Amos rises again in Israel


While  the book of Amos in the Hebrew scriptures is relatively short it has always been a favourite of many, in particular Martin Luther King Jr who  often used it as a  key prophetic text. I can still hear him intoning: “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream..

A less sophisticated bible man, though passionately prophetic,  Bernie  Sanders used it when he went into the lions den at  Jerry Falwell’s Liberty College.

Here  I make the connection with two  modern Amoses, Gideon Levy. and Amos Gvirtz.

Gideon Levy


Like Amos (circa 750 BCE) Levy would make no claim to be a prophet but an honest scribe he surely is. In light of the abysmal state of the rabbinate in Israel particularly in the occupied and illegal territories, Levy like the biblical  prophets of antiquity regularly  excoriates his country’s leadership for its rampant injustice against the indigenous Palestinians.

Like Amos, Levy is native born  from Tel Aviv, a man who exposed to such overwhelming cruelty could no longer hold his tongue. What he discovered when he walked into the occupied territories sent him into a paroxysm of fury. Not  an overtly   religious man, Levy  to me seemed more like Jeremiah than Amos.Year after year in the pages of that wonderful Israeli daily Haaretz he seemed to channel his landsman Jeremiah  who similarly felt ,”something like a burning fire shut up in my bones.”(20:9).


Amos was  from the small town Tekoa  south of Bethlehem. Today modern Tekoa is an illegal Israeli community confiscated in 1975 from Palestine. The biblical Amos denied  that he was a prophet. He states it unequivocally in 7:14:”I am no prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I a a herdsman and  a dresser of sycamore trees.”Scripture scholars identify these as fig trees

If you know anything about Palestine figs and olives are centuries old staples .See my posts of Feb 1 and Feb.3 for Levy’s Amos-like anger.

Who are the human scum who last Friday drove all-terrain vehicles down to the magnificent olive grove owned by Abed al Hai Na’asan, in the West Bank village of Al-Mughayyir, chose the oldest and biggest row, and with electric saws felled 25 trees, one after another?

Everybody is denying plain truths

There is no sharper analyst on American Jews and their influence through AIPAC in the Congress than Phil Weiss  of Mondoweiss and today he dealt with a major issue of massive self-censorship: wealthy Jewish influence  on American politics.


Weiss’s point  is that Jewish writers point to the role of Christian evangelicals Don’t blame the Jewish establishment; it’s Christian evangelicals who drive U.S. policy.

He then quotes Ido Aharoni, a former Israeli ambassador, who said last November that Christians are no rival to Jews politically when it comes to Middle East policy.

The number of evangelical Christians who are deeply involved and interested in the geopolitics of the middle east is very small. Very small. Believe me, I know this community well…. 

Weiss puts his finger on the problem: I know why writers shy away from blaming the Jewish establishment for the Israel lobby. They are afraid that any acknowledgment of Jewish influence will lead to more anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews But a journalist’s job description is to tell the truth about important events, and the truth is that the Jewish portion of the Israel lobby, AIPAC and the big Zionist donors, play an essential role in our politics.

“More significantly, evangelical Christians have no influence over the Democrats who have supported the Israeli occupation and the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza; Jewish groups do. If evangelical Christians did have such influence, then Democrats would be for Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, against gay rights and abortion rights, and against stem-cell research. But Dems are oppositional to evangelicals on those questions.

Consider these examples of the Democrats and the Jewish Israel lobby:


–AIPAC reaches out to Democratic candidates; and it scripts the Middle East policy of congressional campaigns before they have campaign managers, just so they can get money from the “Jewish community,” says the head of Emily’s List.

–The 29 standing ovations for Netanyahu in the Congress in 2011 — when he was lecturing Obama on settlements — were led by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was then head of fundraising for the Democratic Congress as the party chair and who shares a large donor with Netanyahu.

–At that time, Obama, facing reelection, went back on his vow to stop the settlements and vetoed the United Nations Security Council resolution against settlements. His former aide Ben Rhodes says that Obama felt pressure from “Jewish donors.”


