Rabbi comments on official Jewish reaction to the Pope

On the WaPo sites section On Faith, there is an interesting piece by Rabbi Irwin Kula about the reactions of Jews to the lifting the SSPX excommunications and business about the Holocaust.

An author, Rabbi Kula is the President The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York. He has served as rabbi of congregations in St. Louis, New York City and Jerusalem. He is a regular guest on NBC-TV’s “The Today Show,” and co-host of the popular weekly radio show, Hirschfield and Kula, airing on KXL in Portland, Ore.

My emphases and comments.

Jewish Reaction to Pope Disproportionate

The official Jewish response to Pope Benedict XVI recent decision to reach out to the St. Pious [sic] X Society and to revoke the excommunication (though not yet determining the status) of four bishops says a great deal about the psycho-social state of American Jewish leadership or at least the leadership that claims to speak for American Jews[nicely phrased]

The admittedly unnerving if not hurtful Holocaust denying views of one of those bishops, British born Richard Williamson, an obscure, irrelevant, cranky old man, offered on Swedish television, evoked the wrath of no less than the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the B’nai B’rith International, the International Jewish Commission on Interreligious Consultations and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. "The decision undermines the strong relationship between Catholics and Jews", they protested. "We are stunned that the Vatican has ignored our concerns", they proclaimed.

This will have "serious implications for Catholic-Jewish relations" and there will be a "political cost for the Vatican" they threatened. And from Israel, the Chief Rabbinate in Israel, one of the most corrupt religious establishments in Western democracies, [wow] entered the fray calling into doubt the Pope’s impending visit to Israel. All this hubbub and anxious lashing out about an internal Church matter regarding the sort of crabby, crotchety, trivial, unknown sort of jerk – the ratty uncle who embarrasses you every time he is in public — who we all recognize exists in our communities.  [Okay... so that's a "no" vote for Williamson, I think.]

As an eighth generation rabbi and someone who lost much family in the Holocaust, it could just be me, but this official Jewish response seems outrageously over the top. [!] Do millions of American Jews sufficiently care that the Pope revoked the excommunication of this unheard of bishop such that major Jewish organizations should devote so much energy and attention to this and turn it into a cause célèbre worthy of front page attention? And is this the way we speak to each other after decades of successful interfaith work on improving our relationship? [Unless those who are going over the top really don't want good relations....?]

How is it that the view of some cranky bishop who has no power evokes calls of a crisis in Catholic – Jewish relations despite the revolutionary changes in Church teachings regarding Jews since Vatican II? Where is the "proportionality", [Isn't that tern usually used in responses to acts of terror, etc?] where is the giving the benefit of the doubt – a central religious and spiritual imperative – in response to something that is admittedly upsetting but in the scheme of things is less than trivial especially given this Pope’s historic visit to Auschwitz in which he unambiguously recognized the evil perpetrated upon Jews in the Holocaust and in his way "repented" for any contribution distorted Church teachings made to create the ground for such evil to erupt.

Something is off-kilter here. Is it possible that the leadership of Jewish defense agencies, people with the best of motivation who have historically done critical work in fighting anti-Semitism, have become so possessed by their roles as monitors of anti-Semitism, so haunted by unresolved fears, guilt, and even shame regarding the Holocaust, and perhaps so unconsciously driven by how these issues literally keep their institutions afloat, that they have become incapable of distinguishing between a bishop’s ridiculous, loopy, discredited views about the Holocaust and a Church from the Pope down which has clearly and repeatedly recognized the evil done to Jews in the Holocaust and called for that evil to never be forgotten[!]

Perhaps, this called for a little understanding of what it must be like to actually run a 1.2 billion person spiritual community (one with which I disagree on many issues) and to be trying to create some sense of unity from right to left, from extreme liberalism to extreme traditionalism – sort of like the liberal Barack Obama inviting Rick Warren, despite his hurtful [?] views on homosexuality, to give the invocation at the inauguration. How about cutting a Pope, who we know along with the previous Pope is probably amongst the most historically sensitive Popes to the issues of anti-Semitism, Holocaust, and the relationship to Judaism and Jews, a little slack given how he is trying to heal his own community. And is it possible that the Pope’s desire/hope/need to reintegrate the Church (he has also reached out to Liberal theologian Hans Kung) may be of more importance both to the Church and actually to religion on this planet [!] than whether we Jews are upset about the lifting of excommunication of one irrelevant bishop.  [well said]

Would we Jews like to be judged by the crankiest, most outlandish, hurtful, and stupid thing any rabbi in the world said about Catholics or Christians? We Jews are no longer organized to excommunicate and a rabbi can’t be defrocked the way the Church does with its clergy but surely there are individual rabbi’s who say things so abhorrent about the "other" that though we still call the person rabbi we would not want to be taken to task for doing so.

