A big kerfuffle this week about alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party! The pièce de résistance was Ken Livingstone’s claim that Hitler had initially been in favour of the Zionists – “before he went mad”.
Leaving aside history (see below) I find Ken Livingstone an amusing ‘rogue’ who revels in the counter-intuitive. I think I’d enjoy an evening chewing the fat with him. But of course he is no more anti-Semitic than you or I. Nor less.
You or I? How do I dare make such an accusation of Secondsight Blog readers?
Our anti-Semitism goes back a very long time because it is a product of evolution. It started among our animal forebears and reached maturity with homo sapiens. In a very dangerous world it was necessary to be wary in order to survive. Of course we knew our own tribe, and they protected us, But when we encountered – perhaps rarely – an unknown tribe we immediately looked for our weapons. Or we scarpered. (The psychologists call this ‘fight or flight’.) The threat was the possibility that we might be attacked for food or territory. But, most often I expect, it was because the foreign tribe was equally scared of us.
There was a positive side, too. We put a high value on our own group, and we secured our safety by our loyalty and our readiness to protect other members – at its strongest with our own family and spreading out to the others. We know that good social bonds help us to happiness, ward off depression and lead to longer life. We like people like us, we are wary of people who may not be like us.
But this has a different side, too. In order to remain people like us, we need, by and large, to subscribe to our group’s values. The result is that we may, and often do, internalise the values of the group or the culture without much critical examination. Historically several countries on the Continent have been strongly anti-Semitic, and so, I am ashamed to say, has been the Catholic Church.
Of course anti-Semitism in this post is the paradigm I am using for our deep-lying instincts of prejudice. Anti-Semitism’s sensitivity is related to history rather than its turpitude. If you happen to dislike Eskimoes and as a result speak or think ill of them, or disadvantage them, you are anti-Eskimo – and just as much at fault as an anti-Semite. But many I suspect have no views about the Eskimoes. Don’t feel left out, there are plenty of other opportunities. You might want to think about these for starters:
Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English, higher social class, lower social class, bourgeoisie, long-haired students, short people, tall people, bankers, fascists, democrats, university graduates, thickoes, Germans, Rumanians, immigrants, divorcees, bespectacled, communists, conservatives, humanists, explicit atheists, Muslims, biblical literalists, Bangladeshis, Indians, Chinese, accepters of HV, opponents of HV, old people, young people, beard wearers…
That list could go on forever. But I stopped at beard-wearers because I recall that in the somewhat conservative business company I was in, I was told by more than one person who had their ear in high places, that I could not expect real promotion because I wore a beard. Had I been persuaded to sell my soul to the company store I might have a Rolls Royce outside my house today rather than a Honda Jazz.
That anecdotal example reminds me that many items in my list have been rigorously tested. To give you one case, almost at random, it has often been shown that the senior executives in an organisation are significantly taller on average than the lower grades. (Notwithstanding Napoleon and Nelson – but of course we know that shorties are typically cocky to make up for their size.)
If you can put your hand on your heart and remain sure that you do not make critical generalisations about at least some of such categories, I do not congratulate you, I merely put you into the category of those who lack personal insight.
I might be persuaded to excuse you on the grounds of invincible ignorance. Faced by an accusation of prejudice, you will automatically think of a rational excuse which you will actually believe. Many anti-Semites, for instance, wear the cloak of anti-Zionism – presenting us with an example of the whited sepulchre. Or you will produce evidence based on reported incidents which, because they support your view, are enough to prove your point – a common characteristic which the psychologists call ‘confirmation bias’. But invincible ignorance is a terrible thing. It means that you are stuck in your hole until Domesday – on which occasion you will be placed in a category chosen by someone with more authority than me.
I think you get my drift.
PS. If you want a fuller picture on Hitler and anti-Semitism,, go to http://tinyurl.com/hl88v44
Thanks Quentin. My Honda Jazz had been in for repairs for nearly two months now after my darling wife introduced it to a tree while trying to avoid a pedestrian. I long to see it outside my door again.
It disturbs me now. It really disturbs me now more than before. This herd instinct. I think that is one of the points you make that and our instinctual prejudice. The reason it disturbs me is the Eucharist.
I cannot put my hand on my heart and say that these prejudices of mine do not accompany me wherever I go including to sharing in Eucharist.
I think my idea of the congregation was more accommodating prejudices. It didn’t require an awful lot of connection back then. Being a member of a congregation only really required personal attention. But then there came about this notion of community by contrast with congregation.
Jerome Murphy-O’Connor’s says “there can be no Eucharist in a community whose members do not love one another “.
Now I am in serious trouble with my personal prejudice. When I look around me at Eucharist I really don’t think my love outweighs these pervading prejudicial instincts. You can put me down for every member of your list.
It disturbs me to think after all these years of ‘going to mass’ just how much Eucharist I have really shared in.
I’m looking forward to a brief visit to your country soon and the experience of Eucharist with people for whom my prejudices exist at that deep cellular level of which you speak. Though I will probably just go to mass, and that’s disturbing.
‘There can be no Eucharist in a community whose members do not love one another’.
‘It disturbs me to think after all these years of going to mass (sic) just how much Eucharist I have really shared in’.
Neither of these comments suggests any understanding of Catholic Eucharistic theology. We are not Congregationalists and I for one would ask why some nominal Catholics think of themselves as such.
Galerimo, don’t feel you are on your own. How about me? I take consolation from the Pope’s Amoris Laetitia, however. He is saying that we all get it wrong in various ways, and the best we can do is to work, with the help of grace, to make upwards progress. I think that what Quentin says helps us to understand the forces at work in human terms. But that is only the start. I know very well that all the people at the Eucharist share with me a belief in Christ, which we are expressing together. But I have to work to get my feelings in line!
Thank you Vincent. You give me courage.
If one lives in a so-called bad neighbourhood, people are on edge, careful. Some people attack others who look or speak different or are a different colour. I do not call that anti-Semitic, just over cautious. Past experience plays apart in all of these behaviours and is almost instinctive.
Then there is the Jews themselves. Are they different? Anti-Semitic in normal parlance is usually a hatred or antagonism to the Jews. What are we going to call an Israeli hatred or antagonism to others? One will have to think up a new label especially for them.
I do not believe a true Christian, who by definition is dead to the world, is indifferent to other ethnicities, but we are not perfect, yet, freed up from sin, the flesh and the devil, so hatred and antagonism will still exist, as will wars and rumours of wars.
Galerimo – I hope your wife succeeded in avoiding the pedestrian.
Quentin – your list omitted “the grossly overweight”.
Caution does come into it; I don’t have to accuse myself of prejudice just because I avoid close contact with someone, or a group of someones, whom I have reason to believe may be a threat to me (e.g. because I’m a lone female and they appear to be drunk and disorderly).
Yes Iona, she did.
In a recent edition of the BBC’s Question Time, only one person – a lady in the audience – appeared to understand the difference between anti-semitism and anti-Zionism. The former is a racist-type view, and therefore it is quite unacceptable to be spoken (free speech does not extend that far). The latter is a political viewpoint relating to the state and politics of Israel, which could be justifiable, even though I don’t agree with it. It obviously suits some politicians to fudge this distinction in order to character-assassinate political rivals.
A similar fudge which I’ve heard is that of labeling those who do not wish their church to conduct same-sex marriage as homophobes.
Leaving aside the inaccuracy of the term ‘anti-Semitic’ (the Palestinians, whose cause the Left champions, are a Semitic people) there is clearly a distinction between dislike and distrust of the Jews and other forms of racial, national or religious prejudice. But anyone attempting to explain it is entering a minefield. For example, it is acceptable to criticize the State of Israel for its actions. It is acceptable to accuse of having double standards those Israelis who condemn Arab terrorism but excuse Jewish terrorism in the 1940s. However, to question the activities of the Anti-Defamation League or the Simon Wiesenthal Centre is to skate on thin ice.
