Thursday, March 29, 2007

Oh, the irony ...

I have recently been reading over Mark's disputes with Robert Sungenis and I can't help shake the distinct feeling that the way he feels when dealing with Sungenis's issues on Judaism is the same way that many of us feel about him when discussing first torture and now anything relating to the war on terrorism or current events.

I've noted in the past that one thing extremists do well is map out paths that non-extremists will be tempted to take in extreme circumstances. The theology of contempt for Jews that seethes in Sungenis' work is something that could well become popular if, for instance, a) the war goes against us and b) Israel becomes more broadly perceived by Americans as the reason for that. When you think you have a chance of winning, you stick with your allies. If you think you are losing, you start looking around for somebody to blame.

Obviously, that is an extreme circumstance. But extreme circumstances do happen. And when they do, Jews tend to get it in the neck.

What interests me about Bob's hodgepodge of anti-semitic raving is how quickly the theological and purely prudential and political get mixed up ... Does that mean however, that a Catholic is *forbidden* to see in Israel some prophetic importance? Not at all. So if a Catholic thinks there is something prophetically significant to the founding of Israel, he is not, as Sungenis maintains, ipso facto promoting a nefarious and pernicious heresy. He is holding an opinion within his rights as a Catholic.

As I said yesterday, there seems to be something about Jew and Judaism that affects some people (especially Rad Trads) like alcohol. Such people can't seem to think rationally or keep their balance. Here, more than most places, the guidance of the Church is especially necessary for those who would deem themselves Raised Up By God to speak to and about Jews on behalf of the Church.

... The itch to define dogma on behalf of the Church is a strong one, and there seems to be something about Jews, Judaism and even Jewish converts that constitutes a sort of trigger mechanism for not a few Rad Trads. Lately, particularly since the abortive publication of the quickly-retracted "Reflections on Covenant and Mission" document, not a few on the Right feel a terrible sense of fear about all things Jewish, because they lack confidence in the Church's Magisterium and so feel a strange compulsion to "defend the Faith" from alleged "Judaizing tendencies". The Reflections document did not *create* this odd paranoia about Jews among the Trad wing. It's an unfortunately common feature of Tradism (though, as guys like David Palm, Michael Forrest, Ben Douglass, and Jacob Michael show, it is no *necessary* part of Tradism).

The Reflections document (which carries abolutely no doctrinal weight) sparked such a panic among the Jew-obsessed on the Right because it tiptoed right up to saying, essentially, the Christians are saved by Jesus and Jews are saved by Judaism and not Jesus. It didn't *quite* say that, but it came so close that many Trads panicked. The worst of the panickers was Sungenis himself, who became convinced that God had raised him up for this very hour and then set about rooting out the Jewish Menace by means of plagiarism from Nazi sources, fraudulent quotes, and unbelievably specious arguments. Unfortunately, he managed to select for his special and focused hostility one Roy Schoeman and, in the course of blasting, slandering, calumnying and generally raging at him, has almost never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. For the gigantic irony is that Schoeman, a Jewish convert to the faith, is every bit as critical of the Reflections document as Sungenis. The difference is, Schoeman is capable of rational thought and has done rather a lot of it with respect to the relationship of Jews and Christians and the evangelization of the Jewish people.

... In response to this irresponsible and dishonest behavior, virtually all Sungenis' former associates have criticized him.

Recently, Sungenis posted a lengthy article in which, among other things, he attacked his critics with the suspicion that they have Jewish blood (or blinded by "Zionist sympathies" [that'd be me]), charged that Jews were trying to take over the world and the Church, claimed that critics were trying to kill him, claimed that God had been preparing him for his prophetic role against the Jews, and demanded that his readers choose between his critics and himself.

I am not trying to make a comparison between Sungenis's theological errors and those I believe that Mark himself has made regarding the interpretation of Magisterial documents (to say nothing of prudential matters), there are several orders of magnitude between the two of them. That said however, I find it extremely ironic that he is able to recognize the ridiculousness of this type of behavior from Sungenis while not realizing that he himself is in large part duplicating the exact same behavior in his ever-increasing cycles of irrationality.

Such as this one:
Every once in a while, I have to stop and simply take in again what this Administration has done to corrupt the our culture. I expect liberals to destroy our culture. I expect Christians to try to save it. Conservative Christians have been a bulwark against the culture of death all through the 80s and 90s, taking every brickbat the Left could throw at them as they continued to oppose the unspeakable evil of abortion. Now, somehow, this Administration has done more than anything else in our culture to see to it that the salt loses its savor. Somehow the GOP elders and talk radio heads have managed to persuade even most Christians not just to make excuses for America's transformation into a torture state, but to enthusiastically support it and laugh about it. The depressing popularity of Rudy Giuliani and the obvious agitprop from so many sectors on the Right which says, "Never mind about abortion! Salvation Through Leviathan By Any Means Necessary!" has been the single most salutary lesson in my life about the utterly fickle nature of politics and the grave danger of ever putting your trust in princes--or anyone else save Jesus.

As has been repeatedly noted, a rather large contingent of Giuliani's supporters are unaware of his stated position on abortion. Victor already covered Mark's "torture state" nuttiness, but let me just note that Mark regarding the administration as the greatest scourge of the United States in 20 years is quite a bit at odds with his prior assertion that he doesn't hate Bush and has only offered up the bare minimum of criticism. I would advise Mark to really get his crap together on this one, lest one reach the impression that he is just sort of flowing moment to moment on these types of declarations without any motivation other than raw emotion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Whom the gods would destroy, they would first drive mad.

Exhibit A: Bob Suegenis

Exhibits B-Z: Mark Shea.