Traditionalist priest in Verona, Italy acts up as Pope visits Roman synagogue

I read some alarming news in a spectacularly poorly written ANSA piece.

Most of the article is simply less-than-well-informed blather.  The bad bit comes at the end.

Meanwhile, followers of the Lefebvre community in Verona announced on Friday they would celebrate a "mass of atonement" on Sunday to coincide with the pope’s visit to Rome’s synagogue.
The rite will be celebrated by a controversial member of the dissident group, Floriano Abrahamowicz, who has been excommunicated by the Vatican for denying the Holocaust.

I think it would be a good idea for the SSPX to make a statement about this … at this important juncture.  Is the Abrahamowicz still a member of the SSPX?  There have been difficulties with him before.  I believe he was expelled from the SSPX this last year.

At the very least, if this Mass in Verona takes place, and for the reasons suggested in this ANSA piece, the SSPX will have to make a statement of some kind.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Fr. Abrahamowicz was sacked from the SSPX earlier this year. His problems with the SSPX stems from their wishy-washy attitude towards the Pope (we will obey him when he’s Catholic) and the current negotiations with the Vatican.

    Several months ago, a piece was printed in The Four Marks (a sedevacantist newspaper published in Ballantine, Montana) in which he stated that he is looking into the sedevacantist position.

    Bad news, indeed, I wonder what the Vatican will make of all this.

  2. Jason Keener says:

    This does look like a sloppy piece of journalism from the ANSA. I don’t recall Pope Benedict having said anything the other day about the talks being held up between Rome and the SSPX because of difficulties.

    In any event, I think this Floriano Abrahamowicz and all of those other Catholics criticizing Pope Benedict for visiting a synagogue should re-consider their position. When the Pope visits a synagogue, the Pope is not saying that Judaism is the True Religion. Judaism is, of course, not the fully true religion, but there are some true elements in Judaism (respect for God, respect for the 10 Commandments, respect for the Old Testament, etc.) The Holy Father should build up and encourage the true elements of Judaism and build up our Jewish brothers and sisters as a way to keep open the door for them to someday enter the fullness of truth in the Catholic Faith. If Thomas Aquinas could “baptize” and make use of the good and true elements of pagan thought, Pope Benedict can praise the good and true elements of Judaism, too.

    Would Abrahamowicz rather the Pope declare all of the Jews to be faithless apostates? How would that possibly encourage any Jew to keep an open mind and heart about the truth of the Catholic Faith? You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. How will the Jews ever learn about the Catholic Faith and our Christian charity if we never go to visit them, never talk to them, or even give them credit for the few things they are doing right?

    The goal is Christian unity in the Catholic Faith. We can be charitable to non-Catholics, recognize the true elements of non-Catholic religions (as Aqunias recognized the true elements of pagan thought), and still not fall into the error of indifferentism. We also have to make sure that we take the opportunity to charitably point out to our brothers and sisters the parts of their religions that are in error.

  3. David2 says:

    According to wikipedia, Fr Abrahamowicz has been booted out of the SSPX – either for Holocaust denial or for calling the Holy Father a modernist in response to the lifting of the SSPX excommunications.

  4. ssoldie says:

    The goal is Catholic unity first, the erroers in the heretical churches to our seperated breathern, is that Jesus Christ is the founder of the Catholic Church and the need to evanglize. We could start by having ‘Adult Inquiry Classes’ in each parish, and that would require informed ‘priest’ on the teaching’s of the Church of Christ.
    Only somebody so ignorant of, or hateful would deny the WW II holocaust. The FSSPX has never denied the holocaust and yes, I hope Bishop Fellay will make a statement on this subject, just as I hope the Hierarchy will make statement’s on things that are not and have not been true that has caused the disunity of the Catholic Church, in the last 45 years.

  5. JonM says:

    Since we are using neologisms such as ‘Holocaust denial,’ it is only right to define what we are meaning to say.

    If one denies that

    -there was a network of internment camps set up by the (left wing, anti-Christ) Nazi regime which targeted Slavs, Jews, anti-Nazis, and others

    -Einstazgrouppen regiments performed acts of murder against civilians, often targeting Jews and Slavs

    -there was no special targeting of Jews, Slavs, and others by the Nazi government

    then that person is simply thoroughly misled and or poorly read in recent history.

    If, however, ‘Holocaust denial’ means that one questions the particular means of death at aforementioned camps, the particular numbers, and the uniformity of the killings (i.e., Was every SS guard about equally brutal to Jews?), then we are in a terrible era in which unclear historical facts supplant Church doctrine as truth.

    Not a single person here would even remotely consider it possible for a Catholic to face excommunication for debating how many Armenians were killed by the Young Turks (mostly Muslim, some Jewish). The official total is rather low considering the evidence.

    For political reasons, we lie to ourselves that no more than 100 000 Armenians died. Yet, I would certainly not challenge a person’s standing in the Church if he suggested that this is an accurate figure.

    Come to think of it, death tolls from various regimes are always given in estimates. Yet, for a particular instance in World War II, it is an actual crime to deviate from ‘official figures’ established, in part, by Soviet propagandists. Prof. Norman Finkelstein, who happens to be a Jewish man, questions the official figure of 6 million. Frankly, I never understood why this number cannot be questioned and he doesn’t seem to either.

