Views on the Jews

The 16th March 2008 marks the tenth anniversary of a remarkable document, We Remember, A Reflection on the Shoah, issued under the auspices of John Paul II. (Shoah is the Hebrew name for the Jewish Holocaust.)

Apologies for the past are somewhat unusual in official Catholic circles, and this was undoubtedly an apology. In referring to those Catholics in Germany and the occupied territories who failed to protest and protect, it said: “We deeply regret the errors and failures of those sons and daughters of the Church.” The message is that we must remember, then we must repent. And we must ask ourselves whether, and to what extent, anti-Jewish prejudice has contributed to this calamity. Pope John Paul, in his introduction, says “May it enable memory to play its necessary part in the process of shaping a future in which the unspeakable iniquity of the Shoah will never again be possible.”

So, in the spirit of Pope John Paul, I want to dig a little deeper into memory, and reflect on the Reflection. But I have an initial difficulty to unravel: it is not always clear in the document what meaning is given to the entity of the Church. There is an unspoken distinction between the Church as a formal institution of teaching and authority – in effect what nowadays we call the magisterium – and the unfaithfulness of many members of the body of the Church. But history suggests that the Church, taken as a total community, has been riddled with anti-Judaism from the beginning. If blame is to be apportioned, it lies most heavily with its leadership – which by no means excuses those of the rank and file who followed that lead. And, although there is more than a technical difference between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, all too often the two streams flow in the same channel. You will have to test the soundness of my judgment from the sad summary which follows.

We may not easily blame St Paul for referring to the Jews as the killers of Christ who will reap their reward, nor his epithet of “dogs”. He was writing in the middle of the first century when the incidents were almost contemporary, and he had been much troubled by their opposition to his apostolate. He could scarcely have guessed that accusations of deicide would quote his authority throughout two millennia.

The Early Church Fathers, who are frequently quoted as high authorities in Vatican teaching, had no such excuse 400 years later. Tertullian, Origen, and Ambrose make a representative list. But they all fall way behind John Chrysostom (“golden-mouth”) whose public abuse of the Jews was used by the Nazis in defence of their activities.

St Augustine is, by comparison, almost liberal – teaching that since their offence brought about salvation, they were not to be destroyed but only to be dispersed so that their fate would be obvious to everyone. But this was a two-edged sword stretching into the future: one edge forbade violent persecution, the other promoted marginalisation. The two edges were eventually to come to a point.

In 306, the Council of Elvira was to rule “If any cleric or layperson eats with Jews, he or she shall be kept from communion as a way of correction.” Over the next three centuries at least eight synods restricting Jews in various ways took place. The Third Lateran Council (1179) ruled that no Christian ought to be servant to a Jew, and that Christian evidence should always overrule Jewish evidence. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) ruled that Jews should be distinguished by their clothing, forbade them from appearing in public at Eastertide and – confirming the Synod of Toledo (589) refused them preference in public office. It would never be proper for a Christian to be ruled by a Jew.

Over the following 500 years there were more than 20 Papal Bulls unfavourable to Jews. They cover such matters as the obligation to live in ghettoes, restriction of the trades they could adopt, including the practice of medicine, and refining the regulations on dress. Jews were at one time required to wear distinctive yellow items – which should cause a shiver of memory. The Talmud was to be destroyed. Pontifical documents often described the Jews as impious and perfidious; and it was not until the insistence of Pope John XXIII that such epithets were removed from the official liturgy. The severity of these rulings applied variously in times and places, but they were not abrogated before the mid 19th century, although semi-official anti-Semitic propaganda was to continue.

Forced conversions were forbidden, although they took place. This was flagrant under the Spanish Inquisition, which was then to put major focus on such converted Jews, and their descendants, to root out and punish any continuation of Jewish practice.

Of course the general Catholic population followed the official line with all the enthusiasm of a mob given licence to behave cruelly while feeling virtuous about it. There were outbreaks of violence, pogroms, expulsions and general abhorrence of anything Jewish. And these continued throughout history. The grotesque Dreyfus affair (1894 to 1906), in which a Jewish officer was unjustly imprisoned, was sustained by widespread anti-Semitism in France. Civiltá  Cattolica, a Jesuit journal, which worked in close collaboration with the Vatican, was publishing anti-Semitic articles right up to 1938.

A recurrent theme has been the allegation of deicide. I am glad to see that it is now accepted that St Matthew may have exaggerated, for polemical purposes, the part which the Jewish mob played in the crucifixion but, even without this, it is obvious that a local crowd of Jews without the slightest belief that Christ was God, whipped into frenzy some 2000 years ago, could not damn their entire race into the future. Or if it could, what burden do we bear for our prolonged and much more recent sins against the Jews? One bright star shines from the Catechism of the Council of Trent, which declared that the guilt for the crucifixion lies more heavily on us since, when we are unfaithful to Christ we know, unlike the Jews, what we are doing. I am not going to give the “blood libel” (the sacrifice of Christian children for Jewish ritual) even the credence of refutation.

I do not consider here questions such as the behaviour of the German bishops over the period of Nazism, nor the steps taken, or not taken, by Pius XII, for my purpose has been to review in what ways we (and here I speak of the whole body of the Church) may, historically, have prepared the ground for the Shoah. Should we have been surprised that the German people, and those in several occupied countries, took so meekly, and sometimes so readily, to the persecution of the Jews? The soil of Europe had been composted with anti-Judaism for hundreds of years, when it received the Nazi’s poisoned seed.

It is clear of course that the Shoah was the direct responsibility of the Nazis and their wicked collaborators. But is also true that it occurred against a background of Christian European culture, of which we are so proud. The Reflection ends with the words “To remember this terrible experience is to become fully conscious of the salutary warning it entails: the spoiled seeds of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism must never again be allowed to take root in any human heart.”

The Council document, Nostra Aetate, firmly proclaimed our debt to Judaism and repudiated any form of anti-Semitism. But the human heart is another matter. Anti-Semitism can take many forms from the simple stereotyping of Jews to confusing it with legitimate criticism of the State of Israel as a political entity. It can even take the form of envy, for Jews have been remarkably successful, for instance in financial and artistic fields. Was the shock of the Shoah sufficient to eradicate it, or will it like bindweed only have been cut back to reappear in another year? Pope John Paul called for metanoia – a deep change of direction through repentance. Has the Church, at all levels made that deep change? If you have found this article as uncomfortable to read as I have found it to write, it may help us to remember his words: “Guilt must always be the point of departure for conversion.”

From The Catholic Herald, 25 Jan 2008

What do we find acceptable within the Church today, of which we shall be ashamed tomorrow?

About Quentin

Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
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91 Responses to Views on the Jews

  1. Peter D. Wilson says:

    Quentin – Please excuse a triviality in pointing out a misprint of “Showa” (the reign of the Japanese emperor Hirohoto) for “Shoah” in your text. It’s probably a piece of lost-cause pedantry to complain about the use of “anti-semitism” for “anti-Judaism” (the Arabs are equally semitic), but imprecision of language is liable to engender imprecision of thought.

    More seriously, I don’t recall coming across any actual anti-jewish sentiment within the Church, despite the notorious liturgical insult to which you refer, until the conduct of the state of Israel towards Palestinians provided a specious excuse for it.

  2. claret says:

    I have to just say that in nearly 65 years of being a practising Catholic and visiting several countries, and being domiciled in some of them, I cannot re-call hearing one single anti-jewish sentiment spoken by any other practising Catholic. (I am prepared to accept that perhaps a feeling of shame of the holocaust may account for some of the absence.)
    I do though feel uncomfortable in proclaiming the gospel when jews are mentioned in an accusing way in the Gospels, and in particular the gospel of John.

    • tim says:

      Yes, it’s unsettling, isn’t it? But you have to consider what is significant and what isn’t. For example, Our Lord chose only male disciples. Was that significant for all time, or a cultural accident (discuss!)? The mob that shouted for Jesus to be crucified was no doubt composed of Jews (primarily), but they were the people who happened to be about. When they say “His blood be upon us, and upon our children!”, they speak as representatives not of the Jewish nation but of mankind as a whole (and what they say is true in quite a different sense from what they understand). If we have read this wrongly, that is indeed a cause for shame.

