The Catholic Church has been a declining force in the Western world for decades. Clergy accused of pedophilia, school girls in their short kilts lining up at abortion clinics, empty churches across Europe, all these have pointed to a religion in decline.
Under the current pope, Benedict, the Vatican is trying to engage in a comeback of sorts. First Benny irked the Islamic world by pointing out that they have a strong history of savagery. Then he started cracking the whip to bring various dioceses in America in line, and then he decided to reach out to more radical elements of the Church by removing the excommunication decree placed on Biship Richard Williamson, a member of a Catholic sect that makes the Nazis, y"sh, look like girl guides.
It's nice to know that despite being so busy, the Vatican has time to monitor Israeli television and protest programming it finds offensive.
In the program, Shlein sarcastically denied Christian traditions, that Mary was a virgin and that Jesus walked on water, saying he was doing so as a "lesson" to Christians who deny the Holocaust.
It was a reference to the Vatican's recent lifting of the excommunication of a bishop who denied 6 million Jews were killed during World War II. The rehabilitation sparked outrage among Jews.
A statement from the Vatican press office on Friday said its representative in Israel complained to the government about the segment, which was broadcast recently on private Channel 10, one of Israel's three main TV stations, during Shlein's late-night comedy talk show.
The only difficulty is: what's the problem with these assertions? Are Jews now suddenly supposed to believe Mary was a virgin or that her no-good son walked on water? Come on! The core beliefs of Judaism demand we reject every single founding tenet of Chrisianity. Yoshke, if he existed at all, was no more the son of God than anyone else, had no super powers, performed no miracles and was not "the king of the Jews". Mary was a virgin like Bill Clinton was monogamous. It may be offensive for Catholics to hear such things but as a Jew I'm offended by their claims. Every time a Catholic priest somewhere stands up and talks about how Paul annuled "the Law" and that all God wants is for us to believe in some failed messiah figure, I am offended as a Jew.
But then, I don't go into churches so I never really hear that kind of thing. And the libertarian in me says that as long as they don't come into my shul and say them, they're free to say what they want.
So here's my message to the Papal diocese in Israel: don't watch television there. You'll sleep better at night.