Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jews for Pius XII

From a past issue of First Things:
...The New York Times is amused by the fact that Pope Pius XII has at least one Jewish defender. He is Mr. Gary Krupp, a retired medical-equipment dealer and the president and cofounder of the Pave the Way Foundation (PTWF), a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve relations among different religions. In 2000, Pope John Paul II honored Krupp for his charitable efforts by naming him a Knights commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St . Gregory the Great.

In the last few years, Mr. Krupp has devoted himself to defending the reputation of Pope Pius XII. Mr. Krupp used to accept the common allegations against Pius XII, but after taking the time to study the evidence, he concluded that the wartime pope has gotten a bad rap. The Pave the Way Foundation’s website, www.ptwf.org, contains its research on the wartime pope and includes many primary-source documents.

Reporter Paul Vitello portrays Krupp as an eccentric and loose cannon whose work is dismissed by mainstream scholars. In fact, in the last decade, many new books have been published in Europe that defend Pius XII. Unfortunately, the work of these scholars in Italy, Germany, and France is largely unknown in the United States (and apparently to the staff of the New York Times).

As for Gary Krupp, is he really the only Jew who has a favorable opinion of Pius XII? Since the late 1990s, a number of Jewish scholars and writers have defended the pope’s reputation. They include Prof. William D. Rubenstein, who tore apart John Cornwell’s biased and unreliable Hitler’s Pope in these pages; our friend Rabbi David Dalin, who wrote The Myth of Hitler's Pope: Pope Pius XII And His Secret War Against Nazi Germany (2002); Prof. Jacques Adler of Australia; Michael Tagliacozzo (who escaped the Nazi roundups of Jews in Rome and now lives in Israel); Serge Klarsfeld, the Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter; Bernard Henri-Lévy, the French philosopher and Jewish atheist; and Great Britain’s Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill and a world-renowned authority on the Holocaust.

Earlier Jewish authors who defended Pius XII include: Leon Poliakov; Pinchas Lapide, the author of Three Popes and the Jews (1967); Jenö Levai, who testified as an expert witness at the trial of Adolf Eichmann and then wrote the book Hungarian Jewry and the Papacy: Pope Pius XII Did Not Remain Silent (1968); and David Herstig, the author of the German-language book Die Rettung (“The Rescue,” 1967). In 1963, when German playwright Rolf Hochhuth first turned Pius XII into a villain with The Deputy, Dr. Joseph L. Licthen, the late interfaith director of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote a persuasive monograph, “A Question of Judgment: Pope Pius XII and the Jews,” which can be found on the Internet. Clearly, Gary Krupp has company...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Divine Takedown?

Oh.  Oh, wow.  Okay, so a Pakistani news source talking about weird sounding, apparently Hindu practices may not be the most reliable source.  The imagery of this bit is astounding.  Excerpts:
“...There was a temple called Kasai Kathi (slaughter house) in eastern Assam’s Sadia area where it was said human sacrifices were performed,” said Pradeep Sharma, a researcher on tantricism. “But we have no evidence to prove this as the temple is now razed to the ground after heavy flooding triggered by a killer earthquake that rocked the state in 1950...”
Does that resemble, in any way, this?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pius XII Was An Awesome Philosemite

Yet further evidence.  Excerpts:
The Jewish New Yorker who has made it his life’s work to clear the name of Pope Pius XII of being anti-Semitic believes the wartime pontiff actually went undercover to save the lives of Jews in Rome.

Gary Krupp came across the evidence in a letter from a Jewish woman whose family was rescued thanks to direct Vatican intervention.

“It is an unusual letter, written by a woman who is alive today in northern Italy, who said she was with her mother, her uncle, and a few other relatives in an audience with Pius XII in 1947.” Next to Pope Pius during the meeting was his Assistant Secretary of State, Monsignor Giovanni Montini, the future Pope Paul VI.

“Her uncle immediately looks at the Pope and he says, ‘You were dressed as a Franciscan,’ and looked at Montini who was standing next to him, ‘and you as a regular priest. You took me out of the ghetto into the Vatican.’ Montini immediately said, ‘Silence, do not ever repeat that story.’”

Krupp believes the claim to be true because the personality of the wartime Pope was such that he “needed to see things with his own eyes.”

“He used to take the car out into bombed areas in Rome, and he certainly wasn't afraid of that. I can see him going into the ghetto and seeing what was happening,” says Krupp.

Krupp and his wife Meredith founded the Pave the Way Foundation in 2002 to “identify and eliminate the non-theological obstacles between religions...”
The rest of the article has more evidence of Pius XII's wartime efforts to save Jewish lives. Pave The Way Foundation has a page dedicated to Pius XII here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to Make Excellent Parish Websites

Complete with handouts, presentations, and everything you need (save that skilled webdesigner with the know-how)--see here.

