Cardinal: Pope Doesn't Equate the Holocaust and Abortion

Refutes Allegations Against John Paul II's Latest Book

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ROME, FEB. 23, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Responding to accusations against John Paul II's latest book, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger clarified that "the Pope does not compare the Shoah with abortion."



The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made that statement Tuesday when presenting the book, "Memory and Identity," at a press conference.

The cardinal explained that "the Pope recalls men's permanent temptation and tells us that we are not immune either to the destruction of human life; however, the identification between the Shoah and abortion is foreign to the book and to the Holy Father's idea." Shoah is the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.

With the book in hand, the dean of the College of Cardinals refuted the allegations reported earlier by the media about supposed passages dedicated by the Holy Father to the Jewish Holocaust carried out during World War II.

John Paul II's fifth book as Pope went on sale Tuesday. During the book's presentation to the press, Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls also denied the existence of such references to the Holocaust in the volume.

"The Pope has no desire to compare systems of evil; what he wishes to do is to identify the roots of moral evil," he said.

"If man can decide what good is and what evil is, then he can opt for annihilating a group of people, as has happened in the past and as can still happen," Navarro Valls added.

During the presentation at the Colonna Palace in Rome, Navarro Valls emphasized that the comparison of abortion to the Holocaust "is a mistake which has no basis in the book. The Pope wonders about the reasons for evil, but does not compare evil situations."

Specifically, John Paul II writes that "the law established by man, by parliaments, and by any other human legislative body, cannot be in contradiction with the natural law, in short, with the eternal Law of God."

The Holy Father reflects on "the elimination of millions of sons and daughters of Israel," saying that "suffice it to think of only this event, so close in time, to see with clarity that the law established by man has precise limits, which cannot be exceeded."

"At the beginning of a new century and a new millennium," the Pope invites his readers "to question themselves on some legislative options decided in the parliaments of the present democratic regimes" and, in particular, those that have introduced abortion.

"Parliaments that approve and promulgate such laws must be aware that they are going beyond their competencies and place themselves in open conflict with the law of God and with the laws of nature," he states.

Regarding John Paul II's health, the Vatican spokesman said: "The Pope is improving and follows his doctors' advice, which is a bit of rest."