Throughout this controversy, Robert Sungenis has repeatedly demonstrated that he holds to totally different standards for himself compared to those to which he holds his opponents. Recently, he has complained bitterly that his critics have arbitrarily changed the definition of “anti-Semitism” simply in order to single him out:
Sungenis: “Notice that I, Robert Sungenis, have become the new criterion whereby “anti-semitism” is defined, rather than using the accepted definition that says anyone who says that he hates the Jews because of their race is anti-semitic. Mr. Forrest has reached a new height in the calumny – inventing his own definitions so that he can support his own condemnations.”
This specific charge will be dealt with shortly, but it is important to consider this complaint within the larger context of Sungenis’s extreme double standard on the issue of “definitions” as a whole. The fact is, he has repeatedly done precisely that about which he complains: redefining terms in order to suit a particular agenda. Notice that Sungenis appeals to an "accepted definition" but never bothers to cite any official source for the definition. There's a simple reason for this. His "accepted definition" simply isn’t actually the “accepted definition.”
The following are five recent examples of Bob's arbitrary redefinition of terms: 1) Plagiarism 2) Judaizing 3) Vigilante 4) Calumny and 5) Anti-Semitism.
Robert Sungenis has on more than one occasion attempted to defend himself by redefining the term “plagiarism”:
Sungenis: "Plagiarism is the willful and intentional effort to copy and distribute for personal gain someone else’s legally published material."
Article, page 8
Here is the definition according to several authoritative sources, including Sungenis’s own alma mater:
a) Plagiarize: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the
source. intransitive verb: to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source (Merriam-Webster)
b) Plagiarism: The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft. (Oxford English Dictionary)
c) Plagiarism is a serious infraction of the law of God and is punishable by measures determined by the faculty up to and including expulsion from the seminary...
Plagiarism is literary burglary. At its worst it involves an outright intent to deceive, to pass off another's work as one's own. More often, it is the result of carelessness or ignorance. But whether intentional or unintentional (the distinction is often hard to draw), plagiarism is always an error, and a serious one.
Whenever you borrow another writer's words or ideas, you must acknowledge the borrowing. ...When you use their words, their ideas, even their organization or sequence of ideas, say so--in a footnote or in the text. Claim as your own only what properly is your own. (
Westminster Theological Seminary)
Notice the efforts to which Sungenis goes in order to carve out the exceptions through which he can escape the charge of plagiarism. But his problem remains- the actual definition from authoritative sources does not square with Sungenis’s unique definition.
Furthermore, even under his own definition, he is still guilty of plagiarism, since his articles are designed in part to elicit financial donations. More directly to the point, he has included some plagiarized material in a tape that he currently sells on his web site: Products-Tapes
In his three-tape set, "Conversion of the Jews Not Necessary?? A Critique of the USCCB 'Reflections' Document", Sungenis says:
"Benedict XIV continues: 'If any should ask what is forbidden by the Apostolic See to Jews dwelling in the same towns as Christians...he has only to read the Constitutions of the Roman Pontiffs, Our Predecessors, Nicholas IV, Paul IV, Saint Pius V, Gregory XIII, and Clement VIII, which are readily available, as they are to be found in the Bullarium Romanum'. The Dictionnaire* Apologetique de la Foi Catholique gives a long list of Papal Decrees condemning the Talmud and the Talmudic formation, since the Talmud became known to Catholics about 1238-1240." (Sungenis, audio cassette "Conversion of the Jews Not Necessary??", tape 1, side 1)
*Sungenis mispronounces the French word "dictionnaire" as the English "Dictionary." This last sentence, beginning "The Dictionnaire Apologetique ..." is taken verbatim from Fr. Denis Fahey's book The Kingship of Christ and the Conversion of the Jewish Nation:
"The Dictionnaire Apologetique de la Foi Catholique, in the article Juifs et Chretiens (cols. 1691-1694), gives a long list of Papal Decrees condemning the Tamud [sic] and the Talmudic formation, since the Talmud became known to Catholics about 1238-1240." (Fr. Denis Fahey, The Kingship of Christ and the Jewish Nation [Hawthorne, CA: Christian Book Club of America, 1987], p. 89)
Later in the tape set, Sungenis says:
"The Talmud is divided into six main divisions called 'Sedarim'. The Talmud is an assortment of every subject imaginable. Unfortunately, it is filled with obscenities and blasphemies of the highest order. It seeks to reverse many biblical moral teachings on theft, murder, sodomy, perjury, treatment of children and parents. Most of all, it has an unrelenting and virtually insane hatred of Christ, Christians and every aspect of Christianity ... A like hatred displayed in Talmudic Judaism is reserved for, and directed against, the believers of Christianity. They are called "enemies," "heathen," "idolators,"" and "goy-animals". Christians receive the Jewish curses of the 7th and 12th of the Eighteen Benedictions called the Shemoneh Esreh, which the orthodox Jew recites three times daily and four times on the Sabbath, or Jewish holidays. Thus Christians are cursed six times on ordinary days and eight times on special Jewish days." (Sungenis, audio cassette "Conversion of the Jews Not Necessary??", tape 3, side 2)
These two paragraphs are lifted verbatim from Elizabeth Dilling's book The Plot Against Christianity, later republished under the title The Jewish Religion: Its Influence Today, and from Lt. Jack Mohr's book The Effects of the Talmud on Judeo-Christianity:
"The Talmud is divided into six main divisions called 'Sedarim' (orders), but each division and each volume is a hodge-podge of every subject imaginable. The main and overall characteristics of the Talmud are: pomp, silliness, obscenity and more obscenity, a setting up of laws seemingly for the purpose of inventing circumventions, and evasions; delight in sadistic cruelty; reversal of all Biblical moral teachings on theft, murder, sodomy, perjury, treatment of children and parents; insane hatred of Christ, Christians and every phase of Christianity." (Dilling, The Jewish Religion: Its Influence Today [online source, p. 4)
"The supreme hatred of Talmudic Judaism is reserved for, and directed against, the believers of the Christian Bible ... You who believe the Christian Bible is the Word of God are classified as the primary enemies of Judaism. You are called "heathen," "Idolators," and "goy-animals" by your Jewish friends ... As a Christian, you receive the Jewish curses of the 7th and 12th of the Eighteen Benedictions called the SHEMONEH ESREH. The orthodox Jew recites this three times daily and four times on the Sabbath, or Jewish holidays. This means that Christians are cursed six times on ordinary days and eight times on special Jewish days." (Jack Mohr, The Effects of the Talmud of Judeo-Christianity, Chapter 7, online source )
Additionally, Ben Douglass has recently divulged the following information:
“At the second conference of Catholics Defending Biblical Inerrancy, one of Sungenis' speeches consisted essentially in him reading, without attribution, Damien Mackey's article ‘The Toledoths of Genesis.’ This speech was recorded on DVD. So, I recently asked Sungenis a few times whether he had ever sold this DVD for profit. Lo and behold, he refused to give a straight answer to my simple yes or no question.” Article
Sungenis has recently complained that "There was one instance, five years ago, in which I copied and pasted material for an article I wrote. I rearranged the wording so that I did not quote directly from the source, but Mr. Cork (who admits his family is Jewish) accused me of plagiarism", and "This was a private article which I had no intentions of publishing on the open market. Had I plans to publish it on the open market, every statement would have been properly footnoted and with a bibliography, as is the case with every book I have ever written." (Sungenis, Jacob Michael: Still Confused and Calumniating, p. 6) But as we can see, there are at least four verifiable examples of plagiarism, at least three of which are still being sold "on the open market" at CAI's web site today - Bob charges $18 for this three-tape set, in which he plagiarizes Fahey, Dilling, and Mohr. Of course, this is to say nothing of the book reviews and News Alerts taken from other sources that so regularly appear without any attribution at CAI. Bottom line: according to accepted definitions of the word, Bob Sungenis has plagiarized numerous times over the past five years.
As Claudio Salvucci clearly demonstrated, Robert Sungenis has cavalierly redefined the meaning of this heresy in order to smear brother Catholics who converted from Judaism. Below are two representative statements made by Robert Sungenis:
"What is Judaizing? Simply put, it is the attempt to mix Judaism with Christianity."
“not only do I contend that Moss and Schoeman are reintroducing a modern-day Judaizing theology, I would go so far as to say that it is a hyper-Judaizing theology. This is especially the case with Roy Schoeman, as he has outlined his case in his book, Salvation is from the Jews.”