And isn’t it possible that bringing Richard Williamson back inside the Church may actually influence him to see how wrong he is on this issue given how clear the Church is regarding the Holocaust and its commitment to Catholic – Jewish relations? After all the Pope himself said, "I hope my gesture is followed by the hoped – for commitment on their part to take the further steps necessary to realize full communion with the Church, thus witnessing true fidelity, and true recognition of the magisterium and the authority of the pope and of the Second Vatican Council." There is no way to read this other than to conclude that to be fully reinstated in the Catholic Church, all those who have passed the first test must now clear the big hurdle: either accept what the Catholic Church teaches or remain on the sidelines. And what the Church teaches, among other things, is the necessity of respecting Jews.

Moreover, shouldn’t the Jewish defense agency leadership, which to its credit is probably the most effective at its work of any ethnic and religious group in this country, try to understand the inner categories of the other, [good] especially after decades of inter-faith and inter-group work? In this case, that there is a difference between heresy – an accusation from which the Pope is trying to heal part of his community- and stupidity. And what is the cost of not seeing the difference between heresy and stupidity[Very well put!]

Finally, when the Pope as well as key Vatican officials said within a day that Williamson’s views are "absolutely indefensible" and that in the Pope’s own words, the Church feels "full and indispensable solidarity with Jews against any Holocaust denial" where was a little humility in response? Wouldn’t it have been interesting, yet alone ethically compelling, for those who initially lashed out to have acknowledged that perhaps they did overreact and that they do know that the Church and specifically this Pope are very sensitive to these issues. But that we ask the Pope and church hierarchy to please understand that, whether fully justified or not, we are still very very raw and very vulnerable regarding the Holocaust and so we are sorry if we did over react and we are deeply grateful for the Pope’s unambiguous reiteration of that which we do know is his view and is contemporary Catholic teachings.

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59 Responses to Rabbi comments on official Jewish reaction to the Pope

  1. Chris M says:

    L’chaim! Cheers to the good Rabbi for bringing some good old fashioned sensibility to the issue.

    “Wouldn’t it have been interesting, yet alone ethically compelling, for those who initially lashed out to have acknowledged that perhaps they did overreact and that they do know that the Church and specifically this Pope are very sensitive to these issues.”

    Well, it IS supposed to get below freezing here in Sunny Florida tonight.. anything’s possible..

  2. tecumseh says:

    Well said Rabbi.

  3. Mike B. says:

    Very nicely stated indeed. The distinction he makes between Jews and the “official” spokesmen who claim to represent Jews is masterfully done.

    Funny, but the many Jews I know really don’t care what the Catholic Church says or how it prays or what it prays. They think it isn’t any of their business. But some of the self-professed Jewish leaders, on the other hand, always seem to take umbrage at our inner workings and internal decisions. So it goes, I guess.

    Pax,

    Mike

  4. Eugene Lavrenchuk says:

    I take issue with a rabbi calling a Catholic bishop who has been at the forefront of defending tradition “an old crank”. Read some of the sermons of St. John Chrysostom regarding the Jews. Is he an old crank, too? Can you imagine all the stink if a Catholic priest called some a Jewish rabbi “en old crank”. I think the Jews should simply stay out of our Catholic business.

  5. Kradcliffe says:

    It’s statements like these that make me realize it’s NOT futile to try and defend and explain the Church to outsiders. If he can “get” it, then so can others… if they want to.

  6. Cel says:

    This is so very refreshing to see.

    I must say though, that all this does call into question whether certain groups really do want a positive relationship or if they are simply looking for a reason to hate Catholicism and perhaps trying to leverage some guilt in order to manipulate.

