Persecution and opposition
SIR.-Surely any anti-national prejudice is wrong, especially
among members of the " U niver sal " Church? 1 am not in a position to refute or confirm
allegations that Cardinal Minds
zenty and other contemporary victims of persecution received their
treatment at the hands of Jews. Neither am I able to state how many members of the Russian Ciovernment---or of our own, for that matter are of Jewish origin. I am not even biased by the fact that all the • Jews whom I have known personally were exceedingly harmless and very likeable people. The only fact of which I am sure, is that Our Blessed Lord Himself said. as he hung upon the Cross to which His fellow-Jews had nailed Him.: "Father. forgive them, for they know not what they do."
We recognise and condemn acts of aggression and persecution wherever they arise, quite rightly, but do we seek to foster anti-Teutonic, or antiSlavonic, or anti-Mongolian sentiments in general? I think we reply indignantly: "No. of course not! It's the actions, not the race, which we condemn." Well. then, if we find Semitic names among persecutors in many lands, and since they have wandered over the earth seeking a national home for centuries we invariably will find them-let us also rernember these things about Jews. First. the Semitic names which have appeared in medicine. in music. and in charitable institutions. for the benefit of mankind, and secondly, the fact that it is undoubtedly the long persecution of the Jews themselves which has turned them into the Communists and anarchists we condemn today. Please note, that Communists, anarchists and even atheists are not separate races of men, but are drawn from the ignorant or abused minorities throughout the world.
If Catholicism is to triumph over Communism, we shall have to be a great deal more Catholic in our out
; look and practice. towards all our fellow-creatures, whether we agree with them or tint, whether they respect or persecute us.
MARGARET REune (Mits.). 135 Pepys Road, West Wimbledon. London, S.W.20.
Anti-Semitism, as a racial hatred, similar to the hatred of the Ku-Klux-Klan towards the Negroes. is, of course, incompatible with Catholicism.
But the same anti-Semitism is often attached to a political opposition against Jewish political and propagandist activities, or to the simple fact of being aware that the Jews are a separate and well-organised political body with own political aims and with a powerful influence on world affairs. This sort of pseudoa.nti-Semitism is fully compatible with Catholic morality, The Jews are not Only a religion, but also a separate nation. They had their national policy long before Zionism was born. They developed their own methods of continual poli
tical existence and political influence in a diaspora. Their means of
political activity consisted and consist in the fact of financial power and of unofficial influence through personal contacts and secret pres
sures. Their purpose was always and is until today a world-domination in this or that form. Their role is well characterised by a Polish joke. describing them as a "miedzynarod,"-an " inter-nation." They were throughout centuries an anti-Christian minority and opposition, operating among Christian nations and forming a sort of an international organisation. In this role they met another anti-Catholic or anti-Christian minority, also scattered throughout Europe, persecuted, but active and embracing many countries by their international, secret. subversive activities: the medieval heretical sects. originating from Gnosticism and ManicheisM. Freemasonry seems to he, in a way, a continuation of the movement. represented by these sects. The alliance between these two oppositional. international forces in Christian Europe, was therefore a quite natural fact. The influence of these two forces upon Europe in the direction of the transformation of the Christian world into its actual &Christianised condition seems to be much greater than historians usually admit. All European history is misunderstood without taking into account this important factor. Also the understanding of the actual political problems is incomplete without taking into account the fact of the existence of the Jewish nation with her political influence and power and of her political activity. I think it is a duty of an enlightened Catholic to he aware of these Important facts, which have so great an influence on all the modern world in a sense rather opposed to the endeavours of the Church.
J. GIERTYCH. 16 Belmont Road, N.15.
Sue-In some of the correspondence on anti-Semitism there appears to be confusion between persecution and opposition. To clarify the Cathnlic attitude to anti-Semitism it appears necessary to make a distinction between persecution and opposition and also to determine what it is Catholics oppose. "To persecute " is to pursue in a hostile, envious or malicious way, or to afflict with suffering or loss of life or property, those who adhere to a Particular opinion or creed. "To oppose " is to set against, to refute. or to resist anybody or anything.
Anti-Semitism, as it has been practised in the past, and in the popular meaning of the term. is the persecution of Jews because they are Jews. As the Catholic Church is founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ, who commanded us to love our neighbour and to forgive and love our enemies, any form of persecution against anyone must he urnChristian and is, therefore. condemned by the Church.
But to oppose without malice or violence any person or institution because it is anti-Christian is not condemned provided that the opposition is based upon a defence of Christianity and is not an excuse to persecute a particular race or group.
Catholics must oppose Jewish Communies and Jewish anti-Christians, as they must oppose antiChristianity practised by members of any other race or nation. but they should examine their consciences if they are opposed to Jews as Jews. We have seen enough " antiSemitism " in the past to know just what it means in terms of human suffering. Whilst I agree with much of what
(Conttnited at foot of next column')
Mr. Salomon says, I feel that to state that" the responsibility for antiSemitism and its terrible consequences lies as much at the doors of Christianity as anywhere " is to allow emotion of cloud reason. AntiSemitism and Christianity arc contradictory terms. Surely Mr. Salomon means that anti-Semitism can be blamed upon man's misconception of Christianity in that he has failed to adhere to the fundamental command of Jesus Christ to love his neighbour as himself
31 Athlone Road. Tulse Hill. London, S.W.2.
[A very large number of letters on this topic are reaching us. We have endeavoured to select letters which make serious points in a detached, rather than emotional way. Denote C.H.)