  3. Vincent says:

    “What do we find acceptable within the Church today, of which we shall be ashamed tomorrow?”
    That’s difficult because, in the nature of things, we are unaware of the abuses of which we are unaware.
    But I’ll start out with this: I am weary with the way that the word “conscience” is used, mainly by the laity, today. Somehow there is a feeling that any opinion, however idiotic, which can be attributed to conscience is sacred. And really all it means in most cases is that “I know best”.
    When I read Cardinal Newman, I find that he does allow for conscientious disagreement. But he is quite clear that it is extremely rare, and that we have to be prepared to defend it on the Day of Judgment. It is always a momentous and agonising decision – never a trivial.opinion. It is made in real humility and never born of conceit.
    So my candidate is the devaluing of conscience, which in turn devalues the authority which the Church was given by Christ, and ends up with devaluing true morality.

  4. ionzone says:

    To be honest, there are plenty of things we need to be sorry about and avoid repeating.


    The church has been around in one way or another since the first century, very nearly two thousand years now, I would be rather surprised if there had not been one regrettable thing in all that time. Indeed, most governments can’t seem to get through a week without doing something appalling to someone. But here’s the thing: people who hate the church have always looked back over the centuries and used pointed to these things as a way of saying that the Church is corrupt or evil. They never look back at all the good the church has done becuse it doesn’t suit them to do so, and if you point out the good they’ll try to make it sound like these things would have happened anyway, which is rubbish.

    We need way less of this brooding over past lessons and way more celebration of the Church’s great achievements. Modesty is one thing, but there are numerous people who loose their faith simply becuse they are presented with lists of things the church did that were bad – or, more accurately, lists of things that public knowledge tells them are bad. These things are generally mythical versions of actual events – such as the Spanish Inquisition (who weren’t mass murderers), or the trial of Galileo, which was largely his fault and had more to do with him him being a gigantic and insufferable pain to the church and, particularly, the scientific community, both of whom he tried to overrule on a matter that was, at the time, a theory that ran counter to the *scientific* orthodoxy, not the Church. The Church only came in when he persistently attacked and ridiculed the pope (a common tactic of his when he didn’t get his way, another being trying to steal credit for scientific discoveries) and *made* the issue a theological one by sheer persistence. Note that the theory in question had been around for about seventy or eighty years before Galileo decided he had proved it and demanded everyone accept it as fact. (Read: Galileo Goes to Jail, it debunks most of the myth).

    In fact, our ability to learn from the past is one way in which we strongly differ from the atheists, who are intent on making their own explicit ideological crimes *our* fault and will wiggle as hard as they can to avoid taking any responsibility for the horrible things done in the explicit name of atheism.

    So yes, bad things have been done in the name of God (or the veil of the name anyway). But these things are things that are all specifically *contrary* to what God teaches about love and peace. What we do not seem to acknowledge, and what the atheists don’t want us to because it undermines their ridiculously shaky religo-phobic reasoning, and what we must, MUST, acknowledge is that Christianity is a powerful moderating force that has PREVENTED a truly staggering number of sins by setting out what it means to be an exemplary person. We need only look at non-Abrihamic and cultures, and those that have destroyed an established Christian sosiety, to see what horrors we have avoided and what good God has wrought and we have wrought in God’s name.

    The next time someone tells you that Christians do no good, tell them how wrong they are. Tell them, for example, about how the Catholic Church is pulling Africa out of the poverty and darkness that secular greed has wrought for it. And for no other reason than Duty.

    • Nektarios says:


      The emphasis you place on being positive about the Church is fine to a point,
      but I question if Man, let alone the Church Institution learns anything, psychologically
      speaking, for man is still as primitive in many ways as he always was?
      I don’t want to participate in this topic, I will leave my Roman Catholic brethren to guilt trip
      for a while – utterly uselss of course. For Man will indeed repeat the errors of the past
      did then, does now, and will in the future.
      Until there are no nations, no boundries no borders no divisions, there will always be conflict.
      But time is moving on, and I must go.

      • st.joseph says:

        Your comment ‘I will leave my Roman Catholic brethren to guilt trip for a while-utterly useless of course’
        I am a little confused here on how you meant.
        Maybe you will enlighten me.
        Are you suggesting that we ought to have gone down the trail of the Ordothox Church, and rejected the infallability of the Holy Father.?
        Do you believe we ought to do that now?

      • ionzone says:

        Well, man can and does learn, the remorse regarding the Jews is an example of this in action. When man acknowledges the mistakes of the past, they can learn to stop them repeating. They don’t always, but still. When man refuses to learn and instead passes the blame to something he hates, over and over again, then there is a reason for that too – self interest and bigotry.

        Man can become better, but it is foolish to think, as the atheists do, that man can be ‘perfect’ – particularly the idea that man can be *made* perfect. That is pie in the sky and part of the reason they have such bloodied hands – that and the tendency to use past atrocities as models for further ones. Jesus is is particularly astute when he tells the disciples that there will forever be suffering and poverty on Earth, that man can never be perfect, and so on.

      • Vincent says:

        There is guilt and guilt. A maudlin introspective guilt is positively damaging. But a guilt that humbly opens up to a realization of sin and leads to constructive steps to get better is positive – as the Prodigal Son discovered. In this case we are talking primarily about organizational guilt. That prompts us to look out characteristics in the Church’s human behaviour which led to past Antisemitism. Can we identify them and influence things so that they do not arise in another guise in future? Who was it who said: “Those who do not remember history are destined to repeat it”?

  5. John Nolan says:

    I’m very uncomfortable with the term Holocaust being used for the National Socialists’ ‘Final Solution’. Are we to understand that Hitler was offering the Jews as a sacrifice to God? So I’m glad that Quentin prefers to use the Hebrew word Shoah. I would like to pose a few questions as possible topics for discussion; I’m not suggesting that I know all the answers, or even that there are any answers.

    1. Were conditions under the Roman occupation in first-century Palestine so bad as to justify the revolt which led to the diaspora? True, a particular act of heavy-handedness caused the Boudiccan rebellion in Britain, but overall Britain, like the rest of the empire, benefitted from Roman rule. As conquerors the Romans were surprisingly tolerant of local cultures.

    2. After the diaspora, why have the Jews not been liked by the communities in which they chose to settle? Is it always the fault of the ‘host’ community?

    3. The Jews were not the only victims of genocide in the 20th century. Six million Ukrainians and Belorussians were liquidated by the Bolsheviks before Hitler even came to power in Germany, and many Jews were prominent in the Bolshevik movement. Do Jewish organizations have any interest in or sympathy with non-Jewish victims of genocide?

    4. Why did Jewish organizations put pressure on JP II to shut down the convent at Auschwitz where the nuns were praying for all the victims? The convent was close to Auschwitz 1 where many Poles suffered (including St Maximilian Kolbe) . The mass murder of Jews was at Birkenau, two miles away. And five million non-Jewish Poles died in the Second World War.

    5. Following on from the above, do the Jews have the same respect for Christianity as a religion as Christians have for Judaism as a religion? I’m talking about religion here, not race. JP II was criticized for maintaining that Christ established a new covenant, so it would appear in certain Jewish circles the very existence of Christianity is an insult.

    I should add that I was brought up (pre-Vatican II) to believe that it was both sinful and illogical to be anti-Jewish, since Our Lord, his Blessed Mother, and the disciples were Jewish. And I remember at the age of 16 being caught up in the wave of sympathy and admiration for Israel during the Six Day War of 1967.

    • Vincent says:

      John, I am not qualified to answer most of your questions. But, if I take (2): why are they disliked by their host countries? I would have three thoughts:
      First, it seems natural – though not for that reason excusable – to dislike groups which are different to us. The Jews appear to promote that difference by setting up in communities and emphasizing this with overt customs and rituals.
      Second. I understand that the Jews have an average IQ which is distinctly higher than non Jewish Europeans
      Third (and related) is that they tend to be disproportionately successful both in the arts and in finance.
      So they keep themselves distinct, they are brighter than you and their money gives them more power than you have.
      What’s not to like?

      • tim says:

        The Jews are God’s chosen people. It is natural to be jealous of them (but we must drive out Nature with a pitchfork). It seems to me plausible that they are on average cleverer than the rest of us (Europeans, anyway) – but I recognise that that this is dangerous ground, and, in respect of the doctrine of the evils of racism and all that follows from it, I submit myself unreservedly to the judgement of the modern liberal consensus.

    • John Candido says:

      John Nolan.

      ‘2. After the diaspora, why have the Jews not been liked by the communities in which they chose to settle? Is it always the fault of the ‘host’ community?’

      All humans, regardless of whether or not they are Jewish or gentile, believers or nor, have an innate capacity for bigotry, prejudice, or racism. Regardless of where your starting point is, differences are the catalyst of the former proclivities, and these attitudes can be initiated by anyone, in any context, and for any pretext, however specious or wicked.

