Sunday, February 1, 2009

Vatican Reinstatement: Op-Ed

Back to the Dark Ages
by Professor Deborah Lipstadt

www.aish.com/societyWork/society/Back_to_the_Dark_Ages.asp

The Vatican has done far more than set back Vatican/Jewish relations. It has made itself look like it is living in the darkest of ages.

Pope Benedict XVI has reinstated as a bishop a man who both denies the Holocaust and suggests that 9/11 was an American plot. He has done so, it is reported, in order to strengthen relations with a renegade segment of the Catholic Church. This is one of those inexplicable moves that has left many people asking "Have they no decency?" A more basic and, possibly even more appropriate question would be. "Have they no common sense?"

A number of commentators have observed that this will "complicate" Vatican-Jewish relations and will make it more difficult for Israel and the Vatican to come to an agreement about a papal visit in the near future. All this may be true, but that is an exceptionally narrow way of looking at the implications of this move. Simply put, it makes the Vatican look as if it is once again living in the most unenlightened of ages.

Holocaust denial is an explicit form of antisemitism. It has no purpose but to inculcate contempt for Jews. According to deniers Jews use the Holocaust to win the world's sympathy and, in the course of so doing, win reparations from Germany and political support for Israel. Such a charge, based as it is the imagery of money and political manipulation, hearkens back to traditional antisemitic stereotypes. Why a pope would want to give support to such a movement is baffling. More baffling, however, is why a pope would want to associate the Vatican with someone who preaches lies and manipulations of history.

In 2000 I spent ten weeks in a British court because Holocaust denier David Irving charged that I had libeled him by calling him a denier and an antisemite. My legal team traced Irving's comments and claims about the Holocaust backed to their sources. We followed the footnotes. In every case we found some form of invention, manipulation, distortion, and deletion. The documents that he claimed "proved" that the Holocaust did not happen did no such thing. His wrongs were so egregious that the judge, in a sweeping condemnation of Irving, used language not often heard in a British legal decision. Irving, the judge wrote, "perverts," and "distorts." His statements about the Holocaust were "misleading," "unjustified," "a travesty," and "unreal."

But there was more to it than just that. This was not happenstance or a series of improbable mistakes. Irving's "falsification of the historical record was deliberate and ... motivated by a desire to present events in a manner consistent with his own ideological beliefs even if that involved distortion and manipulation of historical evidence."

Holocaust deniers rely on a merry-go-round of "I will cite you and you will cite me." Irving's claims about the Holocaust are either drawn whole cloth from other denier or parroted by other deniers, such as Bishop Williamson. Deniers have no independent proof on which to rely because there is none. The Vatican has associated itself with a body of lies.

But the reinstated bishop does not just deny the Holocaust. He also claims 9/11 was staged by America as a pretext to invade Afghanistan. The linkage between the two sets of denial is, of course, not happenstance. Basic to 9/11 denial is the charge that four thousand Jewish workers in the World Trade Center were warned to stay home that day. In fact, about 500 Jews were among the victims. That is over 15% of the total, a number consistent with the Jewish population of the New York metropolitan area. Moreover, how could so many people be told anything and thousands more not hear about it?

In short, both these claims are not just malicious forms of antisemitism but they are completely illogical. They would be laughable were it not for the tragedies they address.

In embracing Bishop Williamson the Vatican has done far more than set back Vatican/Jewish relations. It has made itself look like it is living in the darkest of ages. One awaits a pronouncement that it is heresy to believe that the earth revolves around the sun or didn't the Vatican already once do that?

38 comments:

Izgad said...

I would have expected a historian to be a bit more careful about using the term “the Dark Ages.” You are not a medievalist, but I assume you are familiar with the fact that the Middle Ages in general and even the early Middle Ages (From the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the eleventh century), the period most often labeled as “the Dark Ages,” were not the cesspool of ignorance, bigotry and superstition that the general public has been to view them as. Take the example of anti-Judaism. We do not have any consistent campaign against Jews in the West, either from the Church, the secular authorities or the general populace, until the twelfth century. The situation does not really fall apart for Jews until the thirteenth century. I would recommend that you read R. I. Moore’s The Formation of a Persecuting Society.

StGuyFawkes said...

The Italian newspaper LA STAMPA indicates that the Pope may demand, as a condition of re-entry, that the SSPX accept the Vatican II documents on Religious Liberty and the evils of anti-Semitism.

