Volume > Issue > It Only Hurts When I Stop Laughing

It Only Hurts When I Stop Laughing


By Marilyn Prever | October 2003
Marilyn Prever is a housewife and freelance writer, mother of eight, and grandmother of many (she says the grandchildren appear so fast she can't keep track). She lives in Claremont, New Hampshire.

Jews and Catholics of good will have been twisting themselves into pretzels these days trying not to offend each other. Some Catholics are bending over backwards so far they’re in danger of going into spiritual hyperspace and undoing their Baptisms, if such a thing were possible. “No, no,” they exclaim. “It’s just that we no longer believe there were any Jewish people involved with you-know-Who getting killed. It’s all been a terrible misunderstanding. Modern scholarship has shown that those Pharisees were actually Southern Baptists.”

I do believe we all need a good laugh — but who dares to laugh? I can only think of one group of people who are in a position to inject a little humor into the situation, albeit strictly Jewish humor, which is the only appropriate kind for those times when you laugh to keep from crying. I happen to belong to that group, namely, Hebrew Catholics — or Jewish Catholics, or Jewish converts, or Completed Jews, or Messianic Catholics, or Catholics of Jewish origin, or oy vey, you see what I mean: Even finding a name for ourselves is a problem.

We are an embarrassment to everybody. There are Catholics who are trying to assure Jews that Catholics are not even trying to convert them anymore, not even praying for them to convert — God forbid that Catholics should even hope for such a thing. What are such Catholics supposed to do with us, we who are not only already converted but usually pretty excited about it? Let’s face it, most baptized Jews are not good at keeping quiet about their new faith. We tend to write books, we go on TV, we tell all our friends, we wear tasteful Jesus Made Me Kosher T-shirts, we even sometimes get up enough nerve to tell our families, who then become horrified and either resign themselves and hope it will blow over, or else sit shiva for us, which is what you do when somebody dies.

What can such Catholics say to us other than: “Would you mind apostatizing, please? You’re messing up our plans. We’ve been trying so hard to re-build that wall of separation St. Paul told us about, the one between the Jews and the gentiles. We understand it was taken down so the gentiles could come in, but now we would just like to put it back up, only this time to keep the Jews out. Not that we want to make you feel unwelcome — it’s not that Jesus doesn’t love you or doesn’t want you, it’s just that you Jews have a perfectly good religion already and, as our Blessed Lord Himself said, He ‘came for the lost sheep of the House of O’Shaughnessy.'”

This is called, by some, development of doctrine. Cardinal Newman, pray for us!

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