      ‘3. The Jews were not the only victims of genocide in the 20th century. Six million Ukrainians and Byelorussians were liquidated by the Bolsheviks before Hitler even came to power in Germany, and many Jews were prominent in the Bolshevik movement. Do Jewish organizations have any interest in or sympathy with non-Jewish victims of genocide?’

      If I were Jewish, I would take an interest in any genocidal acts, regardless. As any serious Jew, Christian, or Muslim would attest, peace is worth fighting, working, and praying for.

      ‘4. Why did Jewish organizations put pressure on JP II to shut down the convent at Auschwitz where the nuns were praying for all the victims? The convent was close to Auschwitz 1 where many Poles suffered (including St Maximilian Kolbe). The mass murder of Jews was at Birkenau, two miles away. And five million non-Jewish Poles died in the Second World War.’

      I am aware of the story, but do not know the precise reasons of their objections. However, if I may speculate, they might have felt that as the Jews were the principle reason for the Shoah, and Auschwitz has a horrific iconic status amongst all of the extermination camps, that it would have been preferable, in the interests of better relations between Jews and Christians, that the nuns were moved to other premises. If I were a Jew, I would never forget that the Shoah was perpetrated in nation-states that had a long association with the Christian religion, and who were guilty, along with non-Christians, of centuries of effort in sowing the groundwork of the European Catastrophe, however unintended.

      ‘5. Following on from the above, do the Jews have the same respect for Christianity as a religion as Christians have for Judaism as a religion? I’m talking about religion here, not race. JP II was criticized for maintaining that Christ established a new covenant, so it would appear in certain Jewish circles the very existence of Christianity is an insult.’

      What can I say? I am a little disappointed in your premise, John Nolan. I am not saying that you have done anything untoward at all towards any Jew. What you have already have stated regarding the Jewishness of Jesus, his parents, the apostles, the initial membership of the Christian church in the first century, more than attests to your common-sense and goodness.

      However, given our (Catholic and non-Catholic) fraught and tortured history of terrible injustice towards Judaism and the Jews, and in what I have already said in answer to your fourth question, a touch more generosity would not go astray John Nolan. The Roman Catholic Church, Christian laity, (both Catholic and non-Catholic), has historically, and might I add, wrongly viewed Judaism as an insult to Christianity. How sad is that?

      I am sure that there are some Jews who view Christianity and the whole gentile world as an insult to their faith. It is not what I would personally prefer to see, but what do you suppose we do about this? Nothing at all really, let it be John Nolan. Except to empathise with all Jews by seeing the world through their eyes and engage the same with genuine respect and care. Cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism applies to the modern world that we all live together in.

      • John Candido says:

        I might also add in relation to my final paragraph in question 5, that the proclivity towards fundamentalism is a universal human attribute. There is nothing that anyone can do against the prevalence of fundamentalism save what has already been done in the project of any and all advanced, cosmopolitan, liberal democratic nation-states. That is, the rule of law, modern education systems, parliaments, the judiciary, anti-discrimination legislation, the overriding importance of human rights, and the overriding importance of the political economy etc. etc.

      • John Nolan says:

        John Candido, thanks for your replies. With regard to the points I raised, I was eliciting opinions, rather than giving my own. For instance, in point 2 I was thinking about the fact that anti-Jewish pogroms have been as evident in the Islamic world as they have in Christendom. The first recorded pogrom on European soil, in Grenada in 1066, was carried out by Moslem mobs, and even after the Second World War there were pogroms in Syria and Iraq. To put it all down to innate prejudice and bigotry is in my opinion too simplistic.

        Regarding point 3, I don’t see much evidence that the Jews have much empathy with other victims of genocide. One gets the distinct impression that they feel that the ‘uniqueness’ of the Shoah is in some way diminished if it is regarded in the context of 20th century mass murder. But historically, that is how it should be regarded; it can only be explained against a background of totalitarian ideologies and total war. To see it as the more or less inevitable result of centuries of European Christian anti-semitism is convenient but makes little sense historically.

        Point 5: Christianity and Islam are proselytizing religions whereas Judaism is essentially racial. Catholic missionaries never told indigenous peoples “You can’t be a proper Roman Catholic unless you are a white European”. Also it is easier to respect an antecedent religion than one which claims to have supplanted your own, which is why in purely religious terms the attitude of Christians towards Judaism is different from their attitude towards Islam.

        Point 5

  6. Nektarios says:

    st. joseph
    What I meant by guilt -tripping is the Church as a whole should never feel guilt concerning the Jews, for they are not guiltless themselves. There may be individual Catholics and Orthodox and other Christians may need to feel guilt and repent of actions towards Jews.

    We all stand in need of repentance for something, for it is against God alone does one sin.
    We have all fallen short of our high Calling in Christ Jesus.
    I will not go down the road of discussion of `infallibility of the Pope – something not introduced until
    the 1800s sometime.
    Pope Benedict certainly does not believe it as was clear from his address in St. Peter’s square
    on the day of his election as Pope when he said, “Regarding thinking I am infallible, I am sure you will all tell me when I am wrong.”

    As far as going down the road of the Orthodox Church, you do not have to leave the Roman Catholic Church, we share the same Holy Tradition and Canons and so on.
    Pope Benedict is seen by the Orthodox Church as the 1st Protos, having a primacy of honour, but not a primacy of authority. He is one among the other Patriarchs of the Orthodox Church.
    I hope that clarifies things a little for you?

    • tim says:

      No, sorry, Nektarios, that remark of the Pope’s was a joke – or ironical, if you prefer. Compare (I hope it’s not improper to do so) Our Lord saying “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but God”. One sees this quoted as Our Lord denying His divinity: but it’s the exact opposite.

      • Nektarios says:

        The Lord was drawing out the fact that He was God.
        Let me ask you Tim, is there another infallible person on Earth?
        No? Well rest assured the Pope isn’t either!

  7. st.joseph says:

    Thank you.

    I have worked, socialised with many as a late teenager, and friends in the jewish community in North London, and some who have converted to Catholicism.I have never found it a hate relationship either way.
    Interesting read on two new posts on today.

    • Nektarios says:

      st Joseph,

      I am aware of Melanie Philips, she is a journalist and colomnist in the Daily Mirror I believe. She is often a panelist on Question Time on TV on Thursdays.
      She always struck me as articulate, well informed and often had the ring of truth.
      Her assessment of Western Culture and civilization is spot on.

  8. st.joseph says:

    The web site for Melanie Phillips is

  9. John Nolan says:

    @ Vincent

    Thanks for that observation. In terms of European culture, and German culture in particular, the Jews had a symbiotic relationship; think Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn; Mahler was born a Jew and his conversion to Catholicism was not as opportunistic as some Jewish commentators like to think – his whole life was a spiritual journey, and he found Gregorian Chant particularly compelling.

    To talk of average IQ opens up a can of worms. I don’t mind conceding that Jews and east Asians on average do better in the educational system (US studies have always supported this) but that same research indicates that Negroes perform significantly lower. When it comes to European culture, which I believe is pre-eminent, there is really no distinction between Jew and non-Jew. In fact the Jewish contribution to our common heritage is of paramount importance.

  10. mike Horsnall says:

    “Whats not to like..?”
    This is an interesting question. I think that for some reason or another Jweish communities present some kind of perceived threat to their host communities. I think this is because of a certain determination self belief and general ‘virility’. I say this because I spent several months in Israel around the time of Yom Kippur and the chief impact that was left upon me by the then israeli army was that these people were seriousl y’in yer face’ not overall to be messed with. However the chief cameo in my memory was of a kind sad faced smiling jewish tailor who poked fun at my sandals then mended them for free before showing me the tattoed number on his arm.
    I heard this story awhile ago, maybe read it somewhere, of a protestant church somewhere in Germany or Poland on the rail track to Auschwitz. Little by little there grew an awareness of what was in those trucks passing the church on sunday mornings. At first there were agonised meetings of the church members and then crept in a fear filled impotence. In the end they sang the hymns louder when the trains went past because they simply could not bear the sound of their own failure to act. They knew that to say derail a train or whatever would have been met with the destruction of their own community. The story was written by a member of the church many years later still clearly wracked by guilt and remorse… We should treat this subject gently.

    • John Candido says:

      I have never heard this story before. It is an extremely interesting one. I don’t know if I would have done anything differently to these Christians, as I am a bit of a coward and value my own life as much as anybody else. Could their fear be that if anybody were to do anything counter to the orderly functioning of human transports to a hell-hole such as Auschwitz, the Nazi authorities might condemn every member of this congregation to death, as an example to the rest of Germany to not even think of interfering with their murderous policies?