A translation of the relevant passages follows. A link to the full text in Italian follows also.

"In the "anti-schism plan", the feast of the Purification of Mary (February 2) had been informally indicated as the "key date", but the reestablishment of full communion and the removal of the suspension "a divinis" could require a "supplementary clarification" between the Holy See and the stronghold of Ecône, particularly on the Declaration "Nostra Aetate", dedicated by the Council to the dialogue with the Jews, the Muslims, and other faiths. The "full recognition" of Vatican II remains the knot to be untied by Papal mediator [Cardinal] Darío Castrillón Hoyos.

A week ago, just as the decree in their favor had been published, the head of the Lefebvrists, [Bishop] Bernard Fellay, had confirmed the "reservations" on the Council.

The speeding up of the timetable of rehabilitation and the definition of the juridical status of the "Saint Pius X" in the Church (probably as a Personal Prelature in the model of Opus Dei) would help the Holy See to defuse the explosive mix of "residual disagreements" with the followers of Lefebvre and the Progressive feeling contrary to the reconciliation.
...
A few days from the "act of fatherly mercy", Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos has assured the Pontiff that he had obtained from the schismatic Bishops the effort to "accomplish the necessary steps towards full communion", recognizing not only the authority of the Pope, but also the Council.
..."

http://www.lastampa.it/_web/cmstp/tmplrubriche/giornalisti/grubrica.asp?ID_blog=242&ID_articolo=130&ID_sezione=&sezione=

hockey hound said...

"Holocaust denial is an explicit form of antisemitism. It has no purpose but to inculcate contempt for Jews."

I've copied this statement down into my note pad, Prof. Lipstadt. If only Christian apologists could be so frugal with their words...

"Craft must have clothes, but truth loves to go naked."

dan said...

The AP is reporting that so far two Catholic bishops in Germany have publicly spoken out against the Pope's reinstating the guy. One the other day, and another today. So that's two so far, in Germany. None so far in Italy or the USA.

StGuyFawkes said...

Here are some relevant paragraphs from today's Washington Times:

"In a major breakthrough, the Vatican cardinal overseeing the SSPX issue told an Italian newspaper Thursday that the society had accepted the Second Vatican Council.

"Full communion will come. In our discussions, Bishop Fellay recognized the Second Vatican Council, he recognized it theologically. Only a few difficulties remain," said Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

When pressed by the Milan daily Corriere Della Sera, the cardinal elaborated that the church's teaching on Judaism was not the problem, but "aspects such as ecumenism, liberty of conscience." Cardinal Castrillon has said the SSPX issues were not the documents of Vatican II itself, but how they had been elaborated and put in practice." END

From Rome's point of view bringing the SSPX back in doesn't endorse anti-Semitism, it begins a process of cure which starts by making them sign the very documents regarding Judaism which made them leave in the first place.

Add to this the fact that they will be a Personal Prelature and boom, they are right under the Pope's scrutiny.

Almost as soon as the SSPX left in '86 or '88 the condition of their return set by Rome was that they affirm the Council documents. Now it looks like they will.

I respect the fact that to Jews this means nothing because now the Catholic organization has become filled with new creeps just when it was starting to get depleted of the old. (Or maybe it's getting filled with old creeps when it was starting to have fewer new ones.)

My only point is that Rome sees this as the way to fix anti-Semitism and the press paints this as Rome becoming --demographically I guess you could say -- more anti-Semitic.

I think it's hard for a fair minded person not to see a glass both half full and half empty.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Izgad writes "I would have expected an historian..."

Sorry I upset your historical protocol but I was speaking metaphorically. I really thought people would get my drift.... apparently not.

Ian Thal said...

Cardinal O'Malley in Boston condemned the antisemitism of the SSPX, but defended Benedict's decision to bring SSPX back in the fold as a means to reform them.

At the same time O'Malley isn't making it a priority to meet with the leaders of Boston's Jewish community until "mid- to late February."

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/02/01/omalley_defends_popes_decision/

StGuyFawkes said...

German SSPX Leader Condemns Williamson's statement and drops shocker! Says, Archb. Lefebvre's Dad died in a KZ camp.

Readers:

An excellant compendium of websites giving all the Vatican and SSPX statements on the uproar can be found at this site.