    Bishop Williamson never denied a Jewish ‘holocaust.’ (I quote it because the term has very obvious relgious connotation that I think is inappropriate). He simple stated that he did not accept that there were gas chambers. I’m not getting into that bog. I’m just pointing out that Bishop Williamson did not deny that there were Jewish deaths, murders that were conducted on a targeted basis by the Nazi government.

    In any event, the sedevacantist position is in my view another flavor of Protestantism (albeit rarified high Church I suppose).

    I can think of dozens of bishops who teach categorical heresy. I think this needs attention before admonishing those who are historically incorrect – or before we celebrate visits to, well, religions that are not correct.

  6. JonM says:

    Note: It appears the special blog codes causes a cross out in my above post. There should be NO cross out line!

  7. Rich says:

    more Catholic than the pope

  8. mdillon says:

    Sounds like there should be a Mass of Atonement for Floriano Abrahamowicz and all of his followers.

    “Salvation comes from the Jews” John 4:22

  9. albizzi says:

    I believed that one can be excommunicated only because of faith or morals issues, not because of denial of an historical fact. Isn’t it?
    For example, may I be excommunicated for denying the great number of deaths Napoleon caused throughout Europe during all the wars he waged? Or in denying the influence of carbon dioxyde increase on the global warming?
    Regarding the visit of the Holy Father to a Rome’s synagogue, one may drive a parallel with the visits our Pope payed to mosques in Turkey: One may consider that we Christians and the Jews are worshipping the same God, but certainly not the same God as the Muslims.
    These visits in my opinion (although that is not the Pope’s intention) are confusing the cafeteria catholics in placing all religions at the same level and leading once more to the same too basic conclusion: All religions are equal. Why to worry, everybody will be saved anyway.

  10. starybaca says:

    Just to defend fr. Abramowicz a little bit – his basis premise is very simple: for 2k years of Church history up to VII, no pope has ever visited synagogue. Why do it now, then? Has anything changed? You can be friendly toward Jews, you can respect them, you can even claim that there is some element of truth in their religion – but why visit their place of worship?

  11. AbbaYohannes says:

    As the nephew of two US Soldiers who served in the European theater during the Second World War; both of which took part in the liberation of Nazi Death Camps in Germany, I can’t believe that anyone in this day and age could rationally deny that the death camps existed and what went on in them.

    Of course, in reading that the remarks came from someone who was once associated with the SSPX, I guess it doesn’t come as such a shock. What a sad situation.

  12. We worship God the Father with Jews, but the God revealed to Catholics is a Triune God. “When our Messiah comes for the second time, He will be your Messiah coming for the first time”. Go to your sources and see who said this.

  13. liebemama says:

    OH, I don’t know about that starybaca. St. Peter spent quite a lot of his life attending synagogue.

  14. Norah says:

    JonM you have put into words what I have been thinking for quite a while now. Thank you.

  15. Fr Martin Fox says:

    A disgrace.

    Our Lord visited synagogues, as did his Apostles, Saint Peter in particular.

  16. JonM says:

    Couple points to hash out.

    I never heard of Fr. Abrahamowicz so I can’t rightly comment on whatever it is he is or is alleged by the press to be doing. If he is engaging in sedevacantism, I iterate my understanding that such is just another Protestant-esque path. Presumably those masses would be valid, but illicit, sort of like how there are genuine Churches that reject the Council of Chalcedon. Those Oriental Churches do have Christ housed in them, but they are in error on certain points.

    Now, again, I have never met anyone who denies the Jewish holocaust occured. I would really like to see exactly who it is who denies it took place (almost certainly such would be ‘Church’ of the Creator types. Completely marginal).

    The reason I have entered this prickly discussion is because the term ‘holocaust denial’ is used againt many, many people who clearly do not deny that there were Nazi policies against Jews (and others). I think my post speaks for itself.

    Final point: Of course Jesus and St. Paul, and the early evangelists visited synagogies. But what were they doing there? They were not going to have a fuzzy discussion. Christ goes to all – but rightly corrects error. Sometimes that means throwing tables around, other times that means interceding to prevent a physical punishment against a women who made a serious mistake.

    That is the point that I think concerns me and others: Is the intention to witness to the Jews of Rome the wonders of the one true faith? Or is it to kind of pander?

    To be clear, I’m not and I don’t think anyone else here is talking down Pope Benedict. I can see the reasoning for the visit. Indeed, with 40+% of mass attending Catholics in the US stating in polls that Christ is not truly in the Eucharist, or when a certain prelate apparently offers a sacrifice to pagan dieties at a Hindu temple (I’m sure it was not meant as such, but again, that is not a full free pass), we have to get our own parishes and dioceses figured out.

    Final Final Point: Please don’t mistake my comments as anti-military. I know many in it (esp. Marines) and am acutely concerned with war and especially when the average guy on the street cannot answer what the unifying objective is and how we are going to achieve it.

  17. PreVatII says:

    I am completely against our Holy Father visiting a synagogue, as I would be against him visiting a mosque or a Hindu temple. This has to do with perception. I am thinking back to the “Prayer Meetings at Assisi” (1986) and the famous Koran kissing by Pope John Paul II (1999).

    The Vicar of Christ must make it clear to all that he holds the Keys to the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ…and that there is no salvation outside Her.

    Semper Fi

  18. Fr Martin Fox says:


    I don’t see the comparison. A Hindu temple is dedicated to the worship of false gods; Islam has no basis in authentic revelation. But Christians and Jews worship the same God, and have a special relationship. We are all spiritual semites.