The Nazis wanted the Jews out of Germany, and didn’t care if they went to Palestine or even Madagascar. This does not mean that Hitler was a Zionist, and Livingstone was distorting history in order to make a political point.
I agree that we are all prejudiced to some degree as regards race, creed and nationality. Sometimes this is expressed subtly. I once heard my Irish relations discussing an acquaintance and even the seemingly innocent phrase ‘Didn’t he marry an Englishwoman?’ carried a hint of disparagement; the meaning was ‘Didn’t he marry a Protestant?’
Anti-Zionism/Anti-Semitism: Yes, often the first is used to mask the second, as you suggest. I suspect there really are people who are genuinely anti-Israel, not anti-Jew as such – but I believe there are NO people who oppose Israel – and perhaps say they are supporters of “the Palestinian people” – who are not, whatever their aims and intentions, in some way pro-Islamist, or give succour to Islamism.
“- I believe there are NO people who oppose Israel – and perhaps say they are supporters of “the Palestinian people” – who are not, whatever their aims and intentions, in some way pro-Islamist, or give succour to Islamism”.
Apparently there actually is a Jewish anti-Zionist lobby. One of their members was interviewed on TV during the recent furour.
Hmmm… Well, let me start by saying that whatever Ken is he’s been given a raw deal. When John Mann confronted him and started screaming at him that he was a Nazi in front of BBC cameras, Ken replied calmly and without any anger. The papers then accused Ken of going on a “Hitler rant”, when in fact it was John Mann who was ranting. In the interview they were coming out of a BBC reporter told Ken to his face that researching his claims were irrelevant and not going to happen. So much for reason.
Now, the argument against Ken is based solely on that one line, which he later clarified. What Ken was actually making reference to is the Haavara Agreement, an actual historic event in which Hitler formed an agreement with Zionists so he could deport Jews from Germany. This later gave way to the genocides. Unfortunately, that nuance was totally lost on everybody rushing to attack Ken, to the point where I am 100% certain that the entire thing was pure stage-managed political showmanship. Ken didn’t help himself very much, but he was never the one screaming abuse. That was everyone else.
I am firmly prejudiced against Ken Livingstone. But like Ion Zone, I’m not sure if he did wrong here. I understood him to be saying that Hitler (in the 30’s) agreed with Zionist aims to the extent of wanting a Jewish state to which he could send German Jews. That may not have been historically accurate (JN says not), but is it necessarily offensive? Maybe it is offensive to say that Hitler agreed with Jews about anything (even if true) as the point of saying it is to disrespect Jews. That may be in the eye of the beholder, though. Or you may point to Godwin’s Law (that anyone who introduces Hitler into a political argument automatically loses). But all the same, to throw KL out of the Labour Party as a consequence seems a little drastic. Looks good, I supp;ose….
I am not anti-Semitic in any way but I have been accused of being one many times with debates, if you could call them debates, with some Jewish people on Facebook who were quite dedicated Zionists a couple of years ago. To be clear; I am anti-Zionist but not anti-Semitic who supports the ‘BDS’ movement, which stands for ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement’.
“Faced by an accusation of prejudice, you will automatically think of a rational excuse which you will actually believe”
Yes! …. Defence via rationality, it seems, is more important than examining sensibilities (the ability to appreciate and respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences).
If we spent more time examining our feelings (without rationalising!!)
we’d be so much more the imitations of Jesus,
becoming free from dependency on our
primitive ‘flight or fight’ responses;
and only then be able to rationalise
correctly, without preference for either.
Livingstone is anti-Zionist. He suggests that Hitler favoured Zionism. How does that make him a Nazi apologist?
Quentin’s thread would seem to invite comments regarding anti-Judaism. In reality it does not, and I found to my cost a few years ago that his editors have closed down debate on this issue. It is in fact the only issue which does not admit of rational argument.
So unless we are allowed to have a discussion without prejudice then there is little point in posting.
In my post I used anti-Semitism merely as a topical instance of how people can feel truly righteous about the evil of such a prejudice, while remaining unaware of their own prejudices towards other identifiable social groupings. Whether this tendency is founded in evolution or original sin I cannot say — but, as in so many instances of human fault, I suspect both.
Perhaps I should add that in many posts in which I question human behaviour I start from an awareness of my own deficiencies in their regard.
Of course having an evil bias, antagonism arise from a fallen nature.
The nature of a fallen nature -well do we need to spell it out, just how divisive, cruel, murderous it is?
You see it goes way beyond a merely intellectual view of things. The theory of evolution is man’s seeking to make sense of such madness. Philosophers too, are doing the same thing, trying to make sense of it all. During pre- biblical and biblical times the history concerning philosophers was a great many suicides.
Now is the Church anti-Semitic? There are many people who profess to be Christians, brought up in the Church and a religious family and so on, but are not – they to quote St. Augustine, ‘are the world in the Church’.
Now consider the action of God, note, not something man does, but God. He has united people from all nations, tribes, slaves, bond or free. So in the Church it should not exist –
but it does.
You remember the story of different behaviour towards the man with the God ring and the poor ordinary man?
This demonstrates to me at any rate, that this problem of anti Semitism does not lie in evolution, but in our fallen nature.
To be in Christ is to have the life of Christ pulsating in us – now which one of us is going to accuse our Lord of sin in this or any other respect.
If Anti-Semitism still exists in the Church an it does, being made a new man/woman in Christ is the only
The very last word is missing because it immediately posted it without my directly posting it.
The last word should read – is the only answer.
Relevant to this topic is Tim Harford’s post on ‘naive realism’ ( http://timharford.com/2016/04/delusions-of-objectivity/ ) which is well worth reading. I think we can all empathise with his last paragraph.
I’m not convinced that we (or at least some of us) necessarily do better to examine our feelings than the objective arguments. I entirely concede that we are brilliant at finding arguments which support what we feel. But surely we shall have the same sort of problem when we start examining our feelings?
Thanks for the link Tim. It was interesting even if I was a little disappointed that it didn’t end in any hint of a “cure”!
Firstly, I don’t regard myself as anti-anti….anything. Although like the rest of humanity – not withstanding the indispensable fact of being ‘ saved-by-Christ ‘ – I have the same antediluvian tendency to ‘ herd mentality ‘, to which my new-found ‘ life-in-Christ ‘ is an efficient the
As far as ‘ red Ken ‘ is concerned … he would have been wiser to have kept his trap shut. After all his female co-politico did apologise for her remarks ; and that should have been the end of it ! But of course poor Ken being as Quentin says naturally ‘ counter-intuitive ‘……just can’t help himself : a kind of making ‘a rod for his own back ‘ comes to mind. So what followed was a little kindling fanned into something resembling an overgrown Greek tragedy ( or should I say farce ? ) Good public entertainment though !
Next ; I regard the Jewish Faith/Nation as the first to hear the Word of God , and as one of a Semitic people of Euro-Asian origin , but now seemingly understood as referring to Jewish people in general . As a Christian also having my roots in ‘ hearing the Word of God ‘ I cannot regard myself as anti-semitic in a political or racial sense . I regard myself solely , in a religious sense , something like….. a distant but welcoming relative ?
Zionism for myself being a non-Jew , is a political construct which as a Christian ( Catholic ) I reserve the right to agree or disagree when asked say at a political poll . Therefore Semitism and Zionism and its respective opposites are completely separate issues – although both are easily confused with each other . Apart from British politicians , I suspect some parts of World Jewry are more confused over these issue than the public are… I’m afraid that’s their problem !
I have been think about the Gospel readings the other Sunday, with regards to St Paul an Barnabas
moving from country to country preaching Jesus Christ our Salvation ‘believing that He is the Son of God.
