Diocese of Rochester, NY Approves

Anti-Catholic Holocaust Course

(Remnant News Watch June 30, 2009)

Mark Alessio

(Posted 07/01/09 www.RemnantNewspaper.com) According to PewSitter.com (June 1, 2009), the Diocese of Rochester, New York, has given its approval to a 14-week course titled, “The 2000-Year Road to the Holocaust,” the brainchild of Dr. Morris Wortman, director of the Holocaust Study Group. Wortman, who has performed abortions since 1973, and supports comprehensive sex education and the repeal of conscience laws protecting pro-life health care providers, says he got the idea for the course while watching a presentation by Deacon Thomas Driscoll of Holy Family Parish in Rochester, during which Driscoll “outlined the assertion that Pius XII and the Catholic Church were complicit and even approving of the Nazi Holocaust.”

Desiring to create an “interfaith” Holocaust program in line with Driscoll’s assertions, Wortman teamed-up with the Rochester Diocese and Temple B’rith Kodesh.  Joining them was former family court judge and city councilman, Deacon Anthony Sciolino. While acting as a family court judge, Sciolino “made a key ruling advancing the legal status of same-sex parents” when he approved the adoption of a child by the mother’s lesbian “partner.” According to the PewSitter report:

The final fourteen-part indoctrination that Wortman initiated, “2000-Year Road to the Holocaust,” accuses the Catholic Church of depriving Jews of their basic rights as citizens, fomenting hatred of Jews, and encouraging their persecution since the time of Christ. It attributes much responsibility directly to Popes throughout the ages and presents a re-hash of the recent stream of phony indictments against Pope Pius XII. Nothing is mentioned of the history of Papal support for Jews or of any intervention on their behalf against injustices up to and including the heroic efforts of Pope Pius.

The anti-Catholic rhetoric contributed by the two “Catholic” deacons, Sciolino and Driscoll, includes the assertion that, “Granting equal rights to Jews violated church doctrine, which mandated their ‘marginalization’ as punishment for the arch-crime of deicide and their continued refusal to embrace Christianity. 

“Why,” asks PewSitter, “is the Bishop of Rochester, Matthew Clark, giving diocesan approval to a blatantly anti-Catholic production that involves an outspoken, politically active abortionist and gay adoption judge?”

Comment: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” goes the famous quotation attributed to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. One of the most egregious examples of this observation is the so-called “Black Legend,” devised by early Protestant historians to depict the Spanish as religious “fanatics” and the Inquisition as something straight out of a horror movie. To this day, those (including academics) who presume to speak about the horrors of the Inquisition are unwittingly basing their information on popular entertainment such as the Vincent Price film, The Pit & The Pendulum, rather than a knowledge of what the Inquisition was and how it functioned.

There is another “Black Legend” operating today, one that has been embraced both by haters of the Catholic Church and, unfortunately, by many Holocaust activists. This lie paints the Popes of history – at least up until, say, John XXIII – as men who literally went to bed at night scheming about how they could harm the Jewish people. It paints the Popes, and the Catholic Church of old, as psychotically vindictive. This lie is perpetrated by many popular organizations. Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), has stated, “For almost twenty centuries … the Church was the arch-enemy of the Jews, our most powerful and relentless oppressor and the world’s greatest force for the dissemination of anti-Semitic beliefs and the instigation of the acts of hatred.”

This quotation of Foxman’s is cited gleefully on the website for the “2000-Year Road to the Holocaust” program, the Holocaust course created by an abortionist, a pro-”gay”-agenda politico and two clueless Deacons. And so determined are they to keep the lie afloat that they bolster their claims with discredited scholarship, such as James Carroll’s Constantine’s Sword, John Cornwell’s Hitler’s Pope and Daniel Goldhagen’s A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair.  In an August 9, 2005 article for FrontPageMagazine.com, Rabbi David G. Dalin, professor of history and political science at Ave Maria University, wrote:

Many readers of the New York Times no doubt believe that Pope Pius XII was "Hitler’s Pope," because John Cornwell’s bestselling book told them that, and it’s been reaffirmed by Garry Wills, Daniel Goldhagen, and other Left-leaning writers since. It’s been said so often in fact that most well-read liberals know it for a certainty. The only trouble is: it isn’t true. Not only does it contradict the words of Holocaust survivors, the founders of Israel, and the contemporary record of the New York Times, but even John Cornwell, the originator of the phrase "Hitler’s Pope," has recanted it saying that he was wrong to have ascribed evil motives to Pius and now found it "impossible to judge" the wartime pope.

