Fri 18th Apr 2014 | Last updated: Thu 17th Apr 2014 at 22:10pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

There is no room for anti-Semitism in the Church

What does the cry of the people baying for blood during Christ’s Passion really mean?

By on Monday, 25 April 2011

A Passion play in Panama (Press Association Images)

A Passion play in Panama (Press Association Images)

Much publicity has been given to that significant passage in Pope Benedict’s recent book, Jesus of Nazareth (page 187) when he discusses the cry of the people during the Passion: “His blood be on us and on our children (Matthew 27:25).”
At first the Holy Father analyses the elements that made up the crowd baying for Jesus’ blood: these are not the ‘Jewish people’ as such, but the dominant priestly circle and the followers of Barabbas.

Then, in an illuminating passage, the Pope reminds us that “the Christian will remember that Jesus’ blood speaks a different language from the blood of Abel; it does not cry out for vengeance and punishment; it brings reconciliation.” He emphasises that, “read in the light of faith, it means that we all stand in need of the purifying power of love, which is his blood. These words are not a curse, but rather redemption, salvation.”

This interpretation makes it clear there is no room for anti-Semitism in the Church. This makes me ask the question: “Why is it that among certain right-wing (I hate that expression when used in the context of the Church, but it can be useful) Catholics, those who attend the Tridentine Mass, there is anti-Semitism?”

I have encountered it myself: the odd remark that makes you sit up and wonder where that person is coming from; ‘under the counter’ literature with disturbing phrases and attitudes. When I referred to The Remnant in my blog for April 14, a friend warned me against giving this publication publicity as he had encountered an anti-Semitic strain in some of its articles.

Further to this, a good friend of mine, who is herself a convert from Judaism and who always attends the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, tells me she is sometimes very distressed by the blatantly anti-Semitic remarks she hears from fellow EF worshippers when socialising after Mass. I once put this question to a Francophile acquaintance, who replied that in France the far Right in politics has always been closely linked with the Lefebvrist wing of the Church there. And then there is the case of the schismatic Bishop Williamson and his now notorious views about the Holocaust: clearly, there are too many instances for this to be a random feature.

We have just celebrated Good Friday when, in the Novus Ordo, the general intercessions ask us to “pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God.” The same prayer in my old Roman Missal has the Latin: “Oremus et pro perfidis Judaeis…”, translated as “Let us pray also for the unbelieving Jews…” Is this part of the problem?

When the late John Paul II (of soon-to-be blessed memory) referred to the Jews as “our older brothers”, I warmed to the phrase. I have a private syllogism which runs, “Jesus was a Jew. I follow Jesus. Therefore I am a Jew.”

This is, of course, factual and well as logical nonsense, as I am actually a Celt, descended from a long and noble line of Irish peasants, but you get my drift: how can we Christians, who profess to follow Christ, have any truck with any kind of anti-Semitism?

Pope Benedict concludes on page 187 with the words, “Only when understood in terms of the theology of the Last Supper and the Cross, drawn from the whole of the New Testament, does this verse from Matthew’s Gospel take on its correct meaning.”

Worth pondering, eh?

  • AJ

    All Councils were pastoral, in one way or another. From the first Council of Jerusalem, to Nicea to Vatican2 with the highest and fullest Magisterial Authority of Church that demands a faithful his/her assent.I think most people know that this encompasses both the Pope teaching authoritively on his own with the bishops in union with him.

  • Anonymous

    Michael,

    Your post above is nothing short of hilarious. To accuse Catholics who adhere to the SSPX of “cafeteria Catholicism” when they have changed not one iota of the Faith handed on to them from the time of the Apostles, is just too comical for words.

    The blindness and hardness of heart of which you speak, is not coming from those who adhere to the Tradition of the Church. It is YOU who are picking and choosing, speaking of the new Mass as if it is binding on Catholics when the Pope responsible for its creation went out of his way to say that he intended it only as an option.

    Like all papolatrists, Michael, you fail to distinguish legitimate papal authority from any old authority. To you and your ilk apply the words of Melchior Cano, famous Theologian of the Council of Trent who said:

    “Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See – they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.”

    Reflect.

  • AJ

    Oremus said, “If Catholics had a CLEAR UNDERSTANDING of what the Church teaches about the Mass, they would only assist at the Traditional Latin Mass”.

    Understanding According to WHOM?

    Protestants: We have a CLEAR UNDERSTANDING of the Scripture that teaches about christian doctrine on salvation, the catholics would only help themselves to acknowledge the clear teaching of Bible Alone and Faith Alone.

    Sounds very similar, don’t you think? You? ,me?, bishop Fellay?, SSPX?, Sedevacantists?

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    I am one who doesn’t believe there is room for anti-Semitism in the Church. Indeed, I don’t believe there is room for anti-anybody-ism in the Church. Jesus invites us to be neighbor to all people – whether black, white, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Greek, male, female, slave, or free – we are to treat each as we would be treated.

    I don’t know, but it seems to me that the didactic method of having the congregation take the role of the Jewish people in reading the Gospel of the Passion and Death of the Lord, indicates the Church’s wish to remind the congregation that we all of us bear some portion of responsibility for the shedding of His precious blood. All have sinned. All have fallen short. And He died for all.