  19. jlmorrell says:

    If memory serves, Fr. Abrahamowicz was expelled from the SSPX shortly after the Williamson affair for preaching a sedevacantist sermon (probably had voiced this opinion on other occasions as well).

    Concerning Pope Benedict’s visit to the Synagogue of Rome, my problem is not necessarily with the visit, but with the refusal of the Pope (and the episcopacy, in general) to call for the conversion of Jews (and muslims and protestant christians, too). This is absolutely necessary. In my opinion, the failure to proclaim the Catholic religion as the one true religion is one of the biggest failures of the past 50 years. The era of false ecumenicism and inter religious dialogue must finally be rejected.

  20. PreVatII says:

    Excellent comment. I could not have said it any better.

    Fr. Fox,
    Following the new and ever lasting Covenant, the Jews ceased to be my elder brothers. They have rejected Christ. The only concern to me (as it should be to you) is to seek their conversion to the One, True Faith, as it should be towards the Muslims, Hindus, et al.

    When I get some time, I plan to write more about this on my own blog,

  21. muckemdanno says:

    Father Fox,

    Jesus Christ is God. The Jews do not worship Him.

  22. Fr Martin Fox says:

    PreVatII: Was St. Paul wrong, then, in what he wrote about the Jews in his letter to the Romans?

    Muckemdanno: the Jews worship YHWH, I AM. Jesus is YHWH, I AM.

  23. PreVatII says:

    Fr. Fox,
    The Jews of Paul’s time were still expected to convert by most of the Apostles. Yet, over the past 2,000 years, the vast majority have not. They do NOT worship Jesus Christ, i.e. God. And therefore, contrary to post-Vatican II ecumenical logic, they are NOT my elder brothers any more.

    Much of the Church has forgotten true Ecuminism: The Theology of Return.

  24. Fr Martin Fox says:


    Which statement do you deny:

    a) The Jews worship YHWH, I AM;
    b) Jesus is YHWH, I AM?

    Also, in the 9th chapter of his Letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul says:

    I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie; my conscience joins with the Holy Spirit in bearing me witness that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kin according to the flesh. They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.

    Note that St. Paul calls his unbelieving fellow Jews “brothers.” Would you say he was wrong to do so?

    Later in Chapter 11 he writes,

    I ask, then, has God rejected his people? Of course not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have torn down your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is God’s response to him? “I have left for myself seven thousand men who have not knelt to Baal.” So also at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.

    And again:

    But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place and have come to share in the rich root of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. If you do boast, consider that you do not support the root; the root supports you. …

    Indeed you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is so. They were broken off because of unbelief, but you are there because of faith. So do not become haughty, but stand in awe. I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not become wise (in) your own estimation: a hardening has come upon Israel in part, until the full number of the Gentiles comes in, and thus all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come out of Zion, he will turn away godlessness from Jacob; and this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

    In respect to the gospel, they are enemies on your account; but in respect to election, they are beloved because of the patriarchs. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.

    And again:

    Just as you once disobeyed God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now disobeyed in order that, by virtue of the mercy shown to you, they too may (now) receive mercy. For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.

    How do you reconcile your denial that the Jews worship the Lord God, YHWH, and that they are yet beloved of God? And if you do not deny they are beloved of God, it seems a strange quibble to say, “they are not my brothers” when St. Paul calls them brothers.

  25. Agnes says:

    You go, Fr. Fox! God bless you!

  26. mfg says:

    Christ said the following to His apostles: Going therefore teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them whatsoever I have commanded you. Christ did not make any exception for Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddists, pagans, etc. Every generation of Catholic Bishops, priests and laity have understood this up until 1962. Since 1962 the Catholic Church has acted befuddled on this commission from Christ. Why?

  27. Well done, Fr. Fox.


  28. shin says:

    And this is God’s commandment, that we should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ . . . Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is Antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whosoever denies the Son does not have the Father. . .

    If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me, hates My Father also. . .

    The Gospel of St. John

  29. tired student says:

    Fr. Fox, thank you for your exegesis.

    “Fr.” Abrahamowicz (he gets none of my respect) exemplifies why I have never supported a corporate reunion of the SSPX and the Holy See. The SSPX’s anti-Semitism is imbedded into their psyche to the point where nothing short of a miracle will remove that sin from some of their priests and bishops. I wish Pope Benedict would just drop the corporate reunion idea and move on. Spare us the SSPX’s hate.

    Why shouldn’t Pope Benedict go to the Roman Synagogue? Not every interfaith discussion should take place at the Vatican. Pope Benedict will have the opportunity to listen to the concerns of Jewish leaders (many which are quite valid) in an environment where he is a visitor without the “home team” advantage. I hope that Pope Benedict will listen intently to what concerns Jewish community leaders. Doctrinare attitudes like “the Pope shouldn’t enter a synagogue because Jews don’t believe in Christ” is an affont to both recent developments between Judaism and Catholicism, as well as decent respect for another religion.

    As for semantic games about ‘holocaust denial’, all I need to know is this. If Jewish leaders and scholars cite six million, then so it is. It is only the right of Jewish victims, survivors, and their families to define what has happened to their community during the Holocaust. People who are not part of the Jewish faith do not have the right to question and redefine the genocide of another group of people. An “outsider’s” redefinition of the Holocaust is an invalidation of the perspective of the Jewish community. This redefinition can be a cover for anti-Semitism (ex. Williamson).

