A Church of Hate
There are many things both in centuries past and in recent years for which to criticize the Catholic church. They range from brutal instances of warmongering slaughter with the Crusades, to complicity in the forced conversion of Eastern Orthodox Serbs in Croatia during the Holocaust, to shuffling child raping priests between parishes so as to avoid controversy instead of holding the molestering vermin accountable. Most recently though, headlines were made when Pope Benedict opted to remove the order of excommunication against the Society of St. Pius X, famously including among them Bishop Williamson.
The controversy as most people understand it has focused around the words of Williamson, who quite recently on Sweden’s STV network declared, “I believe there were no gas chambers … I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers. There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!” Forgetting for a moment that Holocaust denial is as much a favorite past time of anti-Semites as oppressing satellite nations was of the USSR, one might be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, that he believes there is more evidence that God exists, and he had a son who walked the Earth, before being crucified and resurrected than there is found in the established historical fact of well documented Nazi genocide that happened in his life time, merely suggests he is mentally unbalanced, not a bigot, right? Well, his involvement in the Society of St Pius X says otherwise.
Born in 1970 as a means of giving shelter to archaic Catholic dogma, the Society is best understood for its steadfast opposition to all of the Vatican II reforms that moderated the Church. As part of their rejection of the changes made by the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, they naturally disregarded Nostra Aetate, the declaration that formally established that the Jews were no more responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus than any other peoples. This was groundbreaking precisely because for centuries after the rise of Christianity, anti-semitic violence and legal discrimination in the West was often justified by the suggestion of Jewish culpability in the death of Jesus. Lest one suggest that that this was not a purposeful rejection of said concept by the Society, byuut was instead part of a broader stance against doctrinal reformation, let us look at what else the Society has to say. Their website still proudly carries an article entitled “The Mystery of the Jewish People” wherein they declare that “Judaism is inimical to all nations in general, and in a special manner to Christian nations.” They continue, “Jews must not live together with Christians…because their errors and material superiority have virulent consequences among other peoples.” How these statements may be construed as anything other than outright anti-Semitism is entirely beyond comprehension, especially when placed in the broader context of their essay, which sounds like it was written by the Ustaša clergy rather than enlightened men of character.
Many will suggest, perhaps correctly, that the Pope’s intentions here are noble. Rather than hoping to stoke the flames of anti-Semitism at a time when rates are already skyrocketing, he is seeking unity among Catholics. That may be, but it does little good for the Church to welcome back a movement that is fundamentally opposed to key points of theology, and does nothing but create tension with the Jewish community, who the Catholic church was finally starting to improve relations with after centuries of complicity in unspeakable crimes against them. The Society has shown no change in ideology, and has no intention of ceasing its shameful proliferation of hate and dishonesty, suggesting that there is no place for it in civilized society. And while I certainly don’t hold the Church in high regard given its actions throughout its long and troublesome history, actions like this make myself and others even less inclined to regard the Church as institution that still has a place in our modern and rational society. That such ideas would even be seriously considered, much less actualized, suggests quite strongly that those of us skeptical of the Church have due cause to be.
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Posted on February 5, 2009, in Rest of the World and tagged Anti-Semitism, Bishop Williamson, Caleb Posner, Catholicism, Croatia, Excommunication, Holocaust, Society of St Pius X, SSPX, Vatican. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.