Why should a notorious international thug like Yasser Arafat be warmly eulogized by media outlets all over the world, including an excessively positive statement from the Vatican?
After all, Arafat, founder of Fatah and a self-styled disciple of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem during World War II and far more than a mere Nazi sympathizer, does have these undisputed items on his résumé:
The February, 1970 bombing of SwissAir flight 330 in mid-air by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, that claimed 47 lives.
The murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in September, 1972.
The take over of the Saudi embassy in Sudan in March, 1973, executing two American officials (U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel and Charge d’ Affairs George Curtis Moore) and a Belgian citizen. U.S. intelligence officials say the National Security Agency has recordings of Arafat personally ordering the operation and the murder of the diplomats.
The hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in October, 1985, leading to the killing of a wheelchair-bound American, Leon Klinghoffer. Intelligence reports document that the instructions for the attack originated from Arafat’s headquarters in Tunis.
In September, 2000, the so-called “second intifada” was launched. Arafat-linked groups have been responsible for scores of terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. Documents captured by the Israelis show that Arafat and his cronies personally authorized payments to terrorists.
The “al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade,” which has taken credit for many recent suicide bomber attacks, is regarded by counter-terrorism officials as merely the latest version of Fatah terrorists.
For the “why?” consider this…
A Culture of Secularism/Atheism
As I have noted before, once a society establishes atheism as the national religion, an early casualty is the recognition of objective good and evil. To condemn the acts of Arafat would require rendering a judgment, and that is not possible. In fact, the only deeds that can be condemned are those which might impair someone’s “rights.” Of course, the right to not be killed whether via abortion or terrorism, is not so enumerated.
The Enduring Popularity of Anti-Semitism
Clearly, the ancient Romans were onto something. If no one ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the American public, no one ever lost power by pandering to the Jew-haters. Arafat was able to combine this with pandering to the America-haters, and thus death was the only force that could remove him from power.
Respect Shown to Authority—Legitimate or Not
Back in the day, it was no problem to assassinate “leaders,” if they got in our way. Heck, the sainted JFK tried to whack Fidel Castro. But this policy was abandoned in our kinder, gentler foreign policy epoch. You may have noticed that the only people safer these days are the despots.
What About the Vatican?
It is important to understand that the charism of infallibility pertains only to Church doctrine. If a Pope chooses to make a ridiculous statement on some other topic, he should be regarded with no more clout than, say, Susan Sarandon. Still, I realize that this is not a complete explanation.
We can proceed further, and say that John Paul II will not go down in history as a great Pope, or even a very good one. His pontificate will be remembered for the fall of Euro communism, and the creation of many saints. But, it will also be remembered for the secularization of Europe (once called Christendom), the needless persecution of Archbishop Marcel Lefevbre, scandals without number, and pointless détente with Islam, that included a shocking (and completely unexpected by his hosts) kissing of the Koran.
Some will argue that the Vatican is setting the stage for a concordat with soon-to-be majority Muslim European countries. Perhaps.
My take is that a group of tired old men have been far too influenced by today’s mores, and have brought grave public scandal on the Church with their sins of human respect. If this is part of God’s plan to remind us that the Church is a human as well as a divine institution, it is succeeding quite well.