Friday, January 15, 2016

A Summary of Robert Sungenis and the Jews

UPDATED JANUARY 2016

This blog was created to document and provide a counter-balance to Robert Sungenis' problematic views and history related to the Jewish people, beginning in September 2006 and up to the present. The following topical directory is available to help readers more easily navigate the articles on this blog. "Labels" are also available on the right-hand side of the blog in order to locate articles that touch on various topics.

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Over the past couple of years, Robert Sungenis and some of his close associates have returned to making false accusations against his diocese and former ordinary, Bishop Kevin Rhoades. Sungenis has also subsequently published an article that violates one of his many promises to restrict himself to purely theological matters when Jews were involved and to maintain charity "as if the bishop were present with us."  This broken promise is merely the latest in a long line of broken promises. As a result, some articles documenting Sungenis's problematic views about the Jewish people and the falsehood of his accusations against his diocese and former ordinary have again been made available to the public.

Sungenis has gone to great lengths to portray his conflict with Bishop Rhoades and other Catholics as stemming from his efforts to defend the purity of Catholic doctrine in regard to the Jewish people. His claim is completely and demonstrably false.  While the most recent articles below deal with doctrinal issues, we have presented them primarily in order to illustrate that Sungenis's accusations of "heresy" against his critics (including his own bishop) have been and continue to be a canard used by him to take the focus off the actual reason he's gotten into so much hot water with his bishop and so many others:  his anti-Jewish prejudice.  This anti-Jewish prejudice was publicly expressed for over a decade on issues that have nothing to do with theology -- ranging from historical revisionism to conspiracy theories about Jews. However, even in regard to doctrinal issues and scriptural interpretations involving Jews, Sungenis has made numerous errors because his theology is tainted by his prejudice against them (for example, see here and here). He has repeatedly demonstrated that if Jews are involved, he is unable to maintain any semblance of fairness and objectivity.


Robert Sungenis and the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults 
Was Sungenis the first and/or only one to notice a problematic sentence on page 131 of the USCCA and did he single-handedly cause the U.S. bishops to change it, as he publicly claims? Did the U.S. bishops "vindicate" Sungenis's personal views on "supersessionism," as he also publicly claims?  Was the conspiracy theory he publicly floated about the U.S. bishops true? What role did Sungenis actually play in regard to the change to the problematic sentence on page 131 of the USCCA?  Is he uniquely qualified to handle Jewish issues?  These questions and more are answered.

Sungenis's Continued Misuse of "Supersessionism"
Sungenis unfortunately continues to treat the term "Supersessionism" as if it is magisterial.  It is not of Catholic origin and appears in no magisterial texts. It's a loaded term that can and does carry very different connotations, implications and nuances.  Some versions of supersessionism are not in accord with Catholic teaching. Sungenis himself holds to a version of "supersessionism" that then Cardinal Dulles aptly characterized as "crude" and that we have characterized as "extreme." Click here and here (scroll down to "Supersessionism, Redux") for more in-depth discussion of Sungenis's problems as they pertain to supersessionism.

Is Sungenis Right About a Future Special Conversion of the Jewish People to Christ?
Short answer?  No.  In fact, contrary to Sungenis, there is widespread evidence from the Church Fathers, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Scripture, various saints, Popes and renowned scholars that there will be a future, special conversion of the Jewish people to Christ. Click herehere and here for even more evidence that Sungenis is incorrect.

Sungenis on Romans 11:  Theological Bias in Biblical Exegesis
David Palm discusses several of Sungenis's errors regarding Romans 11 and the Jewish people.

Why Sungenis is Wrong to Insist on Saying the Old Covenant is "Revoked"
Sungenis continues to insist on using a word in relation to the Old Covenant that the magisterium has never used:  revoked.  Take a look the facts and reasons why avoiding this term makes sense. You can read more here as well.

Why Sungenis is Wrong to Consider the New Covenant a Punishment of the Jewish People
Watch on as David Palm exposes Sungenis's erroneous "theology of punishment" at the Catholic Answers Forum. Click here and here for two additional posts by Palm dealing with Sungenis's fundamental error about the establishment of the New Covenant.

Why Sungenis is Wrong to Deny the Inherent Jewishness of the Catholic Church
David Palm explains how Sungenis's anti-Jewish bias leads him to flirt with multiple heresies.

Is Sungenis Right About the Identity of the "Olive Tree" and "Root" in Romans 11?
Sungenis insists that the "root" of Romans 11 is Christ alone. Unfortunately, it seems that his anti-Jewish inclinations are influencing his theology again.  There's a considerable number of Catholic witnesses who disagree with him, including the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Church Fathers, renowned Scripture scholars and even Pope Benedict XVI. And it doesn't help that he was caught cropping quotes to make Church Fathers appear to say the opposite of what they actually said.

Sungenis's Theology of Prejudice Against the Jewish People
Several examples are presented that demonstrate how Sungenis's bias against the Jewish people has adversely colored his theology:  The Conversion of the Jews, The Antichrist as a Jew, The Good Friday "Demand",  Pope Benedict XVI on the Jews, and more.

All in the Family:  Christians, Jews and God
An in-depth look at what the Church has taught about our relationship with the Jewish people, and the Jewish people's continuing relationship with God. In particular, a critique of two opposing errors common in certain circles:  the dual covenant theory and extreme supersessionism. (Sungenis falls in the latter camp).

Two Narratives and 15 False Claims About Bishop Rhoades
Sungenis and his friend Rick DeLano have labored to create a false narrative about what happened between Sungenis and Bishop Rhoades and why. In the process, they have spread many false claims about His Excellency, 15 of which are exposed and corrected in this piece.

Sungenis Privately Admits He No Longer Believes Bishop Rhoades is Teaching Heresy on the Old Covenant But Continues to Publicly Accuse Him of It Regardless
Remarkably, Bob Sungenis privately admitted that he no longer believes Bishop Rhoades holds to a  heresy in regard to the Old Covenant (Bob now thinks the real problem was some other "evil man" who was the "mastermind behind the whole thing")...but that hasn't stopped him from continuing to publicly make the slanderous charge against His Excellency, regardless.

Sungenis Comes Out at the Catholic Answers Forums...to Debate David Palm
A close supporter and member of Sungenis's inner circle came out at the CAF anonymously to take a dishonest shot at an article written by RSATJ contributors, only to be confronted and corrected.  Suddenly, Bob did something he rarely does:  he made an extended, online appearance at the CAF himself.  See how Bob was repeatedly challenged by David to defend his charges and how he repeatedly failed to do so...and much more.  The entire debate/thread at the CAF is very enlightening.

Answering Sungenis's Latest "Response" on the "Bishop Rhoades Affair"
Some of Bob's latest errors and dishonesty in his 34-page response regarding his interactions with Bishop Rhoades are exposed.

Answering Sungenis on the Conversion of the Jews...Again
Bob's latest fundamentalist-style attempt to deny this traditional, positive Church teaching about the Jewish people is answered...again.

Contra Sungenis on Elijah and the Conversion of the Jews
Bob has made accusations of supposed "blunders" and "exegetical duplicity" on the part of the Church Fathers in regard to the role of Elijah in the "Conversion of the Jews."  But David Palm shows that it is Sungenis who has blundered and behaved impiously.

Defending Pope Benedict XVI from Sungenis's Latest Attack
Bob has again treated Pope Benedict XVI very disrespectfully because Bob remains unable (or unwilling) to read carefully and charitably when Jews are involved.

Rick DeLano Crafts a Conspiracy Theory (01/28/12): A detailed response to Sungenis board member Rick DeLano concerning numerous factual errors and allegations he made concerning why Bishop Rhoades told Sungenis to take the name "Catholic" off of his organization (it had nothing to do with page 131 of the USCCA or the dual covenant error).

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A History of Unjust Attacks Against Jews:

Timelines of Events
:

The Unjust Attacks of Bob Sungenis Against His Bishop:

Sungenis Smears Bishop, Continues to Mislead and Distort the Record (07/06/07)

Bishop Rhoades Sets The Record Straight (02/21/08)

By Sungenis Alone (03/29/08):

Slandering the Bishop, Again (05/13/08)

Bishop Rhoades and the Dual Covenant Theory (09/24/09)

Sungenis vs. Sungenis vs. Jones (Sungenis and Jones can't seem to get their slanders of Bishop Rhoades straight)








On Plagiarism:

On Fraudulent Quotations:


On Tainted Sources
:

On Sungenis' "Doctorate":

Denied Imprimaturs:

On Conspiracy Theories:


Monday, December 28, 2015

Is Sungenis Right About the "Root" in Romans 11?


Robert Sungenis has insisted that the "root" written of by St. Paul in Romans 11 must be Christ alone. In his CASB 2 (p. 149), he claimed this was "the constant teaching of the Fathers." 

Here are two other examples:

This is certainly a novel interpretation. Unfortunately for Moss, it totally distorts the words of Romans 11:17-20… Moss believes that the “root” of Romans 11 is Israel, not Christ, and that as the Gentiles are saved as they are grafted into Israel. This is wrong. The root is Christ, not Israel.….It is as if Moss is saying, “You Gentiles are only saved because of us Jews, and in order to appreciate that fact, you should practice these Jewish rituals.”

And more recently, Sungenis wrote:
   
Paul does not say 'root of Israel.' He refers to Israel as a 'branch,' not the 'root.' One cannot be both a branch and a root, which means that someone else is the root, which is Christ...the Church does not draw nourishment from the 'root of Israel' for Israel is not the root in Paul’s analogy. Christ is the root, and Israel is merely a branch...Whatever else Benedict XVI believed about the relationship between Christians and Jews, he never says “Israel is the root” in Paul’s analogy.

The “Moss” that Sungenis refers to above David Moss, president of the Association of Hebrew Catholics (AHC). Sungenis seemed clearly irritated at what he perceived as David Moss’ Jewish arrogance (“You Gentiles are only saved because of us Jews…”). But as we'll see below, it seems to be Sungenis's long standing anti-Jewish predispositions that are coloring his interpretation of what Moss wrote. 

Sungenis almost treats this passage as though the meaning of it has been dogmatically defined in the way he interprets it and thus Moss or anyone else is dangerous heretic for contradicting that interpretation. But there are two problems with this strong criticism. The first is that David Moss has never said that “the root is Israel, not Christ.” Here Bob puts words into Moss’s mouth that make the case look more ominous, more absolute. In fact, I have confirmed with Moss that he has no issue with seeing the root as Christ as well. He never intended to “deny” this possibility.  The second problem is that there is a considerable number of Catholic authorities who disagree with Sungenis's interpretation -- including, ironically, Benedict XVI. 

To make matters worse, Ben Douglass, who was Sungenis's own vice president at the time, has stated that Sungenis selectively cropped quotes to make the Church Fathers appear to say the exact opposite of what they actually said about Israel as the "Olive Tree" in Romans 11. This is all documented in The Theologyof Prejudice, which is well worth reading.


So let's take a look at the passage in question. 

In Romans 11, St. Paul writes at length about God’s relationship with the Israelite people.  In particular he focuses on understanding the fact that so many of his Jewish brethren have not accepted the promised Messiah.  Did this mean that the children of Israel were rejected by God? And what implications did this have for the Gentiles?

St. Paul then writes: 

For if their (the Jews’) rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?  If the firstfruits are holy, so is the whole batch of dough; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place and have come to share in the rich root of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches.  If you do boast, consider that you do not support the root; the root supports you.  Indeed you will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ That is so.  They were broken off because of unbelief, but you are there because of faith.  So do not become haughty, but stand in awe.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you either.  (Rom. 11: 15-22)


So, who or what exactly is the “root” to which St. Paul refers?  Contrary to Sungenis's insistence, it would seem that a very common answer is the Patriarchs of Israel. Although, there is certainly solid evidence that “root” may also refer to Jesus Christ, the Israelite par excellence. And there is some evidence that it may also be considered to refer to Israel itself, including a statement by our current pontiff.