To other non Christian religious, that would seem to them blasphemy or anti which ever one would like to call it and could be quite offended today if we preached the Gospels as they did without fear of being killed, like most of the Apostles died for their faith.
What exactly are we to do you think to convert people to (not calling it Christianity but to believe in the Trinity. I like your comments Brendan,
Well St.Joseph ; after centuries of attempting to try and proselytise by force and other aggressive means – the consequences of which in the long term at least have proved counter-productive – Christians today I believe are coming around to the believe that Jesus’ s way actual works …..” let the wheat grow among’st the chaff…. ( sic ) ”. ..while unequivocally setting out each others position. This perhaps a product of long-term Ecumenism – of course non-aggressive. I’m not sure if this has all to do with reason …. but God knows given the final victory he has presented to our World !
Actually, proselytism by force was condemned by the Church as early as the first millennium (see Alcuin’s letters to Charlemagne) but like many an urban myth it is still believed even by those who should know better. Aggressive methods against heretics (who endanger souls) is a different matter and is legitimate.
If we subscribe to a view of history (which, it has to be said, is becoming increasingly prevalent) that minority groups have a moral advantage over the rest of us, that the whole history of European attitudes to Jewry is only about Gentile guilt and that no criticism of the Jews is admissible, that Hilaire Belloc’s 1922 book ‘The Jews’ is so obviously anti-Semitic that it must be condemned out of hand (actually, those who maintain this usually have not read it), then I suggest we are in trouble.
Hitler has a lot to answer for in that his ‘Final Solution’ allowed a myth to be propagated that somehow the ‘Shoah’ is unique in the annals of man. It isn’t. The first act of genocide in the 20th century was the massacre of the Armenian Christians by the Ottoman Turks during the First World War. Even before Hitler came to power in Germany Stalin had massacred millions of Ukrainians and Belorussians and Jews were prominent in the Bolshevik party. Since 1945 we have had Mao Tse-Tung (in numbers alone the greatest mass-murderer in human history) and Pol Pot.
One might have thought that a race whose contribution to Western culture is out of all proportion to its relative numbers might have found an alternative to a martyr complex. But then, to suggest as much is ‘unacceptable’.
John, you are quite right to remind us of the other massacres of the 20th century. But we need to note that attacks on Jews for being Jews are a staple of the Catholic Church throughout 2000 years. The cry of the Jewish crowd for the crucifixion of Christ has been a useful excuse. It hardly matters that the offenders in no way represented the Jewish race at the time, and that, notwithstanding their talents, none of them have survived until today. Incidentally, Jews have bred in their exodus with so many non Jews that many of them are in fact of mixed breeding. Just as many contemptuous Gentiles have Jewish blood.
You speak of a ‘martyr’ complex. But it is not a complex: if you have been despised, usually by your inferiors, by all races and throughout all times, it is a hardly surprising reaction. While I am critical of many actions taken by the Jews in Israel towards the Palestinians, I have sympathy for their determination to hold onto their position through force. They have concluded that this is the only way in which they can secure their national safety. That is what their sojourn among those kind and loving Christians has taught them.
Vincent – can I take you up on one point, even if it’s really a side-issue: “the offenders in no way represented the Jewish race at the time..” That mob in no way represented the Jewish race alone, but rather the whole human race. If we’d been there, would we have behaved differently? – certainly many of us would not. And the profound irony – when the crowd shouts “His blood be upon us and upon our children”? The saving blood of Christ is for the whole human race.
An Israeli friend of mine, around 55 years of age, who lives in Haifa was over visiting recently. His view was that, having been subjected to the Holocaust there was simply no way Israel would ever yield its right to use force, against anyone, if threatened. As far as I am aware not that many nations live under the death threat of their neighbours. As to anti semitism, I also have a friend who is an American, pretty much secular,Jew. He tells me he cannot go into churches because
he does not anymore want to hear ‘The Jews’ spoken about, always perjoratively, from the Ambo during readings. I thought that was quite a sobering observation. Personally speaking I have worked in Israel and am instinctively pro, but that does not stop me supporting the Palestinian Church.
But invincible ignorance is a terrible thing. It means that you are stuck in your hole until Domesday – on which occasion you will be placed in a category chosen by someone with more authority than me.
Under “invincible ignorance” the Encyclopaedia of Catholicism says that “ignorance of this kind does not imply subjective fault because the agent is either not aware of a moral obligation that applies in the situation or is unaware of the circumstances or conditions of the action”. It also directs the reader to “vincible ignorance”, which apparently exists in three degrees, the most seriously sinful of which is “affected or studied vincible ignorance” because “it is directly voluntary and there is the desire to remain in ignorance so that the person may remain free from any moral obligation”.
Isn’t it this, rather than invincible ignorance, which implies being stuck in a hole until Domesday following which one may be placed in a category which is highly undesirable?
Iona, you are of course correct – since the word ‘invincible’ contains its own definition. I had in mind the lack of humility which may prevent us from opening our minds to the possibility of being wrong. But I have opened my mind to the possibility that I was wrong not to use a different word!
Vincent, if the Jews have ‘been despised … by all races and at all times’ then that is a phenomenon unique in human history and requires more in the way of explanation than simply saying that everyone else is at fault. The implied suggestion that the Jews are a superior race is somewhat contentious, although I would be the first to acknowledge that their contribution to Western culture is out of all proportion to their actual numbers. Nor do I believe that the preservation of their racial and religious identity throughout the diaspora was purely a defensive mechanism resulting from the unremitting hostility of those surrounding them.
Since the nineteenth century the Jews have been remarkably successful in liberal democracies in finance, business, politics and the media. In predominantly rural societies like Tsarist Russia resentment manifested itself in pogroms even into the 20th century. The Jews were probably more ‘assimilated’ in Germany than in France or England (where they were perceived to have too much financial control – Belloc, a radical Liberal, became disillusioned with politics as a result of the Marconi scandal). This makes Hitler’s actions all the more difficult to explain.
To say that anti-Semitism was a ‘staple’ of the Catholic Church for 2000 years is a gross distortion. Martin Luther was more explicitly anti-Jewish than any pope. At the time of the Crusades the Church authorities frequently intervened to protect the Jews from the attacks of the populace. Pius XII was far from inactive; it is now known that he was the victim of a Communist disinformation plot, one of whose poisonous fruits was Hochhuth’s play ‘Der Stellvertreter’.
This year is the centenary of the birth of Yehudi Menuhin, a great artist and a great human being. Another Jewish musician, Daniel Barenboim, is using music to build bridges between Arabs and Jews, despite opposition from some quarters in Israel. He was successful in getting Israel to lift the ban on the music of Richard Strauss (who was by no stretch of the imagination an anti-Semite) but had to admit defeat on Richard Wagner (a notorious anti-Semite who happened to be a musical genius).
John, this is scarcely the place for me to list the long and shameful history of the Church in the matter of anti-Semitism in both its actions and its documents. But let me just just mention the early Church Fathers — in particular Chrysostom, followed by council after council and bull after bull which attacked or disadvantaged Jews. It was not until the middle of the 20th century that the Church abandoned this poison and realised its contribution to European anti-Semitism and its bloody outcome. The Church was blind and leading the blind, and we still have the blind amongst us.
I am reminded of a poem I wrote on the subject of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. It included the verse:
The salon’s the centre
To which you must enter,
Receiving the welcome you’re due.
You can be an ex-tart
But you won’t even start
If your father or mother’s a Jew.
