Saturday, 28 February 2009

Johnny head-in-air: when a few saved the many...

James Nicolson winning his VC, 16 August 1940. Painted by Robert Taylor.

This was a famous war-time poem written remembering the many young pilots, often married with children, who died fighting. Not a few pilots were still in their teens and had done barely more than a few hours flying before they were sent into the skies - often to an untimely death.

For Johnny

by John Pudney

Do not despair
For Johnny-head-in-air;
He sleeps as sound
As Johnny underground.

Fetch out no shroud
For Johnny-in-the-cloud;
And keep your tears
For him in after years.

Better by far
For Johnny-the-bright-star,
To keep your head,
And see his children fed.


Friday, 27 February 2009

The last of the Valkyrie...

Philipp, Freiherr (Baron) von Boeselager, believed to be the last surviving member of the inner circle of German Army officers who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a briefcase bomb on 20 July 20 1944, died in May 2008.

He was 90.

Before he died he wrote a memoir, called Valkyrie, of the resistance within the German Army which culminated in the attempt on the life of the Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler.

Boeselager was born into a Roman Catholic family in Burg Heimerzheim, near Bonn. After graduating from Aloysius College, a Jesuit secondary school in Bad Godesberg, he intended to study law and enter the foreign service, but not wishing to join the Nazi Party he instead enlisted in the army, as did his brother Georg, who also took part in the plot.

Boeselager was first approached in 1942 to shoot both Hitler and Heinrich Himmler at close range.

“It was no longer about saving the country, but about stopping the crimes” he said.

On 13 March 1943, with a Walther PP pistol in hand, Boeselager prepared to assassinate both men, who were scheduled to hold a strategy session with Field Marshal Günther von Kluge for whom he was then ADC, also a conspirator. When Himmler decided not to attend, von Kluge called off the mission.

In 1944, it was Boeselager’s brother Georg who gave him the signal to move forward. “One day, my brother called and said, ‘They want explosives,’ he said. “I knew exactly what for”.

Philipp von Boeselager as a Cavalry officer
during the war when he joined the plot to kill Hitler

His book is redolent with his love and admiration for his brother, Georg, who, it soon becomes quite clear, was a most extraordinary military genius of immense moral courage, integrity and inner resources.

Georg von Boeselager, Philipp's brother

Philipp supplied the bomb that Stauffenberg used. He and Georg come from another ancient German Catholic family and were, like Stauffenberg, cavalry officers, both joining the 15th Paderborn Cavalry Regiment. Georg was an astonishingly able officer, later commanding a Cavalry Brigade at the age of 29 before being killed in battle on the Eastern front. Philipp was, himself, wounded no less than 5 times, all seriously.

The army controlled the front and backward for some 200-300 kilometres but the rear area was in the hands of the Reichskommissariat, the SD and SS. It was only when there was a need for the army to liaise with the rear area to co-ordinate defence against the partisan groups that they started to come into contact with the Nazi extermination policy against Jews, gypsies and others.

This was what turned them into conspirators against the regime and Hitler's life. Boeselager describes an "encounter with the demon" in the form of SS-Obergrueppenfuehrer Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski who, asked to explain what was meant by "special treatment" of the gypsies in the area, candidly stated that they were all shot.

Boeselager and his boss, the Commander of Army Group Centre, Field Marshal Gunther von Kluge, were appalled and aghast and demanded that steps be taken to arrest the culprits. The diabolical Bach-Zelewski replied that the gypsies were eliminated as "enemies of the Reich" and that such was to be the fate of all such enemies, a thinly-veiled hint directed now at von Kluge.

Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, Commander of Army Group Centre
and a co-conspirator in the anti-Hitler plot. Boeselager was his ADC.

Philipp also recounts going with von Kluge to the Fuehrerhauptquartier and seeing men of no military standing poncing about in gaudy uniforms, guzzling champagne and planning seedy night excursions with women.

He overheard Bormann refusing to send a telelgram on the 70th birthday of Archduke Joseph of Austria because Joseph had married a Catholic (of the Bavarian Royal family), Bormann clearly being too dense to realise that the Habsburgs are Catholics par excellence. Bormann even confronted Boeselager when he walked out at this comment but Boeselager stood his ground against this Nazi thug.

Had the assassination succeeded, Boeselager was supposed to lead 1,200 of his cavalrymen back to Berlin and take part in a general uprising against the Nazi regime, code-named Operation Valkyrie.