–Haim Saban– (“I have one issue-Israel”) one of President Obama’s biggest donors, and one of the biggest supporters of Birthright and the Israeli army right alongside Sheldon Adelson on the right– was one of Hillary Clinton’s advisers during the 2016 campaign and pressed her to issue a statement against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and to say publicly that she would take the Israel relationship to a whole new level with Netanyahu, and put the Obama friction behind.

Do you think that has anything to do with Chelsea Clinton landing on Ilhan Omar the other night?

–Last year Stu Eizenstat wrote a book about Jimmy Carter saying that leading American Jewish organizations, working alongside Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, got Jimmy Carter to yield on settlements. Still, Carter never dropped the issue entirely, even as his political guru typed out a long memo to him saying that 60 percent of campaign funds on the Democratic side come from Jews and that money is pro-Israel.

The Jewish portion of the Israel lobby surely has influence among Republicans too. Trump moved the embassy and tore up the Iran Deal at least as much for the sake of his biggest funder, Sheldon Adelson, who is Jewish and proudly attended the unveiling in Jerusalem, as he did for Christian Zionists. Senator Lindsey Graham said when he ran in the Republican presidential primaries in 2016: “I may have the first all-Jewish cabinet in America because of the pro-Israel funding.  Bottom line is, I’ve got a lot of support from the pro-Israel funding.”

Of course you are never allowed to adduce these facts in the mainstream media, especially not now in the wake of the public shaming of Rep. Ilhan Omar as an anti-Semite for stating a plain truth: AIPAC and financial considerations sway the Congress on Middle East policy.


“Can you explain to me why people are so upset about the Muslim congresswoman’s comments about Israel?” a friend who is married to a Jew writes to me from overseas. “As far as I can tell, she said that the US supports Israel because the Jewish lobby spends a lot of money in Congress. Isn’t that a factually accurate statement?”

Weiss threw up his hands.

It’s been 13 years since the publication of the Israel lobby paper by Walt and Mearsheimer, and we all seem to have gone backwards.  Everyone is denying plain truths.

Jewish writers go along with the denial because they don’t want Jews to be held responsible for the occupation, or for Israel’s slaughters. But that’s intellectually dishonest. And spiritually desolate too. You will notice that Palestinian rights and lives count for absolutely nothing in this discussion. Palestinians are supposed to live under subhuman conditions forever, and wait for the peace process rather than push for their rights. Ali Abunimah and Glenn Greenwald, two writers who have done as much as anyone to move the American left on BDS, have both been insistent on talking about the lobby because they wish to address power.


What does it say about American Jewish life that four Jewish Zionist writers for the New lately justified the massacre of unarmed Palestinian protesters? It says to me that Jews are facing a great reckoning. Our collective memory is one of powerlessness and victimization. But it has kept us from coming to terms with the reality, our own privilege. Everyone sees it. We don’t.

Weiss is very brave. Christians less so. Catholic  leaders terribly conflicted and self censorious. They have allowed the obvious fear of pro-Israel tribal  reprisals to mute their prophetic voice on behalf of the victims here—those that Weiss names and timorous Christians are afraid to, those who bear the  disfigured face of the Jewish Christ for far too long, the indigenous Palestinians.


Thx to Adam Horowitz, James North and Donald Johnson.

The cross and the crib

Christmas 2018

This life in the manger ended  upon the cross…and we might end there if we really emulated it.

Reinhold Niebuhr

The crib and the cross go together in the holy story which travels across time. The crib, the stuff of myth like crawling ivy and golden treacle, leaches the dynamite from the gospel. Who doesn’t love the baby in his bed? Who doesn’t run from a cross?

In time we have filled in the blanks, sung the 3 kings on the holy night, the silent night, added a drummer boy. Decades ago when we were “a Christian nation” we put the shivering Christ child behind two inches of permaglass at Eaton’s. No more.It’s “Happy Holidays” but the creche  in front of our churches feeds our warm emotions of the babe who smells of talcum powder.