    All this came across as very similar to how my ex wife would explode over the tiniest things and how she used this passive aggressiveness to manipulate everyone in the family. Borderline personality disorder it was called and the oft used phrase was “walking on eggshells”

    It makes me wonder if these liberal organizations and liberal governments don’t have some kind of communal personality disorder.

  7. RichR says:

    I think this rabbi hit the nail on the head. The “monitors” need to stop being so defensive, the media needs to stop sensationalizing events and start being responsible, and the people in authority need to speak up and denounce this lunacy when it occurs. May God bless this man’s boldness in going against the grain of his fellow co-religionists.

    It’s McCarthyism all over again.

  8. TJM says:

    I’m surprised this was published in the Washington Post. Ordinarily they wouldn’t want to upset the politically correct way of looking at things. Tom

  9. Sid says:

    The very best statement so far on the Williamson affair.

  10. Dan says:

    “Richard Williamson, an obscure, irrelevant, cranky old man…all this hubbub and anxious lashing out about an internal Church matter regarding the sort of crabby, crotchety, trivial, unknown sort of jerk – the ratty uncle who embarrasses you every time he is in public…”

    Absurd. The Rabbi’s above remarks denote a worldy understanding of human life. Bishop Williamson may be “obscure, irrelevant, trivial…” in what sense? Fame?

    The reality is that Bishop Williamson is completely relevant. To refer to the bishop as “trivial” is unfortunate. Bishop Williamson is a child of God…created in God’s image…and massively relevant and important, according to God’s standards.

    The Rabbi dehumanized Bishop Williamson. The Nazis dehumanized millions of Catholics, Jews and humans of all stripes.

    The Rabbi’s trivializing of Bishop Williamson, a child of God, is worldly, un-Catholic and invites hatred against a child of God.

  11. Joe says:

    Father Z:

    Re: your comment – [Unless those who are going over the top really don’t want good relations….?]

    Perhaps that’s what Bishop Williamson had in mind with his comments…makes one wonder.

    Joe

  12. Scarlett says:

    Well, that’s a breath of fresh air! I think I’ll go see if there’s a place on the WaPo site to comment and tell him so.

  13. depeccatoradvitam says:

    Put in a prayer for the good Rabbi, he get’s it in so many ways, even more so as an outsider about true Catholic identity when he remarks,

    “There is no way to read this other than to conclude that to be fully reinstated in the Catholic Church, all those who have passed the first test must now clear the big hurdle: either accept what the Catholic Church teaches or remain on the sidelines.”

    which could have come from this very website and that the impetus of unity

    “may be of more importance both to the Church and actually to religion on this planet”.

  14. mpm says:

    I think the Rabbi’s thoughts are well-stated.

    As to “cranky”, I agree with the Rabbi. I think anytime a cleric spouts
    off publicly about something for which Holy Orders does not equip him,
    he risks being called a “crank”. The virtue of prudence is real, and it
    should tell someone when it isn’t critical that he share his opinion.
    Otherwise, talk like a crank, be called a crank.

  15. Hey Rabbi. Interesting. I’ll be keeping you in mind.

  16. Etienne says:

    Dan,
    Bishop Williamson is, in fact, as you said repeatedly, a “child of God”. The Rabbi is not saying otherwise. What the good Rabbi is saying is that this particular “child of God” is cranky, loopy, and without great significance with regard to the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church concerning the Jewish people. The Rabbi knows a cranky, loopy, crotchety child when he hears one and so do I and many others. Bishop Williamson would do well to be sure that he is child-like and not childish. Many thanks, Rabbi Kula and may God’s blessings be upon you and and all the children of God, including Bishop Williamson.

  17. I deleted an “anonymous” comments. I don’t allow comments lablled “anon” or “anonymous”.

  18. Jayna says:

    Somebody should give this guy a medal. He get’s it.

  19. I deleted an “anonymous” comments. Nothing wrong with it, except that I don’t allow comments labeled “anon” or “anonymous”.

  20. Dan says:

    Etienne wrote…”Dan, Bishop Williamson is, in fact, as you said repeatedly, a “child of God”. The Rabbi is not saying otherwise. What the good Rabbi is saying is that this particular “child of God” is cranky, loopy, and without great significance with regard to the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church concerning the Jewish people. The Rabbi knows a cranky, loopy, crotchety child when he hears one and so do I and many others. Bishop Williamson would do well to be sure that he is child-like and not childish.”