So what do we make of these apparent discrepancies?  I would argue that these varying interpretations reveal a deeper truth, not a contradiction.  To be grafted onto the Patriarchs of Israel, Israel itself or Jesus Christ (the Israelite par excellence) essentially amounts the same thing in the imagery St. Paul chose.  It is God’s life-giving grace that flows through the roots and trunk of the tree, grace which is mediated to the branches. In human terms, the life-giving grace of God has been mediated to men through Abraham and the Patriarchs of Israel, Israel itself and of course Jesus Christ, the Israelite par excellence, the representative head of Israel (Galatians 3). 

In Scripture, Isaiah prophesied that Christ would sprout forth from the “stump of Jesse”, the father of King David (Isaiah 11:1).  Jacob/Israel and Judah are spoken of as “taking root” in Isaiah 27:6 and 37:31, respectively. The Old Testament expressly describes Israel as the olive tree itself in Jer. 11:16 and Hos 14:7 (not merely "a branch" as Sungenis insists). And Christ is clearly spoken of as the “root” in Revelation 5:5 and 22:16. God’s grace was showered upon man because of and through the faith of Abraham, and continued in this way through certain of his progeny, eventually passing through Jacob (Israel) and culminating in the Israelite par excellence, Jesus Christ.

Below are several interpretations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Church Fathers and various Catholic scripture scholars, including Benedict XVI:

1) Fr. George Leo HaydockA Comprehensive Catholic Commentary, page 1,494.

“By the root, says St. Chysostom, he understands Abraham and the Patriarchs, from whom all the Jewish nation proceeded, as branches from that root…”


2) Moffat New Testament CommentaryThe Epistle to the Romans, page 178.

 “The ‘root’ is the patriarchs”

3) Dom Bernard OrchardCatholic Commentary on Holy Scripture 1951, page 1072 and 558, respectively: 

“(St. Paul) is no renegade, and Israel…has not lost the holiness which she inherited from the Patriarchs, who are…her roots.”

“’In the days to come, Israel shall take root…’ The world’s salvation is from Israel.”

4) Fr. Richard Stack, Lectures on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, 1806, page 330:

 “By the root is meant Abraham…”

5) Fr. Charles Callan, The Epistles of St. Paul, page 184:

“The firstfruit and the root mean the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. who were holy men and faithful servants of God.”

6) Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), Many Religions- One Covenant, page 32:

“we must .. first ask what this view of the historical figure of Jesus means for the existence of those who know themselves to be grafted through him onto the 'olive tree Israel', the children of Abraham.”  [Note:  Here Benedict XVI clearly sees the Gentiles as being grafted on to Israel].

7) St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures, XX, 3) Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Philip Schaff, pg 147:

“Then, when ye were stripped, ye were anointed with exorcised oil, from the very hairs of your head to your feet, and were made partakers of the good olive-tree, Jesus Christ. For ye were cut off from the wild olive-tree, and grafted into the good one, and were made to share the fatness [abundance] of the true olive tree. The exorcised oil therefore was a symbol of the participation of the fatness of Christ, being a charm to drive away every trace of hostile influence.”

8) St. Augustine:

Sermons, XXVII, 12:

"Therefore did the Lord at once graft the wild olive into the good olive tree. He did it then when He said, 'Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”

"So then for this reason that people did not come to Him, that is by reason of pride; and the natural branches are said to be broken off from the olive tree, that is from that people founded by the Patriarchs [Israel]."

Augustine to Faustus the Manichean, Bk 9 2:

"You say that the apostle, in leaving Judaism, passed from the bitter to the sweet. But the apostle himself says that the Jews, who would not believe in Christ, were branches broken off, and that the Gentiles, a wild olive tree, were grafted into the good olive, that is, the holy stock of the Hebrews, that they might partake of the fatness of the olive."


9) The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#755):

"The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets."

10) Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Romans), Bray (Editor), p 293:

a) Diodore:  “First fruits and root both refer her to the patriarchs, the lawgiver and the prophets.”

b) Pseudo-Constantius: “The root refers to Abraham…”

c) Theodore of Mopsuestia: “by root he means, Abraham…”

d) Theodoret of Cyr;  “the root is Abraham…”

e) Pelagius: “Do not rejoice in the fall of the Jews…you do not supply them with life, but they supply you.”  [Here Pelagius seems to see Israel, or the Jews, as the root that mediates God’s grace.]

f) Ambrosiaster:  “the Jews were not rejected for the sake of the Gentiles.  Rather it was because they were rejected that they gave an opportunity for the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles.  If you boast against those onto whose root you have been grafted, you insult the people who have accepted you so that you might be converted…You will not continue like that if you destroy the thing on which you stand.”  (Here Ambrosiaster seems to be saying that the Gentiles “stand” on the Jews, that they have been grafted onto them.)

g) Chysostom: “if the Gentile, who was cut off from his natural fathers and come, contrary to nature, to Abraham, how much more will God be able to recover his own!”

h) Chrysostom: Ver. 16. "For if the first-fruits be holy, the lump also is holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches;"So calling in this passage by the names of the first-fruit and root Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, the prophets, the patriarchs, all who were of note in the Old Testament; and the branches, those from them who believed.  

(Homilies on Romans, Homily XIX)

i) Pseudo-Constantius: “Paul says that the Gentiles have been grafted against nature onto the root, that is, onto the faith of the Patriarchs.”


[This article was originally published in 2006.]

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Clearing Roy Schoeman of Sungenis' Slander

Roy Schoeman, a faithful, orthodox Roman Catholic who came to the Church from Judaism, has long been targeted by Sungenis for multiple "critiques." Until now, Sungenis' most deplorable "critique" was the one in which he had not even read Schoeman's book before feeling justified in impugning his honesty.

But more recently, Sungenis stooped to a new low by jumping to publish a fraudulent quote and attributing it to Schoeman, without first making any effort to verify it. Yet, when Sungenis learned for certain that the quote was fraudulent, he promptly published a retraction and apology and sent a personal apology to Schoeman...right?

Not exactly.

Ben Douglass recounts the sorry story.

New and Old Postings by Ben Douglass

Ben Douglass has reposted his excellent materials on the Sungenis and the Jews controversy. Douglass' perspective is unique, having stayed at CAI well into the controversy.

Oy Vey! Or Benjamin Douglasstein Kvetches about Robert Sungenis

How does one reason with a man who, when he is told that someone rejects a belief which he has attributed to him, insists that that person must be lying, and that secretly he must still affirm that belief?...

See the whole article at http://www.pugiofidei.com/sungenis.htm


You maniac! You're blowing up! Ah, save you. God save you from hell!!!
I for one think that Judaizing is a serious problem in today's Church, and hope to be an effective opponent of it. The reason I don't want Sungenis writing about Jews and Judaism is not because I oppose any and all criticism of them, but because after such and so many egregious violations of justice and charity, Sungenis has disqualified himself from engaging these issues....

See the whole article at http://www.pugiofidei.com/sungenis2.htm


A Last Response from Douglasstein
Sungenis goes on to make the absurd claim that his critics have attacked his wife and children. Not surprisingly, no quotations are provided. This is because no one has ever attacked his wife and children. It was Sungenis who tried to bring his wife into this debacle by claiming her as an independent witness to the events surrounding Michael Forrest's departure from CAI. Even then, Sungenis' critics never attacked her, they simply asked him questions with a view to establishing whether she really was an independent witness, or whether she got her information second-hand from him. Not surprisingly, Sungenis was very cagey about answering their questions. As Jacob Michael discovered, this is because he [Sungenis] had already admitted that she was only a second-hand witness in his essay "Jacob Michael and the Jews"....

See the whole article at http://www.pugiofidei.com/sungenis3.htm


The Origin of the Schoeman Forgery Revealed, Sungenis up to Old Tricks
A young man named Steve Tolles sent this quote to Sungenis, and Sungenis promptly and without verification published it as sure evidence that Roy Schoeman is indeed a Judaizer. Soon after, Sungenis' own most devoted defender, Mark Wyatt, googled the quote and discovered that it was patched together from some of Schoeman's actual words . . . and other material of unknown origin. . . . Sungenis' reaction was truly reprehensible: he stated that he would assume the quote was genuine until proven otherwise, he requested a signed affidavit from Schoeman swearing that he did not write the words in question, and he suggested that perhaps Schoeman changed his original words at the Association of Hebrew Catholics conference before putting them on the AHC website...

See the whole article at http://www.pugiofidei.com/fraud.htm


The Orthodoxy of Roy Schoeman
Schoeman did in fact publicly repudiate all the heresies which Sungenis has attributed to him. Schoeman has not merely repudiated them in private correspondence. And what was Sungenis' reaction? He said that it was "disingenuous" of him to attempt to disavow them. On other occasions as well, Sungenis has insisted that Schoeman actually does hold these beliefs which he professes to repudiate. So, rather than admit that he has misrepresented Schoeman, Sungenis prefers to imply that he is a liar. This is no way to treat anyone, much less a Catholic brother in Christ....

See the whole article at http://www.pugiofidei.com/sungenis4.htm

Justice, not Fear
The best definition of anti-Semitism, I believe, is the one most commonly found in dictionaries: prejudice against Jews. And prejudice is best understood according to its etymology: to pre-judge. The anti-Semite will form hostile judgments about Jews prior to any dispassionate consideration of rational evidence. His treatment of Jews and Jewish issues will be, to put it mildly, heavily biased and tendentious. So will be his exegesis of texts by and about Jews. He will have an irrational predisposition to see the worst in Jews, and to see Jews in the worst. He will suspect his enemies to be secret Jews, even in the absence of evidence. He will habitually, uncritically swallow any spurious claim which disparages Jews (any stick good enough to beat the Jews with), and seek to undermine any statement which praises them. Lastly, when the issue is the Jews his faculty of reasoning will be manifestly impaired. Now, on to specific things that Robert Sungenis has said and done....

See the whole article at http://www.pugiofidei.com/sungenis5.htm

Friday, January 30, 2015

David Palm's Defense of Michael Forrest

Introduction:

I will keep this introduction brief, since there is a lot of ground to cover. I don't blame you if you are tired of the latest misadventures of Bob Sungenis. I am too. But I am also convinced that the present work is an act of charity to help those who have already been, or might in the future be, harmed by the misbehavior of Sungenis by laying plain the falsehoods, double standards, and illogic that has characterized Bob's dealings with his friends over the years on Jewish issues. I have tried to lay out facts and my purpose here is to defend my friend Michael Forrest (and others) from a great many false charges. With that, then, let's begin.

Here's an executive summary, for those who don't care to wade through all this muck. I urge you to read it all, but rest assured the documentation is there for each point:


  1. Chronology of events.

  2. The use of e-mails as evidence in line with Sungenis's own standards.

  3. Double standards abound.

  4. Sungenis's threatens a lawsuit, in violation of St. Paul's prohibition.

  5. Sungenis's false claim that Michael Forrest left CAI because he wanted to pursue a musical career.

  6. Sungenis's false claim that Michael Forrest was concerned about what his concert/gig promoter(s) would think of his affiliation with CAI.

  7. Sungenis's false claim that Michael Forrest "rearranged" CAI's Web site.

  8. Sungenis's false claim that it "worked wonderfully for three years" for Michael Forrest to edit Bob's articles before they were posted at CAI.

  9. Sungenis is asked if he can document a scandalous incident involving the Pope. He cannot, but posts the material anyway.

  10. Sungenis is confronted on a bogus papal quote, tries to falsely attribute it instead to Card. Ratzinger, then refuses to pull it down.