    • st.joseph says:

      We also must remember what the Holy Father did for the Jews, protecting their lives by turning the Vatican into a Camp for their safety! Risking his own life.

  11. Geordie says:

    I whole-heartedly agree with your statement:-
    “There is guilt and guilt. A maudlin introspective guilt is positively damaging. But a guilt that humbly opens up to a realization of sin and leads to constructive steps to get better is positive”

    We should examine the conditions which allowed a highly intelligent and well-educated people like the Germans to be seduced by Nazi propaganda. I have often wondered what position I would have taken had I been born in Germany at this time. I know from my own nature I would have been impressed by the Nazis in the early years but how long would it have taken me to realise the evil nature of their creed; or would I have been so far down the line that it would have been impossible to admit my errors. The Christian attitude, both protestant and catholic, was anti-jewish at the time in many parts of the western world. It wasn’t as murderous as the nazis but it prepared the ground for them to carry out their crimes.

    • mike Horsnall says:

      I don’t think personal guilt comes into this unless the individual feeling the guilt has good reason. During the child abuse revelations I felt sorrow for the church of which I am but not guilt for I had no reason to feel guilty.The notion that we should all trudge round under a cloud is utterly wrong.

  12. st.joseph says:

    I felt the guilt of those women who were unable to use contraception as a family planning method.
    One maybe could call it ‘pain’ that they suffered spiritually.
    The reason why I studied Fertility Awareness ,and to teach it..
    But I soon became disillusioned with the Church, when it failed to encourage its teaching.
    Then my pain changed into anger, then into despair.
    I find that difficult to forgive.
    I suffered the loss of miscarriages, one of the reasons I taught, even though it was not necessary for myself.
    I forgive only because of my own sins. The difficulty I find is that the bishops were guilty -not through ignorance!
    But I don’t blame the Body of Christ, only those whose responsiblity it is to teach it., and all the babies aborted through the use of the pill.

  13. Iona says:

    I would be very doubtful indeed about drawing any general conclusions from IQ scores.

    “Trust me, I’m an educational psychologist”.

  14. Iona says:

    “What do we find acceptable within the Church today, of which we shall be ashamed tomorrow?”
    (going back to Quentin’s original question).

    Difficult to say, not only because it’s hard to see things when you’re very close to them, but also because the centre of gravity of the Church, which used to be decisively in Europe, is now much more widely spread, and what happens in the Church in one country (and which might be something to be or become ashamed of) is not necessarily happening in the Church in another country.

  15. st.joseph says:

    Iona.we all belong to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church,. Jesus Christ the Head, the Holy Father His representative here on earth. What ever effects the body, whether it be the arm or the leg etc effects it all..The teachings remain the same all over the world.
    The Holy Spirit goverens them all. From the Holy Father-to the Bishops etc;
    It is misinterpreted on its way down.
    Of course there will be arguments against that,
    But I am a firm believer in that disipline.Allowing of course for different cultures.But all one faith.

  16. John Candido says:

    The Roman Catholic Church (both hierarchy and laity), as well as the rest of society, are guilty of laying the groundwork of the Shoah. The Church has proven itself to be anti-Semitic and unchristian, as the historical record adumbrates. In balance, there also has to be a clear acknowledgement that some members of the church, we cannot say how many, would have nothing to do with the cruelty of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism. Many individuals, who had led exemplary lives in history, would have eschewed prejudice and racism.

    There is no question in my mind that not all members of the Catholic hierarchy throughout history, including several Popes, were people of good character. Pope John XXIII is an obvious exception. In removing pejorative liturgical references to the Jews in the mass, and in instituting the Second Vatican Council in order to begin the fraught process of reforming the church, he is without doubt a very good man worthy of sainthood.

    The Second Vatican Council produced a document written by Pope Paul VI and promulgated on the 28th October 1965, called ‘Nostra Aetate’, which is also called the ‘Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions’ accessible from here,

    A Wikipedia summary is accessible from here,

    For a brief description of the ‘Declaration’, and the story of its debate by the Bishops of the Council, go to:

    It would be doubtful if Pope John XXIII did not call Vatican II, something like ‘Nostra Aetate’ would ever appear. Neither would subsequent developments such as the Vatican’s ‘Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews’. It is the very same commission that authored ‘We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah’, accessible from here,

    I think that ‘We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah’ is a magnificent document that should be compulsory reading by all thinking Catholics. It should also be compulsory for all Catholic secondary students who are studying the Shoah. The word ‘catastrophe’ appears in the Presentation by Cardinal Edward Cassidy, and in the Document by the Commission. The Shoah is referred to as an ‘unspeakable tragedy’, and further,

    ‘…the moral imperative to ensure that never again will selfishness and hatred grow to the point of sowing such suffering and death.’ (‘We Remember’, Section I)

    ‘The inhumanity with which the Jews were persecuted and massacred during this century is beyond the capacity of words to convey. All this was done to them for the sole reason that they were Jews.’ (‘We Remember’, Section II)

    On the guilt of Christian society towards the background of the Shoah,

    ‘The fact that the Shoah took place in Europe, that is, in countries of long-standing Christian civilization, raises the question of the relation between the Nazi persecution and the attitudes down the centuries of Christians towards the Jews.’ (‘We Remember’, Section II)

    The warmth, humanness, and gravity of the document’s language, are a salient example of how the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on the Jews has been completely reformulated from past incarnations of official prejudice. All of these developments are akin to many other changes in teaching and practice that the church has introduced over time. For example, the teaching regarding unbaptised infants,

    These following are policy developments regarding Christian and Jewish relations.

    The discussion about legislative defences against discrimination such as homosexuals, as found in ‘The Beam in the eye’;, as well as posts in ‘Racism, Homosexuality, and Prejudice’ are relevant to the topic of discrimination against the Jews.

    The charge of deicide against the Jews is without any intellectual credibility. Any person that acted against Christ unjustly cannot legally or morally transmit that culpability to others. The Roman Empire was in charge of Judea. Christ was convicted in a Roman forum and sentenced to death by a Roman Governor. His crucifixion was a Roman execution not a Jewish one. Christ’s purpose was to occupy suffering and provide the supreme example on everybody’s behalf i.e. it was his purpose in life. Any persons involved in his Passion were paradoxically and unwittingly cooperating in his ultimate purpose.

    Through Christ’s suffering and death the Roman Catholic Church had its incipience. Therefore it was preordained that he would suffer and die for this purpose. Persons that were operating in their own interests were in fact cooperating in the divine will of God. Individuals that acted out of malice toward Christ, fall under the same category of unwitting accomplices of God’s will. The successful accomplishment of their malevolent designs is in essence, the simultaneous accomplishment of God’s purposes.

    Question, ‘What do we find acceptable within the Church today, of which we shall be ashamed tomorrow?’

    If we are looking for a teaching or practice of the church that we currently employ that will be deemed an error in future; the church’s general teaching on sexuality, its specific teaching on homosexuality, its inflexible teaching on abortion without any existential exceptionality, the existence of the CDF, celibacy, no universal child care policy, the church’s lack of transparency and accountability, and the system of governance of the church.

    Question, ‘Was the shock of the Shoah sufficient to eradicate it, or will it like bindweed only have been cut back to reappear in another year?’

    We have had other genocides such as Kampuchea and Rwanda. The Shoah is a warning bell and we must remain vigilant.

    Question, ‘Has the Church, at all levels made that deep change?’ It is difficult to tell.

    • st.joseph says:

      John Candido. Where did you read that the Second Vatican Council was a reform of the Church!!
      It was a Pastoral Council, not Doctrinal.It was the ‘chancers’ who were making the reforms.We have commented on this so much on the past. Do you not read anything?
      Get your facts right .

    • John Candido says:

      Question, ‘What do we find acceptable within the Church today, of which we shall be ashamed tomorrow?’

      I neglected to add in my original reply, that the church will regret its lack of appropriate regard to all of the human rights of its own members, and the central importance needed to be given to the freedom and primacy of the human conscience.

      • st.joseph says:

        John Candido.

        Perhaps you will tell us ‘all the human rights the church lacks to all Her members, and the freedom and primacy of the human conscience?

        I know what you believe regarding abortion.
        You seem to regard your self a RC, but still remain having the rights of your own conscience.
        What is your problem?

