Thursday, September 19, 2013

On anti-Semitism

So I’m feeling better after getting that off my chest yesterday and going to confession. As a side note I just don’t get why protestants find it so hard to believe that Christ would give authority to people he wills in hearing others sins and forgiving them, but I digress.

Now since I'm turning a new leaf I want to hit on something that really grinds my gears because it doesn't help anything, which is the labeling of fellow Catholics as Anti-Semitic. Now maybe this is the first time you have come across this, but it seems this).  Yet far too often our own brothers and sisters in the faith are more than willing to jump down the throats of others without first seeking clarity from the person themselves.  Hence the topic.
to be an ongoing thing in the Catholic mediasphere (which I’m happy to say might be calming down with a few examples including

One of the vilest attacks that is perpetrated by fellow Catholics is in the labeling of people they disagree with as anti-Semites.  Now lets me clear there are people in the Catholic world that are indeed anti-Semitic, who hate the Jews, and such people should be instructed in the actual teachings of the faith and if they persist in their error they should be condemned.  Yet the people that get the label today don’t actually hold to the things that they are accused of, and those doing the labeling don’t actually take the time to confront the people they presume to hold such stances so as to actually cut through misunderstandings.   
First what is Antisemitism?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (not a Catholic friendly source), this means hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic or racial group
It is always wrong to treat anyone of a different race as being inferior to others.  People do not choose their race, they have received it genetically and as such have no choice in the matter.  There is nothing wrong with being of a different race.  God made us all and what he created was good, our decsions on the other hand are another matter all together.
I disagree with the other two distinctions in differing degrees however.  First that people are evil because they discriminate against others because of ethnicity.  Now if it’s just a matter of disliking another group of people because they are from a different part of the world, or they have certain differences in their cultural heritage this is wrong.  Yet if a culture is found to be so perverted in its ways they should be discriminated against.  Think about the Aztecs or ancient Carthage where people were being sacrificed again and again feeding the culture that was there.  There ethnic identity, that is culture, was perverted and can be discriminated against because they violate the common good.  Now I wouldn't hold that the best way to go about discriminating is by killing and pillering, but that was a different age so I’m neither against their choices in how to apply their moral disdain.  But overall as long as a culture doesn't violate the good there shouldn't be discrimination.

I must disagree with the part of the definition that being an anti-Semite means discrimination based on the others religion.  Just taking a look at Catholic history we can see that the Church has approached other religions and their adherents in different ways, specifically how they are tolerated or not.  It should be noted that being less tolerant of people from a different faith doesn’t mean you hate them as a people, rather it means that you disagree with their beliefs and therefore don’t think they should have the ability to perpetuate the thoughts because error, in the eyes of a traditional Catholic, is just as evil as murder. 
Forcing the Jews to wear distinctive clothing during the middle ages, or even exiling them is not something that goes against the faith.  Such things serve their purpose and are a product of the times.  But discriminating against another “faith” is not wrong especially is we as Catholics are called to have our countries recognize Christ as king whether secular or not.  It is a fact of history that the Jewish leaders called for the death of Christ our Lord and Vatican II restates this, but we should not hold this against those who call themselves Jews to this day. 

You are not anti-Semitic in declaring that the Judaism of today is a man-made religion.  You are not an anti-Semite is disputing how many people died in the holocaust (whether it was 500 K-9 million this is a terrible tragedy and we must work with one another to see to it that it never ever happens again to anyone including the Jewish people.  You are not an anti-Semite for not being for the state of Israel.  You are not an anti-Semite for calling out the Jewish presence in different organizations. You are not anti-Semitic if you think praying with the Jews is unnecessary and even scandalice. You are not an anti-Semite if you go on Iranian TV to give interviews.  All these things are prudential judgments and not a matter of actually being against the Jewish people.

Now people, we are better than this, if someone hates the Jewish people because they are Jews they should be condemned as actually being anti-Semitic, but such condemnations should be carefully judged and every effort to contact and talk to the individual should be made in determining positions and logic. 

Bottom Line Pray… Pray…PRAY for the conversion of the Jews, the Mohammadans and all others to the one true faith.  And love them enough that they can see Christ in you!


  1. Thank you James for being the voice of common sense on this thorny issue.

    BTW, it's my understanding the reason why Jews were forced to wear badges or some other mark to identify them as Jews was to prevent them from disguising themselves as Christians or Gentiles to pull off some kind of criminal act. Apparently, enough Jews were doing things like this to justify this action.

    1. thanks for the kind words, and I do believe that you are correct on that matter, sadley people now use it as a poking stick using it as "the reasons the Nazis did the same thing" argument. It was actually allowed via certain councils with restrictions also to boot on the matter