The birth narratives as Michael Dowd writes are night language”—powerful poetry, myth, symbol and metaphor. This is the language which inspires, moves the soul–the magi, the  star, the wicked Herod.we sense there is something dark afoot even at the babe’s birth.

Of course, the evangelists Matthew and Luke (circa 90 CE) know the end of the story, The gospels are largely the Passion story with an intro. The crib will lead to the cross, the scandal, Niebuhr’s “ terrible  beauty”“where in faith we see God hidden beyond history and reason.

Still in this season and every Yule  it is manger time so, signed with the cross of Christ, we have every right to sing another alleluia.

Catholic journals reject Kavanaugh


Now the most literate Catholic journals have come out and panned Brett Kavanaugh as a  Supreme Court justice.First it was America and now Commonweal in the article below outs Kavanaugh for what he is, a privileged right wing Republican, duplicitous and way too political to ever sit as an unbiased arbiter on the highest court in the land.


Time and history has caught up with Brett Kavanaugh,

His sycophantic genuflection  to Donald Trump’s nomination led him, with a Republican majority to believe  his acceptance was a mere formality. He still may be acclaimed but that is neither here nor there. For the reasons beautifully described below, Kavanaugh will be a lame duck justice, a dead judge walking,pilloried, justly or unjustly, by many.Every decision he writes or is part of will be scrupulously pored over and his hidden agenda, so smarmy hidden by his choir boy facade will become patent. The country will be even more divided. This guy will take to wearing a mask in public.

Thankfully, the disgusting pillorying of Anita Hill, a victim of old boys patriarchy 2 decades has shone a necessary light on the barely hidden misogyny which elevated the worst judge in modern history Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. GW Bush curried favour with the black community by putting Thomas  on the court to take the place of  a real jurist Thurgood Marshall. Thomas who never writes high court opinion sits like a dummy only proving that black is not always beautiful.

Here is Commonweal’s majestic rejection:

At her September 27 appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Christine Blasey Ford was asked what she remembered most about her alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge in 1982. It was the laughter, she said, “indelible in the hippocampus…the uproarious laughter of the two, and their having fun at my expense.” This was one of many heartbreaking details in a morning’s worth of forthright testimony, whose tone and substance led a number of observers to call Ford, who is a professor and research psychologist, “incredibly credible.” She was nervous but cooperative, explaining that she was there to do her civic duty. She was also courageous: she had little to gain by speaking publicly about the attack and its traumatic effects. In so doing, she also inspired other survivors to come forward on social media and the airwaves to share similar experiences, many breaking years or decades of silence.


Kavanaugh displayed no such poise or sense of the world beyond himself. His opening remarks, all partisan fury, sniveling self-pity, and distortion of the truth, set the tone for the afternoon. Exhibiting petulant disdain for Democratic members of the committee, he came off as nothing so much as the entitled adolescent he memorialized in a summerful of calendar entries, unable to believe his parents are about to ground him for the weekend. He raged at the prospect of being deprived of a job he apparently assumed was his by dint of mere pedigree. At times he seemed barely in control of his anger; perhaps he truly cannot remember doing what he has been accused of. Nevertheless, his reaction to questions about his drinking habits from Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar—“What about you, Senator? Do you ever black out?”—was not just disrespectful but disturbing, and his apology for it devoid of real contrition.

Though he loudly proclaimed his innocence, he repeatedly declined to say whether he would support additional investigation by the FBI into the allegations against him. Kavanaugh’s belligerence had a contagious effect on Republican members, stirring Lindsey Graham to preposterous expressions of indignation on the nominee’s behalf. Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor Republican senators chose to question Ford in their place, was sidelined soon after Kavanaugh was sworn in; to him, they preferred to speak man to man, fanning his anger with their own.

