hebdo Attack: Three Days of Terror.
Thus, there was "terror" but the people responsible for it were not "terrorists". Being really really scared is subjective after all.

As is being shot in the throat. That's an involuntary bullet impact.

Let’s be honest. The focus is on self-censoring our language when describing current Muslim terrorism. And since there’s so damn much of it (Muslim terrorism), the “policy” naturally comes into play a lot.

This isn’t neutrality. It’s appeasement.

Many people I know still cite the BBC as a trusted “unbiased” news source. Since the New York Times is close to going out of business, who else are they going to look to? You get the impression they’re listening to it under the covers with their shortwaves while the rest of us unwashed are watching Fox. What snobs.

Then again, there is still something about those accents…

Thursday, January 29, 2015


What does the title of this post have to do with the cartoon "Where is Charlie Now?"

I'll explain in a moment, but first a preliminary note: In this post I'll be referring to individuals and comments on Google Plus and a popular art hosting site. I'll be citing the cartoonist but I won't be naming either of the two other players, and I won't be linking anywhere. However, it's all public and people can find the sources if they want to.

The cartoon, a play on "Where's Waldo?" is by a French artist who uses the alias Aykoah. He has shared it on Google Plus and it has, as expected, been re-shared numerous times and received may "+1"'s and positive comments. Perhaps you have already seen it. It's a lovely piece with multiple meanings, and potentially evoking a range of possible emotions.

To the question, "where is Charlie now?" the most common response by commenters has been "partout" or "everywhere".

Well, perhaps not everywhere.

On the popular art hosting site, where the cartoon was originally posted, the first comment "Where is Charlie Now?" received was this:

He is in the hell... forever... & ... and when u'll die.. u'll get burned together
Curious, I clicked to the "artist". He appears to be a German Muslim or Muslim living in Germany, perhaps originally an Algerian. He joined the site a few days after the Charlie Hebdo attack and seems to have been busy posting a number of pieces in the last few weeks. Here are two of them:

Je suis avec Mohamed

Je suis Charlie

The titles were given by the artist. The second was posted a few days after the Hebdo attacks. You have to admire the subtlety of it.

There's also a famous photo of the ruins of Dresden (which has become a sort of emblem of Holocaust deniers and World War Two revisionists), a cartoon of Uncle Sam holding hands with an Israeli trollop with a Star of David tattooed on her butt, an "I am Algerian. F**k France" piece, and (of course) an "I am not Charlie. Stop Islamophobia" poster.

Why anyone might be motivated to become an "Islamophobe", given the above, I can't imagine.

So where do the llamas come in?

Well, after he joined the site, he received this "welcome" message (the only public message on his page) from a longtime member. Her avatar is a cute anime character:

Welcome to the site! (with cartoon of cute rabbit, waving and winking).

To which our Not Charlie replied,

Thank you so much...that's so sweet from you (smiley face).

Ever the voyeur, I clicked through. Welcome has been a member for ten years, and in a few seconds of scrolling I noticed a long stream of cosplay photos, anime pictures and pink ponies...

...And of of course numerous Status Updates, including the latest:

*Welcome might have had too much coffee today...

Welcome would never be an "Islamophobe". That would be mean. No, that's not a criticism. It's a compliment.

And Not Charlie can obviously interact normally with people in that world, with smiley faces and all. That shouldn't be a surprise. But still. I'm reminded of the British Muslims fighting for ISIS who were tweeting each other about their favorite Disney movies.

So here it is, the Clash of Civilizations summed up in a few internet links. Again, I'm not being snarky against the llamas. They may not be human, but Welcome is.

Are llamas and pink ponies enough to vanquish hate? I can hear the opposing chorus: No way! Rather, you need (take your pick) reason, or God or guns, or...add your favorite here. In the wake of the Charlie attacks, some would say you need laughter.

Personally, I'll take all of them. But I don't have a problem starting with the llamas.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pat Condell: Jews are Being Driven Out of Europe by Muslim Anti-Semitism

She didn't attend the Memorial Ceremonies

Today, in one of his popular series of YouTube videos, Pat Condell succinctly sums up the important points of this moral tragedy. Among them "It's  Muslim anti-Semitism...not anti-Semitism generally from some vague unspecified mystery source." As he goes on to say, however, Muslim anti-Semitism is being ignored, tolerated or abetted by non-Muslims, either out of indifference, cowardice or (something he doesn't explicitly say, but would probably agree with) the sort of "soft" anti-Semitism that has long existed among many Europeans.

We hope and expect more people will start to speak out about what's happening to European Jews. But as Condell acknowledges, even after the attacks in France, to do so accurately and truthfully usually earns one the label of "racist"--a sort of Orwellian inversion that is of course obscene.

