Catholics can’t afford careless anti-Semitism

It’s Advent. I’m very aware that it’s Advent. I don’t want things to be business as usual on the Catholic internet. So please believe me: I thought long and hard about how to approach this topic usefully, rather than just stirring up anger.

Last night, Catholic News Service tweeted out a “Happy Hanukkah” message “to those who celebrate.” Here’s a screenshot:

One problem: That’s an image of Roman soldiers carrying off loot from the Temple they desecrated. So yes, there is a menorah in the picture. No, that doesn’t make it appropriate for Hanukkah, any more than it would be appropriate to tweet out, “Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!” along with a photo of Herod slaughtering the innocents, or a lion mauling some martyrs, or maybe just a straight up crucifixion picture. It’s a depiction of one of the darkest moments in Jewish history.

One wag on Twitter had the same thought:

After several people immediately chastised CNS for their image choice, they deleted the tweet and posted this:

Which . . . was not great. It puts the onus on “many of our followers” for having been offended, rather than saying, “We posted something terrible, and we’re terribly sorry.” There was more backlash, and this morning, they posted this:

I do believe the original image choice was inadvertent. I do believe it’s possible that some overworked or lazy social media manager simply Googled “menorah” and thought, “ooh, that one looks classy” and went with it. Dumb stuff happens, and I’m willing to believe the photo choice was not a veiled threat against Jews, despite how it appeared.

The barely-an-apology apology is harder to get past. The follow-up apology is better, although it puts the blame a single person, even though the tweet went out under the CNS name; but I feel a dreary certainty that CNS learned the lesson “Jewish people are touchy” rather than the much more important lesson, which is this:

Antisemitism is in the Church.
Catholics who aren’t antisemites are obligated to reject even the smallest hint of it, whenever it turns up.

Even if it was unintentional; even if it seems minor; even if it seems to gentiles like an isolated, meaningless incident that can be explained away if everyone would just calm down. Even if the antisemite does other good things or is an effective fundraiser for Catholic causes.

If we don’t step up and say something every single time, then those who really are malicious become more bold, and ideas that once pushed the envelope become commonplace.

A few months ago, the Catholic News Agency published an article about Franciscan University’s response to allegations of mishandling sexual assault, which was uncovered by freelance journalist Jenn Morson and published in the National Catholic Reporter.

CNA named George Soros as the originator of the funding, and then devoted eight paragraphs of their article to the funding angle. But the funding was not, in fact, from George Soros, and even if it had been, Morson was unaware of the grant and did not receive it until after the story was published. Her editors clarified:

The grant was made eight years before Morson started writing her story. The putative connection to George Soros was, in short, imaginary. Moreover, even if it had existed, it would not have been newsworthy, much less deserving of eight paragraphs.

But Morson is a Catholic of Jewish origin, and “Soros” is shorthand in the United States for “evil Jewish influence.”

So, maybe the CNA reporter, and the editor who okayed the story, simply didn’t know the name “Soros” is an anti-semitic dogwhistle. That happens.

But after Morson and several others told them what “Soros” means to so many people, they defended their story. They added a paragraph noting that Morson was not aware of the origin of the funding; but they retained the eight paragraphs noting the alleged source of funding. It’s hard to understand why that information was relevant unless CNA wanted readers to believe the source of funding affected the reporting itself.

Well. Still. Why is this worth bringing up? Why can’t we just give the benefit of the doubt to Catholics who do good work otherwise? Why are Jews so damn touchy?

Because there are so many Catholics of bad will. Because anti-semitism is once again gaining ground in the Church, just as it is everywhere else. Anti-semitic attacks in the U.S. have surged 57% in the last year alone.  If you think those attacks only happen outside the Church, just ask any public person with a Jewish-sounding last name. Stroll by the wrong hornet’s nest, and the anti-semitism comes swarming out, sometimes disguised as piety, sometimes proudly acknowledging itself for what it is.

Does anti-semitism exist only in Catholic circles? Of course not. But when it does exist there, it’s every Catholic’s job to stamp it out in horror. Catholics of good will are obligated to be especially careful to utterly reject even the hint of antisemitism, before it gains strength.

