S. ORANGE. N.J. (Oct. 22)
“Archbishop Capucci’s deed and Patriarch Maximos’ attempt to whitewash him have disgraced the Melkite (Greek Catholic) Church. indeed all Christians.” a Roman Catholic leader declared here. The statement, released by Msgr. John Oesterreicher, director of the Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University, referred to Archbishop Hillarion Capucci who is presently on trial in Jerusalem on charges of smuggling arms to terrorists in Israel and maintaining contacts with terrorist agents.
“What makes the whole affair so disconcerting is the twisted mind and drugged conscience of the Archbishop. He seems to consider the smuggling of 200 pounds of arms, ammunition and explosives…quite compatible with his episcopal office but protests against his incarceration as offending his rank,” Msgr. Oesterreicher said.
“The air surrounding the Capucci affair becomes even more turbid if one recalls the Archbishop’s ‘defense’ by Patriarch Maximos V” according to whom “it was not Capucci who joined a conspiracy against Israel,” but “the Israeli authorities who plotted his arrest as part of their ‘attempt to Judaize the city of Jerusalem and drive its people away by various terrorist methods,’” the statement continued.
‘A DELIBERATE ENEMY OF ISRAEL’
Branding Capucci “a deliberate enemy of Israel” who “unwittingly” also “has turned against all of mankind.” Father Oesterreicher asked, “How many people realize the subversion. of moral and religious values by a churchman whose mission is to serve life and peace but who chose to be an aide to killers of innocent people?”
Msgr. Oesterreicher said that on the other hand, “We must…be deeply grateful to Archbishop Raya, till recently the shepherd of 40,000 Melkites in all of northern Israel, for having balanced the ledger, thus allowing Christians to hold their heads high again. In no uncertain language he condemned Archbishop Capucci’s complicity.”