Most of the approximately 200 conspirators, including Colonel von Stauffenberg, were rounded up and executed, and many others were later accused and executed. Boeselager heard that the plot had failed and turned his cavalrymen round and got them back to the front. There was sufficient chaos at the front that he managed to get them back unnoticed and so managed to see out the war without being discovered.

Philipp von Boeselager in later life

After the war, he studied law and economics and served as an adviser in creating the Bundeswehr, the armed forces of West Germany. In 1948 he married Rosa Maria, Countess von Westphalen zu Fürstenberg. One of his daughters married a Stauffenberg.

Boeselager's book explodes many myths peddled by Lefties in the West.

As one progresses through the book one realises quickly that one is reading of men of the highest moral calibre and spiritual integrity faced with some of the most calamitously impossible moral dilemmas that men ever had to face and emerging from them morally unscathed in a way that the vast majority of men would have been unlikely to do.

Yet these are the outstandingly noble men that English Leftists like Sir John Wheeler-Bennett, Deputy Head of PWE, wrote in a minute that the SS and Gestapo were doing the Allies a "favour" in killing. He had been friends with some of the German anti-Hitler conspirators before the war but turned his coat against them when the war started. Words simply cannot readily describe the sickening hypocrisy of such a view.

Unlike the Allies, these German officers were fighting totalitarianism on 2 fronts, at home and against the Soviets. They were right to do so. Let Boeselager describe their views:

"When the fighting on the Eastern Front began, German officers felt that they represented civilisation in a battle against a barbarous nation. What is barbarism? First of all, it is complete disrespect for the rights of individuals, brutality in human relationships, savagery in the actions of everyday life, and finally indifference to all the achievements in culture and comfort, to everything that centuries of labour and the progress of the human spirit have produced that is beautiful. These communists whose agents shot down without hesitation soldiers who had retreated, these officers without consciences who, in order to exhaust German munitions, sent ragtag groups of women, old men and children gathered together in haste towards us to be mown down by our machine guns; these enemies who systematically killed the wounded, put out the eyes of prisoners, and didn't deign to bury their own dead - they all seemed barbarians to us. We had heard many stories of this kind, and we had seen many macabre proofs that they were true."

He also gives the lie to that persistent myth put about by some English liberals, bending over backward to believe Soviet propaganda, that these German officers only joined the plot at the last minute to save themselves or that they intended to keep all the territorial gains made by the Nazis and would not accept other terms.

Boeselager notes this view and comments on it saying that he wishes categorically to deny it. He then gives examples of how it is an entirely false view.

Philipp von Boeselager during the war

It is perfectly clear, to any unbiased and reasonable mind, that these men were prepared to risk death and torture to bring down the Nazi government of the Third Reich and that they had the courage of their very noble convictions.

It is an unpleasant characteristic of modern liberals that they expect the highest standards of others whilst accepting very sloppy ones for themselves. They rail against racism but then practice a most blatant form of racism against Germans who, under extreme and trying conditions, opposed the Third Reich.

Whilst evidencing not a jot of courage to stand up against the tide themselves, these liberal hypocrites claim the right to criticise some exceedingly heroic men for not "doing more" to oppose Hitler. I cannot help the feeling that there is a special place in Hell for such unworthy critics of men who risked all to save others.

Maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet ut animam suam quis ponat pro amicis suis

"Greater love than this no man hath, that he lay down his life for his friends"

[John 15:13]


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

To the anonymous Neanderthal who tried to write to this blog...

Dear anonymous Neanderthal who attempted to write to this blog,

If you wish to be published on anyone's blog then you will need to:

(a) use arguments rather than mere foaming at the snout;

(b) string more than 2 words together so as to make a coherent sentence rather than than the noise made by a demented hyena on heat stuck in a hole;

(c) recognise that the use of Anglo-Saxon expletives does not enhance an already worthless opinion.

In between all the effing and blinding, you seem (I use the word advisedly) to be suggesting that man is an animal but that he has a soul and that the soul has no connection with the body. Presumably this is so that man can then do what he likes with his body without affecting his soul?

I am, of course, generously assuming that your rant means anything at all.

One thing is certain. Some human beings, having free will and using it badly, can end up being much worse than animals.

It's the flip side of being higher than the animals. Get used to it, neddy!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

SSPX again: Radio 4 discussion exposes the illiberalism of so-called Liberals

Interesting discussion on BBC Radio 4 on the programme called Beyond Belief compared by Ernie Rea on the SSPX affair.