We desperately need to improve our self-presentation in cyberspace--they're really rather awful, all too frequently. Remember--beauty is inherently attractive, and we need to let the beauty of the truth and goodness of the faith be made manifest through our art, our architecture, and our HTML.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

HHS Regulations Target Catholics

According to at least one read of the history of the language being used. Excerpts:
...The federal government’s new contraceptive and sterilization insurance coverage mandate includes a religious exemption whose language was designed specifically to counter Catholic institutions’ conscience protections, one Catholic health care leader told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee Nov. 2.

The exemption’s “highly flawed” definition originated in a California debate about a state-level contraception mandate, William J. Cox, president and CEO of the California-based Alliance of Catholic Health Care, told a Nov. 2 hearing of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.

The definition was “painstakingly crafted by the American Civil Liberties Union to specifically exclude religious institutional missions like health care providers, universities and social service agencies,” Cox stated.

During the debate, the then-head of Planned Parenthood in California said the wording was designed to close the “Catholic gap” in contraceptive coverage...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Western Civilization Has Suffered A Stroke

and its memory is rapidly fading.  I'm tempted to say that the Know Nothings are back, though now Knowing Nothing of the origins of their own conservative movement.  Excerpts:
...If Mr. Limbaugh doesn’t recognize the importance of the liberal arts and classical studies, what does he hope to conserve with his conservatism?

From what little of I know of Limbaugh, I know he speaks affectionately of the Founding Fathers. But, of course, the majority of Founding Fathers were classically educated. It would have been impossible to have had an American Founding without the classics...

Limbaugh’s response to the caller yesterday is symbolic and representative not only of the loss of purpose of western culture, but also of the loss of unity. What holds American and western civilization together if not the humane and the liberal understanding of the human person as recognized in our “experiment of liberty under law”?

Western civilization has been the result of a long, difficult conversation. When we read the classics and greats of the western world, we join into a Great Conversation which began when God spoke the universe into existence, but we also remind ourselves and the rising generation that the conversation has yet to end, and will not end until all things have been redeemed through the One...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why Do People Illegally Immigrate?

A bishop from Texas gives a rather revealing analysis of the current situation.  Excerpts:
...Fear is the new driving factor for crossing the border—legally or illegally.

“The dominant fact is that the women and children are here. The men are often still in Mexico working to support them. They visit when they can. This is a new phenomenon, and not one that fits into the usual descriptions of immigration that we hear about on the news.”

Bishop Flores makes a first-person account of his encounters with immigrant families in several different categories, from the traditional poor seeking jobs, to Central Americans crossing Mexico on their way north, to middle class and wealthy business people seeking to shield their families from the violence.

“The new reality is rooted in what each of these families have in common: fear. They do not live in the Valley, or in Laredo, or in San Antonio primarily for economic reasons; rather, fear of kidnapping, random shootings, being caught at the wrong time in the wrong place, these are the pressures moving them. They are driven also by the fear that their children will grow up in, and know only, a lawless and cynical community if they remain at home.”

The economic and social impact of this new reality didn’t escape Bishop Flores’ analysis.

“If the middle class and the employer class are leaving because of violence, then we can expect the effects will be felt in an increase in poverty in Mexico. And this will surely put more pressure on immigration into the United States, only it will be doubly propelled by fear of violence and by poverty.”

He also spoke to the role of the Church in this discussion.

“We in the Church must do more to live up to our indispensable obligation to contribute to the discussion in a way that keeps it realistic and keeps it human,” Bishop Flores said. “There is a moral distinction we as a civilized people should maintain: someone who overstays a tourist visa out of fear for their life is not in the same category as someone who is running a prostitution ring in the Valley to support the drug trade...”

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Why Does the Pope Oppose Condom Distribution in Africa?

John Allen has the story. Excerpts
...First, the pope was simply giving voice to what Catholic bishops in Africa have been telling him for decades. African prelates usually say the condoms that arrive in Africa are often cheap and unreliable, and anyway, simply passing them out without education and moral formation sometimes encourages people to engage in even riskier behaviors. You can contest that, but it’s far from a peculiar papal hobbyhorse.

Second, other religious leaders in Africa hold the same view. The day after the “Great Condoms Debate” broke out, I interviewed the imam of the national mosque in Cameroon’s capital. When I asked him what he made of it, the imam said: “My only regret is that the pope didn’t wait to say it until he got here, so we could have said it together.”