  11. Sungenis's false claim that when Michael Forrest left CAI in March of 2005 Forrest had not expressed any problems with the items posted at CAI's Web site.

  12. Sungenis finally gets the notion that there was no "gig". He then blames Forrest for "hiding" this information whereas Forrest told him this back in 2005 and put all the details in his original piece at www.sungenisandthejews.com.

  13. In spite of what Forrest wrote, Sungenis botches the details of the event in question and continues to speak of Forrest's "promoter".

  14. Sungenis admits that he had not read Roy Schoeman's book before sending a 1500 word critique to Culture Wars, in which he implicitly accuses Schoeman of dishonesty.

  15. Sungenis's false claim that Roy Schoeman believes that the Old Covenant is still in force.

  16. Sungenis's troubles with the title of Roy Schoeman's book.

  17. Sungenis's false claim that he "terminated" Michael Forrest's term at CAI, when in fact Michael had left CAI.

  18. Sungenis's false claim that Forrest accused him of "hating all Jews".

  19. Sungenis's false claim that Forrest will not say anything negative about individual Jews or "Jewish interests".

  20. Sungenis's false claim in March of 2005 to have posted nothing about Jews on the CAI Web site and written nothing negative "about Zionists and other bad Jews" for three years prior.


Chronology:

I think perhaps it will be helpful for the reader (I know it was for me) to have a bit of a chronology before him. So here are the dates of some key events:

~03/01/2005 - Forrest and Sungenis have two phone conferences in which Forrest tells Sungenis about the great many things that have finally broken the camel's back with regard to his tenure at CAI.

03/05/2005 - Sungenis writes an e-mail to Forrest, hoping that Forrest will stay on at CAI but stating that CAI's present course will not be changing.

03/18/2005 - Forrest lays out his latest difficulties for Sungenis in more detail and states categorically that he will be unable to continue at CAI unless core changes are made.

03/22/2005 - Sungenis writes in response to Forrest's claims. A few e-mails of lesser length follow this one, getting more and more emotionally distraught. For this reason, Forrest opts not to send a last response he had written to all of Sungenis's complaints.

Interim - Sungenis continues to publish problematic material on Jews and Judaism, including citations from white supremacist Web sites and more shoddy scholarship. Forrest decides that the time has come to publish a full-blown, public critique of Sungenis's treatment of Jews and Judaism.

09/11/2006 - Forrest posts his study "Robert Sungenis and the Jews" at www.sungenisandthejews.com (Hereafter "RSATJ").

09/18/2006 - Sungenis posts an "Open Letter" in which he "apologizes" for inciting offense with "some" of the sources he has used - he never specifies which sources, or who was offended.

09/22/2006 - Sungenis posts a lengthy "rebuttal" to Forrest entitled "Michael Forrest and the Jews: Let's Separate Fact from Fiction" (Hereafter "MFATJ").

09/29/2006 - Jacob Michael posts a defense of RSATJ and Michael Forrest entitled "Sungenis and the Jews: Comments on a Controversy" (Hereafter "SATJCC").

09/29/2006 - Sungenis e-mails a response to Jacob Michael's piece entitled "Jacob Michael and the Jews" (Hereafter "JMATJ"). This is not posted on the CAI Web site as negotiations commence.

09/29/2006 - Ben Douglass is given permission by Sungenis to negotiate with Forrest. Douglass e-mails Michael Forrest with a proposal for negotiations. The parties involved agree to take down RSATJ, MFATJ, and SATJCC while negotiations proceed.

10/03/2006 - Agreement is reached between Forrest and Douglass.

10/05/2006 - Sungenis e-mails a rejection of virtually all of the negotiated truce agreed upon by Forrest and Douglass (Hereafter "Negotiations"). The history of these negotiations may be found here.

10/12/2006 - Michael Forrest re-posts RSATJ and Jacob Michael re-posts SATJCC, along with an additional piece documenting the proceedings of the negotiations and Sungenis's nullification of them.

The Use of E-mails as Evidence:

Before I begin the heart of this piece, let me address the issue of the use of e-mails to establish this case. Subsequent to Forrest's original piece, a blizzard of charges and falsehoods were leveled by Sungenis against Michael Forrest and others. The evidence which totally exonerates them exists primarily in the form of e-mails. Since every man has the right to defend himself against public false witness, I believe that the use of this evidence is entirely justified.

That being said, Sungenis doesn't exactly see it that way. On 09/26/2006 Sungenis sent a threatening e-mail to Jacob Michael, promising to sue him for "invasion of privacy, libel, and any other grievance with which my lawyer sees fit to charge you" (Sungenis, email of 09/26/2006). Frankly, when I saw this I could only shake my head in disbelief. My first thought was to wonder how Sungenis, who styles himself an expert in biblical studies, had failed to read (and heed) St. Paul's express prohibition of what Sungenis was threatening to do:


Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? . . . I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren (1 Cor 6:1-8).


Words to live by, Bob. My second thought was that, in addition to bankrupting CAI on a lawsuit that he has no possibility of winning, it might actually be quite entertaining to watch Sungenis try to explain his articles, news alerts, Q&A's, and e-mails on Jewish issues before a judge and twelve of his peers (some of whom just might be Jewish). Finally, we really need go no further than Sungenis to establish what is acceptable, as long as he's willing to abide by his own standards. In his response to Jacob Michael, Sungenis states:


Unlike Jacob Michael, I don't post people's private email on my web site. (Sungenis, JMATJ).



But in February of 2005, Sungenis posted an exchange between himself and Mario Derksen, telling Mario, "This is all going out to the public, Mario, because I'm determined to stop you in your tracks with this sedevacantism" (Sungenis, e-mail 02/10/2005). Derksen's reply on hearing that Bob was going to do this was, "Oh, beautiful. You're going to publish private correspondence without my consent. I can't stop you, but I would much rather you take on publicly what I have written in public." When Forrest pointed this out to Bob in a 02/21/2005 e-mail, Sungenis replied, "Sorry. It's up there now. Nothing I can do about it" (Sungenis, e-mail 02/21/2005). Unfortunately, as we will see again and again, for Mr. Sungenis there is one standard for me and another for thee. I do not expect Bob to understand the moral distinction between using private e-mails to embarrass or badger one's opponent, versus using them to defend good men against public slander. But I expect the reasonable reader to grasp the difference.

Double Standards Abound

We see that Bob holds a blatant double standard when it comes to the use of private e-mails. But the fact is that if one spends any time at all reading Sungenis's work, he will find numerous double standards. With Bob, there is very often "one standard for me and another for thee". This has been evident again and again in his interaction with Michael Forrest and others in the latest controversy. Several examples should help the reader get a feel for what to expect from Sungenis throughout this study.

It is well-known that a major charge against Sungenis, starting in 2002 and repeated again in 2006 is that he has had citations in various pieces on his Web site which reference neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and historical revisionist (i.e. holocaust revisionist) sources. Bob's denials that referencing such sources means anything with regard to his own affiliation to them and their ideas falls a little flat when we read this castigation of Dave Armstrong for having citations of various neo-conservative commentators on Armstrong's site (my emphasis):


If you have no political affiliation with these neo-cons, then I suggest you put a disclaimer on your site, otherwise people are going to get the wrong impression, and you can't blame them if they do. Any person with common sense who sees their names on your web site would assume that you support the political views of the aforementioned unless you say otherwise. (source)



So if someone puts references of a political nature on one's Web site it's "common sense" that a person "would assume that you support the political views of the aforementioned unless you say otherwise" and "you can't blame them if they do." But when Matthew Anger wrote privately to Bob to point out that he had, yet again, cited material from a white supremacist group (in this case the National Vanguard) on CAI's Web site, Bob snarled back that "I don't know anything about National Vanguard, and I could [sic] care less." His own VP, Ben Douglass stepped in to protest both his claim to ignorance and his attitude toward these unsavory sites:


________________________________________

From : BEN DOUGLASS

Sent : Thursday, April 13, 2006 11:19 AM

To : Robert Sungenis

CC : Matthew Anger, Michael Matt, Chris Ferrara, Michael Jones, Thomas Herron, Jason Corsetti

Subject : Re: My Reply to Mr. Anger -- R. Sungenis

________________________________________


Robert,

I have to criticise this statement:

"I don't know anything about National Vanguard, and I could care less."

Remember I sent you an e-mail about them after you posted the Falwell article from their site at CAI. They advocate anti-miscegenation laws to protect our precious white blood and our unique combination of beauty, creativity, and intelligence. From my brief reading of their literature, they really are racist. Of course, sometimes racists can dig up valuable information, and sometimes they write good articles that we may agree with in whole or in part. However, I think it is very imprudent to explicitly cite them or to reproduce their works in their entirety. I don't think there is anything intrinsically wrong with citing racists when they write something valuable, since we can also cite pro-abortion liberals, whose position is much more monstrous than anything the National Vanguard says, when they do the same, so long as it is clear that we reject their pro-abortion position (e.g. suppose a liberal wrote something good on the Iraq war or on Zionism). I think it is simply a matter of prudence, since one position is socially acceptable in mainstream America and the other is not. But prudence is a virtue, and an important one, and I think prudence dictates that we not touch racists with a 10 foot pole.

What I would do if I wanted to pass along arguments or information contained in an article written by a racist is I would track down their references myself, make sure they were cited accurately, and then re-form the arguments in my own words.

JMJ,

Ben Douglass


Douglass is essentially right. But for Sungenis it is "one standard for me and another for thee." Witness too Bob's appeal to fairness and authority when a criticism is being leveled at him, versus his attitude when he levels criticisms at others. After "Robert Sungenis and the Jews" was posted, he blustered at Forrest:


The least you could have done with something this serious is allow me to give the other side of the story along side of yours so that the viewing public could judge for themselves. . . . You have absolutely no authority in the Church, yet you take it upon yourself to make these very serious charges in full view of the world. (Sungenis, e-mail of 09/15/2006)


And in his attempted rebuttal of Forrest posted on his Web site he says:


Fortunately, there are some fair and caring people left in this world. One such organization is Catholics United for the Faith. CUF was carrying Forrest's web site on their web site for a day. Michael Sullivan and Leon Suprenant soon realized that Mr. Forrest really had no authority to make such serious charges in public, and that CUF had not offered me any chance to answer his charges. Down it came. CUF is waiting to see my rebuttal, and out of this we have struck up a cordial relationship and plan to enhance it in the future. (Sungenis, MFATJ).


Now the question for Bob is, just what opportunity for presenting the other side of the story, alongside of his, did he give to Roy Schoeman or David Moss? Isn't it a fact that he only sought clarification from Schoeman after the publication of Forrest's piece - which is to say after his letter to the editor of Culture Wars, his article in The Latin Mass magazine, his full-length article in Culture Wars, and several articles on his Web site, all severely critical of Schoeman?

As for authority, exactly what authority does Sungenis have to critique anybody's views? Exactly the same as Forrest's - they are ecclesiastical and civil equals in these matters. Now Sungenis has publicly stated that Schoeman's works advocate "one of the most pernicious and nefarious heresies the Church has ever faced." (Sungenis, source). What authority does he have to issue such critiques? None, of course. But the matter of authority is only raised when his views are being criticized. It is "one standard for me and another for thee."

And as for his dealings and "cordial relationship" with CUF, suffice it to say that Bob's contention is a serious misrepresentation of the facts and the doubting reader is urged to contact either Leon Suprenant or Mike Sullivan if he feels the need to verify this.