His record suggests hostility toward voting rights and affirmative action, and his originalist stance on Constitutional interpretation seems fully in line with conservative aims to dismantle government programs and further deregulate the economy

There were reasons to oppose Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court even before allegations of misconduct came to light. His record suggests hostility toward voting rights and affirmative action, and his originalist stance on Constitutional interpretation seems fully in line with conservative aims to dismantle government programs and further deregulate the economy. His writings suggest an expansive view of executive power—troubling especially now, given the current president’s musings on self-pardon and threats to end the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election. Kavanaugh’s time as a Republican party operative—from his role in drafting the 1998 Starr Report, which laid out grounds for impeaching President Bill Clinton, to helping stop the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election—raises legitimate questions about his impartiality. He seems to have been less than fully truthful in sworn testimony about his knowledge of documents stolen from Democrats when he worked in the George W. Bush administration.

But Kavanaugh’s performance on September 27—intemperate, partisan, possibly perjurious, and plainly injudicious—was disqualifying. Humility, self-awareness, and acknowledgment of the gravity of the moment might have helped. Indeed, these are the qualities traditionally associated with a Supreme Court justice. Instead there was a diatribe filled with Fox News talking points, a threat to potential political opponents, and dissembling on a number of questions about his past behavior. The compromise brokered by Senators Jeff Flake and Chris Coons to have the FBI further investigate sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh may neither fully exonerate him nor conclusively prove his guilt. Its somewhat limited scope seems intended to enable Republicans to deliver on their oft-stated goal to “plow through on this” before the midterm elections. Clearly, they do not want to know what happened. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, there will be a cloud over the court. Indifference to truth—exemplified by the president and now spreading through his whole party—will have carried the day, while a man who has proved himself unsuited to serve will be on the nation’s highest court for the rest of his life.

Brett Kavanaugh, Republican

  • Unknown
  • Christian community’s social obligation is to disturb the official doings of society when they are in conflict with the best interest of justice for human beings.

Jurgen Moltmann

Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.


Improper Formation? 

This is a Commonweal article by John Gehring a man whose bona fides I trust . he wrote this article in Commonweal, another trustworthy Catholic literary organ.

Here is Gehring’s background

John Gehring is Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, an advocacy group in Washington, and a former associate director for media relations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is author of The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church (Rowman & Littlefield, 

Brett Kavanaugh’s possibly imperiled nomination to the Supreme Court has me thinking about elite institutions, power, and privilege as the backdrop to explosive charges brought by Christine Blasey Ford—the Palo Alto University psychology professor who alleges that Kavanaugh, while a student at Georgetown Prep, locked her in a room during a party, held her down, covered her mouth, and attempted to rape her. ]

I do not know who is right here but Gehring in his article goes on to point out the small shadow side  of this prestigious Catholic prep school-–where I found out the tuition was $37,000 per.and i have no doubt about the many fine people in these schools who believed and attempted to live the Jesuit motto: Men for Others, which instilled instilled an ethic of service, a spirituality of discernment, and a faith-based commitment to justice. ‘


But Gehring goes on  about  “ another context rarely acknowledged but ever present: a culture of entitlement where young men born into privilege walked with the jaunty confidence of those who knew instinctively that society was organized to defer to them. Even if we couldn’t explain the sociology of power, or spell out the specifics of why, for example, the criminal justice system and the prospects of professional opportunities would be far kinder to us than the black kids at a public school only miles but a world away, the order of things remained unquestioned. 

I distrusted Kavanaugh from the getgo. As soon as he pulled the humble “I’m just the basketball coach at Blessed Sacrament,“ the school where his daughters went, my radar began to beep.  Then the NYT fleshed out his uber-privileged Republican  background. His father was a shill for the cosmetics industry whose buy out was $13 million ; his bother a secretary for GW Bush.  I projected on to this the type of Catholicism he  lived—pillar of the community, reader at mass and dished out of baked beans at the parish fall fair. Probably voted for Trump as 55% of RCs did.