Participants included Rev Dr Alcuin Reid (pictured), Francis Davis of Blackfriars, Oxford and Catherine Pepinster of The Tablet:

Rev Dr Alcuin Reid is an orthodox Catholic, Francis Davis is a "Neo-conservative" Catholic and La Pepinster is a classic "Modernist" Catholic.

Reid was far and away the most coherent in the discussion. The others were disappointing by dint either of inconsistency, and even incoherence, or else by entertaining the fantastic notion that the Body of Christ could somehow change its whole constitution and did so at the Second Vatican Council - a manifestly heterodox view itself roundly refuted and condemned by the Council itself.

If Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever - as we pray at Easter at the Holy Vigil - then His Body cannot change fundamentally into something new as both Davis and Pepinster seem to think.

Strangely, I found Francis Davis the least convincing, indeed bordering on the incoherent. La Pepinster just gave the standard Modernist line but was at least consistent in so doing.

Francis Davis, Fellow of Blackfriars, Oxford.
Lovely bloke but muddled on the SSPX question.

Francis Davis came out with these views:

1. SSPX had “profound concerns about whether or not the Jewish community were due respect and human dignity" and they had "at heart rejected the turn to social justice and preferential option for the poor". No evidence given for this. Even the dotty Williamson has never said any of this.

2. SSPX had "some unsavoury links to groups that the Church of England would not allow its clergy to join if they want to be ordained". No evidence given. Which groups exactly?

3. The "New Church" had come together for the first time at the Second Vatican Council and was coming to terms with "poverty in the face of the Cold War" and "exponentially growing Capitalism". New Church? Meaning what?

4. I understand that he claimed that the Legion of Christ preferred the traditional rite of mass (wrong!) and was put right by Dr Alcuin Reid - however that gaffe did not make the final cut, fortunately for Francis.

5. Rapprochement with SSPX was "profoundly misjudged" and the Pope’s advisers have not got their finger on the European or global pulse. In a "rich understanding of Eucharist", we "break that across the whole of the human and universal community" and the "shattering of the bodies in the Shoah is as much a sin as any forgiven in confession". It is not acceptable to introduce a strange Dualism [in SSPX] that Aquinas would not accept. The "timing was wrong" and "Don’t do this when there is major conflict in the Middle East and when there is a rise of anti-Semitism in London and New York".

This last is almost bizarre. What does it mean? It all raises more questions than it answers.

What is this "New Church"? How can there ever be a "New Church". Isn’t the Body of Christ the same yesterday, today and forever?

In the same breath we have a slating of the Pope by one who claims to be obedient to him, hostile opposition to the SSPX rapprochement whilst talking about a "rich understanding of Eucharist" which we "break across the whole community" (whatever that means) but not - apparently - with anyone from SSPX. They are to be excluded from the charity of the post-Vatican II "New Church".

Apparently we are to believe that some Catholics in the past did not think mass murder was a sin (really? which ones?) and SSPX are involved in a strange "Dualism" (what "Dualism"?). Then, he tells us that the timing was wrong because of the politics of the Middle East as if - somehow - the rapprochement with SSPX would upset it. How? He doesn't say.

Finally, we are to believe that anti-Semitism is on the rise in London and New York. Really? Evidence? And why those two cities and not elsewhere? And, if so, how is that affected by the lifting of the excommunications?

This is a form of Neo-conservative Catholicism that is heavily influence by American, Bush-supporting, Iraq-war defending, political Neo-conservativism and a particular political bias in Middle Eastern politics that American Neo-cons have added to the mix.

Frankly, the Modernism of Catherine Pepinster is more consistent and logical than poor old Francis Davis' muddled waffle - yet he is far and away a better Catholic and a nicer bloke. That is why, in some ways, the Neo-conservatives can cause more muddle in the Church even than the Modernists.

The truth is that both Neo-cons and Mods do not really believe in extending the hand of charity and reconciliation to those with whom they disagree and yet, incoherently, they claim to be all-inclusive and in favour of tolerance, reconciliation and peace.

It is ironic for Catherine Pepinster to talk of religious freedom and Vatican II whilst all the while denying it to SSPX.

Catherine Pepinster, Editor of The Tablet,
and a typical, tedious, dull Modernist Catholic
(yaaawn....), with zero imagination
and zero loyalty to the historic Church.
She's also a typically illiberal Liberal, intolerant tolerationist and thoroughly exclusive inclusivist.
Otherwise, she's just fine...