Another couple of examples: Bob criticized Michael Forrest for defending Roy Schoeman with this brush off, "We can now see more of what Forrest's lack of theological training leads to." (Sungenis, MFATJ). But where did Bob get his theological training? From a Protestant seminary, just like I did. And even he would have to admit that, from a Catholic perspective, these Protestant schools teach a seriously flawed approach to doing theology; I know for a fact that I have had to "unlearn" a fair bit in order to think more like a Catholic. As for an authentic theological approach from a Catholic perspective, Bob has had to pick that up on his own....just like Michael Forrest. For that matter, Bob's own VP of Apologetics, Ben Douglass - according to his detailed biography at CAI - "came to the Pennsylvania State University to study architectural engineering in fall 2002." (emphasis added) It was not until 2004 that Ben was received back into the Catholic, after spending most of his life as "just a Christmas Catholic." Note well, then: Bob's Vice-President of Apologetics has just as much (if not less) "theological training" than Michael Forrest, with the added disadvantage of having been a truly practicing Catholic for less than three years. By these standards, Michael Forrest has more competence in theology than Douglass, yet Bob praises Ben as being among "the best men ever to work at CAI," while he ridicules Forrest for his "lack of theological training." Indeed, "one standard for me and another for thee."

And we see recently that Bob has been claiming a "Ph.D." from Calamus International University, an unaccredited organization based in the West Indies. His change of attitude is remarkable considering that on February 6, 2004 he wrote this to me about unaccredited organizations (the emphasis is mine):


Hey Bob,

. . . .

I received a packet from the Maryvale Institute the other day. As you're probably aware, I'm looking to write a piece on the institutions from which [names removed] claim their "doctorates". As I told Michael Forrest, my main beef with [name removed] is not where he got the "Ph.D." but how he got it. He wrote a thesis and paid some money. The thesis is a sham, therefore all he's got left is the money.

[Sungenis]: Yes, I agree it is a sham, but so aren't many other dissertations from reputable institutions? I would say that [name removed] should only have to pass muster with his examining board, not us. If his outfit is a United States recognized accredited school, then I think we would have to accept his Ph.D. If it's accreditation is not accepted by the US, then we don't have to accept it. (I found out that the US is the key to almost all accrediting in regards to overseas institutions).


Bob's Reaction to Forrest was Predictable:

In his original study, Michael Forrest predicted what Bob's reaction would be to the material presented in "Robert Sungenis and the Jews":


From witnessing the past attempts of others to address some of these issues, it seems certain that what I have written will elicit vehement denials, personal denunciations and attacks from Bob and at least a few well-known Traditionalist colleagues who have taken to aggressively defending and allying themselves with him on Jewish issues, both publicly and behind the scenes (Forrest, RSATJ, Section 1).


Forrest could not have been more right; that is exactly what happened. And if you don't have the inclination to wade through yet another round of Bob's misrepresentations and errors, I don't blame you. But remember that, for Sungenis, word-count is everything; "right" is determined by verbal "might". If his book-length rebuttals receive no response from his opponents, he declares victory because his opponent was "speechless," or because his arguments "went unanswered". So I think that it is important at least that these are documented in the public record, so that good men are not left under false charges which, supposedly, have gone "unanswered".

A major contention that Sungenis has made repeatedly is that Forrest had no problems with what he was doing at CAI and that Forrest's final airing of difficulties came out of the blue, with no warning:


For those three years, Michael raised virtually no objections to my concerns about the Zionists and other Jewish interests, as long as I was fair. (Sungenis, MFATJ).


We will be putting the lie to that statement as this saga unfolds, but for now suffice to say that, according to Bob, without any warning Forrest experienced a rapid turn around in early 2005:


Lo and behold, one day that all changed, and very suddenly. What was the cause? Apparently, it had a lot to do with the promotion of Michael's musical career. One day Michael's concert promoter told Michael that he would not hire him to play in the concert because of his association with CAI and because of some of the "Jewish" articles on our website. To rectify this situation, Michael rearranged our website, without telling me, so that the "offending" material no longer appeared, since he knew that his concert promoter was going to be checking our website. Obviously, Michael didn't have any problem with the articles on Jewish issues prior to the investigation by the promoter, but now that a music gig was on the line, Michael didn't want him to see certain articles (and previously, whatever went up on our site, Michael and I would first agree that the articles would be put up. In fact, Michael edited my articles, at my request, before they were put up, so that it would be clear that CAI gave no semblance of "anti-semitism." This system worked wonderfully for three years, and I really appreciated Michael's input). (Sungenis, MFATJ)


Since there are more falsehoods than sentences in that paragraph, I need to unpack them one at a time. It appears that, up until very recently, Bob has been laboring under the false impression that at the time of his departure from CAI, Michael Forrest was pursuing a musical career and that his major impetus for leaving CAI was primarily financial. So, Sungenis wrote in 2005:


What also troubles me is that the watershed for your sudden attack, as you told me yourself, was that you had to explain your association with CAI to the people who were thinking of hiring you for a gig. That being the case, how could I ever trust you again knowing that you were willing to jeopardize our relationship, with the most extreme accusations, merely for the opportunity of playing in music gigs? (Sungenis, e-mail of 03/22/2005)


And again in the most recent exchange:


Apparently, it [Forrest's leaving CAI] had a lot to do with the promotion of Michael's musical career. . . . I'm not prone to presumption, but it seems obvious to me that since my association with Michael was threatening his blossoming musical career, Michael decided to sacrifice our friendship so that he could look good in the eyes of his concert promoter. (Sungenis, MFATJ)


But there is no way this could have been "apparent" to Sungenis based on any evidence, because it is entirely false. At the time he spoke to Bob in March of 2005, Michael was no longer in the band, having quit in April of 2004 and sold his equipment (see source documents). Thus, very far from pursuing a musical "career", at the time of his departure from CAI Forrest had ceased to participate in public musical performances. Michael explained this to Bob at the time and has repeated it since, but Sungenis has been slow to pick up on the fact that this whole time he has been falsely accusing Forrest. Sungenis stuck adamantly to this version of the events in his first "rebuttal" of Forrest, despite the fact that Forrest had told the whole story in his original article "Robert Sungenis and the Jews" (see RSATJ, Section 2, footnote 3). Sungenis continues:


One day Michael's concert promoter told Michael that he would not hire him to play in the concert because of his association with CAI and because of some of the "Jewish" articles on our website. (Sungenis, MFATJ)


This is a complete fabrication. Michael has never had a concert promoter, let alone the plural "gig promoters" and "gig managers" which Sungenis accused him of having in his e-mail of 03/22/05 (see source documents). And while it sounds more nefarious to make out that there was some financial motive behind Forrest's departure from CAI, there simply was no "hiring" involved; Michael played in the band virtually for free and his speaking engagements have also been done virtually for free (see source documents). For the majority of his public engagements, Forrest got just what he got from his efforts at CAI, nothing.

Incredibly, Sungenis continues to make this assertion even after Jacob Michael provided the proof that Forrest had quit the band long before his departure from CAI:


Oh sure. I'm just making all this up about Mr. Forrest having another gig opportunity in 2005! Where would I ever get the notion that Mr. Forrest had an upcoming gig and that his promoter was looking at our website, if not from Mr. Forrest?? My wife was a witness to this whole series of events, and she can't believe that Mr. Forrest is now denying this! Sure, Mr. Forrest quit his band in 2004, but what does that have to do with Mr. Forrest seeking a solo gig at a new concert in 2005?? (Sungenis, MFATJ).


But the simple fact is that Forrest had no "solo gig at a new concert in 2005". This is a figment of Sungenis's imagination and Bob will be unable to provide any evidence whatsoever that any such concert took place. He erred in his understanding of what Forrest was saying in 2005 and has been falsely accusing him ever since.

Multiplying charges against Forrest, Sungenis now alleges that Forrest tampered with CAI's Web site:


To rectify this situation, Michael rearranged our website, without telling me, so that the 'offending' material no longer appeared, since he knew that his concert promoter was going to be checking our website. (Sungenis, MFATJ)


Sungenis makes this same charge in his e-mail of 10/05/2006 which he wrote to nullify virtually the entire negotiation between Forrest and Ben Douglass, whom Bob had authorized to negotiate for CAI (Sungenis, "Negotiations"):


Mr. Forrest needs to realize that the trust factor regarding him is registering about zero right now. He needs to come to grips with the fact that he was dismissed from CAI precisely because of his dishonesty with me. He was caught manipulating the CAI website with neither my permission nor the permission from the CAI staff whose names he used; (Sungenis, "Negotiations")


Both claims of Forrest's "rearranging" and "manipulation" of the CAI Web site are false. Notice that when writing on 10/05/2006 to nullify the negotiations between Douglass and Forrest, Sungenis had apparently not read, or chose to ignore, the testimonies of John Novotny and Patrick Morris that Forrest at no time rearranged the Web site, nor did he even have the passwords or technical knowledge to do so. Patrick Morris testifies that, "When I was working as webmaster for CAI, Michael NEVER personally posted or removed ANYTHING from the website" (source). But incredibly, Bob's story changes yet again within this same e-mail:


Mr. Forrest was fearful that the promoter would not allow him to speak at the scheduled event unless something was done to lessen the promoter's concerns about Mr. Forrest's association with CAI; and that Mr. Forrest then asked me to remove certain articles from our website (articles with which he had no problem previously) so that his promoter would be appeased and not consider Mr. Forrest an "anti-Jewish extremist" (Sungenis, "Negotiations").


So now Forrest asked Sungenis to remove the articles - a rather different story than that he "manipulated" or "rearranged" the Web site on his own. And even this latest iteration is a fabrication. As his e-mails from that time make perfectly clear, Forrest never asked Sungenis to take anything down at all before or during this time of disputation. So let's lay all of this nonsense to rest. Forrest has been perfectly forthright about what exactly happened. He did not "manipulate" the site, nor did he "rearrange" it. The incident about which Sungenis makes such a fuss goes like this. On 02/24/2005 the news broke that the Holy Father, suffering from a relapse of the flu, had been readmitted to the hospital. That same day, Forrest sent an e-mail to John Novotny, CAI's Web site manager, asking him to post the following request for prayers for the Pope on behalf of all of CAI:


-----Original Message-----

From: Michael Forrest

Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 12:29 PM

To: John Novotny

Subject: John: Please post


To all of our patrons,

We ask that you fervently pray for the Holy Father, for his health, for his soul and that God's will be done. He has suffered greatly and has been a witness in his suffering against a world that views life as disposable. He has returned to the hospital once again.

Thank you,

Robert Sungenis, Michael Forrest, Patrick Morris, Ben Douglass, John Novotny and Maureen Sungenis

CAI


That's it, folks. No underhanded manipulations. No removal of any material. No "rearranging" of the Web site. Those allegations are all false, unsubstantiated by one shred of evidence. And Bob's claim that this was "unauthorized by me" lacks any weight, since Forrest did not need Bob's permission to have items posted on the Web site. It was a routine matter for him to send items to one of the two men in charge of the Web site. In fact, in early 2005 Forrest sent e-mails to John Novotny, asking them to post items, on Jan 29, Feb 1, Feb 10, Feb 18 (two items), and Feb 23 (two items) (see source documents). Obviously it was routine for Forrest to have items posted and Bob's intervention or approval was never considered necessary by anyone at CAI. And was the timing "suspicious"? Hardly. Forrest had arranged for two items to be posted the day before and then called for prayers for the Holy Father the very same day that he was rushed to the hospital.

