Renowned Harvard legal professor Alan Dershowitz wrote a letter to the Miami Herald last week in which he called Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras a "notorious anti-Semite" who should not be permitted to become the next pope.
Dershowitz wrote the letter in response to photographs of potential candidates for the papacy that were published in the Miami Herald on Feb. 12, following Pope Benedict XVI's surprise announcement that he will resign at the end of February.
"[Maradiaga] has blamed the Jews for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners!" Dershowitz wrote. "He has argued that the Jews got even with the Catholic Church for its anti-Israel positions by arranging for the media — which they, of course, control, he said — to give disproportionate attention to the Vatican sex scandal. He then compared the Jewish controlled media with Hitler, because they are “protagonists of what I do not hesitate to define as a persecution against the church.”
Dershowitz wrote that Maradiaga had refused to take those statements back.
“I don’t repent . . . sometimes it is necessary to shake things up,” Dershowitz quoted Maradiaga as saying.
"The Vatican has rightly called anti-Semitism a sin, and yet an unrepentant sinner is on the short list to become the leader of the Catholic Church," Dershowitz wrote. "If that were to occur, all of the good work by recent popes in building bridges between the Catholic Church and the Jews would be endangered. This should not be allowed to happen."
Pope Benedict XVI recently announced he will resign on Feb. 28 because he no longer has the strength to fulfill the duties of his office, becoming the first pontiff since the Middle Ages to take such a step.