Pope Benedict released a letter where he admits that the Vatican erred in handling the case of Holocaust-denying excommunicated bishop Richard Williamson. Part of the problem, apparently, was uh… spotty Internet access? Pope Benedict wrote:

I have been told that consulting the information available on the Internet would have made it possible to perceive the problem early on … I have learned the lesson that in the future in the Holy See we will have to pay greater attention to that source of news.

Aw. Good of him to admit his uh… fallibility. And he was gracious about it too! He even threw the Heebs a bone:

The pope said in the letter that he was “saddened” that even Catholics “thought they had to attack me with open hostility,” and he thanked “our Jewish friends, who quickly helped to clear up the misunderstanding and to restore the atmosphere of friendship and trust.”

Yes. Friendship and trust. Indeed. You are welcome Mr. Pope. So, in the spirit of friendship and trust, would it be ok if I popped over for a beer and like, borrowed your lawn mower? While I’m down there, could I poke around in your basement and see if I could find that uh… candelabra your people borrowed a little while back?

Follow me

About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • There was no such thing as Roman Catholic before the Reformation.

  • I know, Tom. The candelabra’s fate after the downfall of Rome, particularly after the Etruscans had occupied it, has been a matter of a lot of speculation (but no more than that).

  • Sorry, I meant the Langobards. The Etruscans actually became part of the Roman Empire and can be traced back until more than 600 years ab urbe condito.

  • Lombards came into Italy well after the 6th and 7th century. The Vandals would be the more likely suspects who would have looted Rome in 455 ce

  • The Langobards started invading the Roman Empire from the second century CE on. In 455 CE, Rome was indeed invaded and looted by the Vandals, but had already become comparitavely unimportant, just consider how Constantine deliberately “moved” his capital. Even though later Emperors returned to Rome, it had lost much of its former glory. The Langobards gave Rome its final push on the way down, so to speak.
    The scarcity of sources concerning the candelabra would suggest that it was not around much longer after Titus had brought it to Rome with him.

  • Actually, not so much looted as the Vandals, in a politically cunning move, took luxurious possessions of the upper classes as opposed to what is understood by looting these days.

  • The candelabra was last seen some years ago in a warehouse on the outskirts of East Orange, NJ.

  • Actually the later Roman Emperors after Constantine did not move back to Rome. They went to Ravenna because it was more defensible. And the move to new Roman capitals began prior to Constantine – Diocletian had his capital in the former Yugoslavia (Split).

    This is why in 410 when Alaric took Rome – Honorius the Western Roman Emperor was never captured as the capital was moved to Ravenna. Theodius the Great (Honorius’s Father) and other Emperors used Milan as his headquarters as it was closer to the front.

  • Froylein, I think you might be confusing the Gothic sack of 410 CE to the Vandal sacking of 455 CE. The Goths did not majorly loot the city when they took it and they spared all the Churchs. The Vandals on the other hand basically raped the city – took anything that pretty much wasnt nailed down and went back to Africa (their homebase).

  • Valentianus III resided in Rome when the Vandals were there; the term “vandalism” to refer to destruction and looting was only coined in the 18th century CE and, from what I’ve read, is considered historically incorrect. Valentinianus III gave up Ravenna when Attila approached, and also other emperors have at least spent some time in Rome – that is why I said above that Rome was not at its former glory anymore even though the emperor’s temporary residence there elevated it to a special status. I was referring to Roman capitals as in a “united” empire as the system of tertrarchy does not quite compare to the previous and later imperial rule.

    Also, I didn’t claim that Constantine was the first one to move his capital (even when Rome pro forma had been capital of the Roman Empire, business was often de facto done from the summer residences during the summer months because of the unbearable conditions in Rome then), but his moves were rather notorious, at least they are to me as I live close to Augusta Treverorum. 🙂

  • Not that this matters as much as the Goths, Vandals or the missing candelabra, but Robert, thanks for having a little collection of videos that I hadn’t seen in a while. It’s hard to believe that one of their videos has 25 million views.

  • Since most of those tribes were intermarried Germanics, the distinction is actually minimal. Suppose CK would like me to draw analogies…

  • Valentinian was born in the western capital of Ravenna in 419. He was the only son of Galla Placidia and Flavius Constantius. The former was the younger half-sister of the western emperor Honorius, and the latter was at the time Patrician and the power behind the throne.


  • So? Does that in any way contradict what I said above?

    Difficile est saturam non scribere..

    P.S.: Don’t use Wiki as a source. It’s so…

  • As a college professor I don’t use Wikipedia in an academic environment. I did not think this was an academic environment. 😉

  • The same reasons why Wiki isn’t suitable for academic environments apply to why Wiki isn’t suitable for everyday conversations. Either it is a proper source or it’s not.

  • I know we’re working on resolving this whole gay business today, but before anyone misses it, the pope actually woke from his slumber and, confoundingly, did that rarest of things– take imaginative, aggressive, and possibly world-changing action.

    This will either not survive the next news cycle, or– I’ll hope for this– turn out to be the most momentous step the Church has taken in seven hundred or so years. It could be the end of mainline Protestantism, full stop. One could go a lifetime without a pope doing something, uh, obvious and intelligent, but it happened today.

  • I suck at links. But what he’s done is issue an offer to all Anglicans that they can hold onto all of their rituals, churches, and governing rules/structures (including married priests) in return for coming on board with papal authority. That’s an offer that a lot of mainline Protestants will have a hard time refusing, going forward.

    Ironically, it may make the church more conservative, as those evil, homophobic Anglican bishops in Africa decide to sign up.


  • Man, it’s so confusing! Anglicans, Protestants, Seventh Day Adventists, Baptists, Southern Baptists, Jesuits, Christian Scientists, nuns, Catholics, Branch Davidians, Lutherans, Mennonites…

    You need to give me a road map to understand the differences between these puppies some day, Tom.

    • Welcome to the world of religious studies, Middle. Please fasten your seatbelt. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride. 🙂

  • Here’s a reader comment, from the UK Telegraph website:

    ‘As everyone of us, I am still digesting the implications of this huge move.
    I cannot avoid images of Catholic tanks rolling all over the green fields of England and parading the high streets among multitudes of disaffected soon-to-be ex-Anglicans throwing flowers ans sending kisses; but I have probably seen too many documentaries…’