    I see. The Rabbi’s characterization of Bishop Williamson is to be accepted as infallible. Well, I don’t agree with the Rabbi in that regard. I don’t find Bishop Williamson “cranky, irrelevant, obscure…”

    I also reject the Rabbi’s dehumanization of Bishop Williamson. Based upon the Catholic Faith that I have received, I am called to reject the Rabbi’s nasty dehumanization of Bishop Williamson.

    Would Pope Benedict XVI speak of Bishop Williamson in the Rabbi’s manner.

    No. The Holy Father would demonstrate love and kindness to Bishop Williamson and refuse to dehumanize the bishop as did the Rabbi.

  21. Tomas says:

    I found his characterizations of +Williamson quite over the top, frankly, and out of character with the rest of this reasonable piece. +Williamson did not “spout off,” actually: he was reminded of his former views about the Holocaust by the interviewer and essentially affirmed them (unfortunately). It was clearly a set-up.

    I also wonder about the use of the word “heresy” in the penultimate paragraph. It wasn’t clear to me whether this was a reference to denying the Holocaust, or to the status of the SSPX. If the former, that is ridiculous. The Holocaust is not a religion, and to question the official version of it is not “heresy.”

    Finally, Father Z’s readers may find this website extremely interesting:

    http://www.jewsagainstzionism.com/

  22. Jenny Z says:

    Well said Rabbi. Very well said.

  23. mrsmontoya says:

    within Fr.’s already embolded (sp?) paragraph, this should be doubly highlighted: “and perhaps so unconsciously driven by how these issues literally keep their institutions afloat, “

  24. Ed says:

    The Rabbi’s comments are food for the hungry; hearing the Truth in his statement, I went to the Holy See for understanding and found this, from Vatican II, “Nostra Aetate:”

    “The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles.(7) Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles. making both one in Himself.(8)” Section 4.

    Somehow, often in spite of ourselves, the Truth finds His way into all our hearts.

  25. Simon Platt says:

    Of course this rabbi has said some things about Bishop Williamson with which christians might take exception (although some christians have recently said far worse). Let’s not get worked up about that – he seems to have the courtesy to try to see things from another’s point of view; if I do the same I can see that a jew would be likely to see a bishop in worldly terms and to treat him as such, even to the extent of saying rude things about him.

    Of course I think he has things not quite right, but he seems to have a sense of proportion for which I think catholics should be grateful. It’s a nice change.

  26. Andrew says:

    Possibly the most sensible and proportionate artcile so far concerning this whole sorry saga. Well put, Rabbi!

  27. Mark R says:

    Mensch! Whenever (and rarely) I do to interreligious discussions, it is always the Jew or Rabbi who is the most articulate and has the most intelligent and rational things to say. (Grant it, the caliber of the sort of Catholic priest who attends these kinds of gatherings isn’t the highest).

  28. GOR says:

    Yes, the Rabbi does get it, God bless him! It’s a pity more Catholics – hierarchy and lay – don’t have as much balance. This has been so blown out of proportion that I’ve got to believe this ‘crisis’ was manufactured to embarrass the Holy Father, the Church and the SSPX.

    We certainly live in ‘interesting times’…

  29. shadrach says:

    It is emblematic of the state of public discourse today that his Holiness the pope, and the Church, even when they are misrepresented in the most transparent, tawdry and grotesque way – a way that would be unacceptable in terms of any secular idea of fairplay – are not accorded the courtesy of an apology when slandered. What is arguably worse is that heads of state, and their staffs, don’t go to the bother of researching their own positions and statements correctly. Pray for the pope. The Beatitudes tell us that we are blessed when calumniated, but that does not mean that slander does not wound.

  30. AngelaBarbara says:

    This tempest in a teapot is motivated by the liberal media’s desire to discredit our pope, and in so doing, discredit Catholicism and everything we stand for.

    It is ridiculous to say that Williamson, a formerly excommunicated Catholic, speaks for all of us, or for any of us. But if they can make one of us look bad, then the process of demonizing the church can continue.

    Would any other group be willing to be held to the same standards that the Lamestream media wishes to apply to our church? If so, then let’s start by vilifying certain political parties, such as the one to which Robert Byrd, a former KKK Exalted Cyclops, belongs. Guess everyone in his party must agree with him on this? No? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander…

  31. Romulus says:

    If +Williamson (with all his faults) were irrelevant, we wouldn’t be all talking about him.

