Volume > Issue > Letter to the Editor: April 2003

April 2003

He Asks, Who is a Jew? I Ask, Who is a Catholic?

When I was on the USC Medical School faculty, I had the duty of giving an introductory talk to each new group of interns and residents, as they rotated onto the Medical Oncology Service. At first I tried to use a strictly neutral viewpoint. But then I realized that most of the newcomers arrived with a negative view of cancer therapy. So I altered my talk to be a bit more upbeat — not unrealistic, but intended to counter the pre-existing prejudice. That is, I learned that my words had to be chosen with the knowledge of how they affected my listeners, not how I viewed them from my perspective. This was an important lesson.

Your February issue raises questions in this regard.

William Charlesworth’s letter takes me to task for the “innocent Christian Palestinians being killed by Israeli soldiers.” This is a non sequitur. My article (Dec. NOR) chastised Christians for not being concerned with the persecution of their brothers and sisters for being Christians. Surely nobody claims the Israelis are killing Palestinian Christians because they are Christians. Read editor Joseph Farah’s harshly anti-Palestinian and anti-Arafat pieces on WorldNetDaily.com — he is of Christian Arab descent. So Charlesworth is either (A) chastising me for not complaining about something that doesn’t exist, and in any case is not parallel to my chastising Christians for not complaining about persecution of fellow Christians, or (B) blaming me for what the Israelis do, an example of Sippenhaft, the Nazi doctrine of blaming the whole family for the actions of one member.

Then we have the article by Vincent Droddy on “Israeli Exceptionalism” with the subtitle “Don’t Confuse an Israeli With an Israelite” (Feb.). Droddy begins with the U.S.S. Liberty incident in 1967, which the U.S. government accepted as an accident in the midst of a war. Droddy does not accept this explanation, but you should have required him to mention it. Of course, he doesn’t mention the U.S.S. Pueblo, which was not just attacked but captured, and the surviving members of its crew who were imprisoned and tortured for months. This occurred only a year after the Liberty incident, and was committed by North Korea, an enemy — but we did nothing there, just as we did nothing about the Liberty. Still, North Korea has no Jews, so perhaps the incident escaped Droddy’s notice.

Droddy declares that Israel is not exempt from the moral law. But who said it was exempt? He goes on to cast doubt on who is really a Jew. My father’s eldest brother was murdered in the Holocaust. Hitler thought he was a Jew, but Droddy has doubts. In short, the Jews are Jews when it comes to persecution, but they may not really be Jews when it comes to statehood. Oh, now I see.

What do you think many of your readers will take away from these pieces? The “take-home” lessons may well be:

(1) Even when a Jew speaks up for persecuted Christians, there’s got to be something wrong with him.

(2) Israelis intentionally attack U.S. naval vessels and get away with it, but no other nation could do so.

(3) Jews may not really be Jews, so the Holy Father’s statements of love and respect don’t really apply to them, but to some as-yet unidentified group. Thus, his words may safely be ignored by Catholics, who are free to indulge their prejudices as if John Paul II had said nothing.

This raises an embarrassing question. If it is fair to ask who is a Jew, one may also ask who is a Catholic. Many “Catholics,” including government leaders, are strongly pro-abortion, even including the third trimester. And apparently some others reject the Pope’s teaching on the Jews. Yet they attend Mass and receive Communion.

Moreover, No. 578 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Jews in the present tense as the “children of Israel,” and No. 1096 also refers to the Jews of today as “Jews.” Are these merely misprints? Or are there some who reject the Pope’s teaching and the Catechism as well?

It’s not my Scripture, of course, so I may be mistaken, but isn’t there something about motes in others’ eyes and beams in our own?

Please consider the effect words may have on others, not just how you perceive them.