(Readers, Do try and get past the title of the site. LOL)

http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/blog/2009/01/vatican-sspx-and-repeal-of.html

One interesting comment struck my eye. The head of the German SSPX condemned Williamson's remarks and in conclusion said,

"Such dissociation is also necessary for us because the father of Archbishop Lefebvre died in a KZ [concentration camp]....."

Lovers of irony, both Catholic and Jewish might find some baleful amusement in this detail.

I ask, "Just how does one deny the Holocaust when one's founder's father died in well.....I guess you'd have to call it... part of the Holocaust."

I've got to ask any SSPX members out there (if they read this) What would Archb. Marcel say about all this!)

Did HE think there was no SHOAH? Or did he think only Catholics died in those camps?

Or is this an example of what was called "appropriating the Holocaust" when those Carmelite Nuns put a convent ouside Auschwitz 25 some years ago.

I don't think it's an example of "appropriation" but I'm sure someone might.

Ludovic said...

« One awaits a pronouncement that it is heresy to believe that the earth revolves around the sun or didn't the Vatican already once do that? »

The Vatican did that, but this was at a time when science had enough evidence to suspect heliocentrism, but not enough evidence to prove it unequivocally. Heliocentrism looked mathematically more manageable than the older geocentric equations. It was a matter of mathematical taste, rather than an assessment of astronomical evidence. So it is quite different with the question of the nazi genocide.

In January 2008 a controversy took place between Benedict XVI and a part of the students and faculty of Rome's La Sapienza university who complained about Benedict XVI's support in 1990 of philosopher Paul Feyerabend's view that the Church's doubts on heliocentrism had been more "rational" than Galileo's position in favor of heliocentrism, even if the latter turned out to be true.

StGuyFawkes said...

To Ian Thai,

I didn't mean to say O'Malley was very critical of the Pope, just that he did voice SOME criticism of the way it was handled.

It seems most of the episcopal doubts are coming from the Europeans.

The bishops actual and structural relation to the See of St. Peter doesn't allow much to be said in the way of public criticism. That's why I thought Peter Steinfel's article sort of strained credulity.

As for O'Malley and the local Jewish organizations your account sounds just about right. The deal is going to go down anyway, O'Malley probably feels like he doesn't need to talk to them now.

My recommendation to Jewish groups is that they should try and get in on this thing while the clay is still wet and demand that the SSPX forcefully endorse ALL the Vatican II documents.

It's not a hard argument to make. Esteemed Rabbis should say, "Look those documents were the platform for fairly good progress in Catholic Jewish relations for 30 some years. We're partners in this. THere were Rabbis at Vatican II who were consulted on those documents, now that a whole new /old crew is coming in we want to sit at the table again."

Say that and keep saying it again and again.

Jewish organzations might not get much right away but it's a good way to say look we're watching the SSPX to check on their compliance.

The other thing is if I were a member of that Jewish group I'd call the local SSPX parish and ask for a sit down right then.

They'd probably be shocked but go ahead and ask. It couldn't hurt.

Instead of standing outside this process throwing rocks at it maybe the best strategy is to try and get inside the process and help mold it.

One things sure: the REAL anti-Semites will be so pissed they'll walk out the door.

That might be what happens anyway when the whole thing settles out.

Izgad said...

"Sorry I upset your historical protocol but I was speaking metaphorically. I really thought people would get my drift.... apparently not."

The article was written in a very Whigish tone. For example: "One awaits a pronouncement that it is heresy to believe that the earth revolves around the sun or didn't the Vatican already once do that?"

As a history teacher I have the job of trying to knock this sort of nonsense out of my students. Just as you take quips about the Holocaust very seriously, for me the notion of a Church sponsored "Dark Age" is not a laughing matter.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Point well taken.

Izgad said...

Dr. Lipstadt

Just so you should know. I am planning on assigning History on Trial next quarter to my students as a lesson in what it means to be a historian. You are out there fighting for me and I only wish that I could help carry the burden. You are too important for our opponents to have the opportunity to attack. So any criticism on my part should be taken simply as a matter of me thinking that you have overstepped and opened yourself to attack.

dan said...

Call for pope to step down over Holocaust denier

Attacks on Pope Benedict XVI's decision to lift the excommunication of a Holocaust denier escalated Monday, with one theologian calling on him to step down as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

dan said...

