Against the Antisemites
Antisemitism, and Anti-Jewish, sentiments are making their way back into the mainstream news again. Of course, this is accompanied by the usual suspects: racists and Neo-Nazis of various sorts. Their actions, alone, would not be enough to account for the rise in antisemitic incidents in recent years. There are other factors as well. The rise of Islam in the West certainly plays a role, as does the growing Marxist influence on the political Left.
Obviously, Catholics cannot remain Catholic and play any kind of a role in this. The following is official Catholic teaching from the Second Vatican Council…
Now I know, some Catholics have issues with Vatican II. Truth be told, I really don’t care. My position on Vatican II is well known. It is identical to the position held by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Paul VI. So if you have a problem with my position on Vatican II, then you have a problem with the position of these two popes. Argue against them, not me. As far as I’m concerned this is the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church, which is echoed by the new Catechism, and supported by sixteen-hundred years of Church tradition. All forms of Antisemitism, and anti-Jewish bigotry, are rejected and repudiated by the Catholic Church.
This is well supported by pre-conciliar Catholic teaching…
Saint Paul, the author of much of the New Testament, himself a Jewish rabbi before becoming an Apostle, had something to say on this topic…
From the writings of Christian Scripture, it should be pretty obvious. Do not boast against the Jews. Don’t be conceited. Fear God! For he can do the same to you as he did to them. And God can save them just as easily by bringing them to faith in Christ. Perhaps the resurgence of Paganism and Heathenism, in these latter times, among some Europeans and North Americans, is an example of how easily God can turn the tables, cutting off the prideful Gentiles while bringing more Jews into Christianity, even into his Catholic Church.
Saint Augustine, one of the most influential figures of Western Catholic theology, preached in around AD 400 that the Jews must be protected for their ability to explain the Old Testament.
In AD 598, in reaction to anti-Jewish attacks by Christians in Palermo, Pope Gregory the Great brought Augustine’s teachings into Church Law, by writing epistles stating that even though Jews had not accepted salvation through Christ, and were therefore condemned by God until such time as they accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah and King, Christians are nevertheless bound to protect the Jews as an important part of Christian civilization.
In the 12th century, after the attacks on Jews by the First Crusade, in which about five-thousand Jews were slaughtered, Pope Callixtus II issued Sicut Judaeis in AD 1120, a papal bull which served as a charter of protection to Jews in Europe. From that moment onward, it became illegal for Christians to physically bring harm to the Jewish people or to use methods of coercion against them. That doesn’t mean that every Catholic followed the pope’s teaching. Some of them didn’t, and in fact, some of those were royalty. However, the precedent had been set within the Catholic Church. Jews are to be protected, not persecuted. This bull was reaffirmed by many popes including Alexander III (AD 1159 – 1181), Celestine III (AD 1191-1198), Innocent III (AD 1199), Honorius III (AD 1216), Gregory IX (AD 1235), Innocent IV (AD 1246), Alexander IV (AD 1255), Urban IV (AD 1262), Gregory X (AD 1272-1274), Nicholas III, Martin IV (AD 1281), Honorius IV (AD 1285-1287), Nicholas IV (AD 1288-1292), Clement VI (AD 1348), Urban V (AD 1365), Boniface IX (AD 1389), Martin V (AD 1422), and Nicholas V (AD 1447). The bull forbade Christians, on pain of excommunication, from forcing Jews to convert, from harming them, from stealing their property, from disturbing their celebrations, and from vandalizing with their cemeteries.
Now, in the centuries that followed, this teaching was ignored by many, and even some future popes (as I’ve said before, it is possible to have bad popes), until the 20th century when on September 6, 1938, Pope Pius XI issued the following statement…
Pope Pius XI also approved the only papal encyclical ever written in German, Mit brennender Sorge, which condemned the Nazi regime, and the entire philosophical premise behind it, namely its idolizing of race.
While Soviet propaganda states that his successor, Pope Pius XII, was complicit with the Nazis in the Holocaust, recent evidence released from the Vatican Secret Archives not only disproves this Soviet propaganda (propaganda eagerly embraced by the Western mainstream media by the way), but appears to indicate a strong possibility that the pope may have been involved in Operation Valkyrie, a failed attempt to assassinate Adolph Hitler. This is well documented in the book Church of Spies.