Then Ralph Nader undressed  the judge’s  total corporate rulings, similar to those other 4 RCs on the supreme Court—yes, the one that gave the USA the “Citizens United” decision, allowing untold money into presidential elections.

I venture to say–and i could be wrong- but my whole life has exposed me to these Catholic chancers. Are there any photos of that Mr. Kavanaugh seen in a march for justice against US imperialism in Central America, or a “Ban the bomb” rally or really anything that whiffed of radical concern for the poor in the American fun house which has so richly rewarded him. I think not. For this blue blood it was always Excelsior, onward and upward.

Mexican theologian José Miranda writes

The fact that Christians have not set out to conquer the world for love of neighbor shows that they do not believe that the messianic eschaton has arrived. They have adapted to the “world” and to history. Civilization has ensnared them so that they have made Christianity  into a conventional religion and by this very fact they deny that Jesus is the messiah..They have withdrawn from the otherness of millions of hungry, tormented human beings.

I believe Kavanaugh assiduously spent his life in Dan Berrigan’s phrase “an upward ride on the golden escalator to nowhere,” in Kavanaugh’s case  a Republican oriented, upperly mobile legal career.The  fact that he was effusively praised by Trump should have been the early warning sign, then his  kiss ass answer:

Mr. President, thank you. Throughout this process, I’ve witnessed firsthand your appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary. No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.

Matthew Iglesias writing on VOX pointed to Kavanaugh’s first lie in 2004

Brett Kavanaugh’s habit of dissembling makes it hard to take his word over Ford’s

From his public remarks to his congressional testimony, he’s awfully dishonest. Kavanaugh has been bullshitting recently, but at other times, he seemingly did seek to outright mislead people.

The overall impression one gets of Kavanaugh is of a man who is not that scrupulous in his recollections and who is very willing to say things that are false or misleading to both Congress and the public in order to get ahead.

Nick Kristoff in Sunday’s NYT: “He appears to have given misleading testimony, though perhaps short of perjury, about his knowledge of stolen documents when he was in the Bush White House and about his involvement in judicial nominations.”

And then his stunning political speech on Friday where he lacerated the Clintons and left wingers. This alone should disqualify him for partisanship  and now the American Jesuit magazine has disqualified him

In an editorial posted late Thursday, America magazine said it had no special insight into whether Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth. But it said that the nomination was no longer in the interests of the country and “should be withdrawn.”

“If Senate Republicans proceed with his nomination, they will be prioritizing policy aims over a woman’s report of an assault,” the editors wrote. “Were he to be confirmed without this allegation being firmly disproved, it would hang over his future decisions on the Supreme Court for decades and further divide the country.”

The reversal is significant given Kavanaugh has repeatedly cited his Catholic faith. I do not presume to judge Kavanaugh’s soul  but i do know this: all faith communities  have taken a terrible hit under capitalism. Look at the stunning betrayal of  evangelicals under Trump. Look at the way Zionism has wormed its way into the Judaism. We Christians  have trimmed our sails to a tidal wave of  sweet seduction. What the hell are catholics doing hanging with Bush and voting Republican,

Catholics who  become Republican boosters  are suspect in my judgment, This is the party which has fought every advancement of hunan betterment in my lifetime and you simply can not divorce faith from politics.

DiAIRMUID O’MURCHU reminds us  that

We have come a long way from the fiery prophetic figure Jesus of Nazareth who shocked and disturbed the conventions of his day in the name of justice and liberation. Our respectability has taken a terrible toll on the authentic calling of Christian life. We have lost sight of the deeper vision and lost heart for the passion and enthusiasm of God’s New Reign. The following of Jesus is not a respectable religion.

Kavanaugh’s Catholicism is a bit too respectable for me.