    • John Nolan says:

      John, for a critique of your opening paragraph see my reply to your post of 2 April. “The Church has proven itself to be anti-Semitic and unchristian” is a sweeping generalization, as well as being an oxymoron, and is moreover not true.

  17. st.joseph says:

    The RC Church teaches when the Holy Father speaks ex cathedra on faith and morals he is infallable. Not his opinions!That is what he meant when he mentioned it.
    We all have opinions , and so has he.That is what he meant when he mentioned it.
    We all know there has been Popes in the past who Satan tempted, as he does us all.
    But surely we dont need the Holy Father to tell us how to live our faith,or to live a moral life.
    It is a pity more do not listen to the Church!. I dont know where we would be without Her.
    I believe Hell would not be so empty!
    The Holy Father does not speak ‘only to RC catholics’, but to the whole world. His message reaches everywhere.
    I dont see many other religions doing the work that he does.But there will always be those who will not listen to him, not only the laity, even some priests and bishops!!

    • Nektarios says:

      st. joseph,

      As I say, dear st. joseph, I don’t want to get caught up in issues of Papal infallibility,
      but as Patriarch of Roman Catholics what he says is authorative and will be carried out,
      or believed by most RC members.

      Can I beg to differ from you entirely when you wrote: `But surely we don’t need the Holy Father to tell us how to live our faith, or to live a moral life.’

      One may not need the Pope perse, but one does need a `holy father’ to help us on our spiritual journey. Unfortunately such holy fathers are as scarce as the gold of Ophir.
      Hence we are grateful for the tradition that the holy fathers have left us to read today, gain insight from, making us wise to the devices of the ememy, and saving us from a myriad of
      sorrows, trials & difficulties.
      So yes, we do need a `holy father.

      • st.joseph says:

        Thank you for your reply.
        I am pleased you believe we need a ‘holy father’.
        As for needing the Holy Father to tell us how to live our faith, or to live a moral life.
        I believe this has been handed down from generation to generation, and as catholics it is a tradition within the family life.
        We need the Holy Father to tell us ‘how to keep the faith and how to keep living a moral life.’. by living and keeping it himself.Most important we need our parents to bring us up and teach us.Unfortunately this is not happening in a lot of catholic homes or schools to-day.
        Yes -we will get thousands of people hand clapping and showing their love for him on his travels. But do they ‘really’ know what he is speaking about..
        If children are not taught in the home practically from the cradle, and I dont mean brain washing, but loving from the heart ‘after the Lord – His church’ (which you speak about often) then I believe we have lost them spiritually!
        We can not all be theologians.
        Feel free to disagree !

  18. John Candido says:

    In one of my sentences I stated, ‘The Second Vatican Council produced a document written by Pope Paul VI…’ Nostra Aetate was not ‘written’ by Pope Paul VI but written by the Council’s bishops and authorised by him.

  19. st.joseph says:

    Let us all remember that Nostra Aetate carries the message both ways, when those show hatred to the Catholic Church. when She teaches faith and morals.

  20. Gerry says:

    Quentin’s piece on the Catholic treatment of the Jews, God’s own especially beloved people, is the best I’ve ever seen. The Catholic Herald should reprint it every year. It gives me some hope that events can change the Church’s long held opinions, even those stemming from St John, St Paul, and the Fathers of the Church. Mind you, it has taken many centuries of suffering and finally the Shoah to produce the change

    Nothing can be as terrible as this, but if the repeated doubling of huge populations striving for prosperity damages the ecosystem of our small and fragile planet beyond repair bringing terrible suffering to the poor – another group especially loved by God – there may be some Catholics who, though not feeling ashamed, will expresses their regrets that theologians and logicians have not so far found it possible to classified the use of artificial contraception as a virtue rather than a sin.

  21. st.joseph says:

    Gods plan NFP can rectify that problem-if it is a problem.
    Less greed from man would go a long way too- Gods plan again!!
    Belief and trust in the Lord would be a good place to begin.!Why artificial? Isn’t the Lords way good enough?
    It would be a better world if mankind was not so stupid!Perhaps they will be making the apologies not the Church.

  22. st.joseph says:

    Just out of interest,has the Catholic Church had an apology for the Reformationm, when priests were hunted down, hanged drawn and quartered.
    Images smashed and disrespect to Our Blessed Mother.
    Or for the Martyrs – the 40 from England and Wales who died for their faith.
    There is a lot of apologies needed for past events. Lest we forget!!
    ‘Oh’ there is so much hypocracy flouted about.
    We must not forget St Paul a Jew who was part of the stoning of St Stephen before his conversion.Maybe we should have an apology for that too!
    Come on stop -knocking the Church.

  23. Nektarios says:

    st. joseph,
    I can say, Yes, to most of what you are saying, though I doubt if we are seeing the same way.
    When I say, `we need a holy father, I do not mean the Pope perse, though the administrative
    aspect to the Catholic Church needs a figurehead and ultimately that through the ranks is the Pope – your Patriarch.
    What I do mean is we each need someone who is spiritually atuned, let’s say, will listen to your story ( I don’t mean confession), one is will then be able to rightly and spiritually discern what is necessary for one to do. Such people are rare these days. They may be the person next door,
    they may be a nun or a monk, but certainly someone who has attained spiritually.

    Now, let me ask you, does being able to reguritate what you have been taught or read, or even passed exams in, communicate the love of God to a child or an adult having whatever problems?

    I hope you don’t take this the wrong way my dear st. joseph, if our children or a generation(s)
    are spiritually lost, it would seem from what you say, we are the ones that are lost?
    We are the ones whose hearts are cold, whose souls have contracted, calloused on the exterior and become insensitive to the real needs of others, of our own children, our own brothers and sisters in Christ in Church with our in -fighting, backstabbing, faslehood, hardness of heart and so on.
    One cannot make someone love another through conformity or coercion. but by the heart being strangely warmed and the soul to expand and be healthy and united in that love.
    One cannot love what one does not know. obviously, so by saying, I beleve, means what exactly?
    Does it mean, I beleve what I was taught in Church as a child or an adult.
    Let me take a different tack for a second to illustrate better.

    When lovers, you have seen them, experienced it for yourself perhaps, are together, they want to be as close as possible, so they hold hands, whisper to each other, hug each other, and want to be in each others company forever.
    Unfortunately life is not like that, they must part for a little while, to go home, to go to work, or whatever, do you not notice or remember perhpas just how difficult that was? There is long ligering looks, there is the arranging of the next meeting together as so as possible. Their burning heart of love, aches for each other, and when they are apart, thinks of each other, longs for each other.
    You may think just reading this, that this is the beginning of relationship and possible engagement and marriage – it is.
    But it is also an accurate description of God who is LOVE and the lover of God.
    Do you see it?
    In this cold , soul contracting world, we need the love of God to warm us up, so like lovers,
    we will do anything to be with Him, take delight in Him, walk and talk with Him, relax with Him.
    All the ideas and theology is perhaps necessary or a certain amount of it, but it will never produce the love of God in one’s heart.
    Love comes to us unannounced, and with it this expansion of our thoughts, emotions, and will, not to mention desire, though love is not desire. Are our hearts hot enough, or are they cold, or worse lukewarm?
    If we are not in such a state Godward, then truly we are in need of a holy father to help us on our journey?


    • Nektarios says:

      st. joseph,

      Sorry about so many typing errors.
      Hope you can decipher it alright?

    • Peter D. Wilson says:

      Nektarios April 3, 2012 at 1:44 am – After that superb paean to love, I am loth to carp, but as one apparently incapable of anything but an intellectual approach to God I don’t see how a “holy father” of any kind can help.

      • Nektarios says:

        Peter D. Wilson
        The realm of the intellect (nous) has its rightful place and function, but although it
        may upset you to say it, it is extremely limiting, narrow, repetitive &c.
        There is the accumulation of all sorts of information and one can intellectually play around with it and take delight in it. Pride is not far off as one thinks one has more knowledge than another. Others of similar mind think what a brilliant chap, let us use him in the service of the Church for example.
        What the intellectual approach lacks, they do not see. They think they have covered all the angles and write and speak about such matters.

        To the spiritual mind, the truly religious mind, the see the limitations of the intellectual approach and choose a different route.
        What route is that you ask? The way of Humility. One is going nowhere in true spiritual understanding, or being Grace filled, or empowered to say a word to heal, to turn a person from darkness to Light. To warm a soul grown cold. To comfort and heal, the lame the halt and the blind. These are all aspect of Life in Christ in us.