But they’re not. They’re not stamping it out, and they’re not learning to be careful. And when they’re not careful, those without good will consistently amplify dogwhistles, whether they were originally intentional or not. The Catholic Crisis Magazine followed Catholic News Agency’s “I spy George Soros” cue and gleefully doubled down on the imaginary Soros-Morson connection with an article titled “The Soros-Funded Attacks on Orthodox Catholic Universities.” The word “attacks” is plural because the author, Austin Ruse, included my Christendom articles in this category of attack. It is common knowledge that I am Jewish.

My articles were, of course, in no way funded by George Soros, and were in no way part of a coordinated attack. But that’s not relevant, if you know your readership. And Crisis does.

The Remnant Magazine used a similar tactic in their strange, rambling article about me: They called my work “satanic” and then devoted two paragraphs to my Jewishness and how I convey it, even though my articles has nothing to do with Judaism.

In other words, they said: We are not antisemitic. But you should know that this evil article was written by a Jew.

Because this kind of thing is tolerated, because people want to pretend it’s not happening, the authors grow more bold. Austin Ruse, the author of the Crisis article fallaciously linking Morson to Soros, recently said this on Twitter of his nephew, who is an “Elder” in the Proud Boys.

Ruse, who has received numerous awards from mainstream Catholic organizations, including Franciscan University, has repeatedly insisted that Proud Boys are
mostly a men’s drinking club” and “not an extremist group nor or they even remotely white nationalist.” According to the ProudBoysUSA.com:

Men have tried being ashamed of themselves and accepting blame for slavery, the wage gap, ableism, and some fag-bashing that went on two generations ago, but it didn’t work. So they’re going with their gut and indulging in the natural pride that comes from being part of the greatest culture in the world. It’s very freeing to finally admit the West is the best. That’s because it’s the truth.

Jason Kessler was a member of the Proud Boys when he helped organize the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville where tiki torch-wielding marchers chanted “Jews will not replace us.”

This is the organization that brings Austin Ruse such familial pride.

Of course, it’s all about context and nuance, when you’re marching through the streets with torches.

John Zmirak in 2016 reissued his Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He’s gone on the record rejecting anti-semitism, which is bold. Was that before or after he worked for the white nationalist publication VDARE, including this Christmas essay, which is essentially a chattier version of the 14 words? Before or after he recorded at least one giggly interview, now mysteriously vanished, with neo-Nazi Richard Spencer? If he’s repented, the man has some public reparation to catch up on.

I don’t like guilt by association. I don’t like punishing people for failing to expunge every possible hint of unsavory connections from their public past. But I’m also no fool. I know that evildoers count on the cover given them by the naiveté, the timidity, the mistaken charitable intentions of decent people.

Jewish writers will tell you that anti-semitic insults and threats from people calling themselves “Catholic” are commonplace. Gentiles have told me they have no idea such a thing happens. So I’m telling you: It happens all the time. My family has received numerous explicitly anti-semitic threats of violence from people calling themselves Catholic. After years of writing for Catholic publications, it doesn’t even raise eyebrows anymore. It’s routine.

Guys, the Catholic people and publications I named are only ones I happened to have come into contact with recently, and so their names popped into my head. They are the tip of the iceberg.

I am exhausted. I am exhausted with extending good will where it is neither desired nor deserved. I am exhausted with taking the high road, telling myself people simply didn’t know any better, they simply travel in different circles, they simply don’t realize what it’s like to be Jewish. I am exhausted with arguing with myself over whether I’m overreacting or not, whether I’ll make things better or worse by saying something.

And I am exhausted with trying to persuade myself, “No one is listening to these fringe figures anyway, and I’m just boosting their signal if I respond.”

People are listening to these fringe figures. They’re becoming less fringe as people listen. My children walk through the halls of a public school where swastikas are scrawled by self-described “rednecks” who think “oven” jokes are just some snarky fun. Down the road from us is a traditionalist Catholic Church that has preserved the beautiful and reverent music and liturgy my family craves — and which teaches its children that the Jews are here to infiltrate and subvert the Church from within. It’s not dying out on its own. New generations are being raised on casual or even ardent antisemitism, and Catholics are letting it happen.