There are few people as illiberal as so-called Liberals - they are often the most intolerant of people.

If this SSPX affair is a litmus test of people's real beliefs then it has certainly shown the illiberalism of Liberals, the intolerance of the tolerationists and the exclusivity of the inclusivists.

The Tablet, in its editorial, has even called for anathematising those who do not accept the Liberal line. Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas!


Sunday, 15 February 2009

The old Britain: not perfect but we'd like it back - and to see the back of the rotten villains who currently oppress us

Actor, Richard Todd, born Richard Palethorpe-Todd of Anglo-Irish stock, somehow captures something of the spirit of the old Britain.

This is he as a major in the 7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion in the film The Longest Day, reproducing the very battle he had actually been in himself.

Todd's father was an Irish physician and also notably an International Irish Rugby player who gained three caps. Richard spent a few of his childhood years in India, where his father, a British officer, served as an army physician.

Todd attended Shrewsbury School and went to Sandhurst to train as an army officer before starting his acting career.

Serving in the 7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion, he was one of the first British officers to land in Normandy on D-Day and met up with Major John Howard on Pegasus Bridge. Todd would later play Howard in the The Longest Day (1962), the original idea being that he would play himself (later played by another actor with a smaller part).

Here is a classic clip from the film The Longest Day. Lord Lovat, known as "Shimi" Lovat from his Gaelic name MacShimidh meaning son of Simon (many generations of Lovats were named Simon), leads his Regiment of Lovat Scouts off the Normandy beaches to the skirl of the pipes, with his Piper, Millan, playing The Black Bear, the march to which all Scottish Regiments return to barracks.

With the traditional eccentricity of dress of the British officer of a certain class, Lovat hardly wears uniform at all, sporting an old sailor's roll-neck sweater instead. It's an old tradition among aristocratic British officers. The Duke of Wellington almost always wore civilian clothing in battle.

Todd plays Major Howard (next to him another actor plays Captain Richard Todd as he then was) who is holding the famous Pegasus Bridge until relieved by Lovat and his Scouts ("hold until relieved" were Howard's orders).

Perhaps Todd’s most famous part was in The Dam Busters, when he played Wing-Commander Guy Gibson VC DSO DFC, the famous commander of the “Dam Buster” Squadron.

Richard Todd
and his first wife, actress Catherine Grant-Bogle,
on their wedding day in 1949

Another classic British actor was Leo Genn.

He was born at Kyverdale Road, Stamford Hill, Hackney, London, England. His father, Woolfe (William) Genn, was a jewelry salesman and the maiden name of his mother, Rachel, was Asserson.

Leo Genn in The Wooden Horse

My guess is that, with names like that, and born in Stamford Hill, this classic English actor was probably Jewish, too. But like many actors of his generation he was also a man of many parts.

Genn attended the City of London School and studied law at Cambridge, qualifying as a barrister in 1928. He ceased practising as a lawyer soon after the Second World War. On 14th May 1933, Genn married the former Marguerite van Praag, a casting director at Ealing Studios. During the war he served with the Royal Artillery and reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Perhaps his most famous role was as Flt Lt Howard in The Wooden Horse, the classic story of escape from Stalag Luft III, the POW camp for captured British airman.

Another classic British actor was John Gregson, famous for many roles. A classic representative film is the 1952 war-time air fighter classic, Angels One Five, in which he plays an RAFVR Pilot Officer fresh from a University Air Squadron joining an operational Squadron. The film also stars other classic British actors, like Jack Hawkins, as well as Michael Denison and Dulcie Gray, later a famous husband and wife team.

John Gregson
who starred in many films including Genevieve
a very British 1950s film about the London to Brighton vintage car race.

Of course, some of these films were propaganda but that is not the point. It is the fact that this is what the British film-makers, people and government aspired to.

What is so remarkable about those aspirations is that their clear message of self-restraint, courage, self-sacrifice, self-deprecating patriotism, humour under trying conditions, gentility and chivalry could not be more contrasting with the alley cat morals to which so many seem to aspire in modern Britain.

Americans now refer to those of the war-time generation as "the greatest generation" for the self-sacrifice they showed, taking deprivation and the horror of war in their stride.