A Rosh Hoshannah Sermon


Everybody has seen his picture, the vulpine special advisor to Donald Trump and the key architect of his cruel “zero-tolerance” immigration policies,/he is Stephen Miller a hard right Republican political operative a 31 year old american jew who grew up and attended shul in Santa Monica,  On August 13 Miller was called out by his uncle David Glosser who who wrote a scathing article about his nephew  on Politico, Glosser filled in the blanks of a fairly typical Jewish rags to riches story of his maternal grandfather’s family from Belarus who made it big in the goldene medine of America.

Uncle Dave was horrified at his nephew’s political Trumpite views

II have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, an educated man who is well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses— the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants 

But that was nothing compared to Miller’s rabbi who  according to the Huffington Post  in a Rosh Hosannah sermon blistered Miller as a purveyor of “negativity, violence, malice and brutality” who had learned nothing from his Jewish spiritual education and completely antithetical to everything I know about Judaism.”


Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels of Beth Shir Shalom, a progressive reform synagogue in the beachside city of Santa Monica where Miller grew up, devoted his sermon marking the Jewish New Year to a striking denunciation of Miller and the now-abandoned policy he championed of separating immigrant families at the border.

Honestly, Mr Miller, you’ve set back the Jewish contribution to making the world spiritually whole through your arbitrary division of these desperate people,” the rabbi said. “The actions that you now encourage President Trump to take make it obvious to me that you didn’t get my, or our, Jewish message.

This is the season of apology, and to get to an apology, shame over past actions is necessary. Some shout at others when they are self-righteous enough: you should be ashamed of yourself! That’s not something I would ever shout or demand.” But Comess-Daniels went on to say it was up to Miller to acknowledge his wrongdoing.

The service for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, was held on the campus of Santa Monica high school, which Miller attended from 1999 to 2003, a. Rabbi Comess-Daniels found a receptive audience, which greeted his words with rapturous applause.

Miller’s parents, who still live in Santa Monica, have not been members of Beth Shir Shalom for many years.

Miller never completed his bar mitzvah there but he attended Hebrew school, where he was known as a provocateur unafraid to alienate his classmates.


Well, America with its credo of power, success and advancement often has its way with the best religious education, Jewish or otherwise.

Foreign born priests-no solution


Bishop Smith of Edmonton 15 years ago banned Catholic New Times in the Pembroke area. Not orthodox for him. He was and is a John Paul ll bishop who answered to one —the bishop of Rome. Smith is quite a conservative so watch what he did.

In the last few years Smith sent  packing 4 Nigerian priests  who had come  cto Edmonton. They were even too much for the bishop.

It’s simply a bad fit. I am sure there are some good men in this cohort but they bring such a lousy, priest-centered ecclesiology that they really are fish out of water. In Africa they may be tolerable and accept, as due to them, all deference and rewards which come to the ordained. This is just what Pope Francis rails against—clericalism.

On top of their poor ecclesiology many bring a pronounced chauvinism and misogyny. Add to this a total obliviousness to the Canadian context and our rich Catholic Social Teaching.Reverse mission  we can accept but clericalism, patriarchy, misogyny,—no thanks..



My beautiful late friend the Franciscan Mike Crosby wrote a great book about celibacy:Rethinking Celibacy Reclaiming the Church. Mike’s image: a fisher throws his line into the water. On this side (celibate men) he gets no bites. On the other side of the boat, fish are leaping into the boat but they are married men and women.Forbidden to reel them in. Lesson:the Catholic church is denying priesthood to gifted, baptized married men and women on utterly spurious grounds. This country could easily priest its own people, men and women who know the culture and are faithful to the kingdom vision of Jesus.

But no, bishops are in place who will not do the obvious: tell Rome to wake up, listen to the sensus fidelium of the Catholic people in this country and accept the obvious solution. They don’t. They stay mum.and they go fishing to other continents where the fish are jumping out of the water and out of poverty  to join the exclusive all male, pope in the parish priesthood.

Australia’s Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse issued its report last December “Clericalism is linked to a sense of entitlement, superiority and exclusion, and abuse of power,” the report said.