  32. Antiquarian says:

    Dan said– “I see. The Rabbi’s characterization of Bishop Williamson is to be accepted as infallible.”

    Infallible? Not at all. It is correct, nonetheless.

  33. The Other David says:

    The Rabbi’s trivializing of Bishop Williamson, a child of God, is worldly, un-Catholic and invites hatred against a child of God.

    Comment by Dan

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    And Williamson’s comment wasn’t a trivialization? I think it is quite reasonable for the Rabbi to view Williamson’s views with contempt. His anti-Semitism was well known before this incident, and every protest you make could be turned against Williamson.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

  34. Dan says:

    Any number of leading Jews and Jewish groups have trashed Pope Pius XII. They have claimed that said holy Pontiff was an anti-Semitic Nazi sympathizer.

    Many Jews and their pressure groups insist that the Catholic Church is anti-Semitic.

    Where was the international outrage when Jews and Jewish groups attacked Pope Pius XII and accused the Catholic Church of having fomented anti-Semitism and even Nazism?

    More to the point, where were Catholics, particularly our Churchmen who are on the warpath today against the SSPX and Bishop Williamson, when various Jews and Jewish groups attacked Pope Pius XII and the Church in regard to anti-Semitism and Nazism?

    The disgraceful double-standards practiced by many Catholics and Jews is obvious.

    Many Jews and Jewish groups who bash the Church, Pope Pius XII, support abortion, mock Jesus Christ are presented by our Churchmen and, incredibly, Rome, as worthy interreligious “dialogue” partners.

    Yet Bishop Williamson and the SSPX are viewed as monsters by various Catholics and Jews, particularly our Churchmen.

    The monumental rage exhibited in recent days against Bishop Williamson and the SSPX by many Churchmen and Jews is sickening, disgraceful and two-faced.

    Who can possibly deny that?

  35. Dan says:

    “And Williamson’s comment wasn’t a trivialization? I think it is quite reasonable for the Rabbi to view Williamson’s views with contempt.”

    You have mixed two different issues. Bishop Williamson’s opinion regarding the gas chambers issue is one thing. He said he didn’t believe that Jews were killed in gas chambers. He believes that hundreds of thousands of Jews died at the hands of Nazis. He also said that his mind could be changed regarding the use of gas chambers by Nazis. That is what he said during the interview that viewed on youtube.

    The Rabbi, you, I anybody…we’re free to view Bishop Williamson’s “gas chambers views” with contempt.

    But that isn’t the issue upon which I had remarked.

    The dehumanization of Bishop Williamson is the issue upon which I had remarked. The Catholic Church to which I belong has teaches that the dehumanization of a human being is unacceptable.

    The Rabbi’s denunciation of Bishop Williamson’s reading of history — the issue regarding gas chambers — is acceptable.

    The Rabbi’s slurs against Bishop Williamson are unacceptable. The Rabbi’s dehumanization of Bishop Williamson is unacceptable.

    Catholic teachings inform me that the Rabbi’s slurs and dehumanizing remarks are evil.

  36. Dan says:

    Dan said—“I see. The Rabbi’s characterization of Bishop Williamson is to be accepted as infallible.”

    Antiquarian said…”Infallible? Not at all. It is correct, nonetheless.”

    The Rabbi’s disputation of Bishop Williamson view of history regarding gas chambers may be correct and is certainly valid.

    The slurs that the Rabbi directed against Bishop Williamson the human being created in God’s image are evil. The Rabbi’s dehumanization of Bishop Williamson is evil.

  37. Clinton says:

    It’s heartening to finally read an article such as this. In another thread I asked the question “what would helpful behavior look like ?”,
    regarding public statements by Catholic and Jewish leaders — and I think the good Rabbi’s comments begin to answer the question.
    He makes many excellent points, and similar sensible pieces from other religious and secular authorities would do much to put this
    situation in its proper perspective. Rabbi Kula is a mensch.

  38. Roland de Chanson says:

    Mazel tov to Rabbi Kula. A voice of rationality and respect. I hope he doesn’t suffer ignominy and opprobrium from demagogues whose only agenda is the vilification of the Catholic Church. He knows his own heart best but he would always welcome in the Church of Rabbi Zolli and Cardinal Lustiger.

    Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha-olam shenatan mechochmato le vassar vadam.

    What does the prayer really say? Blessed art Thou O Lord Our God, king of the universe, who hath given wisdom to flesh and blood. (Said in gratitude for the gift of a scholar.)

  39. The Other David says:

    @ Dan

    So, what you are objecting to is really over this rabbi treating Williamson the person with contempt because of his views. Yet Williamson’s words and actions show his character, and I think the sin over the confusion of attacking the view vs. attacking the person who made it is far less of a sin than Williamson’s sin of scandal

  40. Luigi says:

    Rabbi Kula’s perspective will get precious little attention by a media hell bent on fanning the flames of the pseudo-controversy.

    I am not intimately aware of all the groups listed, but it has been my experience that the ADL and their president, Abraham Foxman, are little more than the Jewissh version of Al Sharpton and his race baiting machine. The ADL is utterly transparent, IMO, in their quest to remain relevant. Being satisfied with the response of the would-be anti-Semite in disguise doesn’t do much to fill the coffers with donations, now does it?

    Rabbi Kula makes a good point, exactly who is the “official” voice of the Jewish people, American or otherwise? Aparently, it’s the one most willing on any given day to pimp his cause for a left-leaning media with a nearly insatiable appetite for attacking the Church.

  41. Eugene,

    Do you realize how absurd you just sounded? The Jews should stay out of the business of a Catholic bishop who denies the Holocaust and attributes authenticity to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? This isn’t Catholic business, this is everyone’s business, and if anyone has a right to have something to say about Bishop Williamson right now, it’s Jews.

    And I’m a devout, traditional Catholic, and I think Williamson is far, far worse than an old crank.

  42. taad says:

    It is really sad when our own cardinals attack the Holy Father, one of whom
    is a friend, and a Jewish Rabbi comes to the Popes defense. Some of our bishops
    and cardinals want to jump ship when a storm comes. What will they do when
    real persecution comes?

  43. God bless Rabbi Kula! Shalom aleichem!

  44. prof. basto says:

    Good article.

    This Rabbi is a fair person. Instead of jumping on the opportunity to bash the Church, he clearly studied that Church’s internal affairs and understands the complexities of the situation. And it is a good thing that he points out that there is an over-reaction going on.

    On the first days of this controversy, I, a Catholic, criticized strongly Williamson’s holocaust denial and called holocaust denial what it is: a form of anti-semitism. But, as the Rabbi puts it, Stupidity is not the same as Heresy. Hence, I never questioned the judgement on the remission of the excommunications. And that’s where the over-reaction manifests itself. When people, instead of just criticising Williamson’s stupid position (for which he was already criticized even by the SSPX, and for which he appologized to the Vatican for the trouble created) istead criticize the Pope for an act of removing unrelated excommunications, that’s totally out of line.

    Good that the rabbi understands that, and denounces the Pope-bashing.

  45. Roland de Chanson says:

    In reading Rabbi Kula’s statement once again, it is impressed upon me, that, apart from his intimate sense of five thousand years of history as recorded in the Tanakh, the Rabbi’s own familial history encompasses at least eight generations of scholars faithful to the Torah. Were Williamson’s ancestry traceable a tenth part so far, one would undoubtedly find craven apostates from the quondam Catholic Church of England, now Mrs. Windsor’s Anglican sect. That Williamson should find his way to Rome and nurse such venom in his heart vitiates his conversion to the full Truth of Christ who proclaimed in his words and in his Flesh that salvation is from the Jews.

    Far from disagreeing with the Rabbi’s ad hominem characterisation of Williamson as a “crabby, crotchety, trivial, unknown sort of jerk”, I find his epithets winsomely charitable towards an individual who is undoubtely a loathsome, invidious, repellent and pernicious bigot. This I aver in a profound spirit of Christian charity.

  46. Dan says:

    The Other David wrote…”So, what you are objecting to is really over this rabbi treating Williamson the person with contempt because of his views. Yet Williamson’s words and actions show his character, and I think the sin over the confusion of attacking the view vs. attacking the person who made it is far less of a sin than Williamson’s sin of scandal.”

