As modern anti-Semitism began to take shape in the latter third of the nineteenth century, the Church was a major player. According to David I. Kertzer, author of “The Popes Against the Jews,” (photo above) in Pope Pius IX’s war on Modernism, no weapon was more effective than the Catholic press, which at the time consisted of hundreds of newspapers,…..
The term “anti-Semitism,” first coined in 1879 by German writer Wilhelm Marr who wanted a scientific-sounding euphemism for Judenhass, or Jew-hatred, purported to explain why Jews should be reviled as defined by race. Adopting an extreme version of anti-Semitism, Nazi propaganda depicted Jews not only as an inferior race but as a demonic one, whose threat could only be eradicated…..
The image of Jews as “God-killers” and their refusal to convert to Christianity has fueled a long tradition of Christian intolerance, hatred, and violence. Here a few examples of manifestations of Christian anti-Judaism (animus against Jews based on religion) that have occurred over the centuries.
In 1171, in the town of Blois, southwest of Paris, Jews were accused of ritual murder…..
Ritual Murder/Blood Libel
In 1144, an unfounded rumor circulated in England that Jews had kidnapped a Christian child from the town of Norwich, tied him to a cross, stabbed his head to simulate Jesus’ crown of thorns, killed him, drained his body of blood, and…..
For close to two millennia, popes have had an enormous impact on the world stage: in religious, geopolitical, legal, social, artistic and cultural matters. Because for so many centuries popes participated as advocates or critics in every important moment of history, papal history has mirrored the history of Western civilization. Popes were absolute monarchs of the Papal States for…..
When Jesus began his public ministry in the Roman province of Judea c. 28 CE, the “Jesus movement” became one of several competing Jewish religious/political movements of the time, including the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, Zealots, and followers of John the Baptist. The Sadducees were an aristocratic, priestly group who collaborated with the Roman authorities to maintain the status quo;…..
After the Church had consolidated its power in the early Middle Ages, heretics came to be regarded as enemies of society. The crime of heresy was defined as a deliberate denial of an article of truth of the Catholic faith, and a public and obstinate persistence in that alleged error.
The medieval church condemned religious diversity and…..
Christopher Hitchens, an avowed atheist, in his book, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” wrote that organized religion is “the main source of hatred in the world,” because it is “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children,” and accordingly it “ought…..
A premise of my book, “The Holocaust, the Church, and the Law of Unintended Consequences, How Christian Anti-Judaism Spawned Nazi Anti-Semitism,” is that Nazism’s virulent brand of genocidal anti-Semitism was rooted in the Church’s 1900 plus year animus against Jews, termed anti-Judaism.
“Anti-Semitism,” wrote Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1994, “is a great sin against humanity.” But he made no…..
James Carroll, in “Constantine’s Sword, The Church and the Jews,” implicitly invoked the law of unintended consequences when he described the Church’s dilemma regarding the Holocaust. Carroll contends, for example, that the Church did not fail to rise to the challenge posed by Hitler out of cowardice, anxiety over Bolshevism, or preoccupation with its own power and prerogatives. He cites Pope…..