Jews ought to be able to count on Catholics to reject antisemitism with vigorous revulsion, because that is what Catholics are for: defending the vulnerable, defending the truth, defending our Faith which is inextricable from its Jewish roots.

Instead, we hear excuses: We didn’t realize. It was an honest mistake. We’re sorry you were offended. Let’s not jump to conclusions. But they do so much good otherwise. Just ignore them, and maybe they’ll go away.

Or: It’s Advent. Can’t we take a break from thinking about this stuff? It’s Advent!

And during Advent, Jewish Mary and her Jewish baby boy fled for their lives. During Advent, Jews all over the world are in danger, and their danger increases when Catholics pretend they don’t see antisemitism in their ranks. It is here. I, a Jew, a mother of Jews, am asking you, if you’re a writer, an editor, a social media manager; if you book speakers or hire teachers; if you’re in charge of choosing curriculum; if you are active on social media; if you are a priest, if you influence other people:

Please see this cancer on the Body of Christ for what it is. Name it as evil, every single time, and keep it from spreading.

 

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82 thoughts on “Catholics can’t afford careless anti-Semitism”

  1. There sure are a lot of racist, sexist, purely prejudiced comments on your blog. I guess you can’t address them all and I wouldn’t really expect it. But it is ironic given your call, “if you influence people…call it evil every single time.” Maybe evil is in the eye of the beholder in some cases.

    1. I’m not sure if you’re saying I should respond to them, or I should keep them from commenting on my site. My policy is to allow sexist, racist, and antisemitic comments to stand (unless they’re threatening someone) to illustrate why I write pieces like this, so it’s harder to claim, “Oh, she’s just being oversensitive, and no one really says stuff like that.”

      1. Okay. I’m just trying to point out that it does happen and often times it’s directed against men and in particular “white” men. Of course, there are numerous ethnic backgrounds that are vilified by those kind of statements since “white” men could really be lots of different kinds of people. Then there’s the obnoxious railing against “patriarchy” that is a typical stand-in for just vilifying men in general. You understand. It’s all kinds and everywhere. It’s not just anti-Semitic.

        1. You’re fairly well informed and right to quotation “white” since white men don’t actually exist as a real people. It’s an expression of privilege and only men who conceive of themselves as white (and theor sympathizers) can be hurt by the knowledge that white men are our real enemy.

  2. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
    CCC781 “At all times and in every race, anyone who fears God and does what is right has been acceptable to him. He has, however, willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness. He therefore chose the Israelite race to be his own people and established a covenant with it. He gradually instructed this people. . . . All these things, however, happened as a preparation for and figure of that new and perfect covenant which was to be ratified in Christ . . . the New Covenant in his blood; he called together a race made up of Jews and Gentiles which would be one, not according to the flesh, but in the Spirit.”201

  3. Just a short dumb question:

    ““Soros” is shorthand in the United States for “evil Jewish influence.””

    If one dislikes/criticizes the way the rather rich persons called by the names Gates and Soros use their wealth to promote/fund certain things, e.g. as far as i know both Gates and Soros also have some spending which seems directly or indirectly effect abortion access, and notes something specific thing Soros does/pays for,

    how should then the criticism be worded?

    Cause it is practically unavoidable to call Soros by name, if one has objections on his use of funds; and if one were to criticize Soros spending for furthering abortion, one has if “Soros” is a dogwhistle for evil rich jews a very hard time to avoid doing a sort of dogwhistle for the jewish bloodlibel of murdering children, etc.

    1. It seems like your question is sincere and good-willed, so I’ll take a stab at replying.
      Criticism of Soros is, of course, legit. Putting him in context with Gates makes it more clear that your objection is not anti-semitic.
      On the opposite side of the spectrum, classifying Simcha’s articles as part of “Soros-funded attacks” is clearly anti-semitic, since they only connection between the two is their ethnic identity.
      There’s a long history of anti-semitisim being wrapped up in conspiracy theories about Jews secretly controlling the world, especially through their financial connections. So I think the danger is in implying that Soros is another example of that (an evil, wealthy person secretly controlling the world).