Now, to return to Sungenis's various allegations concerning Forrest, Bob seeks to shield himself from any blame for what was on the CAI Web site during Forrest's tenure there by alleging that Michael was actively editing the material on a regular basis:


[P]reviously, whatever went up on our site, Michael and I would first agree that the articles would be put up. In fact, Michael edited my articles, at my request, before they were put up, so that it would be clear that CAI gave no semblance of "anti-semitism." This system worked wonderfully for three years, and I really appreciated Michael's input). (Sungenis, MFATJ)


Once again, this is a falsehood. Because of the controversies generated over a variety of articles written by Sungenis, Forrest had appealed to Bob that he needed somebody to help tone down his extreme rhetoric and help him regain some much needed balance. And so Michael did indeed start editing Bob's articles, with Bob officially declaring to the others at CAI on February 5, 2003 that,


Since it seems that God has blessed Mike Forrest with a unique ability to communicate ideas in a non-offensive way, I am going to designate him our official screener for anything that is put up on our website, including things written by me ... Hence, whether we are dealing with Protestants of Catholics, we can be assured of not only quality control but "tonal control" with Mike doing the job. (Sungenis e-mail of 02/05/2003)


But this situation broke down, not after three years, but almost immediately. Sungenis, it seems, simply could not control himself. Witness this e-mail from Forrest to Sungenis, dated 4 May 2003, just two months after Sungenis announced that Forrest would be "our official screener for anything that is put up on our website, including things written by me" (emphasis mine):


From: Michael Forrest

To: Robert Sungenis

Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2003 11:27 PM

Subject: Bob: re: Sippo Article

Bob,

I went to the website to pick up some material on your rebuttal of Art Sippo. And as I started reading it, I noticed things that I was sure I had changed or excised. So I went back and checked my edited version, and I was correct. Why was your original, unedited version posted?

Mike


Forrest received no reply to this enquiry. Then we have this e-mail to Forrest from Patrick Morris, the Web site coordinator, just a couple of weeks later, stating that "yet again" (obviously implying a pattern) Bob had bypassed Forrest and posted material directly to the Web site (the emphasis is mine):


----- Original Message -----

From: Patrick Morris

To: Michael Forrest

Sent: Friday, May 23, 2003 3:12 PM

Subject: Fwd: article

Here's an article Robert want's posted that has, yet again, not gone through you. Could you check it over and send it back.

Thanks,
Patrick


In April of the same year we have Bob's own admission that he had posted yet more material without Forrest's approval, with serious negative consequences for CAI (emphasis mine):


----- Original Message -----

From: Robert Sungenis

To: Michael Forrest

Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 7:50 AM

Subject: Re: Bob

Thanks, Mike. You're an honest and forthright man, (as well as gentle as a dove and cautious as a snake)...

By the way, I think I owe you an apology for not bringing the [name removed] issue to your attention when Jake asked me to post his interview. If you had seen it, perhaps none of this might have happened. My action was not intentional.

Sorry.

Bob


Later that year, Forrest asked Patrick Morris to change his bio on the Web site to reflect the fact that Bob was no longer under his editorial supervision; thus it now read, "Mike is responsible for reviewing many of the articles written by staff apologists that appear on our site." The arrangement did not work "wonderfully for three years", as Sungenis claimed, but rather fell apart in less than two months.

Now get this: In his piece "Michael Forrest and the Jews", posted 09/21/2006, Bob stated that "Michael edited my articles, at my request, . . . This system worked wonderfully for three years, and I really appreciated Michael's input." But when replying to Jacob Michael's documentation of the breakdown of this editorial oversight, Bob said on 09/29/2006, "I made the decision because I simply didn't need Mr. Forrest to edit my articles any longer. It was too cumbersome a task for him and me, and there was no real urgency to have it continue." (This implies that Forrest had something to say about this, whereas we have seen that it was Bob who unilaterally circumvented his own policy.) So depending on which of Bob's accounts you believe, it was a system that worked wonderfully for three years or a system that was voluntarily dismantled by Bob after less than a year. But if you want the truth, consult the record and you find that it was a system that lasted less than two months because Sungenis almost immediately began bypassing Forrest and posting material directly to the Web site.

It was during this time, in early 2003, that The Remnant published Bob's article "When a Pope Errs". The article documented a number of difficult sayings and actions during the pontificate of John Paul II. But one of them, in particular, caught Forrest's eye. He wrote to Bob about it:


From: Michael Forrest

To: Robert Sungenis

Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2003 1:09 AM

Subject: Bob: article again

>>During this meeting, while standing with the voodoo chieftan before a snake in the center of town, John Paul cast cucumber peelings on the ground in front of its entrance. Moments later, a serpent slithered forth from it. The chieftan then turned to the Pope exclaiming that the reptile's appearance meant the snake-god had favored his offering. The pope nodded in acknowledgment.>>

Are you SURE about this? This is an amazing and scandalous thing, if true. Have you verified it with more than one source?

----- Original Message -----

From: Robert Sungenis

To: Michael Forrest

Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2003 10:10 AM

Subject: Re: Bob: article again


In a message dated 5/10/2003 2:09:36 AM Eastern Standard Time, [Michael Forrest] writes:

Are you SURE about this? This is an amazing and scandalous thing, if true. Have you verified it with more than one source?

RS: Don't remember. Can you do some checking for me?

From: Michael Forrest

To: Robert Sungenis

Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2003 12:21 PM

Subject: Re: Bob: article again

I'll try. But if neither of us can find that and verify it, I'd yank it, Bob.


Bob did not "yank it". The article remains on the CAI site to this day (although it remains to be seen how long the link stays active after this article is published.) It is dated 05/18/2003, eight days after Forrest pointed out the undocumented incident. Note well: Bob posted an article for public viewing after it had been pointed out that this article contained dubious or unverified information. Here we're not even talking about Bob accidentally posting something too soon, getting caught, and not removing it; we're dealing here with an article being posted in spite of the warning that it contained unverified accusations.

Now let's return to one of Sungenis's central accusations, that Forrest's break with CAI involved "articles with which he [Forrest] had no problem previously". It is a charge that Sungenis has repeated several times, including here:


Obviously, Michael didn't have any problem with the articles on Jewish issues prior to the investigation by the promoter, but now that a music gig was on the line, Michael didn't want him to see certain articles. (Sungenis, MFATJ)


There are actually three falsehoods packed into this single sentence. First, as we have seen, there was no gig. Second, there was no promoter. And third, Michael did indeed have problems with articles on Jewish issues prior to this and Bob knew it. The reader should note from the information above Forrest's growing unease with the way things were unfolding at CAI. I can attest, from phone conversations at the time, that it was precisely because he was becoming more uncomfortable with the rhetoric from CAI on both the Pope and the Jews that Forrest wanted to make sure that his biographical blurb at CAI did not make him directly responsible for whatever Sungenis decided to post next.

And just in time. On 01/24/2004, Bob posted his commentary entitled "Will The Real 'Anti-Semites' Please Stand Up. Could It Be the Jews Themselves?" Taken by itself this piece is not the most egregious that Bob has written, but remember that at this time Sungenis was still very much living down the specter of the pieces he had written in 2002. On 01/29/2004, Forrest e-mailed me with some observations and concerns regarding Bob's resumption of double standards and broad brush rhetoric applied to Jews. Here are the points of concern with Sungenis's approach as Forrest sent them to me (they are written as if addressed to Sungenis himself because Forrest intended to go directly to Bob with his concerns, which he did; the emphasis is his):


From: Michael Forrest

Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2004 12:32 PM

To: Palm, David

Subject: David: New Article from Bob

...

1) Not making clear, necessary distinctions: say "the Jews" with a broad brush pretty much throughout. Zionists? Liberal, Secular Jews? Orthodox Jews? Conservative Jews? Broad brush strokes.

2) You [Sungenis] wrote: "The same thing will happen to Israel in our day if the Jews who live there do not repent and seek God through Jesus Christ. God will send their enemies against them and those enemies will eventually destroy them. You can count on it. "

Where in Scripture or Tradition do you get this from, in relation to the times after Christ came, after their covenant was subsumed into the New Covenant (with the Church becoming the new Spiritual Israel)?

3) You wrote: " In an open letter dated January 15, 1998, a fine Jewish man by the name of Howard L. Hurwitz, chairman of the Family Defense Council (www.familydefensecouncil.com), wrote the following about Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL: "

Is Howard a believer in Christ? If not, then by your definition, why is he not an antiSemite worthy of judgment for not bowing down to Jesus, the Jew? How is he a "fine man"? Because you believe he bolsters your point?

4) "There is no "anti-semitism" greater than withholding the Gospel from the Jews. May God curse all those who do. " You seem to leave little room for any approach other than a blunt presentation of the gospel. There are different approaches......how many Jews have you helped bring into the Church personally? You make no room in your statements for those who have been poisoned against Christians, by little or no fault of their own, and who need to see that we do not view them as only important to the extent that they become Christian.

5) The links you have and reco for Culture Wars.....some of it is political. Why single out "the Jews" for this? What is the purpose? Where is the balance? There are many Jews (especially the Orthodox and some Conservatives) that are diametrically opposed to this stuff. Are you trying to be a one man counter balance to what you perceive as an unquestioning acceptance of everything done by "the Jews"? You said you were preparing an article several months ago that included information on the Muslims/Arabs and their part in the problems. Where is it? Why does it get a back burner and everything Jewish seems to get a front burner?

6) The aggressiveness with which you go after "scientists" does not concern me......I don't expect people to start killing and threatening MIT, for instance. But genuine AntiSemitism is alive and well in the world, and will be until Christ comes again. I don't see the calm, measured and balanced tones (and view) necessary in your writing not to engender authentic AntiSemitism, even if you yourself are not AntiSemitic. You have some fair points to be raised, but I don't agree with your approach. (Forrest, e-mail of 01/29/2004 to David Palm)


Note that these are just the sorts of points that Forrest had already raised with Bob and has continued to raise to this day: broad brushing, lack of necessary distinctions, overly heated rhetoric. Forrest has remained completely consistent - as has Bob, unfortunately. Forrest communicated these concerns to Sungenis shortly thereafter and got what he considered a satisfactory response:


From: Michael Forrest

Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 1:57 PM

To: Palm, David

Subject: David: discussion with Bob

Hey David:

I spoke with Bob for quite a while today regarding several things, including the "Jewish" issue. I told him about my concerns and objections, and he agreed. He also offered that he writes the way he does on this issue because he is frustrated with the "blank check" way Jews are often treated because they are Jews....and that the charge of Antisemitism is thrown around to silence any critic.
I agreed, but challenged him to "radical balance" (surprise, surprise)......as responding with an equal and opposing force only creates more error, raises emotions and gets the pendulum swinging wildly, which is against God's purposes. He agreed and also concurred that we don't want to accidentally set off real antiSemitism because our rhetoric is heated. He is going to write a piece explaining the distinctions more clearly (Zionist, liberal secular Jew, Orthodox Jew, etc) and the areas in which we object to their beliefs and practices....making clear that it is objection to ideas/beliefs rather than people. . . . (Forrest e-mail of 02/03/2004 to David Palm)


The article that Bob was going to put together, explaining the necessary distinctions when addressing Jewish issues, was never written. Instead, Bob soon returned to the Jewish topic in a reckless way. Sungenis wrote a 1500 word letter to the editor of Culture Wars magazine, harshly criticizing Roy Schoeman and his book "Salvation is from the Jews". Forrest wrote to Bob on 04/01/2004 to find out whether Bob had read Schoeman's book before critiquing it, to which Bob replied that he had not:


In a message dated 4/1/2004 4:14:04 PM Eastern Standard Time, [Michael Forrest] writes:

Hi Bob,

Did you read (Schoeman's) book?

Mike


No. Does it say something different than what I quoted?

