Dead Letter Office

Your correspondent (Culture Wars, November 2018) is pleased to see letters printed in the magazine from countries outside the USA. Well, perhaps I can assist still further in this endeavor on a subject mentioned frequently in Culture Wars, namely the Jewish question.

There are four supposedly Catholic weekly papers in England. The Universe, and the Catholic Times are pretty anodyne, and the Tablet, although having a fine earlier history, long ago left the integral Catholic fold with much of its contents. This is so much so the case that its dissenting approach in the sixties to the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae led to its becoming known as “The Pill” (a pretty unsubtle pun!).

The Catholic Herald has generally been orthodox and over the years has attracted leading Catholic writers. It went through a very positive and vigorous phase when Dr. William Oddie, author of the best recent autobiography of G. K. Chesterton, was its editor. However, the signs now are that it is going the way of two of the others, although thankfully it has not reached the sad position of the Tablet. For example, there has been relatively little by way of publicising Archbishop Vigano’s statements regarding the treatment of the sex abuse crisis, in particularly the McCarrick case, in the pages of the Catholic Herald. But there is another issue now that I would like to give as a specific example.

Readers may know that in England there has been much discussion of alleged anti-Semitism on the part of the leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, and of the party generally. It is not intended to discuss this issue directly here. Needless to say, as Corbyn has prostrated himself further and further before the various Jewish groups and organizations, the latter, as usual, have proceeded to raise the ante yet again, demanding even more in the way of obeisance. This is a typical “chutzpah” technique of course, by way of demanding more and more.

The reaction of the Catholic Church and media to all of this has been to make sure it says nothing which might offend Jews. This is these days pretty difficult, of course, since it has become well nigh impossible to make any criticism whatever, on any matter, of Jews (or even to use the term “Jew”) without being immediately accused of being anti-Semitic.

A typical example of the approach taken in my country to this matter is provided by an editorial in the Catholic Herald in the issue for 2nd November 2018. The editorial is one long reference to conspiracy theories directed against Jews, together with Catholic failure to fight for “Jewish dignity,” together with their “pandering to anti-Semites,” plus “stirring up of anti-Jewish feeling or silence when others have done this.” Well, of course we are all sinners and no doubt guilty of such things, but there is another side, which seems to have gotten lost here. If we are all sinners, is it not the case that what we have here is only a partial explanation of the true situation. Sin is surely an aspect of all of us and not just Catholics.


This is just an excerpt from Culture Wars Magazine, not the full article. To continue reading, purchase the January, 2019 edition of Culture Wars Magazine.

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