I’ve still got an old hardback copy of Sam Waagenaar’s ” The Pope’s Jews ” which I purchased from a library sale in the 80’s . In it I fished out two contrasting quotes from two similarly turbulent times . Of course Waagenaar ,a Dutch Jew ( who lived a very full and varied life ) , was no historian and his style was journalistic ; but as time passed I found that his description of Rome’s Jews and their treatment by the authorities from earliest times ( circa 67 B.C ) , through The Early Church up to near post-war times, to be balanced and urbane. However I remember my feelings of shame and shock at the revelation of this ‘ hidden history ‘. Here’s the quotes:-
” It is absurd that the Jews , who through their own fault have been condemned by God to everlasting slavery , should claim to be the Christians’ equal.” …Pope Paul iv ( 1555 )
” Christians can not possibly have a hand in anti-semitism. Anti-semitism is not admissible. Spiritually we are Semites .”…. Pope Pius xi ( 1938 ).
In the hope of learning the lessons of history; perhaps in a similar vein we can look forward to an allaying of the confusion over ” Amoris Laetitia “. I don’t like the sound of a possible nurturing of ” invincible ignorance ” , Iona…. our times seem very prone to just that !
Vincent, what was the Church blind to for nigh on two millennia, and what does Nostra Aetate say concerning the Jews that contradicts former belief? Your choice of the term ‘blind’ is an interesting one since that is traditionally used for those Jews who obstinately refused to acknowledge the Messiah (‘obcaecatio’ in the venerable Good Friday intercession). Why stop with the Church fathers? St Paul doesn’t exactly mince his words either.
St John Chrysostom was attacking the Judaising tendencies of his congregation at a time and a place (4th century Antioch) when orthodox Christianity was far from secure, and was using a style of Greek rhetoric which appears to us to be ‘over the top’ but was fashionable at the time. His outrage was theological, and to see him as a prototype Julius Streicher is absurd.
It’s tempting to trace the antecedents of Hitler back to the New Testament via the Reformation, the medieval popes and the Church Fathers, but it amounts to a gross distortion of history. Anti-Semitism as understood by modern man was not something late antiquity would have recognized. We must beware of projecting our own values/prejudices onto the past.
John, you — and others — might be interested in a timeline of actions with regard to the Jews. Naturally over so many centuries various different reasons or emphases have been involved. This reinforces the evidence for the underlying anti-Semitic attitude which continually emerges — and of course prompts the rabble who like nothing better than to be encouraged to feel virtuous while acting out their hatred. It’s at http://www.shc.edu/theolibrary/resources/Timeline.htm . It starts ad 240 AD, and finishes at 2000.
As i said ‘Defence via rationality, it seems, is more important than examining sensibilities’ from my post above.
From another post ………
“Actually, proselytism by force was condemned by the Church as early as the first millennium ……… Aggressive methods against heretics (who endanger souls) is a different matter and is legitimate.” ……..
Which is a rational justification for using agression?
Many in the ‘The Church’ ( and any who see ‘us as right’ and ‘them as wrong’ )
see all who don’t beleive (in the Trinity for instance) as wrong & heretical.
And their souls ‘need to be saved’ (converted).
The level of ‘reasoned agression’ a group
decides is justified, to convert, will be imposed.
(As will any social group within a Nation, with
enough ‘weapon power’ to impose thier will).
And ‘reasoned agression’ has many levels –
from abusive parental control
to ‘democratic’ imposition of unjust laws;
from playground bullying to work place condemnation;
from state control to genocide.
Weapons of destruction and murder are the final ‘force’
this type of mentality rely on.
The root cause of that ‘force’,
at whatever level, is the
‘reasoned aggression’ of illogical reasoning.
(Fight or Flight response).
‘I am the Alpha and Omega’ …… not force or aggresion.
(purists – please forgive the spelling my spell checker has died!)
Referring to my post 1.30pm. Needless to say that history has shown that confusion can result in heresy among’st the great majority of believers in The Catholic Church. ‘ Arianism ‘ – a different way of describing Jesus the Son of God – held almost universal sway in The Church fourth century. Only St.Athanasius , backed up later by the preaching of St. Basil Nazianzen , held what would become after the Council of Constantinople ,the orthodox understanding we hold to this day.
The Arian heresy ( confusion ) may not be an exact parallel with today’s ‘ synod exhortation ‘; the former being far more serious and the latter being a confusion over Traditional Catholic Doctrine ; but the principle is the same . ……. We do not ‘ believe ‘ in The Church . We ‘ believe ‘ in the fact that God gave us our ‘ belief ‘ in a Church that is one , holy , catholic and apostolic.
The sober discernment of our day is …… can we in our time as Catholics – by realising the unity that is the Holy Trinity, by the power of The Spirit within – shed/reject completely our former nature ( anthropological etc. ) and embrace the truth of Jesus Christ that is contained in The Catholic Faith ?
Is it a case of rejection of our nature, or allowing our nature to be restored (redeemed) by the Spirit, as we accept that Spirit in our nature? So, realise that Unity of the God head?
(Using ‘realise’ as both ‘become aware of’ and as ‘lived / manifested’).
If our ‘fallen nature’ is NOT seen as ‘bad & wrong’ to be rejected, but rather as ‘damaged & broken’ to be accepted, that redemption might be accomplished a lot easier. (Maybe more painful though).
(And, Rational Thought would take on a different way of ‘being’ manifested! With unconditional love as a foundation rather than ‘flight or fight’ defences. For individuals and groups. Is that not the way Jesus taught and realised his life?).
Redemption (already?) is given to our brokeness by the hypostatic union of God & Man(kind) in Jesus. Which in turn is, and has ever thus been, united to the God Head in Christ.
[Is that not the meaning of the Truth of One Holy(God) Catholic(Universal/Eternal) and Apostolic Church(Christ’s)?].
If our ‘fallen nature’ and redemption of it is seen as above …….
‘Father may they be one as we are one’ et was a prayer of hope that individuals would accept (realise?) that unity and life. Not that the unity would come about – it already was is and ever shall be. What God created can not be uncreated.
I know that is, to all rational thought (as some of us know it) a Joycean paradoxical nonsense ……. but that doesn’t make it dis-believable or untrue (heresy).
The Trinity isn’t exactly a rational concept, as we know ‘rational’, but it makes perfect sense to belief – beyond thought.
I only conjecture, of course …..
Thanks Vincent. A Very useful potted chronology.
It may be of interest to mention a religious congregation of sisters founded in the 1843 by a Jesuit who had converted from Judaism, Fr. Theodore Ratisbonne, the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion.
“We are an international Congregation of women, both contemplative and apostolic, whose spirituality is deeply rooted in the Scriptures.
Our special and primary call within the Church is to witness to God’s faithful love for the Jewish people and the promises given them for all humanity.
To that end, we strive to foster a greater understanding and trust between the Church and the Jewish people, as well as a deeper respect between all faith traditions and cultures. This is at the heart of all our ministry as we work for justice, peace and love among all people.”
A full account of all their work, including schools and conference centres, is on this site and others easily available on Google.
G.D. – There you have given it to us……. and for the person, signified as Christian by ” regeneration through water in the word ” ( Cat. Cath. Ch. ) …… ” Christs way actually works ”.
We are then the same person with our same nature , but now restored by that once and forever action of Christs redeeming love for us , on the Cross of Sacrifice…. cerebrally , we take on Christ. by being called ( by the Spirit ) to do the same ; in our ‘ old world ‘ around us … sometimes even at great pain to oneself. No wonder pagans/the unknowing World think it ” madness ” and other believers/Our Lords co-religionists , ”blasphemy “!
In this way , St.Paul in Cor.2:5 says we ” will not consider anyone by human standards, we do not know him [ our fellow-man ] any longer …” Yes , we can still reject ( free-will ) this gift of sacramental redemption ; but now we have the ‘ knowledge ‘ of what it means to be ” a new creature”( CCC ) – to share in Christs redemptive love and being reborn ( regaining what existed from God The Father in us before we became ‘ deformed ‘ by sin in turning against Him, who is Love ) ….and what it means for the whole of Creation.
In our ‘ old creation ‘ Joycean ways we continue to complicate the issue ; with no thought of The Spirit within us ; sadly very often arriving at nihilistic non-sense .
