Friday, November 23, 2007

David Kertzer : The Popes Against the Jews - " Blood Libel "& Other Absurdities

Anyway there are those who might object to accusing the Catholic Church of having a long history of preaching & teaching & encouraging anti-Semitic views & promoting laws which discriminated against the Jews & so we should be careful that our opinions are backed up with historical facts . But the Catholic Church when it has done wrong it too is accountable like any other institution or individual . But as a religious body it appears to be unrepentant for fear of admitting to mistakes & that it is therefore not INFALLIBLE - that then is the ' Sin of Pride ' & shows a lack of humility . Of course the Catholic Church is a religious organization which claims to believe in God's love or Jesus' love & in redemption & forgiveness yet the Catholic Church seems more interested in its own survival as an institution than acting in a manner which reflects the basic teachings of Jesus of Nazareth but maybe that's beside the point as far as the Church & the average Catholic is concerned . Is Jesus' message that we build palaces & empires rather than being our brother's keeper - is Charity , Love , Kindness ,Empathy all just empty platitudes or do they mean something in this Our Dark Night of The Soul ( see St. John of the Cross) ... and as Mr. Vonnegut reminds us ...and so it goes ...

" The tendency among some representatives and the defenders of the Church to deem anti-Catholic anyone who explicitly criticizes or questions some aspect of the Church stems in part from the Church's self-definition as the embodiment of God on earth and therefore as infallible. The critic is deemed " anti-Catholic " merely because he is against the Catholic Church's own imperious claim that it and its core doctrine are not subject to criticism ." ( p. 189 , Goldhagen )

For instance here is an example of how the Catholic Church which it has at times denied was in fact treating Jews as a separate race & not just members of the religion of Judaism .The ' racist " form of anti-Semitism it was often claimed was an innovation introduced in the Modern age & proved the perniciousness of Modernity. For some anti-Semites they believed if they could put a scientific veneer on their racist views including anti-Semitism then it would be more acceptable but the underlying racism is still the foundation of their belief no matter how they present it or dress it up as it were. It is really a form of rationalization for believing what they believe.

" The Society of Jesus known as the Jesuits , established racist criteria in 1593, with its so called pure blood decree expelling all Jesuits who had Jewish ancestry, and forbidding admission to all Christians who were tainted by Jewish blood, no matter how small the quantity . " (p. 154 Goldhagen ) ( later modified for those free of Jewish blood for five generations

As David Kertzer in his book THE POPES AGAINST THE JEWS argues that modern anti-Semitism has its roots in the Catholic Church's promulgating anti-Semitism over six centuries preaching that the Jews were not just voluntary members of the religion of Judaism but were a " separate race " who were the minions of the Devil or the Anti-Christ & that they were the enemy of the Church & Christianity & God and that they were an immoral , treacherous race that practiced human sacrifices .

Kertzer like others questions whether or not Modern anti-Semitism is really to be seen as a radical departure from the traditional Christian Anti-Semitism as taught by the Catholic Church & Luther & other Protestant churches -

" Pius IX set the tone in 1864 , when he issued the historic encyclical QUANTA CURA, and with it distributed a Syllabus of Errors, a listing of the eighty principal errors of modern times condemned by the Church. Along with rejecting modern ideas, the pope embraced a conspiratorial view of the world. In an outlook that would shape Catholic attitudes for decades to come, he portrayed an embattled Church besieged by the force of evil." ( p. 126 Kertzer )

In his dark & twisted conspiracy fantasies Pope Pius IX saw the Freemasons ,Jews & the Illuminati & liberals & Marxists & even Monopolistic Capitalists as all part of this conspiracy but it was the Jews who were the real force behind all of these different modern movements .