        I am not saying we do not use the intellectual powers we are given, but watch; once one has suffered some, or a lot in this life, for Humility seldom comes any other way, watch I say, and see how your you intellectual life changes and expands. You see,
        you are entering, or rather, the Mind of Christ is entering you.
        Perhaps my little story which is a true one, actually happened, i sent to st joseph today, 3rd. at 2.28 may serve to sling your intellectal hook on?

      • Peter D. Wilson says:

        Nektarios April 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm – Thank you, but you seem to have read into my comment something completely alien to my intentions. Mike Horsnall has evidently understood them better; even so, I doubt my susceptibility to an infection of holiness!

  24. Gerry says:

    Now St Joseph, about knocking the Church. The Leicester Mercury recently published a letter critical of the Church’s position on overpopulation. I was the only one to come to its defence. No other Catholic attempted it. The Mercury made my defence the principle letter and gave it the heading “PC obstacle to population control”. Here it is:

    “It is generally recognised that overpopulation is one of the causes of poverty and suffering in Third World countries and that the Roman Catholic Church is opposed to artificial contraception,” writes Mrs Elizabeth Allison. (Mailbox, March 7). Quite true. Unfortunately, over the last 30 years, fear of criticism by the politically correct
    has prevented aid agencies and religious and political leaders – non-Catholic as well as Catholic – from emphasising the need for the control of population growth if extreme poverty is to be avoided. It was not always so:

    In 1967, Pope Paul VI, in his important encyclical Populorum Progressio, paragraph 37, wrote of the need for the control of population growth. Here are some phrases from the encyclical with the theological provisos omitted:

    “There is no denying that the accelerated rate of population growth brings many added difficulties to the problems of development…There is no doubt public authorities can intervene in this matter… They can instruct citizens on this subject and adopt appropriate measures…it is for parents to take a thorough look at the matter and decide upon the number of their children. This is an obligation they take upon themselves, before their children already born, and before the community to which they belong ”

    It could hardly be put better. Catholics provide much of the education and much of the medical and health care in sub-Saharan Africa, and if Catholics, helped by African governments and non-Catholic aid agencies, had followed this advice 45 years ago African children would no longer be hungry. Tragically, in 1968, Pope Paul was persuaded that abstinence and natural family planning could control population growth, he confirmed the ban on the use of artificial contraception, and his anxieties about the ‘accelerated rate of population growth’ were forgotten.”

    St Joseph, that last sentence will upset you, because you believe that NFP can control population. But look at “the accelerated rate of population growth” in Uganda which is the same size as the UK and is 40% Catholic.
    In the decade 1950-1960, the population increased by 1.6 million and, in every decade since, that figure has become larger, so in 2000-2010 it was 9.2 million. By 2040-2050, the increase is expected to be is 17.8 million. Accelerating indeed! NFP has had virtually no effect. Perhaps NFP has hardly been tried in Uganda: if not, why not?
    When theologians make a mistake that causes great suffering to millions of people, to criticise them is to defend the Church, lest worse criticism comes. Catholics in the olden days ought to have criticised the theologians’ opinions about the Jews and then we would not have had to apologise. The same goes for criticism of our failure to control the “accelerated rate of population growth.” It’s defending the Church from worse criticism.

      • st.joseph says:

        Gerry, if you have a problem getting into that. Catholic World Report. Under population. the real problem, will get you into Stephen Mosher My computer isnt up dated enough, Hence I am not able to read all the webs on this blog.

      • st.joseph says:

        If you google alert Natural Family Planning., you will see how eventually NFP (fertility awareness) is becoming more known and widespread.
        The public are beginning to now see the sense in it all. Not just Christians either. It is coming to me at a high rate daily.
        NFPTA who I am a member of -have always been working in Africa for years.
        It is like putting an elephant through an eye of an needle.Thank God people are now resorting to it.The way the Lord made us in the beginning.The way the Church teaches.
        We need more teachers. And most of all faith.

  25. st.joseph says:

    Thank you.
    I know exactly what you are saying.
    I feel our gender make us express ourselves differently.
    I will be blunt here when I say ‘we need a Pope to keep the Bishops in order and vice versa’.and the laity to keep them in order! So we all struggle to keep the Truth.

    True love is the Love of God which He shows to us in His Gift through His Sacrifice on Calvery,through us to others.
    We can not put this explicitly into words on a blog-this is something that comes from our inner soul where the closest we can be to Our Lord in His Presence and who knows our inner true self.

    I only passed 2 exams,one at 14 leaving school cert ificate in Ireland, and the other one 41 years ago in 1982 for teaching fertility awareness.
    My children and grandchildren have done so , but thank God they show love for God, but brains do not qualify one for Heaven. In fact a lot of cases can be a hinderence.
    If one of my children was the greatest scientist in the world-but did not know Gods love or let it flow through them I would feel dissapointed as a mother and would have let the Lord down after Him giving me the Gift of their life and care and spiritual protection. (His children too)
    As I say these are things that can not be put down in words ,some people have that gift, I suppose that is a reason why people do find me difficult to understand!

    • Nektarios says:

      St. joseph
      I don’t find you difficult to understand at all.
      You are right, some people find it difficult to put deep things into words.
      Some intellectuals delight in words and ideas.
      Other not so clever resort to cleverness and cunning to appear something, what to become something they are no. it is illusion of course to do so.
      If one lives the life of Christ in us, then whatever Grace is need, what ever words to communicate are given but sometimes great spiritual giants, will not say a word.

      This a wee story about an elder (spiritual director) who when one day a broher monk came to him and said, I have an Archbishop here who has come a very long way to see you and speak with you. He is a great orator and theologian.
      The elder remained silent.
      The young monk went and brought the Eminence to speak with him.
      The elder looked at him, and about turned and walked off.
      The young monk, embarrassed, ran after the elder, asking why he would not speak to his Eminence seeing he had come all this way to see him?
      The elder remained silent for a moment, then said, What can I tell him, He thinks he knows everything. There is nothing I could therefore tell him.
      That is the difference between one who lives the Life of Christ in one, and one who thinks
      and projects what the Life of Christ is, organizes it and articulates it accordingly.

  26. mike Horsnall says:


    “…but as one apparently incapable of anything but an intellectual approach to God I don’t see how a “holy father” of any kind can help…. ”

    If you read any of Pope Benedicts books you will meet immediately a formidable intellect steeped in prayer and devotion. Yet when he came to Birmingham recently what came out like the sun and washed over the 67,000 present (including me) was a palpable wave of joy and love such as I have rarely experienced in my lifetime. We nee spiritual directors or Holy Fathers simply so that when we are near them we catch in our own spirits something of the deep flame in theirs. I had opportunity to observe this last night at a penitential service I was at. In good form about 150 of us all split up into various corners of the church for confessions. I noticed that a lot of folk appeared to be heading for one particular priest -so I did the same. Close up there was just ‘something’ about this man which one meets from time to time and recognises as holiness-cannot be taught but can be caught. Oddly enough my formation tutor at \Oscott seminary is of similar ilk even though he is a dry little ex solicitor who claims to know God only via his intellect…

    • Quentin says:

      Watching this fascinating exchange of the role of the intellectual in matters of faith, I am reminded of the published exchange between Arnold Lunn and Ronald Knox. They were two different personalities – with Lunn leaning towards the intellectual and Knox leaning towards the mystical. Lunn arrived at the conclusion that God approaches each one of us in terms of our own needs and our own temperament. What else would God do?

      • Nektarios says:


        It is my view that we need both aspects, the intellect and the mystical.
        As Valadimir Lossky, Orthodox theologian rightly points out. “One cannot have a good theology without a good mystical life.”
        It is the application of holding both in balance that is largely missing in Western Christianity.

    • John Candido says:

      Mike Horsnall.

      As I live in Australia and have seen Dr. Paul Collins many times on religious programs on ABC television, both as Father Paul Collins and Dr. Paul Collins; (he had resigned his priesthood after being delated before the CDF), I could say the very same thing about him. This is the same Dr. Collins who wrote ‘From Inquisition to Freedom’, which was his account, and that of others, of their encounter with that holy and venerable institution known as the CDF. Dr. Collins is the same person that I referred to in ‘The Church and the rule of law’, Despite his intelligence, he is never selfish, arrogant, self-aggrandizing, or egoistical. I wish that I could say the same about myself. Once anybody sees him, they will know what I am talking about.