Vincent, to reduce 2000 years of history to a timeline which can be accommodated on a single sheet of A4 is such obvious nonsense that I can’t believe any intelligent man could have anything to do with it. When Brendan referred to it as ‘a very useful potted chronology’ I hope he was being ironic. ‘1066 and All That’ is greatly entertaining but was intended to be a spoof. Potted history merely reinforces prejudice and is in fact anti-historical since it merely serves to reinforce prejudice.
John Nolan – I’m sure many of us do not have your breadth of history at hand . For me it serves merely as a focus and perhaps a minor tool to engage in argument .Don’t take this the wrong way , but in jollity ….’ pull your neck in ‘, brother ! Ha , Ha.
In the same way as I use say , the CCC or The Bible.
John, I think we had better leave it there. I am content for anyone who is interested in the subject, and it is an important one, to read through the correspondence and make their own judgment.
Vincent, I agree, although I am a bit disappointed that you did not address the questions I put to you. All I would say (as one who not only admires the Jews but also admires the state of Israel albeit with some reservations) is the following:
1. Anti-Semitism as understood in the 20th century is a different construct from the anti-Judaism of the Christian Church, both Eastern and Western.
2. The Rabbinic Judaism of the Synagogue is not the same as the Temple Judaism pre-diaspora.
3. Hostility towards the Jews, like other enmities, needs be explained in a historical context and to attribute all the faults to one side is surely not tenable.
For my part, I shall continue to pray for our Jewish brethren that they may acknowledge Christ as their Messiah and Saviour. The Church has always taught us to do so.
Just so Vincent. Perhaps my rustic, laconic humour is not shared by everyone.
Here is an interesting talk given by James Carroll about the history of antisemitism and the Roman Catholic Church. James Carroll is an American and a former Catholic priest. He is also the author of ‘Constantine’s Sword’.
‘Constantine’s Sword: The Church & the Jews: A History’, (2001) First Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, New York, New York.
A small warning about the following YouTube link in that it will not work unless you alter ‘aaa’ to ‘www’.
Please copy this YouTube link into your browser and change the ‘aaa’ to ‘www’ to enjoy the talk.
This is the film adaptation of James Carroll’s book called ‘Constantine’s Sword’.
Again you must change ‘aaa’ to ‘www’ in order to see Carroll’s documentary.
Carroll is what we used to call a ‘spoilt priest’, is a polemical journalist rather than an historian, and was a vituperative critic of Benedict XVI. I can understand why you admire him, but he does not represent Catholic belief and his views on the New Testament would have elicited condemnation from the Holy Office were it not for the fact that he has laicized himself and is therefore of no consequence.
Sorry, John, you really must make an effort to catch up!
That was a great post by Quentin on racism and it behoves every one of us to take heed of the ‘poison’ lying within all of us, that is of a sleeping racism in every one of us lest it is woken by a myriad of contexts. If not a full-blown racism then certainly our lazy capacity for generalisations, peer group pressures, or our preferences of one sort or another, racism strategically covered by respectability, and the intellectual fallacy of ‘confirmation bias’.
Having experienced the near constant racism of a schoolboy variety many years ago, I can validate the pain or anguish of present-day victims of this social poisoning, i.e. minority groups such as Muslims, refugees and probably the most historically abused and vilified group of people in Australia who have suffered enormously through tragedy after tragedy; our aborigines.
Having lost most of their land through its theft by white settlement, of enduring massacre after massacre of a deliberate but an unspoken policy of eradicating the ‘savages amongst us’, of being excluded both legally, politically, socially and economically, by the ‘polite company’ of white society, being looked down upon as ‘uneducated blacks’ who are better suited to rural reservations that could teach them ‘proper’ white ways of thinking and being, thereby ensuring the destruction of aboriginal languages and their culture.
Of enduring the tremendous personal and familial damage of the policy of forced family separation, that led to the coining of the phrase, ‘the Stolen Generations’, of the scandal of aboriginal deaths in custody, most noticeably during the 20th century through the work of a Royal Commission, although it has seen a statistical resurgence during the 21st century. Aboriginal Australia has the worst statistics of family violence, poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, alcoholism, incarceration, foetal alcohol syndrome, child malnutrition, educational outcomes, discrimination, life expectancy, and any other measure that you care to mention.
Through an understanding of their tragic history since the arrival of European settlement, you can fathom their awful predicament today, relieved by a smattering of more successful and happier stories.
All of these tragedies provide a very sorry backdrop to the following story of an aboriginal woman who was negligently allowed to bleed to death on a beach in NSW, in an alleged case of criminal neglect, that appeared last Monday night on the ABC’s flagship current affairs program called ‘Four Corners’.
Since the airing of program last Monday night on the 9th May 2016, there has been the welcome development that this tragic case is being reviewed by an external and independent counsel appointed by the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions. We all pray that justice may come to this poor woman and her family.
It would seem that ” personal insight ” into any person/situation is governed by the degree of empathy shown by that person to another person/situation. This would appear to bear this out through a persons ‘ character ‘ – ones psychological and moral make-up – rather than through ‘ intellect ‘.
This was apparent in a famous/infamous interview in the 1950’s by John Freeman on Gilbert Harding ( Cambridge educated , with a fractured childhood, being put in an orphanage by his mother , a Catholic and closet homosexual ) dubbed……” the rudest man on television .” When posed with questions about his mother ( Freeman not realising she was deceased ) , Harding became distressed and broke down in tears. He was later reported as.. ” the first man to cry on television.” Thankfully, Freeman appeared to have enough insight fueled by empathy to quickly move on and retrieve the situation.
Personal insight through empathy with any given situation can be instrumental in realising the positive ( plus-factor ) in ones beliefs/situations rather than the negative ( anti-factor ) , thus offsetting the emergence of any destructive evolutionary predispositions.
Brendan you said ……..
“It would seem that ” personal insight ” into any person/situation is governed by the degree of empathy shown by that person to another person/situation.” .. and …
“Personal insight through empathy with any given situation … thus offsetting the emergence of any destructive evolutionary predispositions”
YES, that’s it in a very big nut shell! Love it!!
And Empathy can only be developed by gaining insight into ones own hidden prejudices, psychological defences and self satisfying intellectual justifications. Which necessitates experiencing ones own ‘shadows’ without using (in the first instance) the intellectual / rational ‘thinking function’. …. .. a problem can not be resolved by using the same intellect or rationale that created it in the first place … ( think it was Einstein said something like that).
But it seems some people are incapable of, or loath to, let go of intellectual ‘thinking’ & ‘logic’.
Scary stuff dealing with our own deep woundings, and the ‘sins’ of the ego’s main flight or fight defences / responses, and the pains they bring. To others and ourselves!
We’d sooner project it to ‘them disagreeables’ than own it.
And the cycle of sins destruction increases.
It’s more than OK to have differences and disagree, in thought and discussion, a God given necessity even. But only when it comes from an empathetic place (on both sides!) will it form any true ability for acceptance, growth & communion.
Including a souls communion with God.
But first – ‘the plank’ in our own eyes needs to be dealt with emphatically. An ongoing exercise for us all, of course – no one is perfect!
’emphatically’ was meant to be Empathetically!
Just so G.D.- You alluded to it following my earlier post and you have concurred with my next trail of thought in your embellishment due to actual experience. It’s always reassuring to have another ‘ second opinion ‘ who concurs . ‘ Natural Law ‘ and ‘sensus fidei ‘ work well to arrive at the right conclusion.
Yes, scary stuff ! You may know more about Einstein than me – so it seems science concurs as well ? But we all start at the same level – some arriving in early or later life, more broken than others.
