The Point – March 1957

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

March, 1957

DUBLIN’S BRISCOE COMES TO BOSTON

The city of Boston is not planning a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade for March 17, this year. The reason is not merely that the day is a Sunday. It seems there is a Jew headed for Boston who cannot conveniently get here until the day after Saint Patrick’s Day, and this has been proposed by certain Boston Jews as a fine reason for delaying the March 17 festivities. Some highly-placed Hibernians have been found to agree. Thus, the Catholics of Boston have been instructed to hold off on their tributes to Saint Patrick until said anticipated Jew arrives to witness the proceedings.

The advent of this visitor was disclosed on the front page of the Boston Herald: “The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Robert Briscoe, will arrive in Boston, March 18, be welcomed by a band of Irish pipers and be seen by all of South Boston, which postponed its annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade one day so he could be in it.”

To those angry, but less highly-placed Hibernians who have protested to us that the guilt for this whole affair lies with the Irish in Ireland for having set up a Jewish Mayor in the first place, we offer the following considerations.

Ireland has little notion of that general world distress which we label the “Jewish problem.” The earliest authentic record of Hebrew proximity to Hibernia is dated one thousand years after the Crucifixion. An ancient log recounts that in the year 1079 A.D., “Five Jews came over the sea bearing gifts to Fairdelbach (Hua Brian) and were sent back over the sea.” The Gaelic restraint of this narrative only heightens its eloquence. And we are thus quite prepared to learn that a couple of centuries later, in 1290, it became a universal law in Ireland that no Jew should ever be allowed within the borders. This law was tempered only at the subsequent insistence of Irish-dominating English Protestants — who even succeeded, in the year 1846, in removing from the law books the ancient statute De Judaismo. In compliance with papal teaching, this law required that any Jew who appeared in public in Ireland must wear a distinctive dress to distinguish him from the Christians.

As late as 1880, however, there were less than 400 Jews in all of Ireland. Indeed, despite the relaxed regulations, the Jews today constitute but one tenth of one percent of the Irish population (1954 Irish Catholic Directory).

The glaring historical truth of the matter is that only lately have the Irish ever seen a Jew. And although instructed by their Faith that the Jews are a perfidious and deicide race, the Irish have never had the lesson driven home for them the way the Poles and the French and the Italians and the Germans and the Spaniards have.

Therefore, the “blame” for Briscoe’s current eclipsing of Saint Patrick falls more heavily upon those, on this side of the Atlantic, who are exploiting for their own ends the spectacle of a Jewish Mayor running a Catholic city. These opportunists are, of course, our local Jews, and their purpose, according to our unanimous local press, is the emphasizing of “the intrinsic unity of our Judaeo-Christian heritage.” Briscoe is apparently the best possible symbol they could devise at the moment for perpetuating that most fantastic of twentieth century myths: the notion that Jew and Christian can be hyphenated, that Christianity and Judaism are common foundations of a common culture, that they are two forms of a same belief.

Since the press pictures of Mr. Briscoe’s well-defined physiognomy are presently accompanied by much loose verbiage about how being a Christian and being a Jew are, after all, really the same thing, The Point hopes to shed some light this month on what it chooses to call the “Judaeo-Christian-hoax.”

That we Catholics are somehow spiritually bound to Jews of the Old Testament is a reality none of us can miss. The God of Abraham is our God; the prayers of David are our prayers; the Faith of Moses is, in its fullness, our Faith. But it is not to the ancient Jews that advocates of Judaeo-Christianity would link us; it is to the Jews of today. And that switch makes the joining impossible.

As surely as there is continuity between Old Testament belief and our own, there is none between Old Testament belief and modern Judaism. For the Messias whom the patriarchs and prophets awaited — whose promised birth was the core of their faith and of their hope — has come. And the Jews, as a people, have witnessed His coming. They have seen the Jewish prophecies blazingly fulfilled. Yet they have, as a people, scorned the Messias, and crucified Him, and called down His Blood as a curse on their race. That curse is the chasm which divides Jews like Abraham from Jews like Briscoe.

No one is more keenly aware that there is a religious abyss separating them from their ancestors than are present-day Jews themselves. The American Jewish Committee, principal mouthpiece of U. S. Jewry, recently published an article to point out “the absurdity of regarding Judaism as something that was frozen into an unchangeable pattern some time before the birth of Jesus.” Christians must realize, the argument continued, that they are “no longer dealing with a pre-Herodian people of Palestine whose enthusiasm could be enlisted for a scion of the Davidic dynasty or for an apocalyptic savior ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’ ”

And as the Judaism participating in Judaeo-Christianity differs from the Old Testament variety, so, the Jews feel, the “Christianity” should be unlike the New Testament sort. To provoke such an evolution is, indeed, their only purpose in coupling themselves to the religion of Christ. For Christianity in its orthodox form — as set forth in the New Testament, defined by the popes, and preached by the saints — is a thing which, above all other things, the Jews hate and contemn.

Unfortunately, however, some Catholics are still unconvinced that this is the Jewish attitude. They join merrily in the babble about “Judaeo-Christian principles” and assure you that the Jews have nothing but respect for the Christian Faith. The following utterances, as typical as they are bold, should help to disabuse these naive ones of their notions.