      I have spoken to him once briefly on the telephone and I could tell it was the very same Dr. Collins the moment that he spoke to me. Both his voice and his face have something indescribably ethereal, spiritual, and angelic; inhabiting a goodness and lightness of being. I have seen and heard him several times on radio and television, and I have to sincerely conclude that it is really him, and in no way is it a fake or a forced state of being. I have seen the same or similar phenomenon in particular lay people, children, priests, and nuns. They are naturally and unselfconsciously expressing God’s love for them, their love of God, and the love of anybody else that they encounter.

      It was St. Francis who said,

      ‘Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.’

      St. Francis was expressing a truth that has a universal application to all people, who have lovely sincerity and wholesomeness in their attitude to God, regardless of their religion. Possessing the faith and not imposing it on others is important to these people, and the same can be said of their state of being.

  27. Iona says:

    St. Joseph – I think NFP is potentially a lot more successful now than it was in the 1960s, as far more is known about the fertile period and how to recognise it. Even so, “it takes two” and maybe that is part of the problem in Uganda. There is also the problem that without state-backed old age pensions, the only guarantee of care in old age is one’s children, so many couples will want to have plenty of them.

    Gerry – did your letter to the “Mercury” get any replies? Or are you still waiting?
    I grew up in Leicester, and I remember the Mercury well.

    • st.joseph says:

      NFP is used mostly to space children,and of course serious reasons too.
      The Church teaches that it has not to be used indiscrimently.

      Did you mange to read the Catholic World Report. Article by Stephen Mosher.I posted above.
      He speaks of the problems that is caused by not enough children being born.A very interesting article!
      I am all for having a large family,unfortunately nature didn’t allow it.Having lost three to the Lord.
      But then there are those who can not cope . We have to respect them too.
      God knows them better than we can judge.

  28. st.joseph says:

    Has anyone read the current issue of Christian Order.
    Pope Benedict on the Jews Part 111.By the Editor.
    I read it because of the comments in a past post on this blog.
    I dont know why I have to apologise to the Jews.
    Those who spoke unkindly about them do-but I personally dont feel it necessary .
    I dont understand what all the fuss is about

    It would better to have apologies for the millions of aborted babies -and still going on.
    40 days for life ,I hope people will pray and do something positive to stop those killing the unborn.

  29. Gerry says:

    St Joseph and Iona, today’s Leicester Mercury has arrived and there is in fact a defence of the Catholic position on artificial contraception. Mark W. Jacques OP does not answer the first critical letter, but answers my letter. He agrees that population growth needs controlling “It is plain common sense”, but he defends the ban on the use of artificial contraception as follows:
    “the Pope can only authorise what is right and wrong in Christian morality and the laws of God, and is powerless to override these for expediency.
    The ban on artificial contraception exists because it renders sexual intercourse barren and divorced from the purpose for which it is intended. Human beings are not mere animals who cannot control their carnal instincts.”

    St Joseph. I tried to google World Catholic report but no luck. I know the argument and wrote about it in the C.Herald recently. The fact is, the troubles of overpopulation – extreme poverty, hunger, water shortage, and disease – are of a different order to the troubles of a falling population.
    Iona. The provision of state pensions would be a terrific help. The South Africans have had them for many decades and their fertility rate at 2.55 is the lowest, or one of the lowest, in sub-Saharan Africa. (Mauritius’ TFR is 1.66. A prosperous country.)

    • st.joseph says:

      Gerry, Thank you.
      This why I feel that we have to apply our thoughts to sorting the problems that exist
      Feeding the hungry,etc.
      This may seem like pie in the sky, but are there not christian agency helping all the time
      I was taking pennies to the black babies over 60 years ago.
      It seems to me the problem is bad governments.
      Abortion and artificial contraception is not the answer.What the Holy Father says is right.
      Fertilty awareness is so easy. I am sure if they want to know when their animals are in season, they have no problem finding that out
      We are supposed to be educated now, and dare I say it ,intellectual.
      Condoms -more disease! They are not listening to The Lord.
      I mentioned the need of the Pope to keep the Bishops in order-it is a shame they are not

      giving the laity the courage to support the Holy Father.
      Why are they not putting their light on the lampstand.Are they worried they will lose them.It seems to me they have left already.
      There are some who will say that is why they left- and blame the CDF Not so, not so..
      Is it forgotten we have a devil.

  30. John Candido says:

    Regarding the evilness of the Shoah, we can all read with profit the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, born on the 4th February 1906, died on the 9th April 1945,

    ‘Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.’

    It is the duty of all who believe in God, which means all Christians, Jews, Muslims, and all others, to resist evil. That of course can simply be prayer or an act of quiet defiance. ‘Discretion is the better part of valour’, applies here.

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran Pastor and theologian, who had the courage of his convictions to place himself in extreme danger before the Third Reich. As a committed pacifist opposed to Nazism, he felt he would be in an impossible position should he be called to military service. For this and other reasons, he accepted an invitation of the Union Theological Seminary in New York, and travelled to America in 1939. He actually returned to Germany on the last available steamship to cross the Atlantic while the Third Reich was still functioning and was executed for doing so, two weeks before he could have been saved by the arrival of American troops.

    Writing to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr,

    ‘I have come to the conclusion that I made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period in our national history with the people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people… Christians in Germany will have to face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose but I cannot make that choice from security.’ (Accessed on the 4th April 2012 )

    He felt that it was important to confront evil head on. Idealism must not only be expressed in word, but by deed as well. He was an intellectual with a Doctorate in theology. His self-sacrifice makes me shiver!

    A prison doctor who was present when he was hanged said,

    ‘I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer … kneeling on the floor praying fervently to God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the few steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.’ (Accessed on the 4th April 2012 )

    Former Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd, who is a practising Anglican, wrote an extensive essay on Dietrich Bonhoeffer in ‘The Monthly’ magazine. It was about the relationship between faith and the state. I warmly recommend the essay to all.

    Regarding Bonhoeffer he wrote,

    ‘Had Dietrich Bonhoeffer been at Oxford, he would have been one of the gods. He was at 21 a doctoral graduate and at 23 the youngest person ever appointed to a lectureship in systematic theology at the University of Berlin, in 1929. His contemporaries saw his career as made in heaven. Along Unter den Linden, just beyond the faculty walls, however, the living hell of the Nazi storm-troopers was being born.’ (Accessed on the 4th April 2012,

    Other links of interest:

    • tim says:

      John, thanks for that post (4 April 12.15am)… though this doesn’t seem to have been an instance where ‘discretion is the better part of valour’.

      • John Candido says:

        Sorry! I meant that prayer or quiet defiance is the discretion that is the better part of valour.

  31. st.joseph says:

    We will be saying the same about abortion in years to come, when people wake up to the evil it is.
    Thank God for those pro-life workers like John Smeaton Director of SPUC, ‘Family and Life’ in Dublin and other who work continuosly for the change of laws, in a country who are supposed to be civilised.We must pray for them all ,for the work they do,and for those who support them.
    We will also look back in anger!This is happening in our hospitals and right under our noses ‘now’
    We cant do anyting about the past, except support Rachels Vineyard ,we can do lots in the present.

  32. st.joseph says:

    As children we were brought up with the Mystical Body of Christ, The Church.
    Some how this is lost with the liturgy today.
    I cant remember which Saint said, ‘if we knew what was happening at Holy Mass we would die for it.’
    that is why so many dont go. They have no vision Too bland now. Although it is still the same.
    Like St John describes in the Book of Revelation.
    All humanised now!

  33. st.joseph says:

    Except High Latin Mass (dont wish to offend anyone!)

    • tim says:

      Sorry, St Joseph, why would we be offended by High Latin Mass? – are you being sensitive to those who object to Latin on principle?

  34. mike Horsnall says:

    RE Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

    This is a poem he wrote while incarcerated, it is among my favourites:

    Who am I?

    They often tell me

    I stepped from my cell’s confinement

    Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,

    Like a squire from his country-house.

    Who am I? They often tell me

    I used to speak to my warders

    Freely and friendly and clearly,

    As though it were mine to command.

    Who am I? They also tell me

    I bore the days of misfortune

    Equably, smilingly, proudly,

    Like one accustomed to win.

    Am I then really all that which other men tell of?

    Or am I only what I myself know of myself?

    Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,

    Struggling for breath, as though hands were

    compressing my throat,

    Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,

    Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,

    Tossing in expectation of great events,

    Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,

    Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,

    Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

    Who am I? This or the other?

    Am I one person today and tomorrow another?

    Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,

    And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?

    Or is something within me still like a beaten army,

    Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

    Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.

    Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am T

    March 4,1946

  35. Iona says:

    What a wonderful poem.
    (That final word should be “Thine”, I suppose).