And Pope Pius IX listed " Among the errors denounced in the accompanying Syllabus were belief in freedom of religion, in the separation of Church and state, and in the ending of ecclesiastical control of public schools...and the Syllabus rejected the doctrine that " the Roman Pontiff, can and ought to reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization ." (p.126 Kertzer )

IN 1873 - Pius IX returned to the theme that it was the " synagogue of Satan " that lay behind the world wide conspiracy . " the web of forces conspiring to destroy the Church. In this he had ample evangelical precedent for the term came from the last book of the New Testament , where twice the Jew's places of worship are termed " synagogue of Satan " ( Revelation 2.9& 3.9 ) " (p. 127 Kertzer )

anyway at the end of the last post I mentioned the journals & newspapers run by the Catholic Church which were used to spread the Vatican's message which the Vatican has every right to do . But the Vatican must be held responsible for what appears in its publications especially if the Vatican has a hands-on policy towards these publications.

" The most influential Catholic periodical anywhere in the world- founded at the request of Pope Pius IX ( died 1878 ) and supervised by the Popes and their secretaries of state - was the Jesuit biweekly, Civilta cattolica . The Jesuit journal kicked off its long campaign against the Jews in December 1880 with a series of thirty -six fiercely ant-semitic articles which were published over the following forty months ." ( p. 134 Kertzer )

It should be noted that Civilta cattolica was not completely independent from the Vatican & each edition had to be approved by the Vatican. " Each new edition was first sent to the Vatican's Secretary of State: The articles must conform to the Church's official teachings in matters of faith & morals. On questions involving relations with other states, the position espoused must agree with that adopted by the Holy See. The timing of publishing the articles must be opportune ."( p.135 Kertzer The Popes Against The Jews ) and its main task was to defend the Pope and help spread his message .
and " its influence was tremendous. " since " The network of Catholic newspapers throughout the world regarded it, along with the Vatican's daily paper, L'Osservatore romano, as the most authoritative source for Vatican perspectives on current events and quoted its articles constantly. " ( p. 135 Kertzer )

" By 1882 , Civilta cattolica was happily heralding the first eruptions of the modern anti-Semitic political movement. The newly formed groups sprang from different sources and had a variety of interests, but increasingly they were viewed as part of a common international movement of like minded people . Anti-Semitic newspapers were being founded as were anti-Semitic political clubs and parties . ...Although these groups differed in many respects- some were Catholic, some protestant, others were populists, and leftists, others conservative but anti-clerical- they were unified in identifying the Jews with the painful dislocations of late nineteenth-century society. " ( p. 141Kertzer )

As Kertzer argues that while the Catholic Church was preaching anti-Semitism it was concerned that if violence broke out against the Jews it could be seen as responsible so they used certain techniques to avoid being accused of promoting violence though it is merely a ploy and nothing more - its like a little ' legalese ' hedging :

" the standard pattern" of official articles or those approved by the Catholic Church" was to " Paint the Jews in the most horrific terms imaginable , but then add a disclaimer saying that violence against the Jew is unchristian . " (p.212 Kertzer )

From Civilta cattolica Kertzer gives numerous examples of the Anti-Semitism to be found in the journal for example :

" if this foreign Jewish race is left too free, it immediately become the persecutor , oppressor, tyrant, thief and devastator of the countries where it lives." and the twisted argument goes that " Far from persecuting the Jews such legislation served to prevent the Jews from persecuting the Christians. " ( p. 136 K ) and encouraged " the notion that Jews belonged to a separate race and the notion that the Jews were a festering foreign sore eating away at society ..." ( p. 137 Kertzer )

Over & over the Catholic Church along with other anti-Semites given their hatred of Jews view all events through their racist Mindset and so insists the Jews are not to be trusted for they will say or do whatever they think is necessary to fool the Christians & thereby achieve their ends - again the argument is such that whatever Jews do even when it appears to be for the good it is in fact just another step to promoting their secret agenda -