Christ started that way, but he gave us the ‘ antidote ‘ – through His own brokenness and ‘ yielding’ to the will of The Father he overcame his ”flight or fight ” paradox to do neither – which is not compatible with rational thinking ; but is compatible with Love for Us ( Creation ) and ‘trusting ‘ in Gods unfathomable Mercy. It is scary because we are faced with baring our faults and hurts to ourselves and a world that does not understand ; submitting to the graces /cure that awaits one in accepting Christ glorified.
You allude to a ” loathing ” . In psychological terms , self-loathing ( due possibly in good measure to dysfunctional upbringing and a predisposition to homosexuality ) may have ‘ made ‘ Gilbert Harding the person he became. Tragic that seemingly he could find/determine no other way.
Insight and empathy, are probably some reasons that keep me Christian by Faith and Catholic by conviction amassed by the grace of god thus far.
‘Historically several countries on the Continent have been strongly anti-Semitic, and so, I am ashamed to say, has been the Catholic Church.’ (Quentin de la Bedoyere from ‘Anti anti-Semitism’)
Reading John Nolan’s posts in ‘Anti anti-Semitism’ are curiously stimulating, a little disheartening but expected in hindsight. When you are dealing with a redoubtable, knowledgable theological conservative with a capital ‘C’, that at times cascades off the scale to a Catholic fundamentalism, and who has a triumphal conceptualisation of the Roman Catholic Church running through his intelligent but mistaken mind, you can’t expect much.
While he is dismissive of people such as James Carroll as ‘a polemical journalist rather than an historian’ and view Vincent, Quentin, I and others as excitable people with little credibility on this issue, and/or who don’t really know what they are talking about, one can only sigh.
One does not have to be a scholar in history to reasonably ascertain a contemporary understanding of the historical relationship between Christianity and anti-Semitism. I don’t claim what most people do to get to the bottom of issues, which is clearly not a ‘scientific approach’ or one embodying rigor, or a shortcut to years of study or a substitute for scholarship and sheer hard work. However, assuming that the enquirer is attempting to be earnest in their desire to hold their own prejudices at bay with an open mind towards the matter and uses good quality resources and reasonable application, one can find the answer or at least point to where the research needs to proceed towards. Feeling and guesswork are a part of this as it is a part of a scholar’s research at times.
One soon realises that the subject of antisemitism and the Catholic Church is a vast and inexhaustible one that anyone could spend their entire lives studying and never get to the end of it.
The following Wikipedia link is a real gem as it uses quality references such as from the monograph of Anglican Bishop Richard Harries called,
‘After the evil: Christianity and Judaism in the shadow of the Holocaust’, (2003) Oxford University Press.
The article lists 59 references, with some of them used several times throughout the article, lists 16 monographs or journal articles for further reading, 26 hyperlinked Wikipedia articles such as one on ‘Anti-Semitism’, as well as a link to a ‘Judaism Portal’, which is a large online library of resources on any aspect of Judaism in general.
Of course the conclusions of many scholars in disciplines within the humanities are not always ‘eye to eye’ with each other. It is a given that you will have scholars for, against, undecided or agnostic on the issue of what responsibility the Christian religion has for antisemitism throughout history, and what inadvertent role did the church play in the tragedy that befell European Jews during the middle of the twentieth century?
Using the Wikipedia article on Christianity & antisemitism, I have some interesting quotes and a number of interesting points, of a number of highly respected scholars for you to ponder on.
‘On April 26, 1933 Hitler declared during a meeting with Roman Catholic Bishop Wilhelm Berning of Osnabrück:
“I have been attacked because of my handling of the Jewish question. The Catholic Church considered the Jews pestilent for fifteen hundred years, put them in ghettos, etc., because it recognized the Jews for what they were. In the epoch of liberalism the danger was no longer recognized. I am moving back toward the time in which a fifteen-hundred-year-long tradition was implemented. I do not set race over religion, but I recognize the representatives of this race as pestilent for the state and for the Church, and perhaps I am thereby doing Christianity a great service by pushing them out of schools and public functions.” (Adolf Hitler, 26th April 1933)
There is no response recorded in the transcript of this discussion by Bishop Berning and this has led to its interpretation by one scholar called Martin Rhonheimer, as nothing unusual for a Catholic Bishop in Europe to acknowledge a commonly held truth about the Jews contemporaneous to the 1930s.
The Nazis notoriously exploited Martin Luther’s work called, ‘On the Jews and Their Lies’, which was written in 1543, to bolster their ideology as one of justice and moral righteousness. Luther was a notorious anti-Semite who stated that Jews who refused to convert to Christianity should be put to death. He said, “we are at fault in not slaying them”.
Anglican Archbishop Robert Runcie has stated,
“Without centuries of Christian antisemitism, Hitler’s passionate hatred would never have been so fervently echoed…because for centuries Christians have held Jews collectively responsible for the death of Jesus. On Good Friday Jews, have in times past, cowered behind locked doors with fear of a Christian mob seeking ‘revenge’ for deicide. Without the poisoning of Christian minds through the centuries, the Holocaust is unthinkable.”
Fr. Hans Küng has written in his book called, ‘On Being a Christian’ (1976),
“Nazi anti-Judaism was the work of godless, anti-Christian criminals. But it would not have been possible without the almost two thousand years’ pre-history of ‘Christian’ anti-Judaism…’
Over 220 Rabbis and intellectuals issued a joint document after the Second Vatican Council called, ‘Dabru Emet’ from all branches of Judaism in 2000. It was issued by over 220 rabbis and intellectuals from all parts of Judaism as a statement designed to guide Jewish-Christian relations.
“Nazism was not a Christian phenomenon. Without the long history of Christian anti-Judaism and Christian violence against Jews, Nazi ideology could not have taken hold nor could it have been carried out. Too many Christians participated in, or were sympathetic to, Nazi atrocities against Jews. Other Christians did not protest sufficiently against these atrocities. But Nazism itself was not an inevitable outcome of Christianity.”
These quotes are all contained within section 9.2 called ‘Nazi antisemitism’
The Roman Catholic Church to its credit has a ‘Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews’, that is independently administered under the ‘Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity’ and the ‘Secretariat for Non-Christians’.
Every knowledgable Catholic or Christian must save a copy of ‘We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah’ to their hard disk, because it is not only excellent in itself, but a necessary form of Catholic teaching on anti-Semitism and the historical etiology of the Holocaust itself.
The ‘Shoah’ is the Hebrew word for ‘calamity’ that is not only used in the Hebrew scriptures but has also been used by Jews since the Holocaust to refer to it.
‘We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah’, in ‘Chapter III. Relations between Jews and Christians’.
‘Despite the Christian preaching of love for all, even for one’s enemies, the prevailing mentality down the centuries penalized minorities and those who were in any way “different:”. Sentiments of anti-Judaism in some Christian quarters, and the gap which existed between the Church and the Jewish people, led to a generalized discrimination, which ended at times in expulsions or attempts at forced conversions.’
‘In a large part of the ‘Christian’ world, until the end of the 18th century, those who were not Christian did not always enjoy a fully guaranteed juridical status. Despite that fact, Jews throughout Christendom held on to their religious traditions and communal customs. They were therefore looked upon with a certain suspicion and mistrust. In times of crisis such as famine, war, pestilence or social tensions, the Jewish minority was sometimes taken as a scapegoat and became the victim of violence, looting, even massacres.’
‘By the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, Jews generally had achieved an equal standing with other citizens in most States and a certain number of them held influential positions in society. But in that same historical context, notably in the 19th century, a false and exacerbated nationalism took hold. In a climate of eventful social change, Jews were often accused of exercising an influence disproportionate to their numbers. Thus there began to spread in varying degrees throughout most of Europe an anti-Judaism that was essentially more sociological and political than religious.’