"If the pope wants to do some good for the Church, he should leave his job," eminent liberal Catholic theologian Hermann Haering told the German daily Tageszeitung.

"That would not be a scandal, a bishop has to relinquish his position at 75 years, a cardinal loses his rights at 80 years," he said. Pope Benedict is 81.

hockey hound said...

'...for me the notion of a Church sponsored "Dark Age" is not a laughing matter'

I quite agree. Nothing the Church was involved in was a laughing matter for anyone on the receiving end of those religious adventures. It's enough to make reasonable human beings shed tears.

But perhaps you are implying that the Church is not in any measure culpable for all the horrors of the Dark Ages? I actually blame (although I do not employ total strangers as history teachers) the Church for a good many atrocious events as took place during the Dark Ages. I am of the opinion that the Church and Christianity actually prolonged the so-called Dark Ages. I'm thinking of how widespread (or so I've read somewhere) was the common Christian's fear of Augustine's ridiculous and supersticious 'Six Ages of the World'. And that's just one example.

You must be a Catholic Christian: only a Catholic Christian would endeavor to exculpate the Church's open and observable involvement in the horrors of the Dark Ages. Imagine, the Church gave birth to that malefically verbose and dissident Catholic Martin Luther, one of the most virulent Jew-haters of all time. On my blame list, he is right up there with Adolf Hitler and Paul of Tarsus as "most culpable" for the deaths of 6 million Jewish men, women, and children.

"I am planning on assigning History on Trial next quarter to my students as a lesson in what it means to be a historian."

Prof. Lipstadt would be my choice too, not only as an example of honesty and diligence as an historian, but also of courage in facing down sciolists like David Irving whose imposture as such served him only as a means of disguising his obdurate hatred of the Jews. What an idiot. And what terrible manners.

"The sting of a reproach is in the truth of it." (This proverb is my gift to you, Prof. Lipstadt. May it always remind you of how you kicked David Irving's ass.)

hockey hound said...

"Whigish"

Whigish?? That is SO hilarious! Please confine your insults to the present day context, Izgad.

Next you'll be quoting Robert Louis Stevenson! (I actually love reading Robert Louis Stevenson, said I.)

Izgad said...

Hockey Hound
By Whigish I am referring to the Whig narrative, the theory that Christianity brought down the “golden age” of Greece and Rome and brought about a thousand year dark age. For one thing there was no dark age. Yes the Western Roman Empire declined and the direct Roman presence was removed from much of Western Europe. There was a lot of violence during the Middle Ages. Yes, they knew less than we do today about the natural world. The Church was a major political institution during this time period. This does not mean that the Church was responsible for everything or nearly everything that went wrong (and a lot did go wrong) during this time.
There is a tremendous double standard when it comes to evaluating the Church’s actions. For example Robespierre’s secular government murdered more people in less than two years, during the Reign of Terror, than the Inquisition did in several centuries. Where is the discussion of secular fanaticism? (Of we are not even getting into the issue of Communism, a hundred million people sacrificed on the altar of an atheist utopia.)

By the way I am an Orthodox Jew. I am not some big lover of the Catholic Church. As a student of the Middle Ages I see a more complicated picture than just Big Bad Catholic Church.

dan said...

Here is that earlier DPA wire news headline: "Second German Catholic bishop criticizes the pope"

1. Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller was the first to criticize the pope, and
2. Bishop Gebhard Fuerst was the second, both in Germany....

they said Williamson's remarks about the non-happening of the Holocaust were "totally unacceptable"...

Ludovic said...

In my opinion, there is a Dark Age, but it is very limited both in time and in geography.

In my opinion, the Dark Age occurs only in Britain and only during one century. It is the century in the history of Britain about which we have almost no historical account telling us what happened. The word "dark", here, does not mean that the people were barbarians (perhaps they were, but this is another problem) : it means that we lack the historical tools casting light on that time.

It "covers the history of England from the end of Roman imperial rule in the very early fifth century to the arrival of Saint Augustine in AD 597" : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-Roman_Britain

Conversely, there is no such historiographical gap in the histories of Italy or Byzantium.

StGuyFawkes said...

To Izgad,

Speaking as a Roman Catholic let me say, "Thank you for taking the burden from me of having to explain the "Whig" school of historiograpy."

In the choice of that adjective you may have really opened up a fruitful vein of discussion.