      1. I don’t like the progressive politics he pushes. I’m shocked that more people aren’t horrified by our world’s abortion holocaust and the people who actually push abortion politics and funding. And of course the “evil, wealthy person secretly controlling the world” subtitle could just as easily be applied in the opposite direction when you consider the way people used to talk about the Koch brothers, or the way they still say those things about Trump. Pretending that it just happens to one group of people is silly.

  4. There is anti-semitism on the two extremes of Catholicism in my experience. A certain type of traddie fulminates against the freemasons, the Jews and Vatican II and on they left they obsess about Israel and Palestinians with a focus that doesn’t appear in regard to any other conflict zone in the world.

    The bulk of us more mainstreamers detest anti-semitism, embrace the teachings of Vatican II on Jews and try to get on with people.

  5. I’ve seen anti-Semitism in the church. A pretty conservative Catholic magazine I used to follow online called Regina magazine invited an openly anti-Semitic guest writer…which I found out in Facebook debate with the guy. I unfollowed pretty quickly.

    I have a legit question though. Is this a Conservative political thing, or a Conservative Catholic thing? From what I’ve seen, flying an Israel flag in your front yard is a political conservative badge of honor, and, well, Been Shapiro (did you know his wife is a doctor? 😛 ). Or is it not conservative political at all and just a paranoid Catholic thing? Or maybe it’s a New England Catholic thing? I don’t know any Jews though, so maybe I’m just clueless on that last one (I live in Texas).

    1. Most likely these are protestant Christian Zionists who’ve been duped into believing this nonsense, starting with the Scofield Bible (which was a Jewish-backed publication). And furthered by idiots like John Hagee.

      Are you sure you’re not mistaking anti-Semitism (which is morally unacceptable) with anti-Judaism, which is Catholic teaching?

      Gospel of John
      St Paul: 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

      1. Wait, wut?

        I’m pretty sure the guy was anti-Semitic, I said the stuff he was saying about a different group of people is what Nazis said about the Jews, then he started going off on the Jews. The fact that he was German (in Germany, writing about the situation there) didn’t help his case.

        1. What did he say about the Jews that made you think he was anti-Semitic? It’s highly unlikely that Regina Mag would promote a racist.

          1. It was years ago, but I remember he said something about the Jews (the Jews in general, not a few specific people) being an undermining evil influence.

      2. Anti Judaism is antisemitism. That’s what antisemitism means. You’re allowed to disagree with the Jewish religion. You’re not allowed to attack it or its members. Give the Jewish faith the respect you would like others to give yours.

    2. Is there any chance they’re simply Israeli citizens and hence flying their own flag? A lot of American and Canadian Jews are also Israelis, you know.

      Related: when I taught high school, one of my students – Jewish and a recent convert to Catholicism (and incidentally an Israeli citizen) – was quite offended at World Youth Day in Toronto that the organizers told the Israeli contingent they couldn’t carry their flag, as all the other groups from other countries were allowed to do.

      So do remember that one can cut both ways; the Israeli flag is actually some people’s flag, not just, as you seem to assume, a symbol of a certain strain in American politics.

      1. I usually see it in rural areas alongside a Texas flag, sometimes a ‘dont tread on me’ flag, and an American flag. I haven’t seen any other country’s flag used like that.

        1. And OF COURSE it’s a national flag with it’s own unique meaning. But it also seems to have conservative political connotations in my geographic area.

          1. Okay, point taken – it does sound like a political statement in that case. But on the other hand, as my student pointed out, it’s unfortunate that someone’s flag should become so politicized.

  6. Simcha, you start with a Tweet posted by some well-intentioned schmuck at CNA who had no notion of the historical meaning of the image in question. It’s pretty safe to say he was oblivious as to any anti-Semitic connection.

    Then, in a winding and torturous way, you connect that with a few other far-removed and obscure tidbits of “evidence” to support the proposition that “anti-Semitism is in the Church.”

    OK, I suppose somewhere in the fever swamps that may be the case. But it’s, like, way out there on the fringes. Which granted, does not make it any less noxious or objectionable.

    In any case, a much more pressing and dangerous issue for those who follow Christ, especially those who are raising families, is the pervasive anti-Christianity of the dominant culture — routinely expressed and disseminated in media, entertainment, academia, and wherever you care to look.

