UPDATE 31 Dec 2017:
The original questioner wrote:
Thank you so much for your guidance in response to my query. I had never even considered that my heartache could be used as an opportunity to grow in holiness! Rereading my words, the Lord also pricked my conscience regarding my own bitter prejudice against Arab Christians, which fairly sang out from the page. It would seem I have work enough to do removing the beam from my own eye. Please remember me in your prayers, Father, and rest assured of your place in mine.
Originally Published on: Dec 30, 2017
From a reader…
First of all, thank you so much for your blog, I visit often and thoroughly enjoy your wit and unabashed orthodoxy. I am a convert with both Jewish and Protestant backgrounds, by the Grace of God, now a Catholic for five years. I am drawn powerfully to the Latin Mass and have serious difficulties with Vatican II. That said, whenever I visit traditionalist sites online, I am invariably slapped in the face with the gleeful antisemitism that seems to be a prerequisite to “belonging” in such cases. I’ve lived in Israel. I love the country and the Jewish people. I see no reason to be ashamed of this. I was sickened, literally became nauseous, by a ‘devout’ woman who took umbrage to the fact that I felt compelled to question a certain priest’s position that the Holocaust never happened. Fr. William something or other – not important. I have been told that I must purge myself of Zionist lies. That the “indigenous” Palestinians will one day be free of the Jews – these same Jews who stand with the West (those in the West willing to stand) against the scourge that is, and will be, the Islamic threat. And I am tired, so very tired, of hearing about the beleaguered Christian Arabs – whom I personally saw attacking Jews alongside with Muslims during the hudna of 2003, a part of the Second Intifada. These Christians will kill Jews, the only people keeping the Muslims from killing them. I ask you, Father, why is hating the Jews a membership due of the traditionalist Catholic. I will not abandon Christ over this, I will not go back to Judaism – I am in the bark of St. Peter, and with God’s help, will remain there until my dying breath. I cannot abandon the One who would not abandon me – but I need to know why Jews and Israel are such a problem. In truth, I need to hear someone say that this is wrong. If you cannot be that one, so be it – but explain your position to me, nonetheless. The Jews and the Muslims need conversion, as every human being does – I do not ascribe to the Nostra Aetate, we cannot go against Christ’s own commandment and call ourselves faithful, but how to leave the wound of antisemitism behind without leaving the Word? Please tell me that is possible.
First of all, congratulations on your determination to come into the Church. By doing so, you brought to bloom both your Jewish and Protestant roots.
I am sorry you have had negative experiences. Provided that there were no misunderstandings or miscommunication, Catholics ought to abhor the things that have been said to you by traditionalists.
Keep in mind that these folks are individuals, and that they only speak for themselves, or perhaps for smallish blogs and/or organizations, as the case may be. They do not speak for me or the vast majority of traditional Catholics, or the Church.
The Church recognizes that antisemitism is a sin. That said, there are tiny pockets of antisemitism in the Catholic Church, just as there are tiny pockets of racism and other forms of ignorance and hatred.
Mind you, the Church is not a Church of the spotless and the pure. The Church which Christ founded is precisely of and for sinners. Else, who is there for Christ to save? If any man says he is not a sinner he is a liar (cf. 1 John 1:8).
Sometimes the Church is described as a “field hospital”. If we are going to take that analogy seriously – and not just blurt it in a shallow, sentimental way – then let’s keep firmly before our faces the fact that, in “field hospitals” many ugly things happen. There is a lot of blood, screaming, pain and, quite often, death. Even with the great improvements in combat medicine and field hospitals, despite the heroic work of the personnel many who go in don’t come out alive, and many who do live are scarred.
The Church remains the spotless Bride of Christ, but we her members are not spotless.
Some who are in the Church will not go to heaven, despite the efforts of their pastors and loved ones, because of their black hearts and sins or even from sheer neglect and indifference. Some will not go to heaven because of the damage they are doing within the Church herself.
Not all will be saved. God will sort them out and he cannot be fooled.
As far as the State of Israel is concerned, both I and the people I know are its strong supporters. We detest terrorism directed against Israelis. Although the Holy See is not without its tremendous blind spots when it comes to the State of Israel, each Pope since St. John Paul II has recognized Israel as a sovereign state. No other Christian church or denomination can do that.
I hope that, as you continue to settle into the Church and to find its bright and beautiful chambers along with its dark corners and cellars, you will calmly distinguish between what we might be able to call traditionalist and, on the other hand traditional Catholics, the latter being the group to which you and your friends belong.
I doubt my words here can take all of the sting from what you experienced, but perhaps they can help you sort out what is going on if you encounter it again.
Remember that it is a spiritual work of mercy to bear wrongs patiently.
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