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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Maureen Dowd, "How Mary Feels About Being a Virgin": Is It All About Sex?

"Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory."

- Irena Sendler

It's rarely black and white, except at The Times.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "How Mary Feels About Being a Virgin" (, Maureen Dowd recounts her discussion concerning "The Testament of Mary," a show soon previewing on Broadway, with it's iconoclast author, Colm Toibin. Dowd concludes:

"Toibin says that the church must have tolerance, and that its leaders have lost any sense of how their sanctimonious denunciations clash with their scandals and imagery, causing nothing but pain.

'I remember being at the Vatican at Easter 1994,' he recalled, 'and watching all the cardinals and bishops, wonderfully powerful old men with great chins, sitting nobly with a long row of extraordinarily beautiful young seminarians standing behind, shading them with different colored sun umbrellas, some of which were pink.

'It was remarkable that none of them seemed to know what it looked like, and I watched it thinking, somebody must tell them.'"

No question about it: The Vatican's attitude toward women and homosexuals is troublesome for someone like me. (I also question why orthodox synagogues separate between men and women.)

And then there is the behavior of the Vatican during the Holocaust, which goes unmentioned in this opinion piece.

Yet, if one is troubled by the conduct of Pope Pius XII while millions of Jews were massacred by the Nazis throughout Europe, there can also be no forgetting the angelic conduct of Oskar Schindler, a Catholic member of the Nazi Party, who single-handedly saved 1,200 Jews.

Far less famous than Schindler, immortalized by Steven Spielberg, was Irena Sendler, a Catholic woman of extraordinary valor, who saved the lives of 2,500 Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto from certain death.

Irena, born in 1910, joined the Żegota resistance in Poland, and owing to her work with the Warsaw Social Welfare Department, she was able to enter the ghetto to check for signs of typhus. Irena smuggled Jewish children out of the ghetto in crates, boxes and suitcases and hid them with Polish families and Catholic convents and rectories. She made lists of the children's former and assumed names and promised that after the war they would be returned to their families.

Arrested by the Gestapo in 1943, she was tortured and left for dead in the woods with broken limbs. Irena was forced to go into hiding until the end of the war, but immediately thereafter sought to reunite the Jewish children whom she saved with those of their parents who remained alive (90% of Polish Jewry was exterminated by the Nazis).

In 2007, at the age of 97, a year before her death, she was nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Irena did not receive the award. As we all know, the prize is reserved for such renowned men of peace as Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama.

In short, religion is capable of inspiring unspeakable acts of hatred as well as all that is noble in our lives.

Again, it's never black and white, except at The Times.


  1. Ah, the Vatican ...
    Dowd does mention the Holocaust in her piece, but other people do.
    David Turner has a long series on the history of Christian anti-Judaism/antisemitism at the Jerusalem Post. At the moment, the Holocaust is discussed and the question who knew what when is addressed.
    Below is one of the comment:
    "Fully agree that the Vatican was aware of the murder of the Jews from the start. The Vatican had and has a very effective intelligence service and while I cannot say what the relationship between the Vatican, British and American intelligence services was before 1939 (the British had Germany's Enigma communications code at least in 1939 (who shared intel with the Americans since the invasion of Poland in 1939); the Poles in 1936); at least we can say with confidence that Pius XII was aware of the Final Solution from its earliest manifestations."
    Speaking of Obama, Nobel, awards, etc.
    It looks that Obama gives awards to the most notorious antisemites (Tutu, Mary Robinson, for example) and receives awards from notorious antisemites.
    Not only Obama received the Oslo award, but also Tutu, and a number of similar charmers.
    The land of Knut Hamsun is true to its tradition.
    BTW, the following event will take place soon at the Vidal Sassoon Center:

  2. Correction.
    I meant of course:
    Dowd DOESN'T mention the Holocaust ....
    I apologize for this and other typos, e.g.