Five years ago I documented the plagiarism of antisemitic sources by apologist Robert Sungenis. Since then, several men who worked for him at that time and since (Michael Forrest, Jacob Michael, Ben Douglass), and who once defended him, have left his organization and are making their own criticisms of his anti-Jewish writings, building upon what I had established. I have stayed away from the issue as, from my standpoint, there was little to add; when he issued an apology and said he would no longer write about the Jews, I took down my earlier web page. Now he’s decided to bring me back into it, in the context of articles he has written against his former associates. He claims that they (and I) are really Jewish and are basing our actions not on factual grounds but because of “tribal loyalty.” In my case, he bases his comments on something I wrote in 2002. For the record, to refresh his memory, here is what I said. I, of course, stand by this.
Can we be silent?
As I mentioned, I spent the evening with a hundred young adults at “Theology on Tap” who were discussing issues of ecumenism and interfaith dialogue.
In my introduction of the speaker, and illustrating why this was a relevant topic, I shared briefly, without mentioning names, the outline of the present issue, and these young professionals reacted with disbelief and disgust.
I then came home and saw my children finishing their homework. They may be blond haired and blue-eyed, but their mother’s maternal grandmother was a woman named Minnie Levy, descended from the first Jew to go to Nova Scotia in the 1750s. He, in turn, was descended from Spanish Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492.
When Bob speaks of “the Jews” — he speaks of my children, and of generations of their ancestors who suffered from ideas such as those on his page.
My 13-year-old is reading the “Diary of Anne Frank.” We were talking about hate the other night, and I told my son about the kinds of things I was reading from a “Catholic apologist” on the Internet. I told him of the Nazi quote disparaging Roosevelt for having a Jewish ancestor sometime back a couple centuries.
I reminded my son of what I had told him when we visited the Houston Holocaust Memorial, that if he lived in Germany in 1940s — that name on the wall, “Levy,” could be his. He would have been condemned not for what he did or said, but for who his ancestors were.
Why do I continue to write this evening about this?
I do it for my children. I do it for the young adults who don’t have the knowledge to tell an authentic Catholic site from one that is not.
CAI has made little cosmetic changes, but has not removed completely the anti-Semitism on its site. And someone at CAI is telling people who inquire, “Mr. Sungenis has never been and never will be anti-Semitic. He just has a difference of opinion as to the goals and aspirations of Israel.”
As long as the articles are there, and CAI is putting out that line, I have to do what my conscience tells me.
Silencio qui tacit consentire.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will lead some men to make the right decision.