Madam, - As part of his "trailer" for Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, James Redmond O'Hanlon tells us (February 23rd) that for 2004 years the Church has taught that we are all guilty of Christ's death, so Catholics cannot be anti-Semitic.
He says: "To blame the Jews - or the Romans, for that matter - for Christ's death is to be a hypocrite of biblical proportions." As an "informed Catholic" he needs to know that the Church's recognised "Fathers" Origen and St Augustine were among these "hypocrites".
Origen said in 230: "And therefore the blood of Jesus falls not only on the Jews of that time, but on all generations of Jews up to the end of the world." Augustine said in 425: "The Jews are dispersed through all nations as witnesses to their iniquity and of our truth." As late as 1208 Pope Innocent III referred to "the Jews, against whom the blood of Jesus Christ calls out", while Pope Paul IV referred in 1555 to "Jews - whose own guilt has consigned them to perpetual servitude".
Into the 19th century the Papacy obliged Jews living in its territories to live in ghettos and wear distinctive dress. Incredibly, as late as 1868 Pope Pius IX kidnapped a six-year-old Jewish boy on the pretext that the child had been baptised by a Christian servant, and refused to return him.
To be fair, Pope John Paul II has done more than any other pope to atone for the Church's sad history of anti-Semitism. However, as Rome is still proposing to canonise Pius IX it seems that hypocrisy still reigns supreme there.
As for Gibson's film - the work of one of the world's supreme cinematic pornographers of violence - it should not distract any Irish Catholic from the policy of legal crucifixion of the clerical Catholic Church's own victims, which is still going on in Ireland and elsewhere. The 25-minute flogging of Jesus in the film should be seen against the backdrop of the life-long humiliation of fellow Catholics that we lay Catholics are prolonging by making weekly financial contributions without any accountability. We are thereby directly financing the lawyers who are currently persecuting some of our fellow Catholics on behalf of our bishops.
- Yours, etc.,