  30. Holy Father, so good to see you! We saw that woman knock you on your tush in the basilica. Were you hurt? Are you alright now? Would you like some lox? Some cream cheese? A bagel? Now please to sit down as we have a list of things we must read to you. Your predecessor, Pius XII, was a bad person. He said nothing. He did nothing. Why are are you making him a saint? Stop it right now or you will be a bad person too. We liked John Paul II as he told us we could stay in our Covenant and we could be saved. We did not have to convert. What is this we hear about the Sept. 5, 2000 statement from you, Dominus Jesus, wherein you, you state that salvation only comes from Christ? That is why we don’t like you either. As your “older brother in the faith”, we are telling you, our younger brother to grow up and stop your silliness. Leave now and we will let you know when we want to see you again.

  31. liebemama says:

    Menschenskinder! Shame on you Mr. Phelan!

    I can’t believe I am witnessing this Pelosi-Kennedy reasoning here!

    We have to gather to support our Pope in every possible way.
    Can’t you just admit, that maybe just maybe we DON’T know as much as the Holy Mother Church? Maybe our Holy Father knows something we don’t? Maybe, just maybe if we all gathered as one heart and one soul with our Holy Father there would be conversions by the thousands?????

  32. tired student,

    You must indeed be tired. I find it quite amusing that anyone would accuse a guy named Abrahamowicz of “Anti-semitism.”

    It is “Anti-judaism,” surely?

    And what’s with the scare quotes around the “Fr.”? Fr. Abrahamowicz is a validly ordained presbyter.

    And of course he has not been “excommunicated by the Vatican for denying the Holocaust.” What a ridiculous assertion. He is suspended a divinis for having received illicit ordination. And he is also excluded by the FSSPX for disobedience to the Society’s authority.

  33. As for the Holy Father’s visit to the synagogue, yes, the Apostles also preached in the synagogues, but at some point they encountered so much resistance that they had to give it up.

    I have no problem with the Holy Father, as the foremost successor to the Apostles, taking up this activity again. But the point in a Christian visiting and speaking in a synagogue must be to preach that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. If this is not done, the exercise is pretty pointless, at least in religious terms. And it seems that the subject of the Messiah, who loves the Jews so much and whom the Jews need so desperately, will indeed be gone over in silence. This is not charitable towards Jews, it is a betrayal of them – and a betrayal of Christ.

    It is good to work to improve relations and understanding between Jews and Christians. But meetings held to achieve this goal do not need to be held in synagogues or churches for that matter (but of course they are never held in churches because that would be ‘oppressive’ towards Jews). They really don’t. There are any number of conference centres etc. available for that sort of thing. And it would allow people on both sides to speak much more freely than they can within the confines of a temple.

  34. Wow, this combox sounds a lot like the one over at Rorate Caeli when the topic of the Jews comes up except here, you cannot be anonymous.

    Thank you Father Fox for your fine catechesis.

    As for me, I’ll stick with Papa Ratzinger on this and trust his judgment.

  35. Sid says:

    I join those acclaiming Fr. Fox. And he is right to point to Romans chapters 9-11 as the benchmark for Christian-Jewish relations: The Jew will be saved, will acknowledge Our Lord as the Messiah, so Paul tells us.

    I go even further: Jews are Christians. Christ is Greek for “Messiah”. Christians await the Messiah. Jews are awaiting the Messiah, and so are we.

    St. Paul makes very clear that the Jew and I share the same Faith, the Faith of Abraham (Galatians 3 and Romans 4). The Jew just got there first; he thus is indeed my elder brother. And I have been grafted onto the Jew’s faith (Romans 9-11) through the Redemption, not he onto mine. In Christ, Paul says, I am now able to become a Jew! — the seed of our father Abraham! And so I have become.

    And readers might meditate on Romans 3:1-2.

    Do Jews hold all of de fide magisterial dogma? No, but then neither do Protestants. I as a Catholic have more in common with Jews than Protestants: e.g. the importance of law, to have both Scripture and Tradition, that the community chooses what’s to be Scripture and decides what it means, “covenantal nomism” (we get in by grace, we stay in by graced-aided works –I follow here E.P. Sanders and N. T. Wright), the necessity of a Magisterium, the Parousia of the coming “Day of YHWH” and Judgement, the Passover/Easter, The Davidic Kingdom of the Messiah, that THE NAME be kept holy, etc. etc.

    To disparage Jews might well mean to spit in the face of Our Lord and to use the Bible for fishwrap.

  36. jlmorrell says:

    Fr. Fox,

    Thank you for your response. You were mainly responding to PreVatII, but I have a question for you and others who are defending the Pope’s visit to the synagogue in Rome:

    Do you believe that, regardless of where a meeting between the His Holiness and Jews of Rome takes place, he (and all the episcopate and clergy) should publicly and unhesitatingly call for the conversion of Jews to Catholicism? Furthermore, do you believe that the failure to do so is ultimately a lack of charity as it gravely endangers their salvation?

    As I stated earlier my problem is not with the visit, but with the failure to make the aforementioned pronouncements. This failure is a derogation of the mission given the Church by Christ and causes confusion among the faithful.

  37. dcs says:

    And he is right to point to Romans chapters 9-11 as the benchmark for Christian-Jewish relations: The Jew will be saved, will acknowledge Our Lord as the Messiah, so Paul tells us.