Bob


So Sungenis admits that he hadn't read Schoeman's book before issuing his 1500 word critique to Culture Wars. What's more, in that critique Sungenis says that, "If we really want to be honest about what Catholic tradition and Scripture say about Schoeman's predictions, the evidence is, at best, divided." It is at least implied here that Schoeman is being deliberately dishonest in his handling of the sources and Forrest wrote to Bob asking him to clarify this point. Sungenis wrote back to emphasize that he did indeed mean to say that anybody who does not come to his conclusions on this topic is not honest (the emphasis below is mine):


-----Original Message-----

From: Robert Sungenis

Sent: Friday, April 02, 2004 11:32 AM

To: Michael Forrest

Subject: Re: Letter to the Editor

>> If we really want to be honest about what Catholic tradition and Scripture say about Schoeman's predictions, the evidence is, at best, divided. >>

MF: 1) I'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but by saying "we" and "honest", this sentence appears to question the honesty and integrity of those who see things differently than you on this subject. I'm not sure if you intended to convey either a) that if YOU (Bob Sungenis) really want to be honest, you believe the evidence is, at best, divided, or perhaps, b) You believe the record is clear, when viewed fully, that the evidence is at best divided....and so, perhaps those who hold the common view today just haven't researched enough......if this is what you intended, "rigorous" would be a better word than "honest."

RS: No, I do mean "honest." Of the people I have dealt with on this subject, they form a deliberate animosity when someone like myself is trying to give the other side of the story.


Without having read Schoeman's book, Sungenis already knows that Schoeman is dealing dishonestly with the evidence. In his mind, any opposition to his conclusions stems from a "deliberate animosity".

While we are on the topic of Roy Schoeman, it should be noted that Sungenis has repeatedly charged Schoeman with believing that the Old Covenant is still in force. He asserts this without having ever contacted Schoeman to find out if this claim is true. For the record, here is Schoeman's own clarification from a conversation with Michael Forrest:


When I say that the Old Covenant is still in effect, what I mean is that the election of the Jews continues in some mysterious way, that there is still a unique role for them in the plan of salvation. (Schoeman, e-mail of 10/10/2006)


Not exactly the "pernicious and nefarious heresy" that Sungenis would prefer others to see. In fact, one might even suggest that Sungenis's irrational fixation on the Jewish people is a back-handed testimony to the veracity of Schoeman's statement above.

Then too, it is remarkable to note the intensity of Sungenis's negative reaction to the very title of the book, Salvation is from the Jews. He says, "The mere title, because it is thoroughly anachronistic, should send shivers up the spine of any faithful Catholic" (Sungenis, MFATJ). Sungenis concludes from the choice of such a title (taken from the very words of our Lord in John 4:22, by the way) that Schoeman must be hyping a "hyper-Judaizing" theology. But what was Schoeman's real reason for selecting this title? In his own words, he wanted "to appeal to Jews so they would be converted!" (Schoeman, e-mail of 10/12/2006 to Michael Forrest.) One supposes from his public articles concerning "the Jews" that Sungenis would have preferred the book be entitled "The Antichrist is from the Jews". Surely that and his "one hammer fits all" approach to the Jewish people would draw plenty of converts to Catholicism.

To return to the chronology of events, a day after Forrest queried Bob about Schoeman, Michael wrote a more general e-mail to Bob, expressing his concern over the content that was being posted on CAI's site, as well as pieces like the Culture Wars letter. This e-mail is important evidence and should be read carefully. Let the reader decide whether it is true that, as Sungenis asserts, "Obviously, Michael didn't have any problem with the articles on Jewish issues prior to the investigation by the promoter" (the ellipses are Forrest's, the emphasis is mine):


From: Michael Forrest

Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2004 3:42 AM

To: Robert Sungenis

Subject: RE: Letter to the Editor


Hey Bob,

I'll try to put something together regarding "the Jews". And in the mean time, if you're going to write anything more, are we agreed that you'll avoid lumping all Jews together anymore? Do you want to bankrupt my store "Messias R Us"?....

Why do you continue to write of "the Jews", without these important distinctions, including this latest letter to CW? We've discussed these distinctions before, and you agreed, and seem to also agree here as well. But from your articles and letters alone, how would one come to the conclusion that you recognize and agree with such important distinctions? I don't see it. When I defend you and CAI against things ranging from mild concerns that you are overly focused on the negative aspects of the Jews to more harsh criticisms , I have to do so on the basis of private conversations/emails, but I'm not aware of anything solid I can use from your public writing, other than your personal assertions that you are not anti-Semitic, or that you love Jews. Especially after some unfortunate instances like the acceptance of the errant information from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, private conversation/email and personal attestation don't really suffice, IMO. Don't take this the wrong way, Bob. But, if I didn't know you well, and just went by your public writings on the subject, I would tend to think you had a personal animus toward Jews, and I am not one to jump to conclusions. I have had other traditionally minded individuals who are supporters express concerns in these areas. Is there any way I can dissuade you from reading so much E. Michael Jones? (Kidding.....mostly :) )

You had indicated to me months ago that you were going to write an article on the Arabs and the Jews exposing the Arab hatred and duplicity toward the Jews, etc. in order to offer some balance to your criticisms of the Jews. Have you decided to forgo that piece? I know you are busy, but I'm telling you as a friend who defends you. I really believe you need to offer some balance....at this point, there is no balance at all.


Clearly, Bob's contention that "Michael didn't have any problem with the articles on Jewish issues prior to the investigation by the promoter" is simply false.

Several more incidents occurred at the beginning of 2005 that culminated in the departure of Forrest from CAI. Sometime around 02/14/2005 Forrest saw an answer to a Q&A question that Bob was planning on putting up on the CAI Web site. In this answer, Sungenis sympathetically repeated historical revisionist's (read: holocaust denier's) ideas about the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust and gave credence to conspiracy theories that effectively blame Jews for the Holocaust:


R. Sungenis.... I have my doubts that it was 6 million (note: Jews killed in the Holocaust) but even if it was 1 million, still, the point remains that they were a marked race by the Nazis. Hitler hated the Jews, not only for what he saw as a youth, but because the Jews had a stranglehold on European finance and banking for many years. There are some stories, however, that suggest these Jewish banking familes actually helped Hitler in his quest, since their objective was to ellicit world-wide sympathy so as to migrate European and Russian Jews to Palestine, their long-sought goal which they have, indeed, accomplished.


Also early in 2005, while the Pope was in the hospital on what proved to be his deathbed, Sungenis posted an article entitled "Vatican II's Death Warrant on the Modern Church." In that article, Bob raised many serious points, but in the midst of them I noticed this quote which was attributed to John Paul II:


The one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church is present, in all its essential elements, in non-Catholic sects....The Catholic Church is in communion with non-Catholic sects.


That looked extremely fishy to me and, after a few minutes of Google searching, I found that it is a quote featured prominently on Sedevacantist Web sites. (Note: this is reminiscent of the cobbled and bogus Einstein quote that Forrest documented in RSATJ. Bob won't say where he got it, but a simple Google search on the text brings up neo-Nazi and white supremacist sources. The connection in both cases should have been a warning flag to Sungenis.) I wrote to Bob telling him that I thought this quote was bogus and that he should pull it off the Web site.

Sungenis replied to me on 02/24/2005:


Dave,

Just to let you know, we are correcting the sentence you pointed out a couple weeks ago. We are stating that the statement was made by Ratzinger and approved by the pope.

Bob


I considered that doubtful as well and wanted some proof. I wrote back:


Hi Bob,

Where did Card. Ratzinger say it? Still pretty grim, eh?


Bob wrote back the same day with this:


In a message dated 2/24/2005 3:09:07 PM Eastern Standard Time, [David Palm] writes:

Hi Bob,

Where did Card. Ratzinger say it? Still pretty grim, eh?

Yes, pretty grim. Ratzinger has made some duzzies in his office.

Here it is:

II

UNIVERSAL CHURCH AND PARTICULAR CHURCHES

7. The Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, is the universal Church, that is, the worldwide community of the disciples of the Lord(31), which is present and active amid the particular characteristics and the diversity of persons, groups, times and places. Among these manifold particular expressions of the saving presence of the one Church of Christ, there are to be found, from the times of the Apostles on, those entities which are in themselves Churches(32), because, although they are particular, the universal Church becomes present in them with all its essential elements(33). They are therefore constituted "after the model of the universal Church"(34), and each of them is "a portion of the People of God entrusted to a bishop to be guided by him with the assistance of his clergy"(35). . . .


What I noticed immediately is that the original quote that Sungenis had attributed first to the Holy Father and then to Cardinal Ratzinger appeared nowhere in the citation that Bob had just sent me. I wrote back:


Hold on there, partner........

Your essay has this quote: "The one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church is present, in all its essential elements, in non-Catholic sects....The Catholic Church is in communion with non-Catholic sects."

That quote does not appear in the section you quoted below. The section quoted below is not saying anything about non-Catholic sects; it's talking about the relationship of local Catholic churches (dioceses, essentially) with the universal Church. (Which makes it all the more scandalous that the sedevacantists would have cited it as they did. Reminds me of the way Dave Hunt quotes Catholic documents.)

Bob, I think you need to ditch this quote altogether. Card. R has indeed said some difficult things, but this isn't one of them.

God bless,

David


I received no reply to this e-mail and the quote stayed up. I alerted Forrest about this on 02/25/2005. About a month later, after Forrest had left CAI, Bob wrote accusing me of having used this incident to poison Forrest against him. I include below an excerpt from my 03/30/2005 reply which I think is important to highlight three things. First, this incident shows Bob's willingness to set aside rigorous scholarship when the matter under discussion affects him emotionally. Second, it highlights the double standards with which Bob is content to operate, expecting one sort of treatment for himself while behaving very differently toward others, even the Vicar of Christ. And third, it shows that there were individuals trying to help Bob gain balance right up until Forrest's departure:


>> [Sungenis] The other day, you were so quick, after reading my article "Vatican II's Death Warrant Against the Modern Church," to point out that I had made an error. Apparently you told Michael Forrest that this was some kind of inexcusable deed on my part, and one that called for an apology. First of all, I took the quote down only until if and when I could find out whether it truly came from John Paul II. Second, your attempt to make me look like some kind of pope-basher (due to the quote) is totally lopsided and unfair, considering the fact that John Paul II has said dozens of statements that are very similar and often worse than the quote in question. >>

[Palm] Bob, again you don't know what Michael and I discussed, so I don't see how any part of it can be "apparent" to you. But put the shoe on the other foot. How are you going to respond if your opponents decide that you have said enough scandalous things that they are now free simply to make things up and attribute them to you? You would take it as evidence of their bad will toward you.

You have done absolutely outstanding work on certain apologetics topics. But you seem to lose your scholarly detachment when it comes to discussing John Paul II. And it's the most dangerous place of all to lose it, since he is, whether we like it or not, God's annointed.

You published an essay which attributed a flatly heretical statement to the Holy Father. I knew instantly when I read it that it was bogus, just by the wording of it. It took me about three minutes of Internet searching to verify this. Then, when I mentioned it to you, you transferred the quote from the Pope to Card. Ratzinger, while sending me a citation from a document that didn't contain that quote at all and was itself perfectly orthodox. I was baffled by this. I don't consider it an "inexcusable deed", but I do I consider it a serious breach of scholarly integrity, not to mention of proper deferrence to the Pope. I'm shooting straight with you, not at all out of malice. I don't really have anything to gain or lose in this. But this is a serious problem Bob, even if you choose not to take it seriously and make up all sorts of excuses to cover it. And it's not entirely an isolated incident.

I'll give you an example of my own, Bob. A couple of years ago I found a well-documented quote by Richard John Neuhaus flatly rejecting the infallibility of the Pope. I sent it out to a group of apologists with some smug comments . . . . But then I got a twinge of conscience and a little voice said to me, "Hey, stupid, did you happen to think he might have said that while he was still a Lutheran?" And lo and behold, I checked the dates and that was exactly the case. A little forethought and a little research would have saved me from an inaccuracy and a sin, but in my perhaps justifiable irritation with Fr. Neuhaus I rushed ahead. I immediately sent out an apology to all who had access to my statements and confessed it to my priest. Fr. Neuhaus has said lots of problematic things for which he is rightly called to answer, but I have no right to hold an heretical statement against him that he made while still a formal heretic. Much less would I have the right to make up heretical statements and falsely attribute them to him, simply because he says other problematic things.

