The Point – April 1954

Edited Under Fr. Leonard Feeney M.I.C.M. — Saint Benedict Center

April, 1954


Brotherhood, the religion of it-makes-no-difference-what-you-believe, continues to receive more and more public praise from public people. Brotherhood’s parent, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and its grand-parent, the Jewish Masons of B’nai B’rith, are of course delighted.

To familiarize our readers with the attitude of the Catholic Church toward Brotherhood, Interfaith, inter-creedalism, etc., we print the following courageous pronouncement by His Holiness, Pope Pius VII.

“By the fact that freedom of all forms of worship is proclaimed, truth is confused with error, and the Holy and Immaculate Spouse of Christ, outside of which there is no salvation, is placed on the same level as heretical sects and even as Jewish perfidy!”

It might surprise our readers to learn that they could go to any current copy of Who’s Who in American Jewry and find listed there the names of some Catholic priests. The willingness of converted Jews (even those with Holy Orders) to remain part of the Jewish scene has always been a worry to our Holy Mother the Church. And perhaps this explains why, since the days of the Apostles, the Church has never found a converted Jew it could canonize.

Speaking of converted Jews, we hear that Eugenio Zolli, former Grand Rabbi of Rome, is to teach at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. We would feel more at ease about Zolli’s presence there if, before assuming his duties, he would do one thing: become the first Jewish convert of modern times to denounce the unspeakable anti-Christian blasphemies contained in the Jewish Talmud.

Ever since six Catholic Brothers from Saint Benedict Center visited the University of Notre Dame last summer, and told the University that it was letting down Our Blessed Lady, there have emanated from South Bend repeated attempts at self-exoneration.

The latest of these comes in the midst of a “farewell” article written by Notre Dame’s departing football coach, Frank Leahy. With obvious coaching from Notre Dame’s department of Apologetics, Leahy says proudly, “Since 1941, I think there have been 167 conversions at school, six of them football players.”

Some very elementary mathematics would reveal that Leahy’s figures mean a disgraceful conversion-rate of one convert and a half per priest every thirteen years at the University of Notre Dame.


Except for a small segment who are impressed by its wealth, or its age, or its influence, most people in this country have for Harvard College nothing but contempt. They think of it as a place filled with sissies and psychotics, a breeding ground of depravity, disloyalty, and despair. And though they have come to their conclusions not through any direct dealings with Harvard, but only through a kind of canny intuition, it does not require much probing to discover that their conclusions are correct.

Even its most superficial aspects somehow symbolize or reveal what Harvard is. Take, for example, its physical plant, which provides the setting for whatever goes on at the college. Most Harvard buildings, you will notice, are covered with ivy — mercifully so; for they are monuments to ugliness. Not even Harvard’s million-dollar front, the Georgian-style houses arrogantly arrayed along the Charles River, can create a lasting impression of beauty. For Harvard is set in the midst of slums — squalid, miserable, Harvard-owned slums. And wherever these slums get the chance, they poke their crude fingers into Harvard’s sanctuary, destroying its composure, and rendering its classes in sociology uncomfortably vivid.

If you want an unforgettable picture of what the courses taught at Harvard can do to one’s expression, simply take a walk through Harvard Square and observe the faces of the students there. Even the beards which certain individualists affect are unable to conceal their dull, glazed Harvard look; the beards on the faces being far less effective cover-ups than the ivy on the buildings. A walk through the Square will also enable you to get glimpses of the Harvard faculty, a congenial fraternity, some of whose members incline toward scholarship, and others toward suicide.

During the past few months, everyone at Harvard has been noticeably on edge. The cause is some sharp and steady needling Senator Joseph McCarthy has been giving the university for not firing certain teachers who admitted they had been Communists and who have refused to aid the government in its investigations. Harvard, however, has been adamant; it is determined that it will not be told what to do by any Irish-Catholic junior senator from Wisconsin.

This McCarthy attack, and the widespread criticism that has come to Harvard as a result of it, last month prompted Time magazine to come to the university’s support. It put a picture of Harvard’s President Pusey on its cover and, on the inside, devoted five fortissimo pages to singing the praises of the place.

Why Time should have made this awkward leap to the defense of Harvard is anybody’s guess. Perhaps it is due to the fact that Time ’s number-two man, Roy Larsen, was one of the half-dozen finalists in the race for Harvard President; and he chose this way to assure Pusey he didn’t hold any grudge for having been nosed out. Or perhaps, and more probably, it was inspired by those purely Masonic considerations which Time and Harvard share.

But whatever the reason, Time was certainly willing to clamber way out on a limb to try and make Harvard look good. Here is its statement on the teachers who admitted they held Communist party cards: “If a scholar is to operate effectively on the frontiers of his field, he must also be accorded the rights of any other citizen to differ and dissent outside that field.”

That Time should indulge in exactly the kind of double-talk that the fellow-traveler defenders of American Communists use, indicates at least one thing clearly: its advertised opposition to Communism is a much less compelling motive than its secret loyalty to Harvard.

However, there is one predicament which the Masons who run Harvard have gotten into, and which not even the Masons who run Time can get them out of. Menacing though McCarthy is, there is an enemy far more dangerous to Harvard than he: an enemy attacking the college not from the outside, but gnawing at it from within — namely, the Jews in attendance there.