    Yes, when the Jews acknowledge Our Lord as Christ and God then they can be saved.

    I go even further: Jews are Christians. Christ is Greek for “Messiah”. Christians await the Messiah. Jews are awaiting the Messiah, and so are we.

    Jews are not Christians. They are Jews, period. It may not be for us to debate the prudence of our Holy Father to visit a synagogue. But claiming that Jews are actually Christians is absurd. We do not await the Messias in the sense that the Jews do. The Messias has already come, we are waiting for Him to return.

  38. Fr Martin Fox says:

    JLmorrell asked:

    “Do you believe that, regardless of where a meeting between the His Holiness and Jews of Rome takes place, he (and all the episcopate and clergy) should publicly and unhesitatingly call for the conversion of Jews to Catholicism? Furthermore, do you believe that the failure to do so is ultimately a lack of charity as it gravely endangers their salvation?

    As I stated earlier my problem is not with the visit, but with the failure to make the aforementioned pronouncements. This failure is a derogation of the mission given the Church by Christ and causes confusion among the faithful.”

    As to calling for the Jews’ conversion, I believe that is up to the holy father’s judgment in the situation; I see no necessity for him to do so on that occasion. Along with that, no, I would not call his decision not to, on that occasion, a “lack of charity.” To dispense with a call to conversion in general would be a lack of charity.

    In my judgment, the issue is not what he chooses to say–or refrain from saying–on this occasion (presuming he wouldn’t say anything he shouldn’t); but the larger message of the Church that we proclaim Christ to all who do not know him, without exception. And on that point, Pope Benedict–including his work before the papacy–has been on the right side of this question.

    In my view, the pope “preaches” by his gesture and presence, for he is the pope. I’m not saying that’s all he need do; but I’m saying he says a lot without words.

    Of course I cannot know how others perceive him, but I think he is not so much perceived as a universalist sort.

    Second, the pope is keenly aware, as all of us ought to be, in my view, of the long, shameful legacy of wrongs committed by Christians against Jews, and it will take time to overcome that. The Church has stepped rather more lightly in recent decades in our relations with the Jewish people in light of that. Too lightly? Very likely; but we have reason to be be humble around our Jewish brothers and sisters, because many, many, in the name of the Church, sinned against them.

  39. Is there any reader who would like be a Palestinian? For a week? For a day?

  40. robtbrown says:

    I don’t see the comparison. A Hindu temple is dedicated to the worship of false gods; Islam has no basis in authentic revelation. But Christians and Jews worship the same God, and have a special relationship. We are all spiritual semites.
    Comment by Fr Martin Fox

    Exactly. And OT texts are commonly part of mass.

    I have known several Jews who have become Catholics, some are now priests. None of them converted because someone rubbed their noses in it.

  41. jlmorrell says:

    Fr. Fox,

    You are right that Pope Benedict need not make this call to conversion public on the occasion of his visit. However, this visit and all ecumenical and inter-religious visits (relations) occur within a certain context. The context of the past 50 years has been more or less the complete abandonment of the claim that the Catholic religion is the one true religion from God and all others (to varying degrees) are false.

    In my view, the Church as been largely overcome by political correctness, even to the point of seriously affecting liturgical prayer. For example, only once in my life, at a Traditional Latin Mass, have I heard the Church within its liturgical prayer call for the conversion of Jews, Muslims, or Protestants.

    The common Catholic is so confused that most (that I know, anyway) consider Catholicism to be just one of many Christian denominations. The average Catholic certainly has no urgency concerning the conversion of his non-Catholic friends and family – which is the result of them not viewing Catholicism as critical to salvation.

    I’ve just about beat this horse to death, but I’m trying to put my criticism within the proper context so that it is properly understood.

  42. archambt says:

    I’m not sure I see the point about quibbling over how many people were slaughtered in the Holocaust…the fact that hey were slaughtered at all should give us pause. The fact that some Catholics (**not Pius XII**) assisted in this should do so as well.

    What do we make of the whole fact that Jesus was a practicing (for the most part) Jew? Or is that a “modern” “liberal” invention as well? Or is that irrelevant for the discussion?

  43. Dr. Eric says:


    What of the fact that Our Lord was a practicing Jew? Have you not read the 15th Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles?

  44. Heather says:

    Well said William Phelan.

    Personally, I’m sick of seeing the Pope visit synagogues. I can’t imagine St. Pius X ever doing such a thing.

    As for Fr. Abrahamowicz….last time I checked the holocaust wasn’t de fide, so one can’t be excommunicated for disputing certain aspects of it. The whole thing is just a bit much. Really. We have to be lectured to by non Catholics about who we can canonize and what opinions one can have about historical events and still remain Catholic?

    I’m sick of it.

    And why does the SSPX need to make a statement of any kind? Last I heard Fr. Abrahamowicz was expelled over a dispute with Bp Fellay about the lifting of the excommunications.

  45. Heather says:

    “Second, the pope is keenly aware, as all of us ought to be, in my view, of the long, shameful legacy of wrongs committed by Christians against Jews, and it will take time to overcome that.”

    Fr. Fox: Why is it always a one-way street? I have yet to hear Jews apologize for anything.

  46. shin says:

    How can Judaism be an ‘elder brother’ when it is younger than Catholicism? True Judaism became Catholicism.. the Jews that rejected Christ, formed their own religion that was not of God.

    Those who reject the Son reject the Father..