‘At the same time, theories began to appear which denied the unity of the human race, affirming an original diversity of races. In the 20th century, National Socialism in Germany used these ideas as a pseudo-scientific basis for a distinction between so called Nordic-Aryan races and supposedly inferior races. Furthermore, an extremist form of nationalism was heightened in Germany by the defeat of 1918 and the demanding conditions imposed by the victors, with the consequence that many saw in National Socialism a solution to their country’s problems and cooperated politically with this movement.’
’The Church in Germany replied by condemning racism. The condemnation first appeared in the preaching of some of the clergy, in the public teaching of the Catholic Bishops, and in the writings of lay Catholic journalists. Already in February and March 1931, Cardinal Bertram of Breslau, Cardinal Faulhaber and the Bishops of Bavaria, the Bishops of the Province of Cologne and those of the Province of Freiburg published pastoral letters condemning National Socialism, with its idolatry of race and of the State.’
‘The well-known Advent sermons of Cardinal Faulhaber in 1933, the very year in which National Socialism came to power, at which not just Catholics but also Protestants and Jews were present, clearly expressed rejection of the Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda. In the wake of the Kristallnacht, Bernhard Lichtenberg, Provost of Berlin Cathedral, offered public prayers for the Jews. He was later to die at Dachau and has been declared Blessed.’
‘Pope Pius XI too condemned Nazi racism in a solemn way in his Encyclical Letter Mit brennender Sorge, which was read in German churches on Passion Sunday 1937, a step which resulted in attacks and sanctions against members of the clergy. Addressing a group of Belgian pilgrims on 6 September 1938, Pius XI asserted: ‘Anti-Semitism is unacceptable. Spiritually, we are all Semites’. Pius XII, in his very first Encyclical, Summi Pontificatus, of 20 October 1939, warned against theories which denied the unity of the human race and against the deification of the State, all of which he saw as leading to a real ‘hour of darkness’.’
Yes, John, agreed.
(Did you read any of the posts after your post – John Candido says: May 11, 2016 at 10:51 am)?
But John, the word ‘Jews’ can be replaced with any of the many minority groups that have been continually made scapegoats.
And ‘Christian’ could be replaced by any of the many ‘Powers’ that perpetuate such atrocities.
And within all minority groups there exist scapegoats too that are persecuted.
And within any ‘group’ within a larger society there are pecking orders – each ‘level’ directing some form of discrimination against the ‘lower’ ones. And visa versa.
It only takes one manic charismatic figure to dig deep enough into the latent collective ‘fight or flight’ brokenness and incite hatred, to harness it and direct it.
That’s the ‘devil’ here. That is lost sight of in the detail.
And we all use that ‘devil’, and suffer from it, to some extent.
What needs to be addressed is each & every individual’s propensity (in all races religions groups and institutions of every kind) to make others suffer as scapegoats just because they think, look, live, believe differently to how ‘i want’ them to.
At root I believe the cause is very simple to see – Fight or Flight – both of which are based in fears.
The want (of some) to have power over, and the need (of some) to be controlled are both created in fear. (For as many reasons as there are individuals).
The remedy, to heal enough of both in enough individuals so the majority (in all groups of every description) scapegoats scapegoating!!
And for others to see how that creates community (communion?) ….. life giving for all.
Is not a large part (if not all!) of Jesus’ teaching directed at such?
(For Unity. Not Sameness).
An impossible remedy, it seems to many, because – as Quentin’s post reveals – rational justifications, for or against any stance, disguise and perpetuate the very ‘devil’ they claim to want rid of.
‘But John, the word ‘Jews’ can be replaced with any of the many minority groups that have been continually made scapegoats.’ (G.D.)
Of course! Agreed!
‘And ‘Christian’ could be replaced by any of the many ‘Powers’ that perpetuate such atrocities.’ (G.D.)
‘And within all minority groups there exist scapegoats too that are persecuted. And within any ‘group’ within a larger society there are pecking orders – each ‘level’ directing some form of discrimination against the ‘lower’ ones. And visa versa.’ (G.D.)
I agree with you here too.
‘What needs to be addressed is each & every individual’s propensity (in all races religions groups and institutions of every kind) to make others suffer as scapegoats just because they think, look, live, believe differently to how ‘I want’ them to.’ (G.D.)
‘An impossible remedy, it seems to many, because – as Quentin’s post reveals – rational justifications, for or against any stance, disguise and perpetuate the very ‘devil’ they claim to want rid of.’ (G.D.)
Correct again G.D.!
The following quotation is from, ‘We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah’, ‘Chapter II, What we must remember.’
‘While bearing their unique witness to the Holy One of Israel and to the Torah, the Jewish people have suffered much at different times and in many places. But the Shoah was certainly the worst suffering of all. 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.’
‘The very magnitude of the crime raises many questions. Historians, sociologists, political philosophers, psychologists and theologians are all trying to learn more about the reality of the Shoah and its causes. Much scholarly study still remains to be done. But such an event cannot be fully measured by the ordinary criteria of historical research alone. It calls for a ‘moral and religious memory’ and, particularly among Christians, a very serious reflection on what gave rise to it.’
‘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.’
‘Chapter III, Relations between Jews and Christians’
‘The history of relations between Jews and Christians is a tormented one. His Holiness Pope John Paul II has recognized this fact in his repeated appeals to Catholics to see where we stand with regard to our relations with the Jewish people. In effect, the balance of these relations over two thousand years has been quite negative.’
‘At the dawn of Christianity, after the crucifixion of Jesus, there arose disputes between the early Church and the Jewish leaders and people who, in their devotion to the Law, on occasion violently opposed the preachers of the Gospel and the first Christians. In the pagan Roman Empire, Jews were legally protected by the privileges granted by the Emperor and the authorities at first made no distinction between Jewish and Christian communities.’
‘Soon however, Christians incurred the persecution of the State. Later, when the Emperors themselves converted to Christianity, they at first continued to guarantee Jewish privileges. But Christian mobs who attacked pagan temples sometimes did the same to synagogues, not without being influenced by certain interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish people as a whole.’
“In the Christian world—I do not say on the part of the Church as such—erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish people and their alleged culpability have circulated for too long, engendering feelings of hostility towards this people”.
(Pope John Paul II, Speech to Symposium on the roots of anti-Judaism, 31 October 1997, 1: L’Osservatore Romano, 1st November 1997, p. 6)
‘Such interpretations of the New Testament have been totally and definitively rejected by the Second Vatican Council.’ (Second Vatican Council, ‘Nostra Aetate’, 4).
I’m not sure I recognize myself in your thumbnail sketch of my beliefs and character, but it is always interesting to read how one is perceived by others. Can you cite one of my comments that is mistaken and give reasons why you think so?
I was born six years after the downfall of Hitler and his odious regime and feel neither personal responsibility nor guilt for his genocidal policies. However, if we are to talk about Christian attitudes to Judaism, then in fairness we should also consider Jewish attitudes to Christianity, both in the early years of the Church when Jews were active agents of persecution (largely forgotten in the western Church but still remembered in the east) and in the present day when some Jewish commentators expound a view of the evolution of Christianity which Christians might well find offensive.
The Christian Churches are by no means blameless, but I don’t accept a one-sided view of history which has gained so much currency post-1945 as to appear to be beyond argument.
I liked your post on the Aborigines. What happens when an advanced European civilization comes into contact with a Stone Age people is of considerable interest, and not only to anthropologists.
‘The Christian Churches are by no means blameless, but I don’t accept a one-sided view of history which has gained so much currency post-1945 as to appear to be beyond argument.’ (John Nolan)
I don’t accept a one-sided view of any history either. Who on earth would do such a stupid thing? When history becomes one-sided it ceases to be history and instead becomes someone else’s idiotic propaganda. Why would anyone want to read lies and propaganda? They would have to be psychotic. Historians and informed journalists, who operate according to the highest academic or professional standards, would quickly see-off such rubbish.