    Anti-Semitism is the province of kooks these days. Anti-Christianity is mainstream. The latter is a much more immediate threat to decency and Truth than the former. As the mother of several children, you might want to keep that in mind.

    1. Given violence in this country aimed at Jews vs. white Christians, I think she’s worried about the right thing. She’s not getting death threats for being Christian.

  7. Dear Simcha, I am so sorry you and your family have experienced anti-Semitism from other Catholics. What a shame on our Church. Sara-Louise

              1. So does the anti-Islam bigotry you’re displaying here, a very long pedigree. This hatred of Muslims should have no place in the Church.

                1. Why do you assume I’m talking about Muslims specifically? Sure, Muslims have been among history’s anti-Semites, but they’ve hardly been alone in that! As a Christian, I have to admit that Christian anti-Semitism has an equally long (or rather, 600-year-longer) pedigree.

            1. That is an extraordinarily self-absorbed comment. Even allowing the assumption that Jews hate and oppress Muslims in the Middle East (settlements), are you completely blind to the fact that anti-Semitism, in the sense of anti-Jewishness, has a long and inglorious history in the Western world? The term is NOT an anti-Muslim dog-whistle.

              Meanwhile I dislike the entire concept of ‘dog-whistle’ words or catch-phrases and I do wish you would all stop using it…

              1. Dog-whistlers don’t find the term flattering. “Self-absorbed…” meanwhile people are dying and being harrassed and oppressed along with their children. We’ll have to “agree to disagree” on the Islamophobic bigotry of “anti-semite” (but that’s exactly what it is). In any case it’s white men who are the enemy, not Jews or Muslims.

  8. I’m pretty sure the image from the arch of Titus shows the seven-branched candlestick, not a menorah. The menorah has eight “arms” (four on either side of the central light), right? And it commemorates the rededication of the Temple under the Machabees. The seven-branched candlestick is prescribed by the Law of Moses and stood before the Holy of Holies.

    Aside from all that: it’s probably a good idea to define–or at least give good examples–of anti-Semitism, since that word is used for a wide variety of things. I’ve heard the St. John’s Passion (Bach) described as anti-Semitic.

    1. Menorah (‎מְנוֹרָה) translates merely as ‘lampstand’ and is used for 7- or 8-light lampstands. In the Hebrew scriptures (which do not recount the miracle of Chanukah), it is used of the 7-Light lampstand, eg, in Ex 25,31.

        1. Always eight candles in a row and a ninth candle raised above the others that is used to light the eight candles successively on the the eight days of Chanukah. This type of menorah is also called a Chanukiah

    2. The entire Gospel of John is now being accused of being anti-Semitic. Are we to change our faith in order to accommodate the Jews? We already tried to bend over backwards with Vat II, and it had been a miserable failure.

      1. How did we bend over backwards? By no longer calling them “perfidious” or whatever it was? How has this been a “miserable failure?”

  9. Wow, Simcha is truly going nuts and desperately trying to keep herself relevant. And the reason why anti-semitic crimes is up is due to the increased presence of muslims in western countries, who factually comprise most of the culprits. Of course, it’s politically incorrect to say such things, so she incredulously infers Catholics are behind it.

  10. I am part Jewish and married to a Jewish guy. I and my kids are Catholic. We have occasionally run across anti-Semitic comments over the years, but not many. I do think there is an uptick because of the times we live in, especially the new influence of vicious trolls on the internet married with the rise of populism/nationalism under Trump. I do also know that some Rad Trads seem to have an anti-Semitic strain, a la Mel Gibson. Though I have met at least two who didn’t seem to be that way. Thus far I agree with this article. I see both left and right Catholics going off the rails recklessly. Our Church is in deep do-do right now is many ways. It is corrupt, perverted, polarized, etc. etc. If someone says something anti-Semitic, I have and will speak up. And poor Austin Ruse needs our prayers. The guy has gone off the deep end in an ugly, pathetic way.
    However, I wish someone would create a dictionary of what words constitute a ‘dog-whistle.’ I have been accused of ‘dog-whistling’ when I had no intention at all to be doing that. This has happened a couple times to me lately. If you are not ‘woke’ enough, you don’t know the secret code of dog whistles and therefore, apparently, you are missing a whole level of hidden meaning, I guess. People get to feel superior over you because you are not in the know. So stop with the dog whistle arguments please. Does Soros fund left-wing stuff and right wingers get paranoid about it? Unfortunately this guy is also Jewish. Do some people evilly conflate the two? Probably. But sometimes talking about Soros is just talking about Soros and not anti-Semitic. To call things dog-whistles murks up the waters and attributes mind-reading powers to the critic which I don’t necessarily think have. The critics get a little overwrought and start attributing dog whistlings to those who really aren’t. That’s my pet peeve. If you have to resort to telling people they are dog whistling you are weakening your argument.