Too many British are now either too cynical or too dull to do the same and have virtually forgotten the great sacrifices made by those who went before us. Thanks to "New Labour" and its ridiculous vision of "Cool Britannia" modern Britons are more interested in money, sex, drugs and themselves than they are in anything remotely resembling the self-sacrifice of the war-time generation.

How lucky we are these days to have such paragons of virtue and integrity as...well let's think now...err...I know...

Jacqui Smith!

Yes, folks! That's the great Home Secretary whom we now discover has been thieving from us dumb tax-payers to the tune of over a hundred thousand a year for her alleged "home" in the constituency.

Is she resigning?

Her? Not a bit of it!

If you can stomach her nauseating drivel, try this for her pathetic explanation for why she felt it was acceptable for the Home Secretary to stiff the public purse:

What happened to those Tory MPs who did far less? They got hounded by the media until they were either forced out by their colleagues or, in the more serious cases, tried and imprisoned.

Will the same be happening to the dodgy Jacqui Smith?

Nope. They'll let her off, of course.

That's New Labour, mate! See how that works?

If she had an ounce of self-respect or integrity she would have long since RESIGNED!

Welcome to modern Britain.

We're sick to the back teeth of the new, fraudulent, dishonest, neo-Fascist Britain.

We want the old Britain back before the new one turns into a fully-fledged totalitarian state run by unimpressive, New Labour know-nothings!


Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The Williamson Affair: what rational Jews say

I decided to wait until the furore had died down a bit before commenting on the Williamson affair and the lifting of the excommunications on the SSPX bishops.

I'm glad I did. What a lot of nonsense has been spewed forth by journals such as The Times of London and The Tablet.

Read these and marvel at the sheer asininity of the commentary:

and this:

The arrogance displayed in these 2 articles, particularly that of The Times is pretty laughable. Who is the leader writer at The Times to tell the Pope what excommunication in the Catholic Church means? What is his/her authority to determine issues of Roman canon law? What is his/her authority even to comment on them, given the chasm-like lack of knowledge he/she demonstrates? It is so silly as to be no more than risible.

It is as absurd as if the Pope were to excommunicate the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem - or, for that matter, the non-Catholic Editor of The Times.

Consider how much more asinine those 2 articles appear when compared with the following much more sober and balanced commentary by 2 Jewish writers.

I will let their comments stand on their own since they speak for themselves eloquently.

This from Rabbi Irwin Kula on the Washington Post/Newsweek website:

Rabbi Irwin Kula

Jewish Reaction to Pope Disproportionate
Jan. 30, 2009
Rabbi Irwin Kula

The official Jewish response to Pope Benedict XVI's recent decision to reach out to the St Pius X Society and to revoke the excommunication (though not yet determining the status) of four bishops says a great deal about the psycho-social state of American Jewish leadership or at least the leadership that claims to speak for American Jews.

The admittedly unnerving if not hurtful Holocaust denying views of one of those bishops, British born Richard Williamson, an obscure, irrelevant, cranky old man, offered on Swedish television, evoked the wrath of no less than the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the B'nai B'rith International, the International Jewish Commission on Interreligious Consultations and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. "The decision undermines the strong relationship between Catholics and Jews", they protested. "We are stunned that the Vatican has ignored our concerns", they proclaimed.

This will have "serious implications for Catholic-Jewish relations" and there will be a "political cost for the Vatican" they threatened. And from Israel, the Chief Rabbinate in Israel, one of the most corrupt religious establishments in Western democracies, entered the fray calling into doubt the Pope's impending visit to Israel. All this hubbub and anxious lashing out about an internal Church matter regarding the sort of crabby, crotchety, trivial, unknown sort of jerk - the ratty uncle who embarrasses you every time he is in public -- who we all recognize exists in our communities.

As an eighth generation rabbi and someone who lost much family in the Holocaust, it could just be me, but this official Jewish response seems outrageously over the top. Do millions of American Jews sufficiently care that the Pope revoked the excommunication of this unheard-of bishop such that major Jewish organizations should devote so much energy and attention to this and turn it into a cause célèbre worthy of front page attention? And is this the way we speak to each other after decades of successful interfaith work on improving our relationship?

How is it that the view of some cranky bishop who has no power evokes calls of a crisis in Catholic - Jewish relations despite the revolutionary changes in Church teachings regarding Jews since Vatican II? Where is the "proportionality", where is the giving the benefit of the doubt - a central religious and spiritual imperative - in response to something that is admittedly upsetting but in the scheme of things is less than trivial especially given this Pope's historic visit to Auschwitz in which he unambiguously recognized the evil perpetrated upon Jews in the Holocaust and in his way "repented" for any contribution distorted Church teachings made to create the ground for such evil to erupt.

