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April 20, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 76



Patching up the Past Discretions

     We continue bringing you installments of the Vatican Document on the Holocaust with the third segment today on Nazi anti-Semitism and the Shoah. This document was authorized by Pope John Paul II and released by Cardinal Edward Idris Cassady on March 12th this year. Click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS.

INTRODUCTION: With all the controversy swirling over the Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish community regarding the Holocaust, Pope John Paul II authorized Cardinal Edward Idris Cassady of Australia to draw up a document on the Church's response to the "Shoah" which the Jews refer to as the Holocaust. In the following installments we will include the entire text of this document but, because so many don't want all the footnotes included, we have eliminated those. If you want the full text with footnotes, please refer to the Vatican home page. BELOW: the third installment of We Remember.

We Remember. A Reflection on the Shoah

third installment:

From the Vatican, 12 March 1998.

COMMISSION FOR RELIGIOUS RELATIONS WITH THE JEWS

WE REMEMBER: A REFLECTION ON THE SHOAH

IV. Nazi anti-Semitism and the Shoah

      Thus we cannot ignore the difference which exists between anti-Semitism, based on theories contrary to the constant teaching of the Church on the unity of the human race and on the equal dignity of all races and peoples, and the long-standing sentiments of mistrust and hostility that we call anti-Judaism, of which, unfortunately, Christians also have been guilty.

      The National Socialist ideology went even further, in the sense that it refused to acknowledge any transcendent reality as the source of life and the criterion of moral good. Consequently, a human group, and the State with which it was identified, arrogated to itself an absolute status and determined to remove the very existence of the Jewish people, a people called to witness to the one God and the Law of the Covenant. At the level of theological reflection we cannot ignore the fact that not a few in the Nazi Party not only showed aversion to the idea of divine Providence at work in human affairs, but gave proof of a definite hatred directed at God himself. Logically, such an attitude also led to a rejection of Christianity, and a desire to see the Church destroyed or at least subjected to the interests of the Nazi State.

      It was this extreme ideology which became the basis of the measures taken, first to drive the Jews from their homes and then to exterminate them. The Shoah was the work of a thoroughly modern neo-pagan regime. Its anti-Semitism had its roots outside of Christianity and, in pursuing its aims, it did not hesitate to oppose the Church and persecute her members also.

      But it may be asked whether the Nazi persecution of the Jews was not made easier by the anti-Jewish prejudices imbedded in some Christian minds and hearts. Did anti-Jewish sentiment among Christians make them less sensitive, or even indifferent, to the persecutions launched against the Jews by National Socialism when it reached power?

      Any response to this question must take into account that we are dealing with the history of people's attitudes and ways of thinking, subject to multiple influences. Moreover, many people were altogether unaware of the "final solution" that was being put into effect against a whole people; others were afraid for themselves and those near to them; some took advantage of the situation; and still others were moved by envy. A response would need to be given case by case. To do this, however, it is necessary to know what precisely motivated people in a particular situation.

      At first the leaders of the Third Reich sought to expel the Jews. Unfortunately, the governments of some Western countries of Christian tradition, including some in North and South America, were more than hesitant to open their borders to the persecuted Jews. Although they could not foresee how far the Nazi hierarchs would go in their criminal intentions, the leaders of those nations were aware of the hardships and dangers to which Jews living in the territories of the Third Reich were exposed. The closing of borders to Jewish emigration in those circumstances, whether due to anti-Jewish hostility or suspicion, political cowardice or shortsightedness, or national selfishness, lays a heavy burden of conscience on the authorities in question.

      In the lands where the Nazis undertook mass deportations, the brutality which surrounded these forced movements of helpless people should have led to suspect the worst. Did Christians give every possible assistance to those being persecuted, and in particular to the persecuted Jews?

      Many did, but others did not. Those who did help to save Jewish lives as much as was in their power, even to the point of placing their own lives in danger, must not be forgotten. During and after the war, Jewish communities and Jewish leaders expressed their thanks for all that had been done for them, including what Pope Pius XII did personally or through his representatives to save hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives.(16) Many Catholic bishops, priests, religious and laity have been honoured for this reason by the State of Israel.