“In sum, all anti-Semitism, either old or new, roots in a philosophy of life, a scheme of salvation, whose soil is the emotion imparted by Christian theology.” (Rabbi Horace Kallen, in a book published by the American Association for Jewish Education)

“It is unfortunately true that in the Christian religious tradition the Jews are assumed to be the accursed of God. There is no use evading the fact or prevaricating about it. There is only one way to deal with it; it must cease to be a fact. That judgment on the Jews must be expunged from the Christian tradition.” (Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, Dean of the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary)

“The Conference unanimously agreed on the necessity for a permanent organization and on a proposal to revise Christian religious teaching, particularly the story of the Crucifixion.” (The American Jewish Yearbook, Vol. 50, reporting on the International Conference of Christians and Jews)

“The Christ of Christianity must yield to Yeshua ben Yossef. The God must die and be re-risen as a man. That will be the true resurrection!” (Rabbi Joel Blau, writing in the B’nai B’rith Magazine)

“The teachings of the New Testament are in complete and profound conflict with what Judaism teaches. They are in complete and utter conflict with what we teach, for we teach the oneness of God, which to — and in accordance with — our belief, excludes the existence of a Son of God.” (Rabbi Joachim Prinz, speaking in a New Jersey courtroom, as recognized witness for the Jewish community — Tudor vs. Board of Education)

“The Synagogue will not conceal its conviction that … Christianity presents in its traditional formulations but an intermediate step between paganism and the ultimate acceptance of Jewish monotheism.” (Commentary, official journal of the American Jewish Committee)

It is with these reservations that the Jews are proposing to share with us a “Judaeo-Christian” union.

Any Catholic who has the least acquaintance with the story of Saint Patrick would be quick to agree that the Apostle of Ireland was no proponent of a common-denominator, Jewish-Christian creed. And the saint worked abundant miracles to prove the point. One of the most familiar incidents is that of the wizard at Inver Boinde. Although this pagan magician was assuredly no Jew, he was spreading about the countryside the most orthodox Talmudic teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary. His filthy rantings against the virginity of Our Lady were called to Saint Patrick’s attention. Patrick sought out the wizard, made the Sign of the Cross on the ground beneath him, and the earth promptly opened, swallowing the pagan and his blasphemies; hardly a good tale for Brotherhood Week, but typical of Saint Patrick’s zeal for the truth.

As our regular readers well know, we could quote interminably from the writings of the saints and the popes, and the decrees of Church councils, to prove that from the Catholic side there is no foundation whatever for a common cause with post-Crucifixion Jewry. But since action against the Jews is perhaps more memorable (and since Irish action against them would especially fit this issue) we will limit ourselves to the famous story of Father Creagh from Limerick.

Back at the turn of the century, there was not to be found in all of Limerick city a more effective or beloved preacher than Father Creagh of the Redemptorists. And nothing made him more esteemed by his congregation than the sermon which he delivered, in his very finest style, on the morning of January 11, 1904.

Taking as his theme the general perfidy of the Jews, Father Creagh reviewed, with much gusto, the centuries of Jewish hatred for the Cross, the Jews’ cruel murder of Christian children, their continual blasphemies against Our Lord, and their heartless extortions from any Christian people who befriend them.

Father Creagh’s sermon resulted in a city-wide boycott of Limerick’s few dozen Jewish merchants. 6,000 members of the local Catholic Confraternity pledged that they would avoid all commercial contact with Jews. The effect was immediate and lasting. In retaliation, the Jews wrote endlessly in their periodicals against Father Creagh, and accorded him a species of international fame by giving the “Limerick incident” a special entry of its own in the Jewish Encyclopedia.

Over thirteen hundred years ago, that giant of Irish monasticism, Saint Columbanus, was able to write with understandable pride to Pope Boniface IV: “All we Irish, living at the uttermost ends of the earth, are the disciples of Saints Peter and Paul, and of all the disciples who wrote the sacred canon under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: receiving nothing outside the evangelical and apostolic doctrine; no heretic, no Jew, no schismatic was ever amongst us; but the Catholic Faith as it was first delivered to us from you, the successors, that is, of the Holy Apostles, is retained amongst us unchanged.”

It was the rooted tradition of men like Columbanus, continuing the work of the apostle Patrick, which saw the flowering of Ireland as the “Island of Saints and Scholars.” And in the midst of the Briscoe fanfare this month, there will no doubt be oratorical reference to Ireland’s holy and learned past. But it may be safely wagered that none of our local scholars will dare sound off with a text from one of the Irish saints. It would make such uncomfortable listening for a Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin.

St. Patrick, Bishop of Armagh

Born in 387, Saint Patrick lived to be one hundred and six years old. The final sixty years of his life were spent in those famous missionary labors which won him the title of Apostle of Ireland. Universally honored by the Irish, he is given an annual liturgical remembrance by the Church on the seventeenth day of March.

Prayer of Saint Patrick

At Tara, today, I place between me and harm the virtues of the Birth of Christ with His Baptism; the virtue of His Crucifixion with His burial; the virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension; the virtue of the coming of the Eternal Judgment …
Christ be with me,
Christ before me,
Christ after me,
Christ in me,
Christ under me,
Christ over me …
May Christ be in the heart of each person to whom I speak,
Christ in the mouth of each person who speaks to me,
Christ in each eye which sees me,
Christ in each ear which hears me.

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