June 2003

Who Is a Real Jew?

I’m writing in response to the letter from David Stolinsky (April), who took issue with my article “Israeli Exceptionalism: Don’t Confuse an Israeli With an Israelite” (Feb.). I want to thank him for raising the excellent point, “Who is a Catholic?” Certainly one is not a Catholic simply because one’s parents were Catholic. There is a wonderful saying in Protestant circles that “God has no grandchildren.” Notoriously dissenting or anti-life politicians ought to be excommunicated by their bishops.

The point of my article was to address the mistaken notion among some Christians that the modern state of Israel is the continuation of Old Testament Israel. Modern Israel is not led by a Judge or a Davidic King. In fact, Prime Minister Sharon is not even observant. Yet many insist the proper Christian response to modern Israel is that expected by God toward Old Testament Israel.

When the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to “Jews,” I understand the reference as being toward observant people of the Jewish faith, who, through invincible ignorance, do not know that Jesus is their Messiah. In light of 20 centuries of persecutions, often at the hands of alleged Christians, it would not surprise me if most Jews find it hard to accept the Gospel. However, if Stolinsky can show me sections of the Catechism equating “Israeli citizens” or “children of observant Jews who care nothing about God but are into New Age and reincarnation” with “Jews,” I would be happy to read that!

I find it odd that in the same letter he complains that William Charlesworth blames him for what Israelis do and then he blames me for Hitler’s actions.

My article addressed an issue as old as St. Paul: “For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal. His praise is not from men but from God” (Rom. 2:28-29). I wonder if Paul considered the effect his words would have on others?

Vincent A. Droddy
Lucinda, Pennsylvania






Letter-writer Stolinsky blows off Israel’s attack on the U.S.S. Liberty “as an accident in the midst of war.” Stolinsky is apparently not familiar with the book Assault on The Liberty (Random House) by James M. Ennes Jr., an officer of the ship who survived the attack, and who claims the attack was “prolonged, and carefully orchestrated.” Furthermore, James Bamford in Body of Secrets (Doubleday) calls the attack, in which 34 American sailors were killed and 171 wounded, “a deliberate attack meant to prevent the United States from eavesdropping on its [Israel’s] military activities.” He says this information was gleaned from a Navy EC-121 “intelligence gathering aircraft,…[which was] far overhead, and recorded Israeli conversations.”

William J. McNamara
New Britain, Connecticut




“Person,” “Female,” “Woman,” & “Humankind” Are Politically Incorrect

In the April issue, there is a New Oxford Note titled, “It’s Time for Another Free Speech Movement.” I found this article of some interest since the banned words it lists do not go far enough. As proof of this, I would like to bring to your attention that the word “person” is itself sexist. For example, you cite the word “businessman” which, the Language Police insist, should be replaced by “businessperson.” Since, however, the last three letters of the word “person” refer to the male sex, the proper term for a female businessperson should be “businessperdaughter.”

Actually, we cannot, in the minds of those who are striving to be politically correct, even use the word “female.” The truly politically correct form is “feperdaughter,” as in the phrase, “He created them, male and feperdaughter.” By the same token, even the word “woman” is not politically correct. It should be “woperdaughter.”

The all-inclusive word “mankind” cannot really be replaced by “humankind” since included in it is that sexist word, “man,” again. It must be replaced by “hupersonkind and huperdaughterkind” used together, to denote what used to be denoted by the simpler word “mankind.”

I offer the above to demonstrate how uneducated and stupid the zombies, as you call them, really are.

William F. Brna
Monongahela, Pennsylvania






“It’s Time for Another Free Speech Movement” was highly amusing. It never ceases to amaze me to what lengths the discontented will go in making the rest of us be politically correct in our speech. However, you say, “Will today’s Christians swallow all this [specifically, the reversal of ‘Adam and Eve’ to ‘Eve and Adam’]? Except for Dr. James Dobson and Bill Donohue and a few others, sure they will.”

I’ve listened to Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio show for several years. Lately I’ve become increasingly frustrated with his (and his guests’) use of the terms “mate” and “partner” instead of “husband” and “wife.” Dr. Dobson might not fall for the “Eve and Adam” nonsense, but apparently has no qualms about using p.c. language when referring to, well, husbands and wives! I wrote him about it once, and got a weak-kneed excuse in response. Those at Focus on the Family seem unable to see that those who use such terms as “partners” and “mates” are primarily homosexuals (since they can’t have wives and husbands), and radical feminists (who use the term to somehow “equalize” [read: dehumanize] the sexes). And “mate” is what animals do.

Miriam S. Dapra
Hartville, Wyoming




Pathetic Episcopal Statement

The Catholic bishops’ statement of last November, “When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women,” as commented on in Kenneth Whitehead’s article (April), is truly shocking.

I would add that the bishops failed to point out that the majority of domestic violence cases are committed by people against sexual partners who are not their spouses. Also, a big reason why so many marriages fail is that many marriages follow fornication and then continue on contraception, thereby depriving spouses of the graces of the sacrament of Matrimony. What did the bishops say about this? Nothing!