Condell is now the fifth atheist do be featured on Mahound's Paradise in two weeks. This is not because we're trying to satisfy some equal opportunity quota for ideologies or anything like that. It's simply because many of the most forceful and articulate contemporary defenders of civilized values against the rising tide of Islam have been atheists. Of course, many Evangelicals in the United States have done their part, but they and their claims are usually dismissed as ignorant or racist in as many seconds as it takes to say "Westboro Baptist Church".

Perhaps the Pope could say something about the new anti-Semitism during his next airplane interview,

The video is only a bit more than six minutes but we have also transcribed it below. We hope you find it interesting and useful.

January 27th, 2015, "A Special Kind of Hate":
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, which prompts me to say something I’ve been meaning to say for a while. And obviously I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings here, but I would like to clarify something for all you people who are too stupid, prejudiced, or just downright ignorant to see it for yourselves. No offense. 
Anti-Semitism hasn’t been a major problem here in Europe since the war against the Nazis, but now suddenly it is again. What could be the reason for this? Anybody want to say? Nobody ever does. Even I don’t really want to say what it is, but I will anyway. It’s mass Muslim immigration. Any Jew in Europe today who favors mass Muslim immigration must either be incurably “progressive” or just plain out of their mind (which actually amounts to the same thing) because Jews are being driven out of Europe by Muslim anti-Semitism, and the rest of us are letting it happen because we don’t have the courage to confront it and call it what it is. 
Given the way Jews have been treated historically in Europe, to call this behavior cowardly and reprehensible doesn’t come close to doing it justice. Those words are merely polite euphemisms for the moral depravity of what’s actually happening. Politicians are now starting to pay lip service to the problem because they’ve got no choice, saying things like “We must do more to stop this wave of ant-Semitism that we can no longer ignore even though we’d love to. We must do more but we won’t, because we can’t even bring ourselves to name the problem in case somebody gets offended. Sorry, Jews.” 
People often say to me “Not all Muslims hate Jews. It’s Israel they hate. You’re just a racist.” Of course, not all Muslims hate Jews, but crucially the religion of Islam does hate them. It’s right there in the scripture, which was around long before the state of Israel was ever thought of. And, given the seriousness with which Muslims tend to take their religion, it’s inevitable that many of them will hate Jews simply for being Jews, and the evidence is that many of them do, which is why every anti-Israel rally that’s full of Muslims quickly turns into an anti-Jewish hate fest. Pointing this out does not make me or anyone else a racist. However, denying it in the face of the evidence does make you a coward and a liar, especially if you call yourself a journalist. 
Islamic scripture tells Muslims to look forward to the day when they wipe out the Jews (not Israelis, Jews). And that’s why that particular hadith has been incorporated into the founding charter of the Islamic terrorist group, Hamas. It’s also why Islamic terrorists always make a point of seeking out Jews and killing them first. Not Israelis. Jews. 
Last Year in Gaza there was a tragic, unnecessary war because the people of Gaza had freely elected this terrorist group of Jew haters, knowing that they would repeatedly attack Israel, and knowing that Israel would eventually retaliate, and that many people would be killed. That either takes a special kind of stupid or a special kind of hate. And it’s a hate that’s endemic in the Islamic world where opinion polls tell us that a majority of people hold opinions about Jews that don’t belong in a civilized society, yet we in Europe are busy importing this mentality wholesale as part of our multicultural rainbow coalition of suicidal stupidity and moral cowardice. What could possibly go wrong? 
Well, four people dead in a Jewish supermarket is one thing that could go wrong. Jews abused and attacked on the streets of European cities while the authorities make excuses for their Muslim attackers, armed guards on Jewish schools, Muslim mobs attacking synagogues, and a mass exodus of Jews from Europe is what could go wrong. In fact, it’s already well under way. The number of Jews leaving France for Israel is doubling every year, and this will continue all over Europe because we don’t have the courage to confront this thing, or even to call it what it is. I know we’ve been beaten down by political correctness and relativism, but does anybody actually have a conscience any more, or is that just an old-fashioned idea now? 
Islam has brought many ugly things to western society, and this wave of anti-Semitism is just one of them, but it’s one with a very sharp edge, and we have a responsibility to dull that edge and to flatten it right out because we cannot have this in our society and call ourselves civilized, or free. And the first thing that we need to do about this new phenomenon in Europe of Muslim anti-Semitism is to call it what it is, and to hell with anyone’s feelings. 
It’s Muslim anti-Semitism, isn’t it Muslims? You know the truth. 
It’s Muslim anti-Semitism, politicians, not anti-Semitism generally from some vague unspecified mystery source. 
It’s Muslim anti-Semitism, journalists, mandated by scripture, and you had better write that down in case you forget, because you will. 
It’s Muslim anti-Semitism, “progressive” Jews, not the far right, as you would love to believe, and the bad news is it’s coming for you, and when it does nobody will do anything about it because that might be racist. 
If this were happening to any other group of people the human rights industry would be all over it. But nobody gives a damn about Jews, and they never have, which is why the Holocaust was allowed to happen in the first place. The same Holocaust that many Muslims teach their children didn’t happen, because they hate Jews so much. Although they’re happy to acknowledge it when it comes to complaining that Muslims are the new Jews of Europe, as some Islamic professional victims love to do. 
In fact Jews are the new Jews. Muslims are the new Nazis. Not all Muslims, of course, but enough of them to make a difference, and a very unpleasant difference indeed. And the more Muslims that we import into Europe, the more dangerous things are going to get for Jews, either until we grow a collective spine and confront this filthy poisonous Muslim hatred, or until all the Jews have been driven out. 
So, without wishing to put too fine a point on it, which is it going to be?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Oxford University Press Bans the Mention of Pigs and Sausages so as not to Offend Muslims