    Apologize for 2,000 years of the Popes, Councils, and Saints, and approve of the past few maverick actions.. and then criticize those who obey the full Faith as ‘more Catholic than the Pope’.. A criticism that should die the death, a canard.

    But then if one thinks about it there are many people who are more Catholic than the Pope. A Pope is a human being as any other, with sins, mistakes, and failings.. a sinful Pope has many in Catholicism more Catholic than he, more faithful to God. There have been gravely flawed popes, something we should not forget. :)

    Many people think Catholicism has only existed for a few decades.. and apologize for the rest.. Apologies for the past are nothing compared to the apologies for the present due, the destruction wrecked by all too human reason replacing divine tradition.

    Honestly you do not want to criticize too much people who want everyone to just get along and cover up all the conflicts of the past.. until you see the harm done.. and you realize what is being covered up is the Faith, with sound spiritual reasons for its existence.

    Read the Popes, Councils, and more than just the past few decades and embrace the whole Faith and you will learn a good deal good for you. :)

    Anyone who wishes to know the state of Judaism, need only open the scriptures..

    To the Old Testament.. And read how God speaks to the Jews when they reject Him.

    Or to the New, where Christ speaks to the Jews who reject Him.

    If you’re afraid to use such language.. why? Afraid of the Jews in power and what will happen to you? You might well be. They may speak, but you may not.

    As the scriptures speak, that is how the Church has spoken to them since. And it is not anti-semitism. It is the Lord. It is the spiritual knowledge of their state.

    It is not hate, the motivation is spiritual truth, and love that protects the flock from danger rather than embraces it with open arms.

    ‘The Synagogue is a godless house, a collection of wickedness, and God Himself has damned it.’

    St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church

    ‘Poor Jews! You invoked a dreadful curse upon your own heads in saying: “His blood be on us and our children”; and that curse, miserable race, you carry upon you to this day, and to the End of Time you shall endure the chastisement of that innocent blood. O my Jesus! . . . I will not be obstinate like the Jews. I will love Thee forever, forever, forever!’

    St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori, Doctor of the Church

    ‘Jews are beheld scattered throughout the whole world: they have been punished for no other reason than for the impious hands they laid on Christ.’

    St. Sulpicius Severus

    ‘The Jews, whom Holy Church tolerates in diverse parts of the world in testimony to Jesus Christ, wish to persevere in their hardness and blindness rather than acknowledge the words of the prophets and the mysteries of the Holy Scriptures, and to come to the knowledge of the Christian faith and salvation.’

    Pope Martin V

    They have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them…They have forsaken Me and served strange gods.

    I Kings viii.7-8

    You shall cry out in that day from the face of the king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you on that day because you desired unto yourselves a king.

    I Kings viii.18

    ‘Therefore, the Jewish system is destroyed, for it was only a shadow; but that of the Church is firmly established, for it is built on the Rock, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.’

    St. Athanasius, Father and Doctor of the Church

    For if the Law were not taken away, the leprosy of the soul would never be healed; because each one who lives under the Law is a leper.

    St. John Chrysostom, Father and Doctor of the Church

    Do not add to your sins by saying that the Covenant is both theirs and ours. Yes, it is ours, but they lost it forever. Assuredly, God gave the Covenant to the Jews, but because of their sins they were not worthy to receive it. Moses received the Testament, but the Jews were not worthy.

    St. Barnabas

    The hearts of the unbelieving Jews do not even yet by any means acknowledge Christ to be God and, harder than flintstones, they will not be broken by repentance.

    Pope St. Gregory the Great

    The heart of this people has grown gross, and with their ears they have heard heavily, and they have shut their eyes lest perhaps they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart.

    Acts xxviii.27

    Indeed, if any one of the clergy or faithful has taken a meal with Jews, it is determined that, as a corrective punishment, he is to abstain from Communion so that he may be reformed.

    Council of Elvira

    There are innumerable judgments of the ancient Fathers concerning the falsehood of the Jews … According to the prophetic forecast concerning their stiffneckedness, theirs is the sin of Judas who, in their blindness and stiffneckedness, are harder than a stone.

    Council of Toledo

    Judaism, since Christ, is a corruption; indeed, Judas is the image of the Jewish people: their understanding of Scripture is carnal; they bear the guilt for the death of the Savior, for through their fathers they have killed Christ. The Jews held Him; the Jews insulted Him; the Jews bound Him; they crowned Him with thorns and dishonored Him by spitting upon Him; they scourged Him; they heaped abuses upon Him; they hung Him upon a tree.

    St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church

  47. shin says:

    This is just a short sampling of the Church’s words about Judaism.

    One can reject the Church and her words, or understand them and embrace them, for the spiritual knowledge within them. Or one can close ones eyes to the spiritual reasons for the words, judge and reject, and be as blind as those the words speak of.

    In Hell there are three levels, as a general rule.. the highest for the pagans.. the next deeper for the Jews.. and the deepest for the Christians who reject Christ’s teachings.

    So. Embrace them and do not pontificate against the Church in the words of the modernist world and her teachings on Judaism. Her full, true teachings. :)

  48. Justin from Ohio says:

    I think some of the folks on this thread need to read the Holy Father’s full address during his visit to the synagogue this past weekend. His approach more closely mirrors Fr. Fox’s posts rather than the posts of others on this topic: (scroll down to the January 17, 2010 entry with the photos of the Holy Father and the rabbi)

    It’s amazing that so many lay people just “know for sure” that the Holy Father’s approach to this is wrong and misguided. I think we need to remember that he is the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, the successor of Peter…and we are not.