No kidding.The  upper management of this church has not adjusted to the quantum leap in lay theological sophistication in the last 50 years since Vatican ll.They are demanding  agency the right to be heard as baptized catholics. father knows best is an old trope and a bad TV show.

Now even Bishop Smith is becoming aware of these imports to Canada. But will he tell Rome the obvious?

Decades ago Bishop Alex Carter of the Soo moaned to me: We are stuck. He was very frustrated. In 1971 he had called for ordaining married men first, then proceed to women….that was 47 years ago and before the Polish pope staked his pontificate on banning women from all 7 sacraments. 13 years of Vatican ll energy was dissipated when Woytyla slammed on the brakes and began the counter-reformation.

Remember Bishop Remi de Roo’s story


We were enjoying an open discussion of all sorts of topics. I was determined that one of them would be the ordination of mature married men. I was sitting next to the Pope, at his right hand. He attacked his food with gusto, pausing occasionally to hold his fork and knife upright in his hands. At one point, I suggested that we might consider the pastoral problems caused by the shortage of priests, particularly in remote areas like the ones represented by most of the bishops who were present at that luncheon.

He ignored my request by glancing to his left. The exchanges moved along;

I waited for a second opportunity for a lull in the conversation. This time, speaking in French to make sure he would grasp every word, I carefully but directly faced him with the issue of our people being deprived of the Eucharist. Should we not call to ordination mature married men who could provide the spiritual nourishment that was so sorely lacking in areas deprived of clergy? He turned and glared at me, then banged deliberately on the table with his fist holding the knife handle. In a loud and emphatic tone of voice he declared, “Deus providebit!” (God will provide!). That was, sadly, the end of the exchange.

Well, God won’t provide, hasn’t provided but the Catholic people  can if given their rightful role in this church.

Imports from Nigeria are no solution.

Jews are the chosen people: Gideon Levy

79 Percent of Right-wingers Believe Jews Are the Chosen People. Are You for Real?


This  refrain of Gideon Levy over the years I have read him is that too many Jews believe  they are the chosen people. I have  often puzzled over this. Since I do not live in Israel, I wondered if Levy was right. At first I  could not take it seriously.

Theologically there are no chosen people.That God chooses a special people is an ethnocentric idea which no Christian can accept. This makes a mockery out of how one perceives the Godhead.  None  are  chosen. or all are chosen.The human race has an opportunity collectively to respond to the holy and engage in life-building activity or that of tikkun olam, repairing the world.

The great Hebrew scripture scholar Walter Brueggemann wrote on this is in 2015. Here is a sample


It will not do for Christian readers of the Bible to reduce the Bible to an ideological prop for the state of Israel, as though support for Israel were a final outcome of biblical testimony. The dynamism of the Bible, with its complex interactions of the chosen people and other peoples, is fully attested, and we do well to see what is going on in the Bible itself that is complex and cannot be reduced to a simplistic defense of chosenness…

Levy as a native  secular Sabra has his own take on what i would consider a delusional idea that

79 Percent of Right-wingers Believe Jews Are the Chosen People. Are You for Real?

Whereas belief in God is a private matter, the belief in a chosen people provides the outlines of policy that explains a great deal about Israel’s actions. When they say that they are the chosen people, it reveals their psychosis

 I would like to meet representatives of that absolute, decisive, arrogant and patronizing majority reflected in a recent Haaretz poll and ask them: Are you guys for real? How did you come up with that? On whose say-so? Are you, the absolute majority, so sure that we are the chosen, the very best, that we are the champions, head and shoulders above the rest?

How did you come to this conclusion? I’d like to ask you, dear majority: On what basis are you convinced that we are the chosen people, that we know everything better than all the other nations; that we deserve more than everyone else; that what applies to them does not apply to us, because we are superior.