Rather, the bishops made a pitch for annulment, often known as “Catholic divorce.” Having tacitly accepted the sexual revolution that led to the scandal of pedophile priests, the bishops are doing the same thing by failing to defend the institution of marriage.

Juan J. Ryan
New Providence, New Jersey




Is Fr. Flapdoodle Beyond Criticism?

What follows is an e-mail I sent to the Publisher of Our Sunday Visitor (OSV), which is self-explanatory:

Dear Mr. Erlandson:

You wrote me in response to a note I had scribbled on a subscription solicitation for OSV. My note said basically that I would consider subscribing to OSV when it resumed allowing the NEW OXFORD REVIEW to advertise.

The reason you give for disallowing publication of the ads is that they were “overly broad and overly harsh in their attacks on bishops, priests and nuns.” But when the ads criticize bishops, priests, or nuns, they typically criticize fictitious ones (although they are no doubt intended to symbolize real ones); for example, Fr. Flapdoodle. What I don’t understand is how you can say that a criticism of Fr. Flapdoodle is overly harsh. The words “overly harsh” mean that the criticism is harsher than Fr. Flapdoodle deserves; as capital punishment would be an overly harsh punishment for stealing a loaf of bread. But how can you say the criticism treats Fr. Flapdoodle with excessive harshness when he is nothing but a fictional character?

The only way this seems to make sense is if you are saying that no priest deserves criticism as harsh as the NOR’s ads mete out; therefore they are overly harsh regardless of which actual priest or priests Fr. Flapdoodle symbolizes. But is that really your position? I strongly doubt it. Surely you have met or heard of many priests who are deserving of harsh criticism. If so, then why not assume the criticisms of Fr. Flapdoodle are directed only toward those priests who deserve them? Why make the opposite assumption, that they are directed toward priests who do not deserve them?

You say that the ads were deemed inappropriate in light of OSV’s “traditional support for Catholic parishes.” Again, this answer is unsatisfying. What does support for parishes have to do with criticism of priests who deserve to be criticized? Are you concerned that parish priests will be offended by your carrying the ads? If so, which priests will be offended: those of whom Fr. Flapdoodle is a dead-on caricature, or those who are not? Do not those who truly resemble Fr. Flapdoodle in terms of spinelessness and heterodox teaching deserve to be offended (in order, one hopes, to jar them into strengthening their “drooping arms and weak knees”)? And will not those priests who are nothing like Fr. Flapdoodle know that the ads are not directed at them?

If there are priests who are like Fr. Flapdoodle, do we not want parish attendees, especially those trying to raise faithful children, to be alerted to their existence and to beware?

The thing is, a caricature will not offend anyone except those who are being caricatured. The NOR, as you well know, does not believe all priests are like Fr. Flapdoodle, nor does it imply that in its ads. Therefore, its caricature of Fr. Flapdoodle is not a caricature of priests as such, but of spineless and heterodox priests, priests who are watering down Catholic moral and doctrinal teaching to a dangerous extent. Priests who know that they themselves do nothing of the kind will not dream that the caricature applies to them.

Accordingly, I must conclude that the real objection to the ads is not that they are “overly harsh” — i.e., that they are harsh toward those who do not deserve it — but that OSV opposes the idea of treating harshly those who would water down Catholic moral and doctrinal teaching. This is where I part company with OSV, and is why I will not be subscribing to it anytime soon. I believe that heterodoxy and immorality are rampant in the Church, and that drastic, and yes, harsh — or at least somewhat less than courteous — measures are appropriate in combating it.

The NOR received a letter from a reader in which the reader states that he has concluded that the NOR should simply tone down its ads and resume advertising in OSV (and in the other publications that have banned its “trademark ads”). The NOR replied that it tried running toned-down ads as an experiment, and found that the response to the ads was greatly diminished from that of its trademark ads. In other words, the trademark ads are a lot more effective.

What does that tell you? It tells you that people respond to Fr. Flapdoodle because they have met him, and are fed up with him. The NOR says the toned-down ads were “flops,” that they did not attract nearly as many subscribers as the trademark ads did. The trademark ads strike a chord in people, because they know there is a problem, and they are glad to see that someone, at last, is responding to it with the boldness that is called for.

By contrast, OSV is apparently opposed to responding to the problem with boldness. That gives me the impression that OSV is bland, beige, vanilla; that it sees no crisis in morality or doctrine, but rather is content with how things are. In that case, OSV and I more than likely have very little in common. That is what I meant when I said that I would consider subscribing to OSV only when it lifts the ban on the NOR’s boldness.

Thank you for your attention.

Mark W. Johnson
Glendale, California




Not Recommended, He Says

After reading “Hitting Below the Belt” (New Oxford Notes, April), noting that Crisis magazine is no longer accepting the NOR’s ads, I e-mailed Crisis, asking, “Why do you refuse the NOR’s ads?” I got a one-sentence reply from the Publisher and Editor, Deal Hudson, who said: “We ran them for years after other Catholic publications dropped them, but after watching the direction of the NOR, I can no longer recommend reading it.”

Message to the NOR: Don’t change your direction!

Victor J. Dirse
Perrine, Florida



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