In short, yes, you do owe your readers a public retraction and an apology. You also need to confess it to your priest. . . .


There are more issues involved, many of which are mentioned below in a correspondence from Forrest to Sungenis explaining his departure. But the reader can see that Forrest's departure from CAI was the culmination of a great many incidents. It is false that, "Michael raised virtually no objections to my concerns about the Zionists and other Jewish interests," but that, "Lo and behold, one day that all changed, and very suddenly".

Another catalyst came when Forrest had an opportunity to speak at a secular high school on the topic of traditional marriage. The fact that there almost certainly would be liberal opponents in attendance, who may very well use Forrest's affiliation with CAI against him and the wider effort to protect marriage, prompted Michael to do more investigation into, for instance, Bob's alleged apologies after the 2002 incidents. He found that there had never been any apologies or retractions and that he could no longer use this as justification for his ongoing affiliation with CAI.

Forrest explained all of this to Bob at the time, by phone in the hope of helping Bob understand the need to readdress the issue in order to put it to rest. And Forrest again laid out all of this in his study at www.sungenisandthejews.com (footnote 3). It is worth reproducing the most pertinent portion of that explanation here, so that all can see how forthrightly Forrest laid out the incidents prior to his departure from CAI:


Then, in mid-late 2004 a series of events unfolded that led directly to my departure from CAI. While there were other events and occurrences that played a role, four were pivotal. First, Bob began to publicly express withering criticisms of Pope John Paul II that I believed crossed the line into a disrespectful subversion that was dangerous both to him and to anyone who came to CAI. . . . Second, he began returning publicly to the inflammatory and problematic views he expressed in his article about Jews in 2002. Third, I was challenged by an acquaintance about Bob's harsh criticisms of the Pope and his views on Jews. Fourth, I was invited to speak about traditional marriage at a public high school in Massachusetts.

In late 2004/early 2005, a local acquaintance contacted me and asked why I was associated with someone with "anti-Semitic views" and who was so "harsh with the Pope". He referred to a recent article written by Bob about Pope John Paul II (http://www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/dialogs/pastoral/vatican2-death.htm) and also to what Bob had written in 2002 about Jews and claimed that he had never retracted or apologized for it. I reflexively defended Bob against both charges, as I always had, although I was candidly having more doubts. Personally, I have long been suspicious of and skeptical about the use of the term "anti-Semitic" and believe it is often abused as a convenient cudgel, like the term "racist", to stifle legitimate criticism. As a result, I initially and somewhat reflexively responded with mild irritation and rejection. I also corrected him for bringing up something I contended that we, as Catholics, ought to forgive and forget. When someone publicly apologizes for and retracts a mistake, they ought not to be pilloried for the rest of their lives for it. I assured him that Bob had in fact publicly retracted and apologized for what he wrote and that he did not have an animus toward Jews.

However, he persisted and asked for concrete proof. Where was this apology? Was it still available on the internet? Normally, at this point I would have dismissed this request and ignored any further correspondence on the issue. However, this individual had never struck me as completely unreasonable. Additionally, I had recently been invited to speak at a public high school in Massachusetts about traditional marriage (gratis) and I accepted. I thought it wise and prudent to be prepared with concrete, indisputable proof in case the anti-Christian liberals likely to crash such a presentation decided to try to discredit both me and defenders of traditional marriage by associating us with anti-Semitism. My name was posted all over the school. Any simple google search would reveal that I was associated with Catholic Apologetics International. And what had happened in 2002 at CAI was readily accessible as well.
After doing the research recounted above in this study, I recognized a dilemma in regard to my pending presentation at the public high school. I knew I could no longer honestly claim that Bob had retracted and apologized for the things he wrote in 2002. And if I was asked, "then why do you continue to support and work for him?", I also knew I could offer no satisfactory answer. Additionally, in light of the imminent threat to traditional marriage in Massachusetts, I felt it would be imprudent to endanger the nascent, beleaguered movement to protect it. It was almost miraculous that we had even been permitted to speak at public high school. And I could not reasonably contend that I found the views expressed by Bob to be serious and wrong while simultaneously publicly supporting and defending him.

In light of everything that was converging together in a relatively short period of time (on issues relating to Jews and the Pope at CAI), I was compelled to swiftly make some hard choices. I debated quietly leaving without any confrontation, as others had in the past. That option presented one or two significant advantages. But I decided that I had a responsibility to address it directly. I still also held out some hope that we would be able to find a workable resolution to these difficult issues and maintain our association. (Forrest, "Robert Sungenis and the Jews", Section 2, footnote 3).


I would like to highlight several other important points. First, Forrest was not receiving any remuneration for this speaking engagement. Second, the "promoter" of the event was a 17 year old high school student, the president of his school's "conservative club". Third, the topic was "traditional marriage". Fourth, Forrest was not concerned that the "promoter" of this event (not a "concert promoter", but a high school student) would be searching the CAI Web site, but rather that those hostile to the cause of traditional marriage could easily use the Internet to connect Forrest and the grass-roots effort to defend traditional marriage with CAI and thus with charges of anti-Semitism. All of these points, and more, have been wildly misconstrued by Sungenis in his various responses to Forrest and Jacob Michael.

However, it appears from various recent e-mails that Bob has finally figured out that there was no music gig and no concert promoter. He tries to dismiss his mistake as of no account. But let's keep the facts firmly in front of us. In Bob's e-mails to Forrest between 03/04/05 and 03/24/05 he used the word "gig" at least 10 times, speaking of "gig managers" and "gig employers" and generally betraying that he had completely misconstrued this whole affair. In his "rebuttals" to Forrest and Jacob Michael he uses the word "gig" another 26 times and continues to speak of Forrest's "promoter", strongly implying that a financial interest was at stake. Obviously this was something that was stuck pretty tightly in his craw, so it's too late to fluff this off as if it was of no importance to him.

It is only in his e-mail putting the kibosh on the negotiated settlement hashed out between Forrest and Ben Douglass that Sungenis has finally figured out that there was not a "music gig" at all, but a speaking engagement. And true to form, he seeks to blame his own misunderstanding on Forrest, rather than taking responsibility for it himself:


[Forrest] failed to mention (via Mr. Michael's essay disclosing the events that led to Mr. Forrest's dismissal), that the promoter for his speaking engagement on abortion in the Spring of 2005 was concerned about Mr. Forrest's association with CAI and would probably be examining our website; and that Mr. Forrest was fearful that the promoter would not allow him to speak at the scheduled event unless something was done to lessen the promoter's concerns about Mr. Forrest's association with CAI; (Sungenis, "Negotiations")


False. As we saw above, Forrest gave a detailed account of these events on his own Web site. And strangely, Sungenis continues to speak of Forrest's "promoter". It is a word obviously intended to evoke the building of a lucrative career and yet Forrest has received virtually no money for any of his music or speaking engagements, beyond simple reimbursement for his travel expenses:


Moreover, it took three weeks for Forrest to own up to the fact that, indeed, something was being discussed between us in March 2005 regarding his invitation to speak at an event and its connection to Mr. Forrest's association with CAI, yet he let my disclosure of this incident flounder on the Internet (from my Sept. 13 rebuttal to Mr. Forrest) without so much as a word of clarification (i.e., that is was a speaking engagement not a musical concert). (Sungenis, "Negotiations")


Not true, as we have seen. Forrest gave all the details in his original piece, "Robert Sungenis and the Jews"; Sungenis just failed to read it. But he continues:


Instead, he told Mr. Michael that there was no such event about which we had a contention in March 2005. Mr. Michael wouldn't have known any differently because he wasn't privy to our conversations, and Mr. Forrest kept him in the dark. (Sungenis, "Negotiations")


False. Jacob Michael knew all the details about the event in question, because Forrest had posted this information in his original article. Sungenis continues:


(On the other hand, if Mr. Forrest did tell Mr. Michael what actually happened, then Mr. Michael is at fault for not revealing it in his essay). Essentially, then, it seems that Mr. Forrest lied about the issue. (Sungenis, "Negotiations")


Now notice how Bob works. In the first sentence above, he asserts categorically (but with no evidence) that "he told Mr. Michael that there was no such event". Then he tries to cover his tracks, "(On the other hand, if Mr. Forrest did tell Mr. Michael what actually happened, then Mr. Michael is at fault for not revealing it in his essay)". Ah, so Sungenis doesn't actually know what Forrest told Jacob Michael. Again, Jacob Michael knew all the details about Forrest's speaking engagement because he, unlike Sungenis, read Forrest's article "Robert Sungenis and the Jews". But regardless, Sungenis is convinced that Michael Forrest is a liar. That much he knows!


It also seems to me that perhaps the reason Mr. Forrest did not recently disclose the details about his March 2005 speaking engagement to me (but instead told Ben Douglass this past week) is that Forrest didn't want me to have an email from him containing his written admission that the events of March 2005 were very close to what I described in my rebuttal of Forrest in the article "Michael Forrest and the Jews." The only thing I forgot in my recollection of that event was that Mr. Forrest would be speaking about abortion rather than merely playing his guitar. (Sungenis, "Negotiations")


This is getting incredible. In correspondence with and rebuttal to Forrest and Jacob Michael, Sungenis asserts over and over again (a total of 36 times) that a musical "gig" was the real reason that Forrest left CAI. Then, when it begins to dawn on him that he's flubbed this detail, Sungenis switches to the assertion that Forrest did not disclose the details of the speaking engagement - the only problem being that he most certainly did in his original piece "Robert Sungenis and the Jews". So now Sungenis says that the "only thing" he forgot in his "recollection of that event" was that the topic was abortion and Forrest would instead be "merely playing his guitar". Except that the topic of the talk was traditional marriage, not abortion, there was no music at all at this presentation, and Forrest plays the piano, not the guitar (shouldn't someone who professes to have once been Forrest's "best friend" know at least this much about him?). But other than that, Sungenis's recollection was spot on.

Forrest had two phone conversations with Bob around 03/01/2005 in which he raised these concerns, giving specifics of exactly what he was talking about. He followed up with a list of the even more recent concerns via e-mail on 03/18/2005:



  • The situation with [name removed] (publicly conveying he was homosexual, without confronting him directly, per Christ's teaching: Matthew 18)

  • The answer you gave recently on the Jews that I stopped from appearing on the website

  • Three individuals in my area who are good, solid Catholics without an agenda who questioned me on the issue of your harsh criticisms of the Pope and your statements on the Jews

  • The above caused me to speak with a few other friends that I trust and I asked them. I found that they had refrained from telling me how bothered they were about these things because they didn't want to hurt MY feelings.

  • The situation with [name removed] that created other problems of which you were not aware

  • [Name removed], the young man that was led to sedevacantism (denying that the Pope is the real Pope) directly through CAI and your criticisms

  • The way you handled things with Mario (admittedly a smaller issue...posting his personal correspondence over an issue with you when he asked you not to)

  • These issues in turn caused me to start reviewing more of what you had written in the past more closely and many others came to mind or surfaced when I searched, like:


    • calling the Pope a modernist...without retraction or apology

    • in an email discussion group some time ago saying that you hoped God would cause the Pope to die soon and give us a real pope in his place....without retraction or apology

    • Improperly divulging sensitive, private conversation with Scott Hahn...without retraction or apology

    • The false and scandalous quote you attributed to the Pope...without retraction or apology (simply removing something is not a retraction or apology)

    • Your latest article on "Vatican II" that has what I consider to be several inappropriate judgments of the Pope, that were exacerbated by the fact that they were posted while he was in the hospital near death.


(Forrest, e-mail of 03/18/2005).