    If you disagree so strongly with this Pope…the most traditional, conservative, orthodox Pope we’ve had in decades, I think you may need to reassess your obedience and fidelity to the Pope and to the Church. We need to stand behind Pope Benedict as he is the best hope for a return to traditional liturgy and to steadfast adherence to the eternal teachings of the Church.

  49. shin says:

    I assure you, that Pope Benedict XVI is in the standard of his times and all time, progressive, not a conservative. :)

    A little reading of alternative media can refresh anyone on this with his actual history and statements.

  50. Justin from Ohio says:

    “I assure you, that Pope Benedict XVI is in the standard of his times and all time, progressive, not a conservative. :)”

    Wow….that’s all I can say in response to that post and others like it. I wish I knew more than the Pope too.

  51. jlmorrell says:

    I love Pope Benedict and pray for him. However, one must be honest about these things. It is not some whimsical criticism to say that the Church has engaged in woefully misguided (false) ecumenicism and inter-religious “dialogue” over the past 50 years.

    Many of the things that have taken place were directly contrary to the teaching of the Church and Popes for hundreds of years. All I am asking for is the application of the “hermeneutic of continuity” in this regard. Many seem to be on board these days with the hermeneutic of continuity when it is applied to the liturgy – why not ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue?

  52. archambt says:

    “We should always be disposed to believe that that which appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the Church so decides.” Either folks like jlmorrell or shin are bishops, or some of us are indulging our Protestant side under the thin veneer or Traditional Catholicism. The fact is, the Church has taken a different approach the last 50 years to ecumenism, and unless we’re certain the Holy Spirit is being completely ignored, we have to accept that it is still guiding the Church, lest you’re willing to say that the gates of Hell are prevailing against it.

    Speaking of Protestantism-there are quite a few literal readings of Scripture here, for a comment board so dedicated to really “traditional” Catholicism. I think an allegorical reading of the Scriptures (if we are to apply the “hermeneutic of continuity” to Biblical exegesis, following in the line of the great Patristic and Medieval theologians) suggests that the hard-hearted people (i.e. “The Jews”) are actually a stand in for all of us Christians. And there are more than enough comments here to suggest that is true.

    This is probably why I don’t read the comments. Oh well.

  53. Fr Martin Fox says:


    “Fr. Fox: Why is it always a one-way street? I have yet to hear Jews apologize for anything.”

    Are you kidding me?????

    Are you even a Christian that I have to explain Jesus’ teaching about going the extra mile and turning the other cheek?

    Are you unaware of history? From approximately 2700 years ago, give or take some decades, Christians vastly outnumbered Jews and had vastly more power; for most of our history as Christians, the Jews were a tiny group within a sea of Christendom…you know that, right? And you know that during that time, over and over, Christians very frequently committed violence and injustice against the Jews? Do you not know that?

    Then we come to the Holocaust. And, no, I am not “blaming” the Church, but it is a fact of historic, titanic proportions that this happened in the midst of Christian societies. Those who put the Nazis in power and abetted their plans were not the Jews, they were Christians. And, yes, many many Christians likewise were destroyed in those horrors. The point is that this is part of the history of what Jews have experienced as a minority within a larger, Christian world.

    All this–culminating in a mammoth campaign of extermination, that was to a great degree successful–is what any Jew, and every Jew, has to contemplate. And if you can really wonder why the Catholic Church would take the lead in reaching out to Jewish People, I am…astonished to say the barest minimum.

    That I have to explain this…words fail me.

    The reason we Christians absolutely must apologize, and do so again and again if need be, and along the way, reach out with EXTRAVAGANT gestures of kindness, reparation and reconciliation, is because…

    That’s what God did…

    for absolutely everyone…

    in his Incarnation and the Passion.

    St. Thomas Aquinas (presumably he is not too progressive for anyone) taught that any suffering by the God-Man, no matter how slight, would have been sufficient to atone for all sins for all time. A mere cut or scrape—his circumcision—would have been sufficient.

    And yet, where the barest minimum would do, God chose to do the maximum!

    And our Lord taught, “go and do likewise.”

    That I have to explain this…words fail me.

    Some folks have some self-examination to do regarding their antagonism and hostility toward the Jews. Hatred of the Jews throughout history is so extreme and so bizarre that I believe it can only be explained as being prompted and manipulated by the evil one. Nothing else makes sense.

  54. Justin from Ohio says:

    ““We should always be disposed to believe that that which appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the Church so decides.” Either folks like jlmorrell or shin are bishops, or some of us are indulging our Protestant side under the thin veneer or Traditional Catholicism. The fact is, the Church has taken a different approach the last 50 years to ecumenism, and unless we’re certain the Holy Spirit is being completely ignored, we have to accept that it is still guiding the Church, lest you’re willing to say that the gates of Hell are prevailing against it.”

    Thank you, archambt.

  55. jlmorrell says:

    Fr. Fox,

    I believe we are heading down the rabbit hole with this thread. I can only speak for myself, but can say without hesitation that my comments have nothing to do with anti-Judiasm. Rather, they deal with the need for the contemporary Church to explicitly proclaim the truth, and call for the conversion of all non-catholics to the Catholic faith -including Jews, Muslims, and Protestants, among others.