Then, in the Second Vatican Council, as previously stated, the Catholic Church’s position on its relation to the Jewish people, and the prohibition of their mistreatment, was so clearly stated that it’s now impossible for any sane person to assert antisemitic (or anti-Jewish) tendencies in Catholic teaching.
That said, this is in no way a blanket endorsement of Judaism. It is not. Jewishness is an ethnic and cultural thing. Judaism is a religion. They are different. Jewishness applies to those things related to the Jewish people throughout history, both before and after Christ. Judaism applies to the religion, created by the Pharisees, following the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70. We must make a clear and unmistakable distinction here. Protection of a people is not tantamount to an endorsement of their religion. One could say the same thing about protecting Buddhist people, but that’s not the same as endorsing the Buddhist religion.
The Catholic Church protects the Jewish people but at the same time, the Church does not endorse the religion of Judaism. That’s a very important distinction that must be pointed out. This is because the religion of Judaism is directly opposed to the claims of the Catholic Church, the chief one being that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah. We can talk about the various things written in the Talmud, or all the supposed conspiracies and cabals that surround Jews in government, media and education. None of this really matters though, whether true or not, because the bottom line is that the religion of Judaism rejects Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah. So it is therefore antichrist and anti-christian. The Catholic Church cannot ever endorse apostasy, which is what this is, and so it can never be misconstrued that supporting the protection of Jewish people is the same thing as endorsing Judaism. It is not.
Now, as for those conspiracies and cabals, both of which are insignificant in the shadow of rejecting Jesus Christ, I think its safe to say that most of them are either false or exaggerated. While we could probably point to a Jew here or there, who seems to fit into the conspiracy and cabal narrative, the vast majority of Jews (especially those who live in North America) are just regular people, who work regular jobs, and worry about the same regular things everyone else does, such as paying their bills and their taxes. They have no part in any conspiracy or cabal. Most of them have barely read the Torah (first five books of the Bible), and have never read the Talmud. If they go regularly to a synagogue (and most of them don’t) then probably the most exposure they ever get to Jewish teachings comes from their rabbi, most of whom are usually politically-correct, and try not to stir up any trouble with neighboring Christians. In other words, the average Jewish life is rather innocuous, ordinary and dull. This is especially true in North America, as most Jews just want to be recognized as good American (and Canadian) citizens who are loyal to their country and their neighborhoods.
When Christians have an issue with something like Globalism, rather than blaming Jews, just blame the Globalists. That covers all the bases, doesn’t it? Whether these Globalists be Jews, Christians, Atheists or something else. When Christians have an issue with something like Zionism, rather than blaming Jews, just blame the Zionists. Not all Zionists are Jews you know.
By the way, Catholics cannot be Zionists.
It may shock some people to learn that Zionism (unconditional support for the Israeli Republic) is sometimes controversial within the Jewish community too. Not all Jews are Zionists, and those who are don’t always agree with politics in the Israeli Republic. It would probably surprise most people to learn that there are far more Evangelical-Christian Zionists in America than Jewish Zionists. It would probably be fair to say that Evangelical-Christian Zionists outnumber Jewish Zionists by at least ten to one, and that is an extremely conservative estimate. The ratio is probably much higher, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of five-hundred to one. In North America, Zionism is more of an Evangelical-Christian thing, than a Jewish thing, and that’s a fact.
I have always said, and I stand by this statement, that Zionism would have never gotten off the ground, and most Jews would have never felt an overwhelming need to return to their ancestral homeland, if Christians in Europe and North America just acted more like Christians toward them. Evangelicals say they love Jews. Good for them! So show it by being nice to them here, in North America, so they never feel the need to go to the Israeli Republic. I say the same for Catholics and mainline Protestants. Make Jews feel welcome and at home here. That’s how you combat Zionism in the most effective way.
I think the important thing to remember in all of this is the concept of Christian charity. Since the days of the Apostles, the objective of the Gospel has been to reach out to the Jewish people. We can’t do that with Antisemitism, or Anti-Jewish bigotry of any kind. These things are a hindrance, a stumbling block, to the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Any Christian who engages in this lack of charity will inevitably destroy his own witness for Christ, and likely push Jews further away from the truth. That thought alone, the thought of working against Christ and his Gospel, ought to be terrifying to the mind of any Christian. One need not fawn over Jews, or give them undue attention, and trust me when I say they don’t want it, but common decency and kindness (basic civility) should be the cornerstone of all Christian relations with Jews, and everyone else for that matter.