Third, some secular anti-AIDS experts think the pope’s got a point. Edward Green of Harvard published an op-ed in the Washington Post three days later with data showing that nations which use the “ABC” approach, stressing abstinence and fidelity alongside condoms, have had more success bringing down infection rates...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Answer to Evil: Jesus Is Lord

What he says.  Excerpts:
...now we are coming full circle where we have got to rediscover how revolutionary our Catholic faith truly is to this world gone mad. And as we proclaim healing and an allegiance to something other than this world, we will become increasingly obnoxious to the world around us.

Consider both things for which Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned:

1. They ate away at profit – Paul drove a terrible demon out of a slave girl, a demon that afflicted her, but profited her slaveholders. In this world today there is a lot of trafficking in sin and addiction. Terrible demons afflict many people regarding sexuality, drugs, and alcohol. And there’s a lot of money to be made selling pornography to sex addicts, and others. Sex sells, Hollywood movie producers, contraceptionists, pimps, escort services, abortionists, and even traffickers in the sex slave industry also feed at the trough. Drugs and alcohol are big money makers too. Not to mention the huge numbers of products that are sold using the demon of fear: You are not pretty enough, you are not healthy enough, you are getting old, you don’t drive the right car, you haven’t impressed your friends enough. You need to buy our product right away so you are not so pathetic. And thus the demon of fear and low self-esteem is exploited, along with the demon of greed.

But what would happen if the Church were to start effectively preaching unabridged Christianity which says, “You don’t need to be afraid of your health, your age, or what people think of you. You can also find serenity in Christ and so you won’t need all that extra alcohol and those drugs. And you can be set free from your enslavement to sex, take authority over your passions and discover the beauty of traditional marriage. What if we got back in the business of driving out demons?

Well, of course the answer would be that we like Paul would be and are, under attack. We are especially hated by the sex industry and the abortionists, since that is the most focused issue these days. To them we are public enemy number one. We threaten the vision, the addiction and the despair that fills their coffers. If we are too successful, and for now our successes are meager, their profits may go away. Yes, we must be dealt with.

But really, we will only be effective if we preach the unabridged faith. Not the faith that is trimmed and tucked under worldly priorities, the faith that insists on being “realistic” and makes endless apologies to the inevitable objections of the world no matter how much we water things down. The true faith is revolutionary in the freedom it offers from sin and the demons.

Paul and Silas didn’t end up in prison by preaching a watered down, tamed and domesticated moral vision. They unabashedly drove out a demon that was afflicting a girl, and in so doing they engaged in a revolutionary threat to a world that profits well on sin.

2. They threatened power – Calling Jesus Lord was a revolutionary threat to the incumbent power which seeks and demands our first and full loyalty. And thus today, many strive to make Catholics fit into neat little political categories. Both Republicans and Democrats want the Church to fit into their narrow little categories and march in lockstep with a party system. Even Catholics in those categories want the Church to conform. Many Catholics in fact are more loyal to their party than their Church, and are more passionate about their political views than their faith. If there is a conflict between a Church teaching and the party line, guess which usually gives way.

But in the end the Church will not just fit into some neat political category. The true faith is too revolutionary to fit into some worldly box.

And thus there is a lot of hatred and anger directed at the Church. Republicans say we’re too liberal, Democrats say we’re too conservative. More and more we are being shown the door, kicked to the curb and our very right to religious liberty is threatened. Religious exemptions to increasingly pernicious laws are being slowly removed, and lawsuits against Catholic Institutions are increasing. It will surely get worse as secular systems demand increasing loyalty and Church must refuse that loyalty.

Because, Jesus is Lord, not the Federal, State or local government. Jesus is not Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. He is God, and the faith he announces cannot be defined down or compromised to fit into a friendship with the world.

But here too, no tame, domesticated Christianity, will threaten or change this world. When Paul preached the people rioted, but too much modern preaching incites only yawns and indifference...
Note: the revolutionary act done by Paul and Silas? Preaching Jesus Christ, and acts of spiritual warfare. Christians are not at war with flesh and blood, but with the powers and principalities of this present darkness, demons that can only be driven out by prayer and fasting, by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and the name of Jesus. Marxist revolution, violent revolution is not for Christians (as Solzhenitsyn tells us), for that is based on the lie that if only we wipe out this present evil, utterly eradicate it, then the world shall be newborn. What is always overlooked is that this newborn would be received into a world covered, not in the blood of its mother, but the blood of others, the blood of innocent and guilty alike. This would be (has been) over and over again a monstrous child, a tyranny.

No--the Christian revolution cuts more deeply, more thoroughly than any other. reaching right down into the hearts of humanity, transforming, restoring the lost relationships destroyed in the fall, curing the sick, healing the blindness and deafness and silenced voice of all the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve--casting out the devil and his minions into the outer darkness, and letting light into the world again.


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