    I also think the internet call out culture isn’t very effective. It tends to just get sucked into the two polarized echo chambers. Echo chambers are controlled by trolls. I think it is better to get out into the actual community and sow seeds in that way. Right now I am involved in our local church run hypothermia shelter. We partner with a synagogue (and have for years). So those Jews hopefully know many Catholics who are not anti- Semitic. Right after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh my parish along with a Muslim group did a day long food bank packing and sorting event. Those Jews who hosted the event know Catholics and Muslims who are not anti-Semitic. I think in real life encounters, in real life works of charity and community, do way more then lecturing others. We some need some lecturing, for sure, but it really isn’t the most helpful way to change the tenor of the times.

    1. Just curious if you think St Paul also had an anti-Semitic strain, ala Mel Gibson and the rad-trads?

      1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
      For you, brethren, are become followers of the churches of God which are in Judea, in Christ Jesus: for you also have suffered the same things from your own coutrymen, even as they have from the Jews, Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us, and please not God, and are adversaries to all men; Prohibiting us to speak to the Gentiles, that they may be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath of God is come upon them to the end.

      1. Paul WAS a Jew, writing to Jews. ‘Our own people have rejected us, so we have to spread the word to strangers’. He’s NOT saying that ‘the Jews’ are this forever to be rejected; he’s talking about a specific context- being rejected by your own people, which has happened in countless other contexts.

        1. No, he is saying the Jews have rejected the Logos, Jesus Christ (St Paul is only a messenger). That is why they forever will be adversaries to all men, because they reject the moral, social and economic order of the universe. Not until the second coming will the remaining Jews convert: “…for the wrath of God will come unto them until the end.”

          1. “That is why they forever will be adversaries to all men, because they reject the moral, social and economic order of the universe. ”

            What do you mean by them “rejecting the….economic order of the universe?” They have strong traditions in certain industries because other governments discriminated against them and blocked them from doing anything else.

              1. Do you have a retirement account? Savings account? Then you profit off of usury too. The church no longer forbids lending money at interest, but when it did, it obviously makes sense that Christians borrowed all their money from Jews. And then, of course, blamed them for loaning them money when it turned out they didn’t want to repay.

                1. Wow. That’s a pretty generalized statement. It almost sounds as though you are demonizing a group of people. I’m sure you wouldn’t do that.

    2. Yeah I never heard that speaking of Soros’ influence is a dog whistle. I think I first caught wind of the things he funds through Ben Shapiro (Jewish) speaking about it, and it’s not for his faith or heritage that Catholics would be against those things.

  11. Thank you for this thoughtful article and reminding us of the insidiousness of such hate. Keep fighting the good fight.

  12. I’ve been a Catholic for 60 years and haven’t ever heard any anti-semetic comments in any Catholic church, far from it, actually. I’ve lived in two states, and probably have been associated with 6 different Catholic communities. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open, though.

    1. Exactly. Without Fisher saying something, no one, or perhaps very few, would have known of the reference and therefore there would be no problem with anti-semitism springing from it. It was only because she made an issue of it that it is now a supposed issue! It reminds one of folks like al sharpton, claiming to be a spokesman for the black community, and wanting people to see racism everywhere, and it is that very behavior which causes people to see racism where there is none.

        1. Oh, it’s Simcha’s knight in shining armor! I must have struck a nerve of truth to deserve the usual leftist name-calling, “alt-right.”

        2. There are a number of silly comments on this post, but of course this was the one you picked. You really are incorrigible, Mr Shea.