    Do the Rabbi’s “words and actions show his character”? That is, the Rabbi rejects Jesus Christ and His True Church. Regarding the Catholic Church that was founded by Jesus Christ, the Rabbi declared that is a Church “with which I disagree on many issues.”

    Ahhh…Bishop Williamson is a crank and lunatic as he disagrees with the Rabbi’s reading of history regarding gas chambers and Nazism. Correct?

    Therefore, following that reasoning, Bishop Williamson could dismiss the Rabbi as a crank and lunatic for having rejected Jesus Christ and the One True Religion.

    Speaking of sin, which is worse…insisting that hundreds of thousands of Jews died at the hands of Nazis (only not in gas chambers) or rejecting Jesus Christ and His One True Church?

    Is Bishop Williamson’s views regarding the issue of gas chambers? Or the Rabbi’s views regarding his rejection of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Religion.

    See how easy it is to play the “this person is a crank, lunatic and manaic” game?

    Is a person who rejects Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church a far greater lunatic and maniac than a person who believes that hundreds of thousands of Jews died (outside gas chambers) at the hands of Nazis?

    Bishop Williamson said that he’s open to altering his opinion on the gas chambers issue.

    Is the Rabbi open to altering his opinions regarding Jesus Christ and the One True Religion, which he rejects?

  47. John 6:54 says:

    Is there such a thing as the “official” jewish reaction. The only religion that I know of that has a singular voice is the Roman Catholic Church.

  48. Dan says:

    The Rabbi declared the following: “How is it that the view of some cranky bishop who has no power evokes calls of a crisis in Catholic – Jewish relations despite the revolutionary changes in Church teachings regarding Jews since Vatican II?”

    Is the Rabbi correct? What “revolutionary changes in Catholic teachings regarding Jews since Vatican II” have taken place?

    I thought that a major theme of Pope Benedict XVI’s Papacy is that revolutionary changes in Catholic teachings have not transpired since Vatican II?

  49. Dan says:

    “Is there such a thing as the “official” jewish reaction. ”

    No. Judaism is fragmented.

    However, Rome and our bishops seem to care greatly about the opinions expressed by Jews who tend to be pro-abortion, anti-Pope Pius XII and anti-TLM.

    Rome has even altered ancient traditional prayers that “offended” such Jews.

    Conversely, our Churchmen don’t seem to pay a great deal of heed to Jews who criticize their fellow Jews who whine endlessly about Pope Pius XII’s “anti-Semitism, the SSPX, TLM and the Church.

    In fact, our Churchmen often present pro-abortion, anti-Pope Pius XXII, anti-SSPX, anti-TLM Jews as wonderful, serious-minded men and women, with whom we should “dialogue.”

  50. supertradmom says:

    If anyone has actually been in the presence of Bishop Williamson and heard his sermons, as I have in the past, one would have to honestly state that the man is “cranky”, to say the least. He has presented bitter invectives against the Roman Catholic Church and our Pontiff. He has denied publicly the teaching authority of the the past four popes of recent memory. Yes, the lifting of the excommunication is a good thing for his soul and for Church unity, but we cannot pretend that his words have not done damage to our standing as a reasonable religion, in the media. I, personally, am grateful to this Rabbi for clarifying the entire unfortunate event for many, both Jews and non-Jews. We should not criticize anyone who is attempting to pour oil on troubled waters. And, this is not the time to suggest that our ancestors in the Faith are “lunatics”, as Dan has suggested above. I am sorry for such “talk” from a fellow Catholic, words which do not help the ongoing need for sensitivity and prayer.

  51. TMG says:

    Would someone please explain to me the purpose of why the Catholic Church is to hold “Dialogue” with Jews, Protestants, etc.? Is there actually a stated end goal of conversion to the Roman Catholic Faith in this? Because if not, what does that say of the many martyrs who were persecuted and sacrificed their lives in converting others to the Faith? Are they to be viewed now as fools for doing so?

    Or is the end goal, instead of conversion to the Roman Catholic Faith, really just a goal of Neutrality – go along, get along – a 1960′s type feel good sentiment to make nicey-nice and pretend everything’s A-OK with no conversion? If that’s the goal – WHY BOTHER with “dialogue” at all?! The end result of that goal is much time wasted in senseless talk that only serves to diminish the Catholic Faith by capitulating to other religion’s demands of how Catholics should practice and interpret the one, true Faith established by Our Lord Himself.