    I cannot imagine Our Crucified Lord pointing to any group or individual and warning, “you, over there! Yeah – you! This is all your fault!”

    Unthinkable!

    BTW: A number of Internet security and personal safety experts have advised women in general, and especially those living in major metropolitan areas, to adopt a _nom de plume_ when posting to the web. This is what I have done. To those who object to the use of _noms de plume_ as a matter of principle, I can only quote the aphorism from the 12-Step Programs: “Take what you like and leave the rest.”

  • AJ

    They are not in schism? Do you even know the meaning of the word? Look at a catholic dictionary. While not formally declared in schism like pro-gay politician, SSPX is NOT yet in full communion with the Church, they are still in irregular state by their obstinate refusal to submit to the Magisterial Authority of the Church (Pope and Bishops with him).

    SCHISM: one of the meaning is, it is an act of refusal and disobedience to the Supreme Pontiff and the Church.

  • Stan The Man

    You talk like the bigoted, unforgiving, angry, stern and dictatorial Catholics of ages past and probably don’t even realize it. You glory in your bullying pseudo-fascism and speak the language of irrational, prejudicial closed-mindedness that comes out of a historic tradition of plain and simple totalitarian people-control. The Catholic Church has gotten so much more liberal, there are so many millions of good, decent and loving Catholics in the world I am assuming it drives you absolutely crazy. As a bully and a coward, you, like the very worst of Catholics going back ages, disfigure your own religion and turn it against its essential predecessors and originators, Jews. Regardless of your worldy prejudice, Jesus, Mary, Paul and most of the Apostles, Disciples and thousands of the very first followers were Jews. When Jews en masse did not accept Jesus Christ as the living God there is nothing weird or horrible or shocking about that. God- or God’s son comes to Earth tomorrow, now, in 2011, as a radical. Are you, EditorCT, going to believe and turn back on your oh-so-traditional Catholic faith and follow a whole new Gospel and belief because of that? I very strongly doubt it. You are as much or more of a Pharisee as any Pharisee. You claim that Jews have oh-so-coincidentally experienced not a moment’s rest since they “rejected the Messiah?” First of all, hundreds of millions of Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems, aninimsts, atheists, communists and even Protestants have rejected the Messiah, to traditional Catholic doctrine. You are an evil coward. Like your predecessors and other frothing, angry, rigid traditionalist fetishistic Catholics here, you value and jealously guard “Jews” as the punching bag, the child’s doll you can hold and bash and tear the limbs off to vent your frustrations. Jews are human beings, dude, very diverse and beyond your insane bigoted reductionism based on hate fantasies. They were the historical, religious, social and even ethnic source from the which river of Christianity sprung. Are you a Roman pagan with ancient Roman pagan prejudices and hatreds?  The Catholic Church is having serious problems, including the molestation of children and other scandals. Bigoted, intransigent, supremely arrogant haters like you make me glad that in crucial populations like amongst Latinos, the Catholic Chruch is getting its ass kicked to the evangelicals, who are leaving your Church and becoming pentacostals and so forth, in humble little storefront churches with rock trios and so forth. ALL intransigent, fundamentalist, anti-intellectual-freedom and anti-rational religion is mental sickness, literally brain poison. Oh, and your talk of your “Scottish and Irish roots” is a stupid joke. You can’t have it both ways. If you want to live in the secular, rational world then ethnicities, tribes and groups matter, but in the religion of Jesus and Paul, your tribe is tattered cloth, irrelevant garbage, of which God and his son are not respecters. I think Celts- Scots, Irish etc, are great peoples with many good qualities. But YOUR religion says that any glory in any of that is folly and worthless junk. So take your Braveheart/Rob Roy fantasies elsewhere. I know and you know that you are an angry, brittle, control freak anti-freedom fascist. I just want to say that you are entitled to your own beliefs and can say your statements, but if you ever tried to come for me or my friends or my family, and take away our freedom or liberty or life, I would follow the laws of nature and common sense and be forced to fight you tooth and nail, you fascist freak. 

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    Cardinal Ratzinger begs to differ.. 

     “The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living

    Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero.

    The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately

    chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat

    it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the

    importance of all the rest.”

    Vatican II a “merely” pastoral council. It doesn’t get clearer than that.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    Never mind Jarra Lad. Here’s Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope  Benedict highlighting the limitations of Vatican II which carries absolutely no dogmatic authority  at  all, unlike the great Councils such as  Trent.

    Here’s Cardinal Ratzinger to the Bishops of Chile on 13 July, 1988:

    “The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat

    it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.”

    Vatican II a “merely” pastoral council. It doesn’t get clearer than that.

    And you are completely wrong to say  it is about “whether  we accept  the directions of Pope Paul VI and now Pope Benedict.”  It’s about  whether we choose to remain faithful to the entire Tradition of the Church or the modernist errors emanating from a MERELY pastoral council.

    And anybody who still  has not grasped the actual position of  the SSPX at this stage in the worst ever crisis to hit the Church, really should withdraw from all debates on the state of the Church. Nobody  would enter into serious discussion with anyone on the subject of mathematics if they couldn’t see that 2 + 2 = 4. It’s that basic.