Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fr. Brian Harrison responds...

Father Brian Harrison left two comments at this Blog which I will address in this post. In his first comment, he writes, "Please allow me to respond to these attacks. I had never read till now the February 2004 article by E. Michael Jones that was quoted in 'Catalyst,' and it is certainly not true to say that I do not find his theological position, as quoted here, 'problematic.'"

Actually, my Blog post did not constitute an "attack" on Father Harrison. But since Father has portrayed himself as some sort of "authority" on E. Michael Jones and has defended him while asserting that, "Mike Jones principal 'crime' has been to publish extensive historical studies arguing that Jewish activists, intellectuals and financiers have again and again been major players in the various revolutionary movements of the last two millennia aimed at preventing, subverting and overthrowing the dominance in European civilization of Christian values and the Catholic and Orthodox Churches," it's fair to say that he apparently does not find E. Michael Jones' views to be problematic. This because Jones' views have been well-documented.

Father Harrison acknowledges this in his first comment writing, "...I have often expressed to Jones and Sungenis my concern and disapproval about certain things they have said about Jews, especially anything that tends to come across as a sweeping negative generalization about that people as a whole." And what of Jones' belief that "Jewish activists, intellectuals and financiers" have been "major players in the various revolutionary movements of the last two millennia aimed at preventing, subverting and overthrowing" Christian values and Catholic and Orthodox Churches? That sure comes across as "a sweeping negative generalization" about the Jewish people to me.

He then writes, "As regards the St. Benedict Center in New Hampshire, I had no knowledge of anything its spokespersons had ever said on Jewish issues when I spoke at their conference (on a quite different topic) back in August 2007. If indeed SBC representatives have made statements accusing 'the Jewish People' as such of 'corrupting' influences, conspiracies, or whatever, then I totally repudiate such views." But "Brother" Andre Marie of the SBC has said that the Jewish People undermine public morals and Douglas Bersaw has denied the Holocaust, referring to it as a "fraud" and the Jewish People as the "Synagogue of Satan." If Father Harrison is really opposed to such views, then why is he part of the SBC's 2009 "Catholic America Tour"? See here. And if Father is really opposed to such conspiracy theories, why has he defended the conspiracy theories of E. Michael Jones which portray "Jewish activists, intellectuals and financiers" as being behind 2,000 years of plots to overthrow the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and Christian values?

Father Harrison concludes his first comment writing, "...I accept fully the teachings of Vatican Council II about the Jewish people and, with the Church, I condemn and repudiate anti-Semitism. However, since the Council did not attempt [to] define what precise views, expressions and attitudes are to count as being 'anti-Semitic,' there is clearly a certain 'grey area' there. That should be a matter of calm and respectful debate among Catholics, not harsh mutual condemnations."

This is what Vatican II said, "...in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone." (Nostra Aetate, No. 4). Anti-Semitism expresses itself in many and varied ways. For example, through denial of the Holocaust or "sweeping negative generalizations" such as those issued by SBC representatives or E. Michael Jones and Robert Sungenis.

In his second comment, Father Harrison writes, "Once again Mr. Melanson, I ask space to defend myself - this time from the grave charge of unorthodoxy that you level against me."

Apparently Father has difficulty being honest. Something he should work on this Lent. In the post he refers to, I wrote, "Followers of the late Fr. Leonard Feeney have initiated a discussion thread at the Holy Cross Cardinal Newman Society website with an article written by Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., and entitled "Can an 'implicit faith' in Christ be sufficient for salvation?...The answer is: yes." I then proceeded to present the Magisterial teaching of the Church relative to the subject and added, "Theologians such as Fr. Brian Harrison are not 'pastors' within the Church. They have not been given the mission from the Lord Jesus to instruct the faithful in 'all that serves to make the People of God live their lives in holiness and increase their faith' (Dei Verbum, No. 8). This mission has been entrusted exclusively to the Magisterium of the Church.." (See here).

If Father Harrison has a problem with this statement, perhaps it is because he considers himself to be some sort of ersatz Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? If this is the case, I submit that dishonesty isn't the only thing he should work on this Lent.