      Nevertheless, as Pope John Paul II has recognized, alongside such courageous men and women, the spiritual resistance and concrete action of other Christians was not that which might have been expected from Christ's followers. We cannot know how many Christians in countries occupied or ruled by the Nazi powers or their allies were horrified at the disappearance of their Jewish neighbours and yet were not strong enough to raise their voices in protest. For Christians, this heavy burden of conscience of their brothers and sisters during the Second World War must be a call to penitence.(17)

      We deeply regret the errors and failures of those sons and daughters of the Church. We make our own what is said in the Second Vatican Council's Declaration Nostra Aetate, which unequivocally affirms: "The Church ... mindful of her common patrimony with the Jews, and motivated by the Gospel's spiritual love and by no political considerations, deplores the hatred, persecutions and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and from any source".(18)

      We recall and abide by what Pope John Paul II, addressing the leaders of the Jewish community in Strasbourg in 1988,stated: "I repeat again with you the strongest condemnation of anti-Semitism and racism, which are opposed to the principles of Christianity".(19) The Catholic Church therefore repudiates every persecution against a people or human group anywhere, at any time. She absolutely condemns all forms of genocide, as well as the racist ideologies which give rise to them. Looking back over this century, we are deeply saddened by the violence that has enveloped whole groups of peoples and nations. We recall in particular the massacre of the Armenians, the countless victims in Ukraine in the 1930s, the genocide of the Gypsies, which was also the result of racist ideas, and similar tragedies which have occurred in America, Africa and the Balkans. Nor do we forget the millions of victims of totalitarian ideology in the Soviet Union, in China, Cambodia and elsewhere. Nor can we forget the drama of the Middle East, the elements of which are well known. Even as we make this reflection, "many human beings are still their brothers' victims".(20)


"...he who finds his life, will lose it."

     That is the gist of what Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. talks about today as he continues his short series on "Zero Resistance, Zero Ego Drive" in which he illustrates how we can submit our will and ego, thereby allowing God to mold us into the holy souls He desires. If we do that then we can cage our ego drive and grow in grace. To find out more, click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK

How to Pray with the Heart

column twenty-nine: Zero Resistance, Zero Ego Drive

      In your life and mine, when do we experience the highest degree of resistance, an intense restlessness, a loss of tranquillity, the loss of joy? When we are all absorbed with SELF. It seems that when self becomes first and foremost in our lives, there is the gradual dissolving of that which keeps us united with ourselves and every part within ourselves against every other part. There follows a gradual disintegration of health, of sanity, of hope.

      It is better for us now to put an end to our introspection. It leads ultimately to a life of continual resistance and to endless hopelessness, for "he who finds his life, will lose it." (Matt. 10:39).

      Is zero resistance in those endowed with free will possible, and if so, where can it be found? It IS possible. It is found in Jesus, in Mary, in all of the angels and saints in heaven and in some people on earth. What all of these have in common is the fact that they all, without exception, have freely chosen not to resist the Will of the Father. They have chosen to bend freely, totally, and joyfully to IT.

      Let us turn our attention elsewhere for a moment, to the Words of Jesus when He said, "but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven..." (Mark 3:29). What does this have to do with zero resistance. Everything! It is the Holy Spirit Who makes zero resistance possible. Zero resistance is found in all who are consecrated to the Holy Spirit. He is the Sanctifier. On the contrary, anyone and everyone who by way of an expression of blasphemy, resists the Holy Spirit, defies sanctification.

      Now, what about zero ego drive. Zero ego drive is a companion of zero resistance. They travel together. Wherever there is zero resistance, there is zero ego drive. Conversely, ego drive and resistance go together. The more ego drive within an individual, the more the resistance and again conversely, the elimination of ego drive brings along with it the elimination of resistance.

      It is vital for each oneís spiritual growth to recognize oneís own ego drive. Ego drive is that internal force which Adam and Eve ended up with after Satan got through with them. It is that internal drive which exists within each individual as the main effect of original Sin. It is that propelling force within humans when they live merely on the natural plane. It is that internal force which empowers an individual as he/she strives after that which the mind, in its darkened state, presents as an object of pursuit.

      To bring mankind out of the cage of ego drive, the Heavenly Father, in His love, sent Jesus into our midst. There was no ego drive in Jesus. In Him there was zero resistance. "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My Own Will, but the Will of Him Who sent Me." (John 6:38). He came as the Redeemer. He is the One Who came to save us, to release us from the cage of SELF, that the flow of His divine power through us may bring our ego drive to zero, thus imitating Him in offering n resistance to our own Fatherís Will.

      This new life had its beginning in each of us at the time of our Baptism and was intensified at the time of our receipt of Confirmation. It was because of Jesus that we were able to receive the Holy Spirit and thus gain power once again over Satan. Jesusí gift of the Spirit to each one of us now makes it possible for us to live by obedience rather than by what the darkened mind presents to us as motivation for our behavior.