David C. Stolinsky

St. Helen Catholic Church

Los Angeles, California

No More "Denial"

Much has been said and written of late about Catholic priests sexually molesting kids, of whom about 90 percent are boys. I am a priest, on “the inside” of the Church, yet I am just as outraged at the degenerate behavior and the cover-ups as anybody in the pews. I can hardly believe accused priests were reassigned after their activities came to light. After six years of formation that included three different states and one foreign country, and six years of service, I shouldn’t have been stunned. In fact, I have seen enough wayward thinking and acting and “plausible denial” in our Church to make me understand that this scandal was just waiting to happen.

I shouldn’t have been surprised that when the scandal broke, Bishop Wilton Gregory, head of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, stated that “the priesthood in the United States is threatened with domination by homosexual priests.” Yes, he made this statement in the heat of battle, but my guess is he meant what he said. I guess he’s seen what I have seen. But too many of us, myself included, have bought into the denial and the careerism of the Church to speak up and say what we always felt in our gut. Homosexuals should not be priests.

Rev. Tobin E. Hitt

The Catholic League

Portales, New Mexico

Tit for Tat

Regarding your list of bowdlerized Bible readings in the Lectionary (“When the ‘Shorter Form’ Is the Politically Correct Form,” New Oxford Notes, Jan.): My response to a truncated reading is a truncated donation. I simply tear off a quarter to half of the bill I give in the collection.

Pete Glickert

Washington, D.C.

In the Midst of the Chaos…

After reading the New Oxford Note, “A Regime of Hypocrisy & Indifference,” and William Soisson’s “Some Questions for the American Bishops,” both in the November issue, I wanted to shout, Bravissimo! There is little doubt that Pope John Paul II’s Achilles’ heel has been his reluctance to discipline his bishops. Nevertheless, in the midst of the chaos, Christ continues to breathe life into His Church. A striking example is Mater Ecclesiae Mission (materecclesiae.org) in Berlin, New Jersey, in the Diocese of Camden.

Mater Ecclesiae was established on October 13, 2000, by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. What makes this Tridentine mission unusual is that its Rector, Fr. Pasley, is a diocesan priest, whereas most approved traditional parishes are staffed by religious priests from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter or the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. It is likely that Bishop DiMarzio received a lot of criticism from other bishops for doing this.

Catholics who have endured decades of insipid liturgies will find here the musical treasures of the Church: Palestrina, Haydn, and Mozart are performed with exquisite beauty.

When was the last time Catholics in a diocesan-run parish experienced Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony, kneeling for Holy Communion, or sermons where the Church’s teaching on sexual morality was preached? When was the last time Catholics experienced the Faith in all its fullness and splendor?

Erick Wittemann

Willow Street, Pennsylvania

Publicists for the Bishops

A couple of comments on your New Oxford Note, “Can We Please Change the Subject!” (Jan.). First off, you state: “We can’t think of a single Catholic diocesan paper that blew the whistle on a sexually abusive priest in its diocese or any other diocese.” You further noted that this was an irony, as the diocesan journalists were “closest to the scenes of the crimes.”

I was the Editor of the newspaper of the Diocese of Orange (Calif.) for more than a decade, and it’s a mistake to refer to us as “journalists” and our publications as “newspapers.” We’re publicists or PR men for the bishops, and in most dioceses we’re not going to run any articles to which our employers, the bishops, are going to object (and pre-2002, I can’t imagine any bishops allowing articles on priestly sex abuse in their publications).

Additionally, while I worked daily at the chancery, I was unaware of any sexual crimes committed by any particular priests — it was not a topic of discussion. I was aware that many were quite liberal and poorly formed in the faith, I suspected that some were homosexually oriented, but I don’t ever recall being privy to details about their sex lives. (Interestingly, when I left employment with the Church in 2000, I had multiple reporters and other investigators contacting me looking for “dirt” on priests, but I could honestly tell them I had none to provide.)