" In an article in 1890 in Civilta Cattolica entitled " The Jews - Why They Remain Jews" the author argues that " the Jews ...had long ago stopped observing Mosaic law and now followed only the execrable Talmud. They had rejected and murdered the Messiah and believed that they were themselves divinely ordained to rule the world ." ( p. 143 Kertzer ) and the article continues that as the Jews were given more rights and freedoms " They began ' a remorseless constant war against the Christian religion and especially against Catholicism...and began " an unbridled campaign of usury , monopolies ,and thievery of every sort, to the detriment of those among whom they have enjoyed and continue to enjoy civil liberties. " and the article concluded that " brotherhood and peace were and are merely pretexts to enable them to prepare- with the destruction of Christianity, if possible and with the undermining of the Christian nations- the messianic reign that they believe the Talmud promises them " ( p. 143, Kertzer )

"in another series of articles in Civilta cattolica it was claimed that " The Jews' formed a foreign nation in the nations where they resided , a sworn enemy of the nations well being...Although they may live in France , in Germany , in England , they never become French, or Germasn or English but remain Jews and nothing but Jews". and that " History full of betrayal at the hands of the Jews ." (p. 144 Kertzer )

Or for example Father Rondin in an article in Civilta cattolica expresses the view of the Jews as a multi- armed or tentacled octopus which is operating everywhere at once to destroy Christianity & Western culture :

" The Jewish nation " does not work but traffics in the property and work of others, it does not produce, but lives and grows fat with the products of the arts and industry of the nations that give it refuge. It is the giant octopus that with its oversize tentacles envelops everything. It has its stomach in the banks...and its suction cups everywhere: in contracts and postal services and telegraph companies, in shipping and in the railroads, in the town treasuries and in state finance. " (p. 145 Kertzer )

Yet " fearful of being called anti-Semitic the contributor to the Catholic journal argues:
" We do not write with any intention of sparking or fomenting any anti-Semitism in our country. Rather we seek to sound an alarm for Italians so that they defend themselves against those who, in order to impoverish them, dominate them , and make them their slaves, interfere with ( their ) faith, corrupt their morals, and suck their blood ." (p. 146 Kertzer )

another " 1897 article warned that the Jews were working towards their goal -world domination " ( p. 146 Kertzer )

And further in another twisted piece of perverted logic in the 1890s when public " Sympathy for the Jews arose after brutal attacks on the Jews- " Why such concern ? " - The Catholic church argued that the savage attacks on Jews were prompted by the Jews themselves- they are so diabolical as to allow some Jews to be killed to raise sympathy among non-Jews" ( p. 147, Kertzer )

And to continue with the twisted perverse logic to the point of absolute absurdity :

" The fact that recent pogroms in Russia had stirred up so much sympathy for the Jews, the Vatican journalist argued , showed that they could only have been engineered by the Jews themselves ." ( p. 147 Kertzer )

It is disturbing & mind boggling how so many people in Europe & elsewhere could believe such nonsense . It would be funny but the consequences to the Jews based on such spurious arguments was in fact deadly - a matter of life & death.

also see:

Religious Tolerance .Org

Other References:

A Moral Reckoning :The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, pub. 2002

Constantine's Sword : The Church & the Jews by James Carroll, pub. 2001

The Catholic Church By Hans Küng -Translated by John Bowden, pub. 2001

The Popes Against The Jews: The Vatican's Role in The Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism, By David I. Kertzer pub. 2001


The Horizon History of Christianity, by Roland H. Bainton pub.1964.

Warrant For Genocide : The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of The Elders of Zion, by Norman Cohn 1967 & revised 1996.

also see Jewish-Christian
& of particular interest at this website on anti-Semitism in the New Testament see the article Removing Anti-Jewish Polemic
from our Christian Lectionaries: A Proposal by Norman A. Beck

see On Martin Luther's Anti-Semitism
Martin Luther's dirty little book:On the Jews and their lies A precursor to Nazism by Jim Walker

and also see:
Medieval Sourcebook: St. John Chrysostom (c.347-407) Eight Homilies Against the Jews

And from the website Catholic Answers: Just War Doctrine

take care,

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