February 13, 2009


Published February 04, 2009, issue of February 13, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Jewish-Catholic Ties Don’t Face Apocalypse

Your February 6 editorial “Betraying Vatican II” is mostly fair, but I think it does boil over into hyperbole in places.

First, all Pope Benedict XVI has done is rescind the excommunication order for the four bishops from the Society of St. Pius X. Neither they nor their followers have been reconciled to the Catholic Church. More to the point, the decision relates to their consecration as bishops back in 1988 — it has nothing to do with their behaviors or commentary since.

Second, the appalling Holocaust denial of Bishop Richard Williamson has been unequivocally condemned by the head of the Society of St. Pius X and its German branch. Yes, these repudiations are long, long overdue, and I have no doubt that they were the result of pressure, but the fact that they finally came should be a sign of hope should the Society of St. Pius X be reconciled.

Third, should that reconciliation come, the Society of St. Pius X will have to embrace Nostra Aetate and the discipline of the church, which will purify it of the Williamson mentalities that are present within the society. Leaving the society outside the church will permit it to roll about the deck like the proverbial loose cannon.

Finally, the notion that “the reassertion of traditional Catholic beliefs and practices” would strain Catholic-Jewish relations is a bit disturbing to me as a tradition-minded Catholic. John L. Allen Jr., the Catholic writer you are paraphrasing, has also written that “the vast majority of ordinary Catholics attracted to the Latin Mass, or who harbor reservations about doctrinal innovations in the church, are neither bigots nor crackpots.” To hint otherwise itself contributes to a climate of suspicion and distrust.

We need to sit down, take a deep breath and talk to each other, and not just through the preferred media of familiar, good-hearted figures like Father John Pawlikowski, who while they constitute established figures of dialogue, do not represent the church as a whole.

This isn’t the Apocalypse, nor even an apocalypse, in Catholic-Jewish relations. Let us reason together.

Dale Price
Warren, Mich.

While your February 6 editorial “Betraying Vatican II” is thoughtful and well-written, I think it is inappropriate for a Jewish newspaper editorial to use the term “Jesus Christ.”

“Christ” is not the last name of the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Rather, it is the title bestowed by Christians on the person they believe is the messiah.

I often see and hear the name “Jesus Christ” in the mainstream, non-Jewish media. I did not expect it in the Forward.

Lynn S. Olinger
Dallas, Texas

‘Revisionists’ Are Actually Deniers

Scholars of the Holocaust have been careful to call Holocaust deniers just that, deniers, not revisionists as they call themselves (“Revisionist: It’s Time To Quit Shoah Fight,” January 23).

The reasons are obvious: Revisionism in history is an honorable task when exercised by honorable scholars who overturn conventional thought and attack accepted wisdom. Holocaust deniers are charlatans, oftentimes also antisemites and racists.

I am not alone in asking the Forward not to use the term “revisionist” when describing them.

Michael Berenbaum
Los Angeles, Calif.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.