My understanding is that Whigish history came from an English national consciousness whereby the Church of England was a primary source of national identity.

That being the case it was important to re-write Church history so that the previous, Catholic development of the Church would be seen as a deviation, and the real Chuch would be seen as beginning with Henry VIII.

Of course this theory of historiography was coincident with the growth of the British Empire when the British were feeling pretty self-centered anyway.

So the claim that all history revolved around England and her state religion sounded like music to English ears.

Getting back to Benedict, did you know that the SSPX and other traditionalist groups have their own revisionist histories of the Second Vatican Council?

I use "revisionist" in the technical sense.

It occurs to me that this may be one of things Benedict really is out to kill. Revisionist histories of the Council.

One of the chief concerns of Benedict's papacy has been the re-evaluation and interpretation of the Council in the light of traditon. His first object may be to get control of all these anti-Modernist histories of the Council which you find in The Remnant and The Wanderer.

In schism (which by the way described the Church of England) we have not just a "parallel church" but a parallel history which has to be taken in hand.

So, in the case of SSPX you get a history of the Council which is arguably false.

I'm sure Dr. Lipstadt is seeing where this goes!

A false history of the Council resulting in a false history of the holocaust.

Revisionism of Church History leads to "revisionism" of the Holocaust.

Hmmmm! Interesting. Bad historiography in one zone bleeds over into bad historiography in another.

I think you are on to something.

Let's talk some more about this.

maureen said...

God bless the Pope. I love him dearly.

Izgad said...

StGuyFawkes
Good description of the origins of the historical narrative. It does come out of a distinctively English milieu. It has also has come to be used in a more general sense, as I used it, to refer to a whole line of attack against Catholicism where Catholicism is blamed for the Middle Ages. This line of attack was invented by Protestants. The most important example of this was the seventeenth century English historian, Edward Gibbon. In keeping with the rule of unintended consequences, this line of argument was picked up by the more secular branch of the Enlightenment and transformed into a general attack on Christianity through which it has come down to our popular culture today. It is important to keep in mind that Richard Dawkins and the rest of the atheist horsemen are resting much of their attack on organized religion on this antiquated historical theory even though it has been rejected by scholarship for more than half a century. Forget about atheism, to me Dawkins is a lousy historian peddling.
I do not know a whole lot about the SSPX or other anti Vatican II groups beyond hearing about Mel Gibson and his dad. Mel Gibson’s father is also a Holocaust denier. My understanding is that the revisionists have this whole conspiracy theory about Vatican II that it was a plot to take over and corrupt the Church from within.
As to revisionism in one place leading to revisionism in another, I would say that believing in elaborate conspiracy theories in one place will lead to elaborate conspiracy theories in another. If the Jews could conspire to corrupt the Catholic Church through Vatican II than certainly they could conspire to manufacture a Holocaust.

hockey hound said...

'...it was important to re-write Church history so that the previous, Catholic development of the Church would be seen as a deviation, and the real Chuch would be seen as beginning with Henry VIII."

Hindsight is SO convenient! It commands, in a sort of Christian continuum, that the equivalent apologia becomes eternal. Islam faces the same complexity and religious imbroglio.

"Who has read all of Augustine?"

hockey hound said...

"By the way I am an Orthodox Jew."

Then I apologize for my sarcasm, Izgad. You have my utmost respect.

"This does not mean that the Church was responsible for everything or nearly everything that went wrong (and a lot did go wrong) during this time."

I did not say "everything that went wrong". But I believe the Church is culpable for much of what "went wrong during this time."

"For example Robespierre’s secular government murdered more people in less than two years, during the Reign of Terror, than the Inquisition did in several centuries."

The subject was the Church. And I was not only talking about who "murdered more people" exactly. I was referring also to the mental pain and suffering this religion and Church caused the common religious during this time, never mind the unlucky who were singled out for persecution and public execution.

And I'm aware of the fact that most historians now refer to the Dark Ages in neutral context.

I am an Irish-Canadian Noachide, Izgad. I'm glad you are blogging here. Welcome.

hockey hound said...

First you write, 'it was important to re-write Church history'. Later you write, 'Revisionism of Church History leads to "revisionism" of the Holocaust.' Is reads to me that the one statement contradicts the other, Guy Fawkes. Can you explain? Thankyou.

StGuyFawkes said...