      For the heart to live continuously, moment by moment, in an experience of "yes" to that presented to it by a mind enlightened by grace, by Scripture, by the Holy Father and the magesterium, and by the promptings of the Holy Spirit, is its living of the new life. It is this life that is the life of the Kingdom; it is this life that brings peace to the soul, that peace which the world cannot give.

      In my next installment, I will complete this talk about Zero Resistance, Zero Ego Drive tying in how we can tranform the "old man" into the "new man."


SECOND WEEK OF EASTER

   &nsbp; We begin the Second Week of Easter with the liturgy, readings and meditations for today and for tomorrow which also includes the feast of Saint Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. For his story and more, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

Monday, April 20, 1998


Tuesday, April 21, 1998

FEAST OF SAINT ANSELM, BISHOP & DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

     Born in 1033 in the village of Aosta, Italy near Piedmont St. Anselm became a Benedictine monk despite his father's protests. To fulfill his vocation he was forced to flee to France where he entered the Benedictine monastery at Bec in Normandy, France at the age of 23. There he was appointed abbot in 1078 and became known far and wide as a dynamic preacher. His prowess as a holy man reached across the channel to Britain where the English King William Rufus (William II) requested he become his highness' personal confessor. In 1092 the English clergy overwhelmingly beseeched him to become Archbishop of Canterbury which had been vacant for three years. While Anselm consented to it, he refused to compromise the Church's position with the state and the English king who, for worldly reasons, refused to acknowledge Anselm. To further aggravate the situation, William II demanded excessive payments from Anselm for the diocese which the latter refused to pay. Those who were not loyal to Rome backed the king against Anselm, but when the bishop made an impassioned plea to the people, "If any man pretends that I violate my faith to my king because I will not reject the authority of the Holy See of Rome, let him stand forth, and in the name of God I will answer him as I ought." The common people understood he was one of them and they rallied behind Anselm who fled England to Rome. There Pope Urban I backed Anselm and refused William's demands for fees or threats to confiscate diocesan property. The king realized he had met his match and the "vox populi" sounded solidly behind Anselm against the king. William wilted and died in 1100. With the obstacle gone, Anselm returned triumphantly to England but ran into almost the same problems with William's successor King Henry II over lay investiture. Anselm returned to Rome where Urban's successor Pope Paschal II strongly supported the archbishop. Henry realized it was a no-win situation and recanted allowing Anselm to return and invest bishops and abbots himself instead of the king. In 1102 at a synod in Westminster, Anselm was one of the first to vigorously denounce slave trade in Africa. In 1108, Henry made Anselm a regent and a year later Anselm passed on to his Heavenly reward when he breathed his last on April 21, 1109 at the age of seventy six.

      Though he had been embroiled in many disputes with imperial parties during his bishopric, he wrote many tomes on theology and established a powerful influence on the people of his time, coming to be known as the "Father of Scholasticism." He was studied in depth by such luminaries as Saint Thomas Aquinas. In 1720 Pope Clement XI declared Anselm a "Doctor of the Church."


Events today in Church History

     For events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Historical Events in Church Annals for April 20:


PROVERB OF THE DAY

"Guilt lodges in the tents of the arrogant, but favor in the house of the just."

Proverbs 14: 9

Medjugorje Monthly Message for March 25th

   Dear children! Also today I call you to fasting and renunciation. Little children, renounce that which hinders you from being closer to Jesus. In a special way I call you: Pray, because only through prayer will you be able to overcome your will and discover the will of God even in the smallest things. By your daily life, little children, you will become an example and witness that you live for Jesus or against Him and His will. Little children, I desire that you become apostles of love. By loving, little children, it will be recognized that you are mine. Thank you for having responded to my call. For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE

The Essence of the Medjugorje Message

A Call To Peace from the Queen of Peace

According to the testimony of the visionaries in Medjugorje, Our Lady introduced herself: "I am the Queen of Peace" Mary is calling all of humanity to PEACE, PEACE, PEACE - for it is necessary to save all humanity. We have to begin by first creating peace within our hearts, then in our families and then in this war-threatened world. This can be done in the following manner:

COMMITMENT TO GOD

FAITH

PRAYER

FASTING

SACRAMENTS



Click here to go to SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.


Apri1 20, 1998 volume 9, no. 76   DAILY CATHOLIC