In a January 24, 2003 interview with Seattle Catholic, Ronald Rychlak, author of Hitler, the War and the Pope, said:

In terms of John Cornwell, Garry Wills and James Carroll, I think it's very clear and you don't have to go beyond their own writings to say that they want to change the Catholic Church. Cornwell's last chapter in "Hitler's Pope" and his entire new book is a criticism of the current Pope and how he's destroying the Church. That last chapter says that John Paul II is just like Pius XII and we can expect a similar result from his pontificate. Cornwell's new book says that if the next Pope isn't more of a liberal, the Catholic Church is going to be in serious trouble.

According to Deacons Sciolino and Driscoll, the granting of equal rights to Jews violated church doctrine. What does authentic scholarship, as opposed to Church-bashing disguised as “scholarship,” tell us about the ancient Popes? The Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-1906) cites some 36 papal documents, only a partial list, in favor of the rights of Jews. Jewish scholar Israel Abrahams, author of the classic study, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages (1896), noted, “It was a tradition with the popes of Rome to protect the Jews who were near at hand.” Jewish historian Cecil Roth, who edited the Encyclopedia Judaica from 1965 until 1970, observed, “Of all the dynasties in Europe, the papacy not only refused to persecute the Jews … but through the ages popes were protectors of Jews … The truth is that the popes and the Catholic Church from the earliest days of the Church were never responsible for physical persecution of Jews and only Rome, among the capitals of the world, is free from having been a place of Jewish tragedy. For this we Jews must have gratitude.”

But what of those Papal Bulls which limited the rights of Jews, Bulls which forbade the construction of Synagogues, or forbade Jews to interact with Christians or hold particular offices or jobs? Were these the result of anti-Jewish hatred, or was there another dynamic at work? The Book of Deuteronomy states the following concerning the intermarriage of Jews with non-Jews: “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them. Thou shalt not give thy daughter to his son, nor take his daughter for thy son: For she will turn away thy son from following me, that he may rather serve strange gods.” Was this limitation enjoined upon the Israelites in order to make them “haters” of Gentiles? Or, were there times in history when certain groups deemed it a matter of self-preservation or protection to separate themselves from others?

Again, in The Book of Deuteronomy, God tells the Israelites:

When the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land, which thou art going in to possess, and shall have destroyed many nations before thee, the Hethite, and the Gergezite, and the Amorrhite, and the Chanaanite, and the Pherezite, and the Hevite, and the Jebusite, seven nations much more numerous than thou art, and stronger than thou: And the Lord thy God shall have delivered them to thee, thou shalt utterly destroy them. Thou shalt make no league with them, nor shew mercy to them .... Destroy their altars, and break their statues, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven things. Because thou art a holy people to the Lord thy God. The Lord thy God hath chosen thee, to be his peculiar people of all peoples that are upon the earth.

One will find nothing so harsh in any Papal Bull concerning the Jews. And, while one could simply label the above quotation a glaring example of “rabid anti-Gentilism,” we read it as a Divine command, intended to PROTECT the Israelites from falling victim to the beliefs and practices of outsiders. Accept it or not, the writings of the medieval Popes (however harsh they may sound to modern ears, the same “enlightened” ears that find it so easy to ignore the cries of aborted infants) are of a kind with those Old Testament injunctions which advocated a separation between Jews and Gentiles. They were written to protect the Catholic faithful. One need not like that fact, or agree with the reasoning of the Popes, but to simply label particular papal actions as “hate” is to approach an ancient and widespread historical dynamic with a juvenile lack of scrutiny and insight. In fact, under Israel’s “Anti-Missionary Law 5738,” passed in 1977, it is a crime punishable by up to 5 years in prison to try to convert an Israeli to Christianity by use of any “material inducement” – this includes the handing out of Gospel tracts.

The Jewish Encyclopedia points out the fact that, “The Roman Church does not claim any jurisdiction over persons who have not been baptized; therefore the relations of the popes, as the heads of the Church, to the Jews have been limited to rules regarding the political, commercial, and social conditions under which Jews might reside in Christian states. As sovereigns of the Papal States the popes further had the right to legislate on the status of their Jewish subjects.” Is this not what Israeli politicians have done regarding their Christian citizens under “Anti-Missionary Law 5738?”

The simple historical fact remains that Jewish history has seen instances where the Israelites were both (1) commanded to show charity to Gentiles, and (2) commanded to either distance themselves from, or oppose, the Gentiles. Similarly, we have seen Popes simultaneously (1) advocate the protection of Jewish interests, and (2) curb Jewish influence in Catholic states. These were facts of life at the time. To play mind-reader, and toss about imperious accusations of “hate-monger” from the often too-comfortable vantage point of 21st-century hindsight, is an utter waste of time.

One can only pity the poor Catholic soul who may wander into the “2000-Year Road to the Holocaust” program, expecting to receive an education in Church history from an abortionist, a pro-”gay”-agenda politico and two clueless Deacons.




Neocatechumenal Way Founder Honored by John Paul II Institute


- A Basilica for New York City?



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