Up till a decade or so ago, Harvard kept the number of its Jews carefully and determinedly low. Then, somehow, by someone, its tight semitic quota was relaxed, and out of the high schools of New York, the Jews started pouring in. Today, they dominate the student body and have made great inroads into the faculty. And Masonic Harvard, which is official Harvard, is at a loss to know what to do about Jewish Harvard. But it knows that unless it does something quick, Jewish Harvard will become official Harvard.

The Harvard Masons do not dare show strength in trying to get rid of the Jews, for fear of the charge of “anti-semitism” with which the Jewish press would blast them. And the Jews will not be persuaded to budge by moderate measures. Pusey, who hails from such an unsemitic place as Iowa, was imported to see if he could pry them loose gently. But there were more Jewish applications for admission to the college this year than ever before.

This is the Harvard dilemma. The Jews are corrupting the place; official Harvard knows that they are; but it is, by its principles, helpless to do anything about it. What the future holds for Harvard, possibly Time will tell.


It is a mortal sin for a Catholic priest to participate in an Interfaith meeting. Any Catholic priest who has participated in an Interfaith meeting should go to confession at once, and should accuse himself of a mortal sin, and should promise to amend the scandal he has given, and should assure his confessor that he will never take part in an Interfaith meeting again. If, as a penitent in confession, he does not give this promise and this assurance, the priest who hears his confession should refuse him absolution, or else he, himself, will commit a mortal sin.

It is impossible for any Catholic priest to assist at an Interfaith meeting and not know that it is a mortal sin to do so. A priest who would not know this to be a mortal sin, would simply not know what a mortal sin was at all, either among his own faults or those of his penitents. If participation by a Catholic priest in an Interfaith meeting is not an occasion of sin to be avoided under pain of mortal sin, by reason of the compromise of the Faith, the scandal, and the occasion of sin to others it affords, then nothing in a Catholic’s life could ever be called an occasion of sin, nor could anyone ever be commanded to avoid an occasion of sin.

No bishop can give a priest permission to participate in an Interfaith meeting. Any bishop who does so commits a mortal sin himself, and his permission should not be accepted. It is not lawful in the Catholic Church to commit mortal sin “with permission.” Nor is it lawful for any bishop to command a priest to commit a mortal sin, or to give a scandal.

Every Catholic priest who reads what I now say knows I am telling the truth. I know a priest’s mind. In matters of such fundamental moral observance, a priest needs only to be told the truth in order to see it. I also know the fastidiousness of a priest’s heart in matters connected with sin. Any priest who will pretend to himself, or to others, that what I am now saying is not sound Catholic moral theology will later repent of this. And he will accuse himself in confession of having done wrong. And he should be given a penance proportionate to the heinousness of what he does when he either participates in, or says one may participate in, for any reason whatsoever, an Interfaith meeting, which is the joint presentation of religious beliefs by a Catholic priest, a Protestant minister, and a Jewish rabbi.


Saint Benedict Center
23 Arrow Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Dear Father Keller,

We have delayed this letter for a long while, hoping that as time went by we would hear the welcome news that would make a letter like this unnecessary. But that news has not yet come, and so at last we are writing to say to you what has been in our hearts, and in the hearts of so many of the Catholic people you used to know.

Please, dear Father, before it is too late, please, come back!

There are those who say smugly that our appeal will be useless; that in founding your new Christopher religion you are another Martin Luther. We know that is not true. We know, Father, and this gives us hope, that you have never publicly attacked, as did Luther, our Catholic devotions, or our Holy Father the Pope. Never have you ranted against indulgences. Nor have you ever descended to the moral degeneracy, the complete dissipation of the priest who founded Lutheranism.

As the months go by, dear Father, and we hear of all the new books, new awards, new movies being sponsored by you and your busy followers, we sometimes wonder if what you really need isn’t just a good rest — a chance to sit back and take a leisurely look at yourself.

If you could only do that, the whole picture might come clear. You might be able to see the “Father Keller case” as it has unfolded before concerned American Catholics: How you first got popular attention by quoting Confucius, urging people to light candles and to seek new careers. How your ideas developed into a sect known as the Christophers, “the Christ-bearers,” and how you accommodated the Protestants and Jews who wanted to join you by allowing that Christ could be God, or not God, or mere man, or just a general good feeling — depending on the preference of the individual Christopher. And then came the pressure of Jewish contributions, forcing you to abandon your Catholic belief in Original Sin and to state that, “We are all born Children of God,” making Baptism therefore quite unnecessary. And, finally, came the realization of how very much the Jewish element in your sect is prevailing when we heard that you were giving a television show with your Jewish follower, Jack Benny, at three O’ Clock on Good Friday afternoon.

Somewhere inside you, Father, beyond the range of flash bulbs and spotlights, is the Catholic boy who one day decided to enter Maryknoll, to dedicate his life to the work of the missions, and change the pagan world into a Catholic one. And we still want you to do that, Father. Just think of the work for conversions you still could do. More now, we might say, than you ever could before.

You would be in a position to understand, more than many another priest, the problems of those who are not within the fold. For you have actually known what it is to wander from the Faith of one’s childhood days. You have experienced the restlessness of those who look to new beliefs for consolation. And is it not likely that some of the same people whom you have made Christophers would follow you back to Holy Mother Church and let you make Catholics of them?

We are sending along to you, dear Father, a green scapular. If you would rather not wear it, place it in your wallet or your pocket. Let it serve as a reminder that still, no matter how far you have strayed, we Catholics want you back.

Please, Father Keller, while there time, come back home.


The Editors of The Point


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