Eat Me, Muhammad!
Well, sort of.

No, Oxford University Press hasn't excised these words from their dictionary or prohibited academic treatises on pig farming.


What they did do (though they didn't announce it publicly) was to send a memo to an author writing a children's book to avoid mention of the terms, "pig" and "sausages". This fact was exposed, on, of all places, a BBC Radio program devoted to the topic of free speech in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Their stated reason was to take account of the sensitivities of other peoples in today's multi-cultural world market, and so on and so forth, etc., etc., especially the sensitivities of Jews and Muslims.

Implying it's not about mere Muslim sensitivities is of course, as it were, utter bull.

And given the fact that Jews are now the chief beneficiaries of Muslim violence and hate, anyone who from now on groups, Jews and Muslims together in a syrupy anti-racism obfuscation, should be given 1,000 lashes from a Riyadh special prosecutor. With a wet-noodle, of course--forgive the Prophet for that mercy.

Of course, Jews have never had a problem with mentioning pork or pigs. According to a Jewish spokesman, quoted inthe Daily Mail, "Jewish law prohibits eating pork, not the mention of the word or the animal from which it derives."

Indeed, the Oxford University Press memo was even condemned by a Muslim Labor MP who called it (according to the same Daily Mail article), "absolute utter nonsense. And when people go too far, that brings the whole discussion into disrepute."

A "clarification" by an OUP spokesperson in the Guardian a few days later merely made things worse: “To address children’s learning needs, it is important that they also reflect the cultural context in which children are learning…for example, if animals are depicted shown in a background illustration, we would think carefully about which animals to choose. In doing so we are able to ensure children remain focused purely on their learning, rather than cultural characteristics.”

So, it’s really about the children and focused on learning.

Sure it is.

In a pig’s eye.

Endnote: Here at Mahound's Paradise, we have no problem with funky religious eating rules--Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Catholic or anything else. As Traditionalist Catholics we go vegetarian for Lent (except for Sundays). Rather it's the totalitarian imposition of the theme on other people that we object to. The Porky Pig cartoon is meant to offend those who go along with that. And we deeply hope it does offend those people.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Penn Jillette on Criticizing Islam

Photo from the CATO Institute

Below is an excerpt from an interview with professional magician and skeptic Penn Jillette of the duo Penn & Teller, in the June 24, 2010 issue of Las Vegas Weekly: 
Let’s talk about your TV show Bullshit! Will you ever run out of theories to debunk and people to expose? If you build a kingdom on bullshit, you’re not in danger of running out of it. Our producer says that Teller and I can take any subject in the news and do a credible show on it. Sure, we like to have a villain, something to call “bullshit” on, but if we don’t, we can depart from that model. 
Are there any groups you won’t go after? We haven’t tackled Scientology because Showtime doesn’t want us to. Maybe they have deals with individual Scientologists—I’m not sure. And we haven’t tackled Islam because we have families. 
Meaning, you won’t attack Islam because you’re afraid it’ll attack back Right, and I think the worst thing you can say about a group in a free society is that you’re afraid to talk about it—I can’t think of anything more horrific. 
Of course, it might please some Islamic fundamentalists to hear you say that you won’t talk about them because you’re afraidIt might, but you have to say what you believe, even it if pleases somebody you disagree with—that issue comes up all the time in moral discourse. 
You do go after Christians, thoughTeller and I have been brutal to Christians, and their response shows that they’re good fucking Americans who believe in freedom of speech. We attack them all the time, and we still get letters that say, “We appreciate your passion. Sincerely yours, in Christ.” Christians come to our show at the Rio and give us Bibles all the time. They’re incredibly kind to us. Sure, there are a couple of them who live in garages, give themselves titles and send out death threats to me and Bill Maher and Trey Parker. But the vast majority are polite, open-minded people, and I respect them for that.