Something is off-kilter here. Is it possible that the leadership of Jewish defense agencies, people with the best of motivation who have historically done critical work in fighting anti-Semitism, have become so possessed by their roles as monitors of anti-Semitism, so haunted by unresolved fears, guilt, and even shame regarding the Holocaust, and perhaps so unconsciously driven by how these issues literally keep their institutions afloat, that they have become incapable of distinguishing between a bishop's ridiculous, loopy, discredited views about the Holocaust and a Church from the Pope down which has clearly and repeatedly recognized the evil done to Jews in the Holocaust and called for that evil to never be forgotten?

Perhaps, this called for a little understanding of what it must be like to actually run a 1.2 billion person spiritual community (one with which I disagree on many issues) and to be trying to create some sense of unity from right to left, from extreme liberalism to extreme traditionalism - sort of like the liberal Barack Obama inviting Rick Warren, despite his hurtful views on homosexuality, to give the invocation at the inauguration. How about cutting a Pope, who we know along with the previous Pope is probably amongst the most historically sensitive Popes to the issues of anti-Semitism, Holocaust, and the relationship to Judaism and Jews, a little slack given how he is trying to heal his own community. And is it possible that the Pope's desire/hope/need to reintegrate the Church (he has also reached out to Liberal theologian Hans Kung) may be of more importance both to the Church and actually to religion on this planet than whether we Jews are upset about the lifting of excommunication of one irrelevant bishop.

Would we Jews like to be judged by the crankiest, most outlandish, hurtful, and stupid thing any rabbi in the world said about Catholics or Christians? We Jews are no longer organized to excommunicate and a rabbi can't be defrocked the way the Church does with its clergy but surely there are individual rabbis who say things so abhorrent about the "other" that though we still call the person rabbi we would not want to be taken to task for doing so.

And isn't it possible that bringing Richard Williamson back inside the Church may actually influence him to see how wrong he is on this issue given how clear the Church is regarding the Holocaust and its commitment to Catholic -Jewish relations? After all the Pope himself said, "I hope my gesture is followed by the hoped-for commitment on their part to take the further steps necessary to realize full communion with the Church, thus witnessing true fidelity, and true recognition of the magisterium and the authority of the pope and of the Second Vatican Council."

There is no way to read this other than to conclude that to be fully reinstated in the Catholic Church, all those who have passed the first test must now clear the big hurdle: either accept what the Catholic Church teaches or remain on the sidelines. And what the Church teaches, among other things, is the necessity of respecting Jews.

Moreover, shouldn't the Jewish defense agency leadership, which to its credit is probably the most effective at its work of any ethnic and religious group in this country, try to understand the inner categories of the other, especially after decades of inter-faith and inter-group work? In this case, that there is a difference between heresy - an accusation from which the Pope is trying to heal part of his community- and stupidity. And what is the cost of not seeing the difference between heresy and stupidity?

Finally, when the Pope as well as key Vatican officials said within a day that Williamson's views are "absolutely indefensible" and that in the Pope's own words, the Church feels "full and indispensable solidarity with Jews against any Holocaust denial" where was a little humility in response? Wouldn't it have been interesting, yet alone ethically compelling, for those who initially lashed out to have acknowledged that perhaps they did overreact and that they do know that the Church and specifically this Pope are very sensitive to these issues. But that we ask the Pope and church hierarchy to please understand that, whether fully justified or not, we are still very very raw and very vulnerable regarding the Holocaust and so we are sorry if we did over react and we are deeply grateful for the Pope's unambiguous reiteration of that which we do know is his view and is contemporary Catholic teachings.

And this from the Jerusalem Post:

David Klinghoffer

The wages of whining
The Jerusalem Post
Jan. 29, 2009
David Klinghoffer

A point I try to impress on my children is one that the Jewish community would do well to consider. If you spend a day continually whining about trivia, by the end of the day, even if you've got something legitimate to complain about, mommy and daddy aren't going to be in a frame of mind to listen to you very seriously. This lesson can be difficult for a little kid to grasp.