    Just exactly what is the stated goal of “ecumenism”, which was a concept foreign to Catholicism for almost 2,000 years, and only in the “wisdom” bestowed on us in the last 40 years via Vatican II, sprang forth?

  52. Gerard E. says:

    I do not allow a nutball bishop to interpret or lead the faith to me. Always the Magisterium, beginning with the Holy Father. Mazel tov to the good Rabbi for grasping this simple concept.

  53. Dan says:

    “Would someone please explain to me the purpose of why the Catholic Church is to hold “Dialogue” with Jews, Protestants, etc.?”

    It is all very silly. But it gives our Churchmen and what I refer to as “professional ecumenical laymen” something to do.

    Think of all the time and money that has been wasted, particularly at the diocesan level…money we can’t afford to spend…to invent “committees” and ecumenical and interreligious “conferences” that are little more than mini-vacations that result in “joint statements” filled with ambiguous nonsense that nobody can decipher.

    The joint statements always end with the declaration that additional conferences and gatherings are needed to reach “agreements” that, of course, will never be reached.

    The ecumenical and “interreligious” movements are dead in the water and have been for years and will remain that way.

  54. Alberta says:

    There is a broader context to Bishop Williamson’s remarks that is not being discussed and that is the context of his remarks which comes from two places.

    The first context is based on Our Lord’s statement about knowing the Truth for the truth will set you free. From this Scripture Bishop Williamson has preached that believing lies is a form of slavery. Therefore, it is vital for Catholics to know the truth not just on dogmatic matters, but on scientific, mathmatical, historical, political and at all matters that pertain to the world around us.

    The other framework for Bishop Williamson is George Orwell’s novel 1984 where 2+2=5. It is in this context that Bishop Williamson’s “looney” statements come from in regard to the facts of the policies of Hitler’s Germany. It is a true sad state of affairs when one can not call into question a census number and an architectural design of buildings for a stated purpose without being branded with the mark of Cain and yet so much public policy in the Church and in Western governments are justified by these numbers and by the design of buildings during Hiller’s Socialist regime. I have yet to read among the outrages over Bishop Williamson’s remarks any reasoned factual response.

    By the way, The Southern Poverty Law Center lists on their web site SPX as a hate organization.

    So much for ecumenism.

  55. David says:

    How is it that none of you pick up on this? Am I the only one who sees the attack on the Church itself?

    The pope ” “repented for any contribution distorted Church teachings made to create the ground for such evil to erupt. ”

    Here it is…the Church before Vatican 2 encouraged people to exterminate Jews.

    Only since Vatican 2 has the Church “repented” of this.

    This rabbi has engaged in a worse offense than Williamson. Williamson denied that the holocaust happened. This rabbi is blaming the Catholic Church for the Holocaust.

  56. Cindy says:

    This rabbi is blaming the Catholic Church for the Holocaust.

    Good catch, David! It’s quite obvious that it is the hatred of the Catholic Church, still today, that is the problem for the enemies of Christ. It will end in much blood shed according to the third secret of Fatima which has not been fully revealed yet. secret still hidden.com
    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

  57. Clinton says:

    David, from what I read, Rabbi Kula is saying that it was the the distortion of Catholic teaching and its ill effects that the Pope
    regretted. I don’t read his letter to imply that the Church’s offical teaching was ever anti-Semitic, but that some people by
    themselves distorted it to bolster their own anti-Semitism. Rather like those folks in favor of priestesses, who distort Church
    teachings to bolster their agenda. Does that seem like a reasonable interpretation of what was written?

  58. forum says:

    In short, if you want a viable alternative to gasoline, you’re just going to have to wait. But don’t worry, there are already a lot of people who get the “hint” that there’s money to be made.

  59. Gordon says:

    I take great exception to British MP, Denis McShane, saying on Radio Scotland “the Vatican has just brought back a holocaust denier”. This guy is a member of parliament. He is supposed to be an reasonably well informed guy. He should or ought to know the story by now. For this guy to say this on radio is not acceptable. He was speaking regarding an anti semite conference of some sort. This was said just now on the 1200 news programme on Radio Scotland. February 17th.