  36. Iona says:

    St. Joseph – is this your answer to Quentin’s original question about what the Church is doing today which we may be ashamed of tomorrow?

    “I mentioned the need of the Pope to keep the Bishops in order-it is a shame they are not
    giving the laity the courage to support the Holy Father.
    Why are they not putting their light on the lampstand. Are they worried they will lose them.It seems to me they have left already.”

    It would be a very appropriate suggestion. As an answer to his question, I mean.

  37. Nektarios says:

    st Joseph & all Fellow Bloggers,

    This is an amazing video clip on life from conception to birth, using the latest x-ray scanning techniques, which won these guys the Nobel Peace Prize.
    LIsten carefully to what this scientist says, especially after the clip. (9minutes aprrox).
    You have never seen all this in such detail before.
    You might like to pass it on.
    Click on the link below.

    • Nektarios says:

      st.joseph and All fellow bloggers

      If this website does not work – it should, but if not, contact Quentin and he will give you my email address and I will send it to you by email.
      I will not retain your email address unless you want me to.
      God bless

  38. Nektarios says:

    Please pass on my email address to any of the bloggers who wish to see thie amazing video
    clip as the link may not work, but I can send it by email
    Thank you.

  39. st.joseph says:

    If the Pope loses his faith and teaches in error-then the bishops will keep it, if the bishops lose it, then the Pope will straighten them out. If Pope and bishops lose it then the laity will sort it out.
    One Holy Spirit guiding us all.The laity do have a responsibility.
    A bit of a wide sweeping statement, but neverthless could become true. We have a inbuilt security knowing God is on our side.

    Now the reason I say this is, I studied NFP in 1982, I didn’t want, it was not -I felt- my vocation, not being a doctor or nurse, and having no qualifications in biology, psysiology, counseling ‘maybe’ after lookin after pregnant girls who didn’t want an abortion-whose parents kicked the out (their expression). I think their were only about 3 if not many more in my Diocese who studied it.With our Bishops co-operation. Thank God I had an understanding non-catholic husband-As no one else would do it, I decided too. It wasn’t easy to teach.Getting women to be my students, some of myneices and daughter came to the rescue. Anyway after 18 months the really hard work started.
    I never pushed it on anyone, just to get people to see the common sense in it all. I had a clinic in my house and taught mostly non-catholics and members of the ‘green’ community-who did see the sense.
    In 1989 28th February Edouard Cardinal Gagnon Pontficium Consilium Pro Familia. wrote a statement ‘Note on the Natural Regulation and Methods of Observing Fertility’ A4 page and a half, for the attention of Pro-Life Movements- Family Movements-Organizations for the Natural Regulation of Fertility Which stated ‘we are sending to you in order to promote the advancement and dissemenation of the natural regulation of fertility in accordance with human dignity. Please allow us to call your attention to the terminology employed for clarity and greater understanding of the values underlying the natural regulation of fertility.
    The Note to be circulated as widely as possible. For this purpose we as for your collaboration.
    Please inform us of any changes of new organisations in your country working in the area of the natural regulation of fertility. Signe by him Vatican City August 24 1989.

    The letter consisted of- 1 encourage medical faculties and bio-medical research institutes etc;
    2 encourage marriage counsellors to acquire expertise in scientific advances in this field, so as able to advise couples to practise the natural regulation of births effectively by using the methods of observing fertility;
    3 encourage marriage Christians, who are trained and have experienced the validity of these diagnostic methods, to reflect on the good they can do for others by spreading the methods through wors and mouth and witness.
    4. invite organisations and groups which work for the family and for life to offer, in their own appropriate fields, information and education about the methods of observing fertility in the context of their service to human values and human rights..
    In this way the obstacle will be surmounted that comes from the absence of, or serious shortcomings in, formation based on the Church’s teaching in a field that vitally concerns the dignity of the human person and the spiritual growth of married people.

    The above is only a small part of the Cardinal’s letter, but speaks enough for us to know what he was trying to adminster to all.
    So what went wrong? I know! I have enough unseen scars on my back to show the evidence.
    I lay no blame on the laity- we need a Shepherd in the bishops the Holy Father stood firm-and in that also with lack of teaching the faith in schools, of which Daphne Mcleod has given years of her time too.
    Iona that is not the whole story-but does show something of which I feel the bishops have let us down. Or I should say not me-I did it for the Lord.Jesus had enough scars on His Body for us- so it was worth it.
    I am writing this for you Iona as you asked- I am trying to convince anyone anymore-its is up to
    those who has a free will. I am just happy praying for it now.

    • st.joseph says:

      P.S. excuse spelling I have had a busy evening, should be in bed but want to say.’A wonderful opportunity to introduce such a programme for all couples for marriage preparation and one way of making the ‘Home a Holy Place’ which was launched at the Bishops’ Conference International Symposium 2006-I have heard nothing since.

      I wrote to every Bishop and Archbishops and Cardinals in 2008, regarding this issue.
      I had 24 replys-quite promising.
      But when Mariage Care were asking for volunteers in the Catholic paper,I rang our local one, and offered my services (free, as it was all free over the years) and was told they dont do that, but I could go along and make the tea! That was that. I had it removed from the Diocesan Directory as it was saying they taught it! Misrepresentation.In fact lies.!
      I just thank Quentin for his kindness in letting me ‘blurp’ about it on the blog- Sorry Quentin- I wont mention it again (Cant promise that though)Its in my blood.

  40. John Candido says:

    There is a very pertinent and interesting documentary available on The Age newspaper’s website, pertaining to the history of the Jews and the misfortune that they suffered throughout the history of Christianity in Europe. It goes for 95 minutes but it is well worth watching. It is called ‘Constantine’s Sword’.

  41. John Candido says:

    This is a documentary about the American Dominican, Sister Rose Thering, who was a scholar at St. Louis University located in St. Louis Missouri. She completed a doctorate about the history of Catholic catechetical school religious texts in 1957, which exposed the latent and literal anti-Semitism contained in these teaching materials.

    Her doctorate became the basis of a scholarly memorandum which went on to inform the discussions of Council Fathers participating in the Second Vatican Council. Sister Rose Thering’s scholarly work formed part of the basis for ‘Nostra Aetate’, or the ‘Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions’, which was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on the 28th October 1965.

    A little about Sister Rose Thering’s life can be accessed from Wikipedia,

    The documentary about Sister Rose can be accessed here,

    • st.joseph says:

      John, unable to watch clips!

      • John Candido says:

        I don’t know why they don’t work for you st.joseph. I have checked both documentaries as well as the other Wikipedia link and they all work perfectly. It might have something to do with your computer settings. I don’t know much about computers; perhaps if you asked one of your friends or one of your children, they might be able to help you with your computer’s settings.

        Both documentaries are of a high quality and I hope that everybody can access them. Has anybody else had any problems accessing them?

  42. John Candido says:

    There is a free online spell-checker called ‘ieSpell’ for users of internet explorer. You can download ieSpell from here, In downloading it, simply say no to their preferred or sponsored search engine and you are off and running. It is useful when you would prefer to type directly into a blog without first using a word program. Any spelling mistakes will be corrected once you have finished you post using this software. It becomes embedded in ‘Tools’ as ‘ieSpell’ and is accessed by clicking on it in ‘Tools’. I have downloaded it, but I don’t know if I will stop using Word for my posts as I am used to it.

  43. John Candido says:

    Here is a lecture on an introduction to theology by Professor Alister E. McGrath of Oxford University. He is an apologist of Christianity, an author of several popular and serious books on theology, and an Anglican priest. He has a PhD in Molecular Physics and a PhD in Divinity, which were both obtained at Oxford.

    General information about Professor Alister McGrath,

  44. tim says:

    To revert – very late – to the original question: “What do we find acceptable within the Church today, of which we shall be ashamed tomorrow?”

    Answer: I don’t know. Anything I find acceptable today, I would not expect to be ashamed of tomorrow. I can only suggest things which other people (apparently) find acceptable today, which I don’t fancy very much (“I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as this publican…”). Pre-eminent among these would be the tendency to defer to the current liberal consensus, rather than challenging it where appropriate. Sexual morals is one area. It is all very well to say that unchastity is not the most important sin, but it is wrong to overlook it completely. Similarly, charity towards women who have had abortions is essential, but this should not interfere with reminding people (from time to time). that abortion is deeply wrong. It is all part of a tendency to expect too little from people.

  45. st.joseph says:

    An interesting web site. Christendom Awake- one can read ‘Jews and the Church ‘Two Approaches-by George A Morton
    Also plenty of reading there. John Candido may be interested.!

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