The Anti-Defamation League has a hard time with it, too, otherwise the group wouldn't profess to be "stunned" that the Vatican had "ignored our concerns" and reversed the excommunication of four previously outlawed rebel bishops, leaders of the reactionary Society of St. Pius X. The Pius X organization opposes the reforms of Vatican II, including its olive branch to the Jews and Judaism. One of the bishops is a flagrant anti-Semite, Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist.
Bishop Richard Williamson remains in hot water with the Catholic Church for having accepted ordination in 1988 in the first place, against the wishes of Pope John Paul II. Williamson still cannot minister officially as a bishop. Yet the title and at least some of the influence that goes with it are now his, unsullied by the sinister status associated with excommunication. The combination of malignant views and lofty office are why this case matters.

A priest friend in Rome whom I trust assures me there are sound technical reasons for Pope Benedict's act of mercy to Williamson and the other SSPX bishops: "Being a nut, even a pernicious one, is simply not a justification for maintaining an excommunication, which, from the Church's point of view, is the ultimate punishment. The guy could have been an unrepentant murderer and the excommunication - for the specific offense of illicit ordination - would have still been lifted. It is a technical thing, not a sign of personal approval or rehabilitation."

But as Jews know well from our own religious tradition, well acquainted with legal arcana, such technicalities usually carry the day only when unopposed by urgent real-world considerations.
Before Williamson's forgiveness was announced but after it was known to be a likely prospect, the ADL sought to dissuade Benedict from extending public mercy to a man who argues that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a gift that "God put into men's hands." Yet the Pope went ahead anyway, leaving ADL national director Abraham Foxman "stunned." When the news came out, my wife and I watched Williamson's video on YouTube in which he allows that maybe 200,000 or 300,000 Jews died in Nazi concentration camps, but not one in a gas chamber.

I was disturbed but not stunned.

No one should minimize the good that the ADL and other Jewish anti-defamation groups have accomplished in publicizing Muslim anti-Semitism. But they have also done great damage to Jewish-Christian relations by making a habit of attacking Catholics and Protestants, sometimes in hysterical terms, on matters about which Jews have no business complaining.

Thus for example the ADL and its allies remain publicly unapologetic, as far as I know, for their role in hyping the supposed anti-Semitic menace posed by Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ. Before the film was released, the ADL harped on supposed parallels between Gibson's movie and medieval Passion plays. The latter led to pogroms, so the obvious implication was that the former could also.

Others went further. In an article in The New Republic - Jewish-owned and edited - a Jewish scholar, Paula Fredriksen, stated not as speculation but as a certainty that when the film appeared in countries like Poland, Spain, France and Russia, savagery would erupt: "When violence breaks out, Mel Gibson will have a much higher authority than professors and bishops to answer to."

Of course no such thing came to pass.

Meanwhile, Jewish groups continue to pillory the Christian churches for their alleged guilt in fomenting the Holocaust. That's despite the fact that Hitler himself clearly dismissed as ineffective any fancied strategy to try to whip up Germans with appeals to punish the Christ-killers. In Mein Kampf, an influential best-seller, he relied on the language of Darwinian biology to declare a race war against the Jews.

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the liberal Union for Reform Judaism, America's largest Jewish denomination, has called conservative Christians "zealots" and "bigots." Harshly attacking opposition to gay marriage, Yoffie remarked: "We cannot forget that when Hitler came to power in 1933, one of the first things he did was ban gay organizations." And so on and on. By now, as far as anti-defamation activism is concerned, our community has squandered much of its credibility. Therefore when a real issue of concern arises, as in the Williamson affair, we have little on which to draw. Under circumstances like these, some Christians will listen politely but then turn away, citing technicalities.

The writer is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle and the author of Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History and other books.


The Pope will undoubtedly treat the hysterical reaction of some Catholics - even bishops - with the same degree of mild regret and paternal solicitude as is his habitual manner.

The rest of us might just remember that the very same Catholics who are now berating the Pope and even calling for his resignation include many who spewed forth vitriol and venomous hatred against traditionalists for the alleged reason that...wait for it...yes, you've guessed it..."they were disloyal to the Pope"!.

Yes, really!

Come back ye Pharisees and whited sepulchres! Your time is not yet up, apparently.

Some people still think that Catholics have always blamed present-day Jews for crucifying Christ.

That is nonsense and never has been our theology. All sinners are to blame for he Crucifixion and bad Catholics are more to blame than bad Jews.

And we do not hesitate to blame those amongst our own bishops whose disloyalty to the Church often crucifies Christ far more obviously and openly than any other religious group or leader does.