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Certain Web-based journalists have plucked the phrase “Synagogue of Satan” from the following article as if to suggest that I invented it and that the article is “anti-Semitic.” In fact I was quoting God in the Person of Jesus Christ speaking to Saint John as recorded the Book of the Apocalypse (Revelation), Chapter 2, verses 9-10: “I know thy tribulation and thy poverty, but thou art rich: and thou art blasphemed by them that say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison that you may be tried: and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful until death: and I will give thee the crown of life.”

Here Christ is referring, not to the Jewish people as a whole, but to certain Jewish leaders among the Pharisees that Saint Stephen, not I, called “stiff-necked” (Acts 7:51) and who were already persecuting the Church that Christ, our Savior of Jewish descent, had founded on His Jewish apostles.

As the Church teaches, Christ — that is, God — is not saying that the Jewish people are to be hated, for such hatred would be a grave sin entirely contrary to the Faith. Our Lord wept with grief, not anger, over the foreseen fate of Jerusalem (cf. Lk. 19:41-42). Rather, Our Lord is saying that the Jews who culpably reject their own Messiah — not all Jews by any means — would come tooppose Him and His Church, and thus would reject their own heritage as sons of Abraham.

The synagogue of Satan refers, then, tothe opponents of Christ and His Church, not hatred of Jews by Christians, which our religion forbids under pain of mortal sin. Far from hating the Jewish people, Catholics are obliged to love them and seek their conversion so that they can be united with us in the Mystical Body of Christ, wherein, as Saint Paul teaches, “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles…” Catholics cannot possibly hate the very people they are entreating to join their eternal family, whose Father has a Jewish Son, born of a Jewish mother. Even now the Church prays for that intention in the traditional Good Friday prayer, even in the revised form of that prayer promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI:

Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men.

Is the Pope an anti-Semite, too?

The point of my Scriptural reference was that today the modern counterparts of the people Our Lord condemned — again certain leaders, not Jews in general — persist in persecuting the Church and the Pope, suggesting that the Church and its earthly head bear some responsibility for Hitler's genocidal crimes against the Jewish people — an outrageous lie. The Catholic Church did more than any institution on earth to save Jews from the Hitler regime, as innumerable Jewish sources (including Albert Einstein and Golda Meir) recognized before the despicable campaign to disparage the memory of Ven. Pius XII got underway.

Anti-Semitism rightly understood is hatred of the Jewish people, not any form of opposition to attacks by Jewish spokesmen on the Pope and the Church. Not a word I have written can be construed as hatred of the Jews. No one who reads the following article honestly can conclude that it is anything other than a strongly worded protest against certain people who have made it their mission to convict the Church of crimes she did not commit, aid or abet in any way, but rather were the work of an atheist madman who, in fact, wanted to assassinate Pope Pius XII.

I believe the treatment of Pope Benedict during his visit to the synagogue in Cologne was insulting, humiliating, and inexcusable, and I stand by every word of my protest.

Christopher A. Ferrara

Slapped in the Face Again

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Why did the Pope visit a synagogue in Cologne? What was to be gained for the cause of the Gospel by the worldwide dissemination of photographs of the Vicar of Christ sitting next to a gigantic Menorah?

As if we could not see it coming, the gesture backfired: the stiff-necked descendants of the Pharisees used the opportunity to impugn the Catholic Church once again. As reported by Reuters on August 31, 2005, while the Pope sat next to the Menorah, one Abraham Lehrer lectured the Pope on his "duty" to unseal all of the Vatican archives, telling His Holiness before the assembled media that, as Reuters reports it, the Pope has "a special responsibility to open files that critics say would show how much Pope Pius XII knew about the Nazi slaughter of Jews."

Here we go again. As Lehrer declared to the Pope for the benefit of the cameras: "For us, a complete opening of the Vatican archives covering the period of World War Two, sixty years after the end of the Shoah (Holocaust), would be a further sign of historical conscience and would also satisfy critics…. You grew up in Germany during a terrible time. We not only see in you the head of the Catholic Church but also a German who is aware of his historical responsibility." Notice how Lehrer declined to address the Pope as Your Holiness. The Pope is merely a "you" and a German with a "historical responsibility," even if he also happens to be the head of the Catholic Church.

So, the visit to the synagogue in Cologne was, for the Jewish party, all about putting the Pope on the spot, pressuring him before the world to help them in their never-ending fanatical quest to "get" Pope Pius XII, who in fact did more for the Jews during World War II than Jewish organizations did. The stiff-necked descendants of the Pharisees persist in the Big Lie  —  refuted by Jewish testimonies immediately after the war  —  that Pius XII was complicit in the persecution of Jews by Hitler.

And as the Pope sat there, Lehrer’s lecturing and condescension went on: "The very symbol of your presence on the pulpit of Northern Europe's oldest synagogue  —  destroyed by some of your countrymen under the influence of a murderous and morally bankrupt regime, and rebuilt by the hopes of a saving remnant, demonstrates to the world that we can look to the future without erasing the past." Yes, they dared to use Benedict XVI, the Vicar of Christ, as a public whipping boy for the crimes of Adolf Hitler.

What foolishness it is to kowtow to those who Our Lord Himself, a Hebrew, denounced as "the Synagogue of Satan" in his locution to Saint John, the Galilean apostle who was His cousin. Men like Lehrer despise the Catholic Church and thrive on the opportunity  —  inexplicably given to them by the Pope himself  —  to scourge the Church before the world. And that is why the Pope should never again allow himself, or the Church he represents, to be exploited in this way. Enough with papal visits to synagogues!