To Izgad,

Thanks for your fulsome account on the Whig theory of history.

To Hockey Hound,

Izgad gave a better rendering than I could of my own thought about how "revisionism" might function in two parts of the SSPX mental life when he wrote,

"As to revisionism in one place leading to revisionism in another, I would say that believing in elaborate conspiracy theories in one place will lead to elaborate conspiracy theories in another. "

I note that many traditionalists have a "counter history" of Vatican II. Some of it is authentic and good scholarship, and some of it is conspiracy theory. I don't know if any traditionalists think Jews were behind the council.

Nonetheless, a taste for counter-history about the Council, cultivated in a rarefied enviornment of a sect could easily lead to a taste for counter-histories in subjects far from the history of the Council.

FOr instance, in this light it has always struck me with great force that the witty and brilliant writer Joseph Sobran is somehow an anti-Semite. His perfectly lucid and well balanced mind goes "TILT" as soon as the subject becomes Israel, or the Jews.

A clue to his mental life lies in the fact that he has a graduate degree in English and is part of that odd passion among some Shakespeare enthusiasts to prove that Shakespere was really Edward Vere, or Marlowe or Ben Johnson.

What does this have to do with anti-Semitism? A lot but stay with me.

I note that Robert Faurisson, the negationiste, made his reputation as a literary critic with a work decoding a poem of Arthur Rimbaud.

His view was that it was a coded message using the letter "V" to symbolize a woman's sex and an "E" to symbolize breasts.

In both men we have a mental itch for the secret story known to few, the back, back, back story only discoverable by the intellectual equivalent of an Indiana Jones.

It's a sordid romance really but it shows that if you have a taste for looking at history as a secret hidden from ordinary men, and unrecoverable by honest scholarship, then anti-Semitism and The DaVinci Code, and fears of Free Masons, and thinking the Moon Landing was fake while professional wrestling is real, and there was a second gunman in Dallas, etc. etc. might just be up your alley.

hockey hound said...

"...if you have a taste for looking at history as a secret hidden from ordinary men, and unrecoverable by honest scholarship, then anti-Semitism and The DaVinci Code, and fears of Free Masons, and thinking the Moon Landing was fake while professional wrestling is real, and there was a second gunman in Dallas, etc. etc. might just be up your alley."

Above, in your very own words, is an example of your intellectual provincialism: rather than admitting that your Christianity and your Catholic Clergy, as a consequence of the very words written in your New Testament (the very term "New Testament" is emphatically anti-Jewish), continue to provide life-support to a millenia old and not so latent anti-Jewish hatred, you instead resort to ad hominem attacks. I mocked at your verbosity, but never once did I infer that you were common or stupid.

I repudiated Christianity long ago because I had the courage to acknowledge that this religion (in whatever malefic flavour) precipitated the Holocaust against the Jewish people. A repudiation for such a reason enabled me to perceive that the Jews of long ago were quite correct in rejecting as their promised Moshiach the man Christians refer to as "Jesus the Christ" (if ever he did exist).

Not only has your religion used every effort to emasculate the legal force of the Jewish rejection of Jesus, but it has also removed that validated rejection out of its Jewish-Israeli context and into a non-Jewish world which has for millenia arrogated itself into the ascendent position of judge and jury not only of Jews and Judaism but of their G-D also.

Christianity's primary purpose, regardless your cavil, is to denigrate and supplant the exclusivity of the Jewish people as defined in their Torah. For no other reason does your religion exist. Ditto Islam. Whatever more you make of your faith is mere aggrandizment and flattery.

To be frank, the issue you should be concerned with, Guy Fawkes, is that Christianity has attempted for millennia, and with seemingly limitless vigour, to kill the G-D of the Jews and thereby obscure their Judaism from the good many merits it so deserves.

The adherents of the New Testament, obdurate as ever, continue to tell the story that the Jews rejected god, killed god, god rose again on the third day, and so that means, subsequently, the Jews are cursed forever and so who cares what befalls them, whether Nazism or Hamas?

"Our own interests are still an exquisite means for dazzling our eyes agreeably." -Blaise Pascal

hockey hound said...

'Here is that earlier DPA wire news headline: "Second German Catholic bishop criticizes the pope"'

Thanks for posting this news, Dan. This is good news.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Mr. Hockey Hound,

The civility of this blog is my responsibility as it is yours. If there is an example of a place where I resorted to ad hominem abuse please point it out.

