Monday, May 28, 2007

Anti-Semitism is Fascist Pornography

There is a voluble, virtually rabid controversialist who has been targeting we Catholic apologists who have opposed Anti-Semitism within our ranks. This gentleman hails from California and seems obsessed with claiming that Jews practice bestiality and sexual molestation of children and he has the Talmud quotes to PROVE IT! Or does he. Sadly this kind of accusation concerning Jewish people is not new. It is, in fact older, than the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and equally spurious. But on searching the net, you can find this fellow's name associate with Neo-Nazi web sites, anti-gun-control groups, pro-militia causes, and letters to the editor condemning homosexuals. This man has also come to the defense of a certain "Catholic" controversialist whose attitude about the Jewish people had become so outrageous that he attacked JPII and the then Cardinal Ratzinger for their advocacy of better Catholic-Jewish relations complete with quotations from Nazi sources. As you can see, a pattern is forming here and it is not pretty.

Spurious stories of moral (usually sexual) turpitude on the part of people of other religions has been fairly common in times past. We Catholics were the target of many of these salacious stories told by Puritans in England and America in which lascivious priests seduced women in the confessional and nuns in the convents siring bastard children that were smothered and buried in secret tunnels connecting the rectory to the convent. These stories were told in such lurid detail that some commentator have described this form of Anti-Catholicism as "Puritan Pornography".

Well now SOME Catholics are passing the buck and attacking Jewish people in a similar fashion. And they seem to share values with Fascist groups that foment racial hatred. They are extremists at best on the fringe of Catholicism and at worst well outside the Church in the LA-LA land where the Sedevacantists long for a strong reactionary Pope and an even stronger reprise of the Inquisition.

This sad controversialist seems to me to be very disturbed and I have elected not to argue with him directly. There is nothing worse than arguing with a madman about his delusions. It just agitates him and frustrates you. I have advised him that he needs to seek professional help, but in his case that probably means hiring some guy from the Soldier of Fortune magazine personals to have me whacked.

Christian-Jewish relation have not been very good over the centuries. There has been inappropriate behavior towards each other from both sides, but in all fairness we Christians have almost always out numbered the Jews and most of the uncharitable behavior must be blamed on us. The watershed of Christian anti-Semitism was the Holocaust in which one third of all the Jews in the world were the victims of Nazi genocide. This event was a wake-up call to western Christians and it prompted a reevaluation of Judaism and a deeper appreciation of it as part of our Christian heritage and on its own merits. The Second Vatican Council specifically addressed Judaism in the document Nostrae Aetate

Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so
great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues.

True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.

Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.

JPII later apologized for any suffering caused to Jews by those claiming to be Catholics and he did more than any other Pope to build bridges between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people.

In light of this I am embarrassed that there are still many "Catholics" who harbor prejudices against the Jewish people and who perpetuate scurrilous myths about them. We already know where such prejudices come from: the Fascist mindset with its racist and genocidal agendas. And we know where they lead: Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Bergen-Belsen.

When I was growing up, I was blessed to live in a home where racial, ethnic, and religious prejudice did not exist. My family had friends from among people of all faiths (and none) and we were taught to respect them and to appreciate the diversity in American culture. On the residential street where I lived, there was an Orthodox Jewish Synagogue across the street, an American Baptist Church on the opposite corner, a Pentecostal house church on the next block, and our Catholic Chapel across the main drag. And everybody got along just fine.

During my life I have know many Jewish people who were friends and colleagues. My attitude towards Jews was shaped by them and by the respect that I was taught on my mother's knee for people from whom Jesus and Mary came to us. They represent a short roll of honor:

-Mr. and Mrs. Sender who ran the store where we got most of our clothes as children and who extended credit to us when we needed it.

-Sam Goldberg the Rabbi's son from across the street who loved comic books as much as I did and who was my best friend.

-Mike Knapp from college who was in ROTC with me and helped us with the drill team even though he was not a member.

-Barry Wind my classmate at Vanderbilt Med School whose family welcomed us students into their home and openly shared their faith with us. His Mom and Dad were like surrogate parents for many of us. And they taught me how to chant the Berakah over dinner.

-Dr. Rosenthal my Orthopedics professor who taught us medicine with panache and a wry sense of humor.

-Dr. Eugene Winter and the several other Jewish house staff at Vanderbilt and Walter Reed took the time to teach me the craft of medicine

-Ginny, the girl that Barry married. During my residency, her family opened their home to me and treated me like one of their own.

-American Army Captain Drickey and his wife who were my sponsors upon my arrival in England as an exchange officer. They let me stay with them until my RAF quarters were ready and drove me to Mass on Sunday and waited for me in the parking lot until it was over to take me home.

-My friend Lou who commanded the OHARNG Med Det during the transition in the mid 90's. He was a good commander and an even better friend.

-David and Kathleen Moss , Marty Barrack, Athol, Ariela and the others at the Association of Hebrew Catholics who have been good friends and fellow Catholics and who share a love of what is good and beautiful in our common heritage.

Maybe that is the problem with our sad Anti-Semite controversialist. He has gone through life with blinders on and never been able to see the good people around him who were different. To him, Jews were always "THOSE people" and never his friends and neighbors. Let us pray for him and for all of those who have been too blind to see.


rr1213 said...

There has been prejudice from the Jews for millenia. The prejudice, and persecution, has worn a Catholic face, Othodox face, Protestant face, Facist face, Communist face, and Democratic face. In whatever form it takes it is unacceptable for a people whose God told us that HE has no partiality, Jew or Greek.

A pretext (in my opinion) for much of this prejudice has been the belief that "the Jews killed Christ". Honestly, I've never understood this charge. Jesus' blood was, and remains, on the hands of both Jews and Gentiles. The Jewish religious authorities insisted that Christ be crucified. The Romans, specifically Ponitus Pilate, went alone even though Pilate KNEW that Christ was not guilty of any crime. Frankly, in some ways, I believe that the greater sin was that of the Gentiles, not the Jews. The Jews believed Christ to be guilty of heresy (so to say), the Romans killed Him knowing He was innocent.

In any event, both Jew and Gentile participated in the sin and both Jew and Gentile are in need of a Savior.

Patti said...

Hi, Art,

Very good post. In reference to the skewwed idea that "the Jews killed Christ", that's balderdash. Our sins were the ultimate cause of His suffering and death. Those who wielded the instruments of His passion were just tools doing our work.

Art Sippo said...

Amen Patti!

A lot of people don't know this but in his film "The Passion of the Christ" it is Mel Gibson's hand that holds the nail that is driven into Christ's hand. He was trying to make the very same point.