What we need are more quality Catholic publications run by editors who are both orthodox, practicing Catholics and talented newspapermen. My favorite is The Catholic World Report, which I believe best fits this description. I also have to admit that I’ve read some fine articles in the National Catholic Reporter, despite the silly and often offensive liberalism that pervades the publication. Puff-piece journalism that shies away from controversy, which you say you see in the National Catholic Register, is generally uninteresting and fails to provide an accurate picture of issues in the Church. The Reporter, by contrast, enjoys highlighting controversy, and seems to have no problem in letting both sides air their views.

Publications such as The Wanderer and the NOR certainly have their place and value, but their conservative diatribes will never appeal to a very broad audience. So long live The Catholic World Report, and may many other Catholic publications follow in its path.

Jim Graves

Newport Beach, California

Sensitive to Bigots

I was surprised to see Donald J. Lynch (letter, Feb.) challenge the facts of an incident in Washington State that I commented on, in which King County employees were required to use secular holiday greetings. Lynch has clearly accepted King County Executive Ron Sims’s damage control as Gospel truth. The fact of the matter is that Sims wrote in his memo, “Any holiday recognition or celebration should be religion-neutral.” The word “suggest,” used by Lynch, appeared nowhere in Sims’s memo — he commanded this in the name of being “respectful, inclusive, and sensitive”; of course, it is only sensitive to the feelings of bigots who are offended by the words “Merry Christmas.”

Sims later backpedaled on his memo in a subsequent message, saying, “I believe its intent was….” Questioning the intent of something he himself wrote is a sure sign of spinning. I stand by the facts as I have presented them.

William A. Donohue

New York, New York

From Inside Sacred Heart Seminary

Regarding the article by Jay McNally (Dec.) about the state of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit:

Why does Sacred Heart Seminary use the worldly yardstick of psychological screening to measure the fitness of men for the priesthood and deaconate? Such screening has proven ineffective in stemming the tide of homosexual proclivities and pederasty in the priesthood, with resultant disaster for the Church. My hope is that there will be an outspoken condemnation of the insidious sin of homosexuality. However, in my time at Sacred Heart, homosexuality has been an untouchable sacred cow that cannot be discussed.

Also in my experience here, where classes are populated by men and women, a feminist mentality is quite noticeable. Some women openly broadcast their desires to be deaconettes or priestesses (with certain female professors wholeheartedly approving). They’re simply waiting for ? to paraphrase one feminista ? that old doting conservative pope to pass on and a more liberal one to follow, who, it is assumed, will grant them what they want. (It is no secret that feminists get along famously with homosexual types in seminaries, but abhor normal heterosexual males.)

At Sacred Heart I have witnessed with horror not only the drumming out of holy, orthodox seminarians, but also the same vicious tactics used to precipitate the hasty exit of one of the seminary’s finest priest-instructors, when he was wantonly attacked by female students because he firmly held to the Catholic position that female ordination is an impossibility. Add to this the anemic posture of the (recently departed) seminary Rector, Bishop Allen Vigneron. His policy of indifference has allowed all this to go on, and has driven “good men” to say “goodbye” to this seminary. The infamous psychological testing here has accelerated the departure of these good men.

Regarding the story of James Gault III as told in McNally’s article: I personally witnessed Gault’s frightening ordeal of banishment from Sacred Heart Seminary. I can testify to Gault’s traditional Catholic theology and spirituality. He was academically strong, emotionally stable, and completely loyal to the Magisterium. He opposed the dissenting theology texts ? some authored by non-Catholics ? here at Sacred Heart. This seminary is still in essence controlled by Americanist sycophants. The psychological referral system, driven by Fr. Patrick Halfpenny, which victimized Gault and others, is typical of the mind-control formation-process here.

Meanwhile, we have a gorgeous Renaissance-style chapel where Christ’s Majestic Divine Presence in the Tabernacle has been relegated to a side altar in a bizarrely designed box of wood on a pole.

Christ cleansed the temple 2000 years ago, and He will do it again today.

For obvious reasons of survival, I cannot reveal my identity. But I am very close to the heartbeat here. McNally’s article was right on the money. Through the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I will survive all this. Please pray for me.

(Name Withheld)

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