This is how a majority of Israeli Jews responded in the Haaretz-Dialog poll published last week: We are a chosen people. A majority, 56 percent, are sure of this. The figure rises to 79 percent, an overwhelming majority, among self-identified right-wingers. In a country where 76 percent of people believe in God or another higher power, perhaps that is obvious. But whereas belief in God is a private matter, the belief in a chosen people provides the outlines of policy that explains a great deal about Israel’s actions.

Let’s turn from theology to pathology. The Israeli Jews who think they belong to a chosen and select people owe an accounting to themselves and to others. It’s easy to declare that God does or doesn’t exist. No one is expecting evidence, but when the majority of a nation is convinced that it is superior to all other nations, some evidence is necessary. In Israel’s case, it’s easy to prove that it’s a case of detachment from reality, a dangerous delusion. In any event, a people that is convinced that it is chosen poses a danger to itself and its surroundings.


Gideon Levy

The Jewish people is indeed special, with a glorious and bloody history. Israeli Jews, too, have cause for pride. But when they say that they are the chosen people, it reveals their psychosis. It’s doubtful that any other nation thinks that of itself today. Israeli Jews have no grounds to think this either. In what way are we chosen? In what way are we better? And what is the Swede, the French person, the American, the Briton or the Arab supposed to think about this insufferable arrogance?

There’s no need to elaborate on Israel’s questionable morality as an occupier. Any Israeli with even a modicum of self-awareness recognizes that an occupying nation cannot be the chosen people. Nor would a bit of humility hurt when it comes to a few other characteristics of the people of Israel, before it crowns itself a light unto the nations. I recommend, for example, reading the comprehensive, horrifying analysis in Haaretz by Dan Ben-David of the country’s education system, which did not prompt the necessary outcry. Half of Israel’s children receive a Third World education.


A little modesty would also become the citizens of a state that ranks 87th in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, below Togo and the Ivory Coast. Nor is No. 32 on Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index something to celebrate. Health care is yet another area where Israel’s self-esteem should be curbed: The country ranks 28th in health-care spending, of the 36 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member states, and 30th in the number of hospital beds.

The behavior of Israeli tourists abroad is also not always befitting a chosen people. Perhaps Israel ranks high on an index of German submarine purchases, and maybe that’s the key to understanding the sense of superiority.

Basking in self-glorification has recently become a salient characteristic of Israel’s national character. Just regularly read the Israel Hayom daily or listen to the prime minister: How lovely we are from morning to night.

The right spreads this lie, for its own purposes. Sycophantic populism thrives not only in Israel, but it is only here that the disparity between dream and reality is so great. A chosen people? If only it were finally like all the other nations.





Allan C Brownfeld  of the American Council for Judaism  writes from Alexandria, Virginia

In the discussion of Israel’s new “nation-state” law, an important point to be made is that, despite its claim to be the nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel is not, in fact, the nation-state of American Jews.

Claiming Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people rather than a state of all its citizens can—more than 20 percent of whom are not Jewish—has a number of problems.  And the Israeli government repeatedly calls itself the “homeland”of all Jews, the majority of whom are citizens of other countries.

The homeland of American Jews is the United States, and whatever the Knesset passes into law is completely irrelevant to Jews in other countries . While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government may believe that Jews are a nation and that those Jews living outside of Israel are in exile, this view is not shared by the overwhelming majority of American Jews.

The reality is that the Eastern Euroopeans who founded and settled Israel had no understanding of the American experience,where religious freedom for all is written into,law in the First Amendment.  Israel, for its part, has no such idea of religiousfreedom or separation of religion and state.  Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist rabbis are forbidden by Israeli 

law to perform weddings, preside over funerals and conduct conversions. A Jew and non-Jew who wish to marry mustleave the country to do so.  Indeed, this leads to the question of whether Jews support religious freedom only when theyare in a minority and it serves their interests to do so.

American Jews are American by nationality and Jews by religion, just as other Americans are Protestant, Catholic orMuslim.

Israel would do well to confine itself to speaking in the name of its own citizens, as other countries manage to do. Itsdream may be to be the nation-state of all Jews, but this has no relationship to reality.