Having said that it occurs to me looking at your last post that there might be a reason you think I'm attacking ad hominem. I may not have been clear WHOM I was talking to, when I wrote,

"....if you have a taste for looking at history as a secret hidden from ordinary men, and unrecoverable by honest scholarship, then anti-Semitism and The DaVinci Code, and fears of Free Masons,.etc..."

In that passage was speaking to Izgad about an issue of Vatican II counter-history.

I realize that in point of fact I was also addressing you. You may have thought I was charactarizing your views with the above. I was not. I was characterizing the conspiracy focus "counter histories" of traditionalists.

Sorry for the messy communique. Let me repeat, I was not referring to your views at all. The fault was mine for being unclear.

BTW regarding my last on the subjects I will discuss: Look, I think I have a pretty good idea of your views on the New Testement origins of anti-Semitism. I think I have a good sense that you think the Fathers of the Church (May I call them that?) are guilty too. Can we give that a rest?

THere is such a thing as overkill.

Remember, you asked me to not speak of the Pope as the Holy Father. I complied. Then you started calling him "Pope Ratzinger".

Fair is fair.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Hockey Hound,

I'm going to break my own rule as ask about something outside the topics of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

In a recent reply you wrote,

"Christianity's primary purpose, ......is to denigrate and supplant the exclusivity of the Jewish people as defined in their Torah. For no other reason does your religion exist. Ditto Islam. "

Do your really think that? Is this a common view among Noachides? Can you recommend a site where I cn learn more about your movement?

hockey hound said...

"Pope" is a designatively Catholic term. However, in my opinion, the phrase "the Holy Father" is not so designative. It sounds constrictively universal, as though non-Catholics (and also persons Jewish) should respect him as such even though they may not regard him as such.

"Can you recommend a site where I cn learn more about your movement?"

Noachism is not my movement. Noachism has been taught for millennia by Orthodox Jews. Go to any Orthodox Jewish website. I should warn you, though, that most Noachides today were formerly Christians, have suffered much from Christians for their repudiation of Christianity, and so your flavour of apologia will only beget you angry replies (much like mine).

"Christianity's primary purpose, ......is to denigrate and supplant the exclusivity of the Jewish people as defined in their Torah. For no other reason does your religion exist. Ditto Islam. "

And you cannot see this? This is why I have little patience with Christian apologists. You are not reading objectively. Did not you read my quote by Blaise Pascal? Here's another by Pascal: "The feeble-minded are people who know the truth, but only affirm it so far as consistent with their own interest. But, apart fromt that, they renounce it."

"Do your really think that?"

Yes I do. Because Gentiles have no need of Christianity or Islam. All we need is to listen to the Jews and they will teach us about their G-D. That was G-D's plan from the beginning, only problem is, as is written in Ecclesiastes, "Man is a creature of many inventions."

Another problem is that our Gentile religious inventions have made us cowards-- a religiously inculcated timidity that prevents us from acknowledgeing the G-D of Israel. All you need is courage, Guy Fawkes. No-one can teach you that virtue better than the Jewish people. There are no braver, my friend.

"Send your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it." -Ecclesiastes 11:1

Izgad said...

"I should warn you, though, that most Noachides today were formerly Christians, have suffered much from Christians for their repudiation of Christianity, and so your flavour of apologia will only beget you angry replies (much like mine)."

That may be your and your fellow Noachides' weakness. You are simply playing out your personal hatred of Christianity. This has nothing to do with medieval Christianity or any other historical issue. It would seem that Judaism just becomes a weapon to hit back. Not all that different from secularists playing out their own personal hatred of their Christian upbringing.

StGuyFawkes said...

Mr. Hockeyhound,

Thank's for your kind explanations.

Question: can a Gentile who observes the Noachic covenant and her laws through observing the laws in his Christian or Moslem denomination attain heaven, or be a "righteous gentile".

My question restated: the Noachic laws are a subset of the laws of many faiths. Given that may a gentile keep his birth faith and hope for salvation. Or, is it necessary to leave the birth faith to observe the Noachic covenant?

hockey hound said...

"You are simply playing out your personal hatred of Christianity."

I consider my "personal hatred of Christianity" a judicious abhorrence for religiously inculcated anti-Jewish hatred.