Related reading: Robert Sungenis vs. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades: A Chronology

Additional reading: E. Michael Jones and the Jews

6 comments:

Ted Loiseau said...

Fr. Harrison is duplicitous. He argues that Jones and Sungenis have been subjected to unfair criticisms regarding anti-Semitism and then admits "I have often expressed to Jones and Sungenis my concern and disapproval about certain things they have said about Jews, especially anything that tends to come across as a sweeping negative generalization about that people as a whole."

If he really rejects anti-Semitism, he will drop out of the SBC's CAT - "Catholic" America Tour.

Ellen Wironken said...

I agree Ted. Matthew Anger over at Fringe Watch writes notes that, "Author E. Michael Jones, publisher of Culture Wars, represents one of the foremost proponents of 'religious' anti-Semitism in Catholic circles. Any normal Catholic, or conservative aware of the Church's invaluable moral leadership, will find such a connection obnoxious."

The key phrase here is "any normal Catholic." The public record shows clearly that E. Michael Jones and Robert Sungenis have engaged in anti-Semitism. And for Fr. Harrison to claim he was totally unaware of the offensive comments made by SBC spokespersons is really just laughable. Does he also claim to have been unaware of the fact that the Diocese of Manchester has said explicitly that the SBC has "no relationship whatsoever with the Roman Catholic Church"?

I don't buy it.

Derek said...

Father Brian Harrison comments: "Once again Mr. Melanson, I ask space to defend myself - this time from the grave charge of unorthodoxy that you level against me."

I have now read your Blog article three times. Nowhere do you level any charge - let alone one of "unorthodoxy" - at Father. Since he has decided to level this false accusation at you Mr. Melanson, I challenge him to produce the evidence to corroborate his claim.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that: "Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man's relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord." (2483).

And: "By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity..." (2485).

Father Harrison owes you an apology Mr. Melanson.

Michelle said...

Let's see, Fr. Harrison argues that "since the Council did not attempt to define what precise views, expressions and atitudes are to count as being 'anti-Semitic,' there is clearly a certain 'grey area' there."

Grey area huh? Fr. Harrison, would the following "views, expressions and attitudes" (compiled by Paul Melanson for a previous post and made by Fr. Leonard Feeney) fall into that "grey area" you speak of:

"The Jews have taken over this city..." (Report by Grace Uberti from 14 September 1952, Feeney Collection, Archives, Archdiocese of Boston, Brighton, Mass).

"I would rather be a bad Catholic than any Jew in existence." (op. cit, 19 October 1952).

"Every Protestant hates the Jews. Harvard loathes Jews. That is why they got a new President - to keep the Jews away. I don't hate Jews for the reason he hates them. I hate them because they hate Jesus. They hate Jesus because they are Jews!" (op. cit 9 August 1953).

"Those kikes are from Hillel House. I warn you of what the Jews are going to do to the Catholic City of Boston. In every city you see a new synagogue being built in a Christian country...If I sent Catholics over to heckle Rabbi Shubow, Fingold [Attorney General] would send the police in and have them in jail. But over here in front of the picture of the sacred heart of Mary these Jews are yelling every single filthy thing - every blasphemous word, on Sunday in a Catholic city." (op. cit 31 July 1955).

"Here you have me in a Catholic city being spit at and sneered at. I would like to profess my Catholic faith in a city gone to the dogs, thanks to the Jews, Protestants and Masons, and under a cowardly leader." (op. cit 16 November 1952).

"Harvard boys are filthy. Too many Irish, too many Negroes, and too many Jews." (op. cit 8 March 1953).

How about Douglas Bersaw's expressed belief that the Jews are the "Synagogue of Satan"? Does that hateful and bigoted remark fall into your "grey area"? How about Holocaust denial which the Pope says is "unacceptable"? Does that fall into your "grey area"?

These aren't questions about black, white and grey Fr. Harrison. Not black and white. Right and wrong. There is no "grey area" here. You either condemn anti-Semitism as hateful and inadmissible - as the Catholic Church does. Or you condone it.

Anonymous said...

More on Fr. Brian Harrison here:
http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/09/fr-harrison-and-rsatj.html

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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