        3. Well if it ain’t Mark Shea, the purveyor of venom and hate for those who commit the sin of actually believing in the doctrine and teachings of the Catholic Church!

          What’s the problem, Mark? Still trying to come to terms with Francis’s statements about the undesirability of gay priests? Hit you hard, did it?

          Listen, don’t worry. He’s still on your side. Now go back to your hole and write another hate-spewing column.

    2. I’ve never heard anti-Semitism preached in church, either, but I’ve certainly heard it voiced in conversation, particularly with Catholics. (In fact, I don’t think I’ve run into it in other contexts – except by Muslims and recent immigrants from Eastern Europe, where pejorative comments about Jews seem to be normal.)

      E.g., I know lots of trad types who were furious that Pope Benedict changed the wording of the prayer for the Jews at Easter Vigil to be less offensive. I also know a guy who was enraged that his fiancee’s Orthodox Jewish neighbors would get her to turn the oven on for them on Saturdays; she found it charming and neighborly, but he tried to get her to refuse to do it. And I’ve know Catholics to insist that any kind of Jewish observance (e.g., Kosher eating or simply avoiding pork, observing Passover) is not just non-mandatory for Jews who convert, but indeed forbidden and wrong.

      My sense in all these conversations was that, at bottom, these Catholics were deeply offended by the notion of a chosen people. I think the idea that the Jews were chosen in Old Testament times seemed unjust to these Catholics, but they couldn’t admit that, so instead they dug in their heels about insisting that since the new covenant of the New Testament, that chosen-ness has been obliterated, and not one bit of it can be allowed to remain.

  13. Count me among those who were utterly clueless. (Yeah, I do live under a rock…it’s kinda nice in a way to be clueless.) But now I’m alert to the cancer, and I thank you. I’m deeply saddened that this is everyday reality for you and your family — and to have some of it come from within the Church is appalling and nauseating.

  14. This is an excellent and much needed piece. Thank you for your work on this and other hard topics. (I don’t know if you intended the paragraph about the slurs and “oven” jokes to appear twice, but it does.) I love reading your essays.

  15. You’re an islamophobe. “Anti-semite” is an anti-muslim dogwhistle for people who secretly hate Muslims. Not all Jews hate Muslims, of course. But enough do that Muslims are not safe and that is not OK. White men are obviously the real enemy (Charlottesville). We need to stop with the covert islamophobia and focus.

    1. No. Don’t be ignorant. Anti-Semitism is also Islamophobic and anti-Arab. There’s more than enough stupidity, hatred, and fear to go around.

        1. Well, Arabs are Semitic, so being against anti-Semitism means being against racism towards Muslims.

          But please tell me where you got that Simcha Fischer was an Islamophobe.

          1. That’s what people mean when they say “anti semitic”. Theyre mass judging muslims. It’s an anti-muslim dogwhistle. Especially regarding the state of israel.

            1. “That’s what people mean when they say “anti semitic”. Theyre mass judging muslims. It’s an anti-muslim dogwhistle.”

              No, it’s not at all what I mean when I say anti-Semitic.

              1. Well you ought to educate yourself then. White men are the enemy, not muslims. Islamophobia is a grave sin and a serious problem.

                1. Anyone is capable of hatred. White men do not have exclusive ownership of being hateful.
                  This is good news, because it means we are all capable of empathy and love as well. All we have to do is turn our hearts to God. We should be vigilant against any messages of hate, against anyone.

                2. Of course it is. As is anti-Semitism. No one here ever said (or dog-whistled that) muslims were the enemy. Neither are Jews. Neither are white men. Let go of your preconceptions of what others are supposedly saying and learn to listen better. And to love your enemies.

                3. You just did. The more you deny that “anti semitism” is an islamophobic dogwhistle, the more you reveal your own bigotry and ignorance.

                4. “White men do not have exclusive ownership of being hateful.”

                  They didn’t invent Hate of course but today they are its greatest and sole purveyors (Charlottesville). White men are the enemy of all good things in society.

              2. This person is trolling, not arguing. I think the best response would be to ignore her. (I’m fairly certain she’s a ‘her’ but who knows?)

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