As a Noachide, I'm actually an exception: most Noachides have completely forgotten about Christianity. They have no time for it. They are very ashamed that for most of their lives they had been misguided by a magniloquent lie.

hockey hound said...

"...the Noachic laws are a subset of the laws of many faiths"

The Noachide Laws are the Noachide Laws, as taught by Jewish Rabbis. Any resemblence Noachide Laws might have with "the laws of many faiths" is, as they say in the motion picture industry, purely coincidental.

Such religious arrogation is emblematic of Christianity: since their very beginning Christians and their Christianity have presumed to instruct the Jewish people about their Israel, their Torah, and their G-D, as though the Jews were impervious to their very own magnificantly insular and peculiar knowledge and wisdom; a knowledge and wisdom predating both Christianity and Islam for such a defining number of centuries as to, within the New Testament/Roman Catholic context, wilfully calumniate Jews as obtuse (which was Blaise Pascal's intellectual faux pas) and, within the context of Judaism, inadvertantly expose Christianity and its Pauline sophistry as incomprehensibly presumptuous.

As a consequence of this same presumptuousness, Christian clergy, both Prostestant and Catholic, often depict Christianity as being consanguineous to Judaism. This is simply not true. Such an unconsentient and familiar boast is but yet another typically erroneous Christian caricature of Judaism and the Jewish tradition. This very sophistry was where Paul of Tarsus immediately found his legs and from whence fiends like Williamson are embolden to transmogrify the indelible horrors of the Holocaust into a Jewish conspiracy and a stratagem for world domination. What tripe!

"...the Noachic laws are a subset of the laws of many faiths. Given that may a gentile keep his birth faith and hope for salvation. Or, is it necessary to leave the birth faith to observe the Noachic covenant?"

You ask a question you've already answered (which is not my answer).


"...through observing the laws in his Christian or Moslem denomination attain heaven"

I won't even touch that one. About heaven I know nothing.

I'll leave with you lines from a poem by Louis Simpson, the great (and my favourite) American Jewish poet:

"And still, I must confess,
I fear those messieurs, like a peasant
listening to the priests talk Latin.
They will send me off to Heaven
when all I want is to live in the world." (from the poem, Searching for the Ox)

StGuyFawkes said...

Mr. Hockey Hound,

I suspect you have taken offense where none was intended. When I was referred to the Noachide laws as "subsets" of the laws of many faiths I was referring to the Algebra 101 concept of the Venn Diagram whereby common elements of two sets are regarded as a "I" or intersection.

I should have used the word "intersection" instead of "subset" which word I infer takes on connotations of superiority, or in theology what might be called "supercession".

Look, all I'm trying to ask is "If someone, by coincidence, was obeying the Noachide laws without knowing it while practicing their birth religion could that practice gain them the status of "righteous gentile".

Or is it necessary to abandon the birth religion first.

Sorry if you thought I was degrading the Noachic coveneant. I'm merely pointing to the idea that there are good people in all religions.

hockey hound said...

Guy Fawkes,
I really didn't take offense. I know you were not intentionally insulting me. I appreciate your kindness and concern.

As for your questions about Noachism, you'll have to ask a Rabbi who is involved with Noahcides. Just so you know, all Gentiles are considered, according to Judaism, as "B'nai Noachs", or "sons of Noach."

I have been taught that one must renounce all "new religions" in order to become a Noachide. Think about it: How could one be a practicing Noachide while simultaneously adhering to a religion which deems Judaism as being supplanted by that same religion? Besides, for you to ask such a question betrays that religiously induced timidy I mentioned in one of my earlier posts.

When you are ready to become a Noachide you will at the same time be ready to renounce all other "birth religions," as did Abraham.

Rabbi Avraham Cohen writes in his book Everyman's Talmud, "That the righteous of all peoples will inherit the bliss of the Hereafter is the accepted doctrine of Rabbinic Judaism." My advice to you, though, if you are at all interested, is just be sure you work toward this "righteousness" according to Noachide Law (as taught by Orthodox Rabbis) and not after the unctuous codes of our fellow Gentiles.

Noachism for me is being strictly honest (a social prowess I learned from my Jewish friends) and accepting the definition of G-D as taught by the Jewish people from their Torah/Tanach.

"To presume consent is an act of theft." -as remarked a Jewish Rabbi to me long, long ago.