If you were to read paragraphs 2 & 3 of ‘Part 4’ of my post, which immediately precedes your post to which I am replying to, you will see that it clearly refers to very early conflicts between Jews & Christians.
I find your objection about a purported ‘one-sided view of history’ after World War II, petty, insensitive and tasteless, with the backdrop of the Holocaust and the anti-Semitism that came from Christians, who inadvertently provided the ‘soil’ for this total evil to occur in the first place, at the forefront of my mind.
I also find your comment that you were born six years after Hitler’s downfall and that you ‘feel neither personal responsibility nor guilt for his genocidal policies’, silly, decidedly cold and inappropriate. Given the historical reality of the Holocaust and its unfortunate etiology, perhaps a more respectful and informed tone from you would be more apposite?
John C. I think we can all agree that in our discussions a’ respectful and informed tone’ is always desirable. As however we are quite likely to disagree about what is acceptable, maybe we should be quite cautious about accusing other people’s posts of not meeting these criteria?
Yes, I concede the possibility that I have got John Nolan wrong.
John Candido, you really need to get off your soapbox and formulate your own ideas rather than quoting at length from other people. A little reflection will surely indicate that feeling responsible for historical events which happened before one was born is the ‘silly’ option. Indeed, if you think it through it is a mirror image of the idea that Jews today bear the guilt for Christ’s death, which neither you (I hope) nor I would have any truck with.
A one-sided view of history is one that sees Hitler’s genocide, which was motivated by racialism, as being typical whereas it was unique (and in this respect the Holocaust is unique). Stalin’s and Mao’s genocidal policies, although they killed more people, were not specifically linked to racial theory. An explanation of genocide as mainly an extreme manifestation of racial prejudice is therefore one-sided.
In Poland, which suffered more under Nazi occupation than any other country, it is estimated that 2.7 million Polish Jews were liquidated, and about the same number of ethnic Poles, mostly Catholics. The latter is often glossed over, not least since it seriously weakens the link that many people would like to make between Hitler’s racialism and residual Christian anti-Semitism. Incidentally, both Hitler and Stalin wanted to destroy Poland as a nation by liquidating priests, army officers and the intelligentsia.
I think you misunderstand the term one-sided. It does not equate to lies and propaganda; it means concentrating too much on some aspects at the expense of others which produces imbalance. And we’re all guilty of it to a greater or a lesser extent.
‘I think you misunderstand the term one-sided. It does not equate to lies and propaganda; it means concentrating too much on some aspects at the expense of others which produces imbalance. And we’re all guilty of it to a greater or a lesser extent.’ (John Nolan)
I am also not enamoured by unbalanced historical accounts that whitewash some of the etiology of the Holocaust as it should accurately and fairly be applied to ordinary Christians or to members of the clergy of any Christian denomination. I believe that you lean towards doing some of this whitewashing, pooh-poohing or minimising of the etiology of the Holocaust in let me generously say in an inadvertent manner, as it relates to ordinary Christians or to members of the clergy of any Christian denomination.
‘Can you cite one of my comments that is (sic) mistaken and give reasons why you think so?’ (John Nolan)
Some of your posts in ‘Anti anti-Semitism’ unfortunately point to the tendency to whitewash Christian anti-Semitism as an inadvertent part of the Holocaust’s etiology.
‘Vincent, what was the Church blind to for nigh on two millennia?’ (John Nolan)
Are you blind as well? Anti-Semitism of course!
‘Anti-Semitism as understood by modern man was not something late antiquity would have recognized.’ (John Nolan)
There is a double meaning within this statement that you are not aware of. It literally means the modern world’s understanding of anti-Semitism is a privileged historical position which excludes it from being imposed on the past due to the work of contemporary scholarship, which is correct.
In addition, your statement is readily available as a paradoxical validation of Vincent’s point about the ‘blind leading the blind’, i.e. anti-Semitism is not something that past individuals would have recognised as unacceptable behaviour.
‘We must beware of projecting our own values/prejudices onto the past.’ (John Nolan)
That was stated without you being cognisant of its great irony, because you have done the very same thing by minimising or pooh-poohing the fact that anti-Semitism is one of many inadvertent causal factors in the Shoah’s etiology that past Christians are responsible for in varying degrees.
‘A little reflection will surely indicate that feeling responsible for historical events which happened before one was born is the ‘silly’ option.’ (John Nolan)
I am not into guilt, period! Either for me, or in throwing it around inappropriately, meaninglessly, disproportionately, or towards anyone who is innocent of some other person’s actions to which they alone are responsible for. Nor am I prone to using it as a tool to manipulate others towards my own biases. I am not talking about personal guilt but empathy for millions of innocent lives destroyed by a crazed, criminal maniac of the far-right of politics.
I partly accept your final sentence that we are ‘all guilty of it to a greater or a lesser extent’. Personal bias is every person’s starting point. However, there is no excuse for being ill-informed, one-sided or biased after one has applied genuine rigor and high academic standards to the issue at hand, in as much as any person can be objective and academic about any matter within the humanities. The humanities cannot mirror the clearest aspects of physics or mathematics, but nonetheless it can dispose of incomplete, unbalanced, biased, uncorroborated, or one-sided histories, that lack the principle validation of primary historical sources, and the intelligent, fair and balanced use of secondary historical sources.
‘John, this is scarcely the place for me to list the long and shameful history of the Church in the matter of anti-Semitism in both its actions and its documents. But let me just mention the early Church Fathers — in particular Chrysostom, followed by council after council and bull after bull which attacked or disadvantaged Jews. It was not until the middle of the 20th century that the Church abandoned this poison and realised its contribution to European anti-Semitism and its bloody outcome. The Church was blind and leading the blind, and we still have the blind amongst us.’ (Vincent)
‘…we need to note that attacks on Jews for being Jews are a staple of the Catholic Church throughout 2000 years. (Vincent)
Debating intellectual points about historical accounts being one-sided or unbalanced in terms of Hitler’s racial motivation, and how this uniquely contrasts the Holocaust from other genocidal acts by other criminals has its place, but is mostly irrelevant to the question that is nagging my mind about you as a person.
While I do acknowledge your agonised and belated statement about the church and its members having some responsibility towards historical anti-Semitism, (‘The Christian Churches are by no means blameless’) my question for you is this.
Do you have some empathy (not guilt) for Europe’s Jews and their plight between 1933 and 1945? I ask this question because you are coming across as someone who reluctantly accedes to a minimalist empathy for their tragic plight.
John Candido, historians do not operate in a moral and emotional vacuum, and I feel empathy for victims of persecution, whether those of the Holocaust, the purges of Stalin and Mao, the more recent massacres in Rwanda and Bosnia, and so on. But you did not castigate me for lacking empathy, you claimed I was silly for not accepting ‘personal responsibility and guilt’. You then conveniently back-tracked. But your earlier posts are up here for all to see.
Someone who interpolates ‘sic’ in a grammatically correct quotation (look for the antecedent noun) gives me cause for expecting more ignorance to follow. I was not disappointed. Your tendentious soap-box style, your propensity for attributing to others views that cannot be reasonably inferred from what they have actually written, your tedious habit of quoting selective and often dubious sources at interminable length via internet links simply to endorse their views, your ignorance of history, your falling-back on social-science jargon to disguise the fact that you have not an original thought in your head (etiology is what historians call causation, by the way), your knee-jerk approval of what you conceive to be ‘modernity’, your well advertised dissent from Catholic teaching and unconditional admiration for those who do likewise; need I go on?
Nothing you have posted above makes any serious attempt to engage in argument, and a lot of it does not even pass basic tests in logic. If the Church (by which I presume you mean its leadership) was ‘blind’ to anti-Semitism, then you cannot logically accuse it of anti-Semitism.
My advice to you, as always, is to think before you write. But it has always fallen on deaf ears. Aures habent, et non audient.
Poor John Nolan! Hopelessly lost in himself.