This was of course more than four years before the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

An interesting side story is that the interview was picked up by some anti-Islam bloggers and websites at the time including Jihad Watch and Bare Naked Islam. (both of which are favorably linked to by Mahound's Paradise). Interestingly they were both critical of Jillette: "Cowardice", proclaimed Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch. "Self-Censorship", cried Bare Naked Islam.

I don't see it that way.

(As much as I respect the sources.)

Come on guys, lighten up. And accept a good thing, so to speak, when you get it. Not critical of Islam? What was said in this public interview was one of the most damning condemnations of Islam by any high-profile "mainstream" celebrity in recent memory.

And according to the text, it was "Islam", not "extremist Islam" or "radical Islam" or any other watered-down version of it.

The other takeaway is how favorable this atheist was towards Christians.

You're a good man, Mr. Jillette. May God bless and protect you and your family.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

When Theodore Herzl Met Pope Pius X

St. Pius X

On January 26, 1904 (just a few months before his death) the father of modern Zionism Theodore Herzl met with Pope Pius X to ask for his support in setting up a Jewish state in Palestine. He didn't get it.

Like virtually all Traditionalist Catholics I have a huge amount of respect for that sainted pope. In my view, Pius X was the greatest pope of the last century. On the other hand, like many contemporary Christians I am a strong supporter of Israel. So the interview below is fascinating to me, independent of whether I "agree" or "disagree" with the opinions expressed by either man at the time. (Remember also, that the Holocaust was still forty years away.)

Since the issues involved were and are still so important, whatever "side" one is on, and since so much blood has been spilled and so many innocents murdered related to the overall issue, I hope I may be forgiven in finding a bit of humor in the following exchange. Here are two strong and forceful but still very human personalities coming into brief contact. I cannot help but find both of them attractive and appealing. The Pope makes as strong a case as any Christian could make for his position. Though Herzl is disappointed, even bitter, there's still (to me) the implication that he likes this rustic pope. And then there's the almost slapstick ring kissing thing and Herzl's almost uttered quip: "That's what happens in every family. No one believes in his own relatives."

The exchange appeared in print in the Journal La Terre Retrovée, 1 July, 1956, as well as The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, Harry Zohn, trans. (New York/London: Herzl Press, Thomas Yoseloff, 1960), pp. 1601-1605. It has also been reprinted on a number of blogs and websites, among them (the first three on a Google search), St. Joseph University's Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations, The Eponymous Flower and Bunyan Ministries.

"Lippey" is Count Berthold Dominik Lippay, an Austrian papal portraitist, and mutual friend of the two men, who had arranged the meeting between them. 

Any additional information on the meeting from readers of this blog would be welcome.

Here is Herzl's account:

Yesterday I was with the Pope. The route was already familiar since I had traversed it with Lippay several times. 
Past the Swiss lackeys, who looked like clerics, and clerics who looked like lackeys, the Papal officers and chamberlains. 
I arrived 10 minutes ahead of time and didn't even have to wait. 
I was conducted through numerous small reception rooms to the Pope. 
He received me standing and held out his hand, which I did not kiss. 
Lippay had told me I had to do it, but I didn't. 
I believe that I incurred his displeasure by this, for everyone who visits him kneels down and at least kisses his hand. 
This hand kiss had caused me a lot of worry. I was quite glad when it was finally out of the way. 
He seated himself in an armchair, a throne for minor occasions. Then he invited me to sit down right next to him and smiled in friendly anticipation. 
I began: 
"Ringrazio Vostra Santità per il favore di m'aver accordato quest'udienza" (I thank Your Holiness for the favor of according me this audience)." 
"È un piacere (It is a pleasure)," he said with kindly deprecation. 
I apologized for my miserable Italian, but he said: 
"No, parla molto bene, signor Commendatore (No, Commander, you speak very well)." 
For I had put on for the first time—on Lippay's advice—my Mejidiye ribbon. Consequently the Pope always addressed me as Commendatore. 
He is a good, coarse-grained village priest, to whom Christianity has remained a living thing even in the Vatican. 
I briefly placed my request before him. He, however, possibly annoyed by my refusal to kiss his hand, answered sternly and resolutely: 
"Noi non possiamo favorire questo movimento. Non potremo impedire gli Ebrei di andare a Gerusalemme—ma favorire non possiamo mai. La terra di Gerusalemme se non era sempre santa, è santificata per la vita di Jesu Christo (he did not pronounce it Gesu, but Yesu, in the Venetian fashion). Io come capo della chiesa non posso dirle altra cosa. Gli Ebrei non hanno riconosciuto nostro Signore, perciò non possiamo riconoscere il popolo ebreo (We cannot give approval to this movement. We cannot prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem—but we could never sanction it. The soil of Jerusalem, if it was not always sacred, has been sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. As the head of the Church I cannot tell you anything different. The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people)." 
Hence the conflict between Rome, represented by him, and Jerusalem, represented by me, was once again opened up. 
At the outset, to be sure, I tried to be conciliatory. I recited my little piece about extraterritorialization, res sacrae extra commercium (holy places removed from business). It didn't make much of an impression. Gerusalemme, he said, must not get into the hands of the Jews. 
"And its present status, Holy Father?" 
"I know, it is not pleasant to see the Turks in possession of our Holy Places. We simply have to put up with that. But to support the Jews in the acquisition of the Holy Places, that we cannot do." 
I said that our point of departure had been solely the distress of the Jews and that we desired to avoid the religious issues. 
"Yes, but we, and I as the head of the Church, cannot do this. There are two possibilities. Either the Jews will cling to their faith and continue to await the Messiah who, for us, has already appeared. In that case they will be denying the divinity of Jesus and we cannot help them. Or else they will go there without any religion, and then we can be even less favorable to them. 
"The Jewish religion was the foundation of our own; but it was superseded by the teachings of Christ, and we cannot concede it any further validity. The Jews, who ought to have been the first to acknowledge Jesus Christ, have not done so to this day." 
It was on the tip of my tongue to say, "That's what happens in every family. No one believes in his own relatives." But I said instead: "Terror and persecution may not have been the right means for enlightening the Jews." 
But he rejoined, and this time he was magnificent in his simplicity: 
"Our Lord came without power. Era povero (He was poor). He came in pace (in peace). He persecuted no one. He was persecuted. 
He was abbandonato (forsaken) even by his apostles. Only later did he grow in stature. It took three centuries for the Church to evolve. The Jews therefore had time to acknowledge his divinity without any pressure. But they haven't done so to this day." 
"But, Holy Father, the Jews are in terrible straits. I don't know if Your Holiness is acquainted with the full extent of this sad situation. We need a land for these persecuted people." 
"Does it have to be Gerusalemme?" 
"We are not asking for Jerusalem, but for Palestine—only the secular land." 
"We cannot be in favor of it." 
"Does Your Holiness know the situation of the Jews?" 
"Yes, from my Mantua days. Jews live there. And I have always been on good terms with Jews. Only the other evening two Jews were here to see me. After all, there are other bonds than those of religion: courtesy and philanthropy. These we do not deny to the Jews. Indeed, we also pray for them: that their minds be enlightened. This very day the Church is celebrating the feast of an unbeliever who, on the road to Damascus, became miraculously converted to the true faith. And so, if you come to Palestine and settle your people there, we shall have churches and priests ready to baptize all of you." 
Count Lippay had had himself announced. The Pope permitted him to enter. The Count kneeled, kissed his hand, then joined in the conversation by telling of our "miraculous" meeting in Bauer's Beer Hall in Venice. The miracle was that he had originally planned to spend the night in Padua. As it happened, I had expressed the wish to be allowed to kiss the Holy Father's foot. 
At this the Pope made une tête (a long face), for I hadn't even kissed his hand. Lippay went on to say that I had expressed myself appreciatively on Jesus Christ's noble qualities. The Pope listened, now and then took a pinch of snuff, and sneezed into a big red cotton handkerchief. Actually, these peasant touches are what I like best about him and what compels my respect. 
In this way Lippay wanted to account for his introducing me, perhaps to excuse it. But the Pope said: "On the contrary, I am glad you brought me the Signor Commendatore." 
As to the real business, he repeated what he had told me: Non possumus (We can't!) 
Until he dismissed us Lippay spent some time kneeling before him and couldn't seem to get his fill of kissing his hand. Then I realized that the Pope liked this sort of thing. But on parting, too, all I did was to give him a warm hand-squeeze and a low bow. 
Duration of the audience: about 25 minutes. 
In the Raphael stanze (rooms), where I spent the next hour, I saw a picture of an Emperor kneeling to let a seated Pope put the crown on his head. 
That's the way Rome wants it.