Obviously, Forrest had communicated his concerns to Sungenis quite fully. Sungenis, for his part, was becoming increasingly agitated and unreasonable. This agitation seems to have clouded his perception of just what was transpiring. Perhaps this is a good place to address a claim that Sungenis has made, namely that he essentially "fired" Forrest for his allegedly "underhanded activity":


Although he has not admitted this to anyone, Michael did not leave CAI of his own accord. I terminated his stay with us. I have the letter I wrote to him to prove it. I terminated his stay because of the underhanded activity he was doing at CAI. (Sungenis, MFATJ).


But let's look at the train of events very carefully, as documented by the e-mails they exchanged. After their phone conversations, in which Forrest expressed serious difficulties with what Sungenis had been doing for the past two years and his reservations about remaining with CAI, Sungenis writes:


If for any reason you do not feel comfortable with these positions any longer, you are free to leave CAI. Please do not feel that you are obligated to me or CAI in any way.

. . .

If, despite these differences, you would like to remain with CAI, I would welcome you with open arms. (Sungenis, e-mail of 03/04/2005)


Note that this is after Sungenis was well aware of the "underhanded" prayer for the Pope's well-being that Forrest had asked to be posted on CAI's Web. Forrest responded on 03/18 with an e-mail which makes clear his intention to leave CAI if Sungenis does not make serious changes:


If you do not or will not see these unnecessary, self-inflicted wounds, I can have no expectation that they will be remedied in any consistent and meaningful way. I do not believe you fully understand the damage and pain these errors cause, because if you did, you would not fall back into them so easily and frequently. . . .

If we cannot reach definitive agreement on these central points, I cannot in good conscience continue my public support of and association with CAI. (Forrest, e-mail of 03/18/2005).


Sungenis replied on 03/22/2005, making it quite clear first that he had no intention of changing his ways and that therefore, Forrest had effectively quit CAI. He states explicitly that it is his understanding that Forrest had "bowed out" from his association with CAI (my emphasis):


If you want to make our friendship and business association terminate by playing the Jewish card, that is your prerogative, but I will not be intimidated by this tactic. . . .

I only wished you had bowed out more gracefully rather than try to point the finger at me. (Sungenis, e-mail of 03/22/2005).


But then, in typical schizophrenic Sungenis style, at the very end of the email, he gets all riled up and changes his wording and approach:


I do not expect you to resume your duties at CAI, and neither will I expect you down here on the 24th of April. (Sungenis, e-mail of 03/22/2005).


So that's what Sungenis considers "terminating" Forrest's stay because of "underhanded activity", when he had already acknowledged that Forrest had "bowed out" from CAI. As Jacob Michael has said, this is very much like the boss who shouts "You can't quit, because you're fired!" as his employee walks out the door.

It is also in this final e-mail of 03/22/2005 that Sungenis divulges a fundamental misunderstanding of Forrest's criticism that he repeats numerous times, namely that Forrest has claimed that Sungenis "hates all Jews":


Although much of what you said about me and my views tonight are distorted, your last accusation against me is totally and unequivocally wrong. I do not think "all" the Jews are involved nor do I have any animosity toward "all" Jews. (Sungenis, e-mail of 03/04/2005).


Forrest tried to correct Bob's misunderstanding, even apologizing for a slight exaggeration:


In regard to your written comment about "Jews" hating Christ (which directly preceded the hang up), in fact, you wrote "almost all" and "99%", not absolutely "all." In this, I apologize for the slight exaggeration. Yet, it does not affect the point I was making. Perhaps you did not understand it at the time. My point was simply that I believe this kind of gross exaggeration impacts upon and reflects your views of the Jewish people. (Forrest, e-mail of 03/18/2006).


Clearly, Forrest had said that Bob believes almost all Jews hate Christ, not that Bob hates all Jews. This mistake is perhaps more understandable in a heated phone conversation, but Sungenis still could not let go of this misunderstanding of what Forrest said, even after seeing the clarification in black and white. He responded four days later:


What is sticking with me is the last thing you said before I hung up the phone (the statement about me supposedly having some animosity toward ALL Jewish people). The hurt and betrayal I am feeling is compounded by the fact that later in your letter you try to excuse your statement by referring to it as merely "a slight exaggeration." It was as if you had been waiting to accuse me of "hating all Jews" for quite some time, and this was your opportunity to get it out. (Sungenis, e-mail of 03/22/2005).


Sadly, Sungenis could not read what was before his eyes in black and white in the 03/18 e-mail from Forrest. He once again returned to the claim that Forrest thought he had an animosity toward all Jewish people. Forrest was clearly speaking only of Sungenis's views in regard to Jewish sentiment toward Christ and that this exaggerated negative belief made him overly distrustful of Jews. Perhaps because of the heat Sungenis had taken from others on this issue, he went on "automatic pilot" once this issue came up and could no longer see anything other than what he expected to see. Sungenis repeats the claim in his "rebuttal" to Forrest in September of this year:


Michael accuses me of being against the Jewish people, he is even more obsessed in exonerating all things Jewish from every credible accusation and historical evidence against their interests. As it stands, Michael Forrest will not issue negative criticism about Jewish interests, Zionism, Judaism. (Sungenis, MFATJ)


There are two contentions there, both false. Again, it has never been Forrest's contention that Sungenis is "against all Jewish people" or that he has "animosity toward 'all' Jews". Rather, as he has consistently stated and has documented from Sungenis's own words, he contends that Bob believes that the vast majority of Jews hate/despise Christ. These are from Sungenis's own words:


95% of the Jews today still despise Jesus Christ. (source)

Just look at the headlines, Mike. Almost all you see coming out of Israel is Judaism and hatred for Christ ... Go to Israel today, Mike, and ask the typical Jew on the street about Jesus and I'll bet you that 99% of them don't have nice things to say about him. (Sungenis, email of April 6, 2004)


Sungenis also states that:


In any case, from reading his present essay ("Sungenis and the Jews") it now seems that, as much as Michael accuses me of being against the Jewish people, he is even more obsessed in exonerating all things Jewish from every credible accusation and historical evidence against their interests. As it stands, Michael Forrest will not issue negative criticism about Jewish interests, Zionism, Judaism or any of the errors coming from Jewish converts to Catholicism (even though he makes general statements that the Jewish converts "could be wrong," without specifying what the erroneous views may be). (Sungenis, MFATJ)


Is this claim true? Has Forrest never issued a criticism about Jewish interests, Zionism or Judaism? First, we must note that it has always been Forrest's contention that it is Sungenis's approach to these matters that is problematic. His mind on the matter can be perceived in the summary that he sent me in critique of Bob's 01/24/2004 article: "You have some fair points to be raised, but I don't agree with your approach." Then, in a summary of his actual follow-up with Sungenis, he says (my emphasis):


I spoke with Bob for quite a while today regarding several things, including the "Jewish" issue. I told him about my concerns and objections, and he agreed. He also offered that he writes the way he does on this issue because he is frustrated with the "blank check" way Jews are often treated because they are Jews....and that the charge of Antisemitism is thrown around to silence any critic. I agreed, but challenged him to "radical balance". (Forrest, e-mail of 02/03/2004, to David Palm).


Indeed, before all this, on 12/16/2002 Forrest even sent Sungenis an article critical of Zionism, written by a Jewish man, in hopes that it might set an example for Bob to make the necessary distinctions in his critique of Zionism vs. broadbrushing all Jews:


----- Original Message -----

From: Michael Forrest

To: Robert Sungenis

Sent: Monday, December 16, 2002 5:58 PM

Subject: Bob: read regarding Zionism

Bob:

I came across this and thought it might be useful to you. It was written by a Jew.

Mike

Zionism doesn't define Jews - it divides us


Forrest also wrote full length articles critical of "Jewish interests" and individual Jews. Sungenis might be excused for never reading Forrest's article originally posted at Seattle Catholic in which he criticizes a committee of the USCCB for being too worried about Jewish interests (although this is also on CAI's Web site). But shouldn't he at least have known about a lengthy dialogue and an article on his own site which are there even now?

In a posted dialogue, Forrest criticized a self-proclaimed Orthodox Jew for his defense of abortion and for his view of Jews who believe in Christ among other things. But he did so without stereotyping and broad brushing Jews like Mr. Sungenis unfortunately tends to. Forrest is indeed willing to engage individual Jewish people or "Jewish interests". The difference between him and Sungenis is that Forrest doesn't consider himself an expert on these issues and he refrains from broad brushing all Jews with negative stereotypes and accusations.

Sungenis's errors just keep rolling out of the fateful 03/22/2005 e-mail. In it, Sungenis "defends" himself by claiming to Forrest that he hadn't written or posted a single thing about Jews for three years:


Besides, there hasn't been anything on our site related to the Jews for three years, except to explain to one Jewish man why we had militaristic themes on our site (to combat the pedophile priests who raped him). And despite what my personal feelings are about Zionists and other bad Jews, I haven't said one negative thing about them for three years, yet you still complain (e-mail of 03/22/05).


Now the reader will already know from what I have documented above that this claim is fallacious, but here is a list of items that went up on the CAI's Web site (or were at least co-authored by Bob) between January of 2003 and March of 2005:

1) Robert Sungenis's Commentary for January 24, 2004: Will The Real "Anti-Semites" Please Stand Up. Could It Be the Jews Themselves?

2) Letter to the editor, Culture Wars Magazine.

3) Intense Dialogue on Romans 11

4) Are Today's Israelis Entitled to the Land of Palestine?

5) Dialogue on Romans 11, The Future of the Jews, and the Phrase "The Old Covenant is Not Revoked"

6) Christian Zionism: A Contradiction in Terms (Written with Thomas Woods)

7) New Jewish Bishop Has No Intention of Converting Jews to Christianity: Read Dr. Thomas Woods' article "Cafeteria Catholic Bishops" (June 2004)

8) A Short Dialogue with a Protestant about the Future of the Jews and How to Understand Predestination in Romans 9 (June 2004)

9) "Woe to Ariel [Sharon]" [Is 29:1]

10) Politics, Religion, Israel and the Seduction of the Catholic Voter Part 1

11) Iraq invaded to protect Israel (a news alert)

12) Is There A Mass Conversion of the Jews in the Future? (Q & A)

13) Which Popes Say Only A Remnant of Jews Will be Saved? (Q & A)

14) The Jews believed in 2 Messiahs? (Q&A)

15) Does Isaiah 2 Promote Zionism? (Q&A)

16) The Remnant article on Iraq (Q&A)

17) And, of course, Bob's answer on the Holocaust that Forrest stopped from appearing at all.


"Besides, there hasn't been anything on our site related to the Jews for three years . . . yet you still complain." (Sungenis, e-mail of 03/22/2005).


Conclusion:

And so we come to an end to this study, at last. Unfortunately, there is a lot more that could be said. One of the amazing and unsettling things about digging into the works and words of Bob Sungenis is that the more one digs, the more material one unearths that sheds a very negative light on him and his activities. In the end, this sort of thing is not at all to my taste. But we thought it was important to have, as Jacob Michael has put it, a permanent counterweight publicly available to balance the claims and assertions of Bob Sungenis. At this point, the effort is not primarily about reasoning with him or helping to see the errors of his ways. The reader should see in this study the numerous attempts made to reason with Bob in the past, to help him to abandon inflammatory and destructive rhetoric and to adopt a more reasoned approach to a variety of issues. And the efforts documented here are but a fraction of all that has been done to reach out to Bob in Christian charity and genuine friendship. Bob has chosen to reject all of those attempts and so our primary concern now is for those who are harmed and influenced by his writings.

But even so, Bob and his family need our prayers. I know that his friends are still more than willing to embrace him again, if only we can see genuine fruits of repentance. And so I ask the reader of this present work (and intrepid you must be, if you got this far) to please say a Rosary or offer up one of your Holy Communions for Bob Sungenis and his family.