    In my opinion, the political correctness with which society has become obsessed, causes many to see certain criticisms to not stem from charity; but racism, prejudice and bigotry. I love my non-catholic friends and family, which is precisely why I want them to be Catholic. It is my fervent hope that the Church, in its official capacity, will begin to make these pronouncements once again.

    Sometimes I think we see anti-Judaism where none exists.

  56. Fr Martin Fox says:


    I did not take your comments as anti-Jewish.

  57. jlmorrell says:

    Fr. Fox,
    Thank for your contribution to this discussion. This is my first time to offer multiple comments regarding a post. I must say, it’s been quite an experience.

  58. TonyLayne says:


    You can go on quoting saints if you like; however, they’re neither perfect nor protected by infallibility. I furthermore note that most of your quotations, especially from Scripture, are taken out of context.

    But where you quote St. Gregory the Great and Martin V, you really show your cherry-picking ways. Pope St. Gregory the Great also said, in Sicut Judaeis, that the Jews “should have no infringement of their rights. … We forbid to vilify the Jews. We allow them to live as Romans and to have full authority over their possessions.” Martin V reiterated prohibitions against forced baptism, expanded their civil rights and privileges, and declared: “Jews are created like other men in the image of God, and in order to protect their future, they must not be molested in their synagogues, nor hindered in their commercial relations with Christians.” Moreover, both of these teachings were in contexts to which infallibility applies; by contrast, your quote from the Council of Elvira treats Jewish-Christian relations as a disciplinary matter, not one of dogma. And they are just two of the popes who acted as protectors and defenders of Jews.

    Vatican II didn’t throw out anything concerning the Church’s teaching about Jews; in fact, it made fully and finally clear the very things popes had been teaching since St. Gregory. VII has been unjustly vilified because it took place at a time when our society was experiencing a rupture, as many of those responsibile for the rupture claimed to be “acting in the spirit of Vatican II” when in fact they were operating without reference to the actual documents and decisions.

    Frankly you haven’t quoted anything that makes hostility or lack of charity to Jews de fide, nor have you given me reason to trust your judgment over Pope Benedict’s. Rather, you remind me that, when ships heel too far to portside, everyone wants to compensate by leaning too far to starboard.

  59. Leonius says:

    While the Apostles did visit the synagogues they often were chased out and almost beaten to death on several occasions by the Jews as recorded in the scriptures which seems to suggest they weren’t just sitting there smiling and telling the Jews how we are all brothers etc. but perhaps were telling them they needed to believe in Christ and the Old Covenant was fulfilled and thus over, that they needed to be converted and live or things along those lines.

  60. Leonius says:

    Perhaps the Apostles were saying :

    Let us pray also for the faithless Jews: that Almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord. Almighty and eternal God, who dost not exclude from thy mercy even Jewish faithlessness: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    Rather than:

    Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant. Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

  61. jlmorrell says:

    Excellent example. We wouldn’t want to offend anybody with that archaic anti-Jewish prayer. We’re modern, we’re beyond all that divisive language now.

  62. shin says:

    Same old ad hominem attacks, along with rejection of the Church’s statements and past, instead of actually seeking to understand the spiritual reasons why for the history.

    I just shake my head.

    I love everyone.. And so did the people making those quotes, saints, Popes, Councils. If you can’t handle the language — that’s your fault, not theirs, your lack of understanding not theirs.

    We do not ‘know better now’. We know less.. and think we know better, a great hubris in the face of the morals of the past that understood grace and the spirit and the consequences of matters far better, and did not have a conscience formed by a media and culture that is pan-religious and against the faith of the Church but was true Christian society.

    These are times of lack of faith and ignorance, not knowledge and enlightenment. And if you doubt it.. you don’t have to go far to find out, unless you’re swimming in it.

    Read the saints. You’ll find out what real Faith is.

  63. Hans says:

    Excellently said, Fr. Fox.

    Trying to be more Catholic than the Pope seems like a risky business to me.

    One of the results of “this era of false ecumenicism and inter religious dialogue” is Anglicanorum Coetibus; it could never have happened under the conditions some would seem to prefer. Traditional Anglicans would never have looked in the direction of Rome in any significant numbers; they simply would have continued the splintering we have already seen. I’m not suggesting that there haven’t been mistakes, but there has also been progress.

    As for Jews converting in the early Church, there was an analysis in First Things quite a while ago (years ago) using the scanty information from Roman sources and other information that suggested that quite a large fraction eventually did convert eventually.

    shin, no doubt an equally-long list of quotes could be compiled contrary to your argument, but as I have a life, I will go with one that is to the point:

    1 Corinthians 9:20
    To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law–though I myself am not under the law–to win over those under the law.

  64. shin says:

    No, actually, a list can’t be. Because what few words you would find, they would not truly contradict the above, save perhaps in your own mind because you do not understand the quotes in the first place. :)

    Because people do not seek to understand the writings about these matters and their spiritual meaning.

  65. Hans says:

    Okay, shin, I’ll add a second one, thereby making it a list by definition. From Wednesday’s Office of Readings, Second Reading (emphasis added):

    Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are in their different ways related to God’s people.

    In the first place, there is that people which was given the covenants and the promises and from which Christ was born by human descent: the people which is by God’s choice most dear on account of the patriarchs. God never repents of his gifts or his call.

    Lumen gentium, nn. 2.16.

    In case that is too subtle, it is referring to the Jews. If God doesn’t so repent, why do you?

Comments are closed.