Yet, what is the actual definition of “Judaize”? Follow along with Claudio Salvucci:
The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913 defines Judaizers more precisely as follows:
"A party of Jewish Christians in the Early Church, who either held that circumcision and the observance of the Mosaic Law were necessary for salvation and in consequence wished to impose them on the Gentile converts, or who at least considered them as still obligatory on the Jewish Christians."
The heresy is not, as Mr. Sungenis suggests, the mere mixing of the two religions, nor even the mere incorporation of Jewish rituals into the Church. Rather, the Judaizing heresy as condemned in Acts and elsewhere also involves the idea of moral necessity: i.e. that it is morally necessary for all Christians, Jews and Gentiles alike, to keep the Mosaic Law. A less extreme variant argued that it is morally necessary for Jewish Christians to keep the Mosaic Law, but that Gentile Christians are exempt from it.”
Sungenis is clearly guilty of redefining this term in order to fit his targets within it. But when one considers the actual, accepted definition, his charges against Schoeman, Moss, et al. fall flat.
Sungenis: “Today, however, we have vigilante Catholics who think they can reinvent Catholic worship to suit their own tastes.”
Here, Sungenis essentially redefines “vigilante” as someone who thinks “they can reinvent Catholic worship to suit their own tastes.” However, the following are the actual dictionary definitions of “vigilante”:
Vigilante: A member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily…a self-appointed doer of justice. (Merriam-Webster)
Vigilante: a person who tries in an unofficial way to prevent crime, or to catch and punish someone who has committed a crime, especially because they do not think that official organizations, such as the police, are controlling crime effectively. Vigilantes usually join together to form groups. (Cambridge online dictionary)
The irony, of course, is that by these authoritative definitions, Sungenis and a few of his most active supporters are the true vigilantes: self-appointed bishops who usurp the authority of true bishops by conducting what amounts to a kangaroo court, issuing condemnations and declarations of heresy based on often false or outright fabricated evidence.
While he has never actually offered his own unique definition, Robert Sungenis has given evidence of his definition by repeatedly accusing his critics of calumny. He has made accusations of calumny for bringing to light his own well-documented plagiarism, libel and anti-Semitic tendencies. For example:
Sungenis: “…leave it to a sinful slanderer like Jacob Michael to distort all this and make people think that I am a practicing plagiarist! This is calumny of the highest order…”Article
Sungenis: “I have defended the ‘gory details’ against Mr. Palm’s calumny…I am not a bigot.”
Sungenis: “Mr. Forrest has reached a new height in the calumny.” (In response to Forrest’s opinion that Sungenis is anti-Semitic).
But here are accepted definitions of Calumny:
Fr. Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary: “Injuring another person’s good name by lying. It is doubly sinful, in unjustly depriving another of his good name and in telling an untruth…”
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: 1) a misrepresentation intended to blacken another’s representation 2) the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to damage another’s reputation.
The reader will readily notice two important elements for calumny to be present: falsity of the charges and bad intent. In the case of Robert Sungenis, the charges leveled against him are all amply documented as true. And there is certainly no intent to deceive in order to harm his reputation; on the contrary, the intent is to present the truth about Sungenis. Therefore, by definition, there can be no calumny.
The reader should remember what prompted the charges against Sungenis in the first place: his own unjust and often false accusations against others. In fact it could much more easily be argued that Sungenis himself is a serial calumniator. He has calumniated Roy Schoeman -- from the fraudulent quote he attributed to Schoeman and stubbornly kept posted on his website, to completely erroneous charges that Schoeman is pushing for a corporate Jewish identity within the Church, to the charge that Schoeman is basically a Judaizing heretic -- in each case the charges were false and were intended to damage Schoeman's reputation, the very definition of calumny. Likewise he has calumniated Michael Forrest with a series of outright lies regarding his departure from CAI. He has calumniated Christopher Blosser and Leon Suprenant, accusing them of being pro-war Zionists without any evidence. There are other examples as well. Suffice it to say that Sungenis's double standards are in full view here.
This is the specific example that led Bob to cry foul with respect to the "accepted definition" of words. Anti-semitism is defined thusly by Robert Sungenis:
“the accepted definition...anyone who says that he hates the Jews because of their race.”
This is perhaps the most preposterous and self-serving of Sungenis’s unique definitions. Under Sungenis’s definition, a person would have to both realize they are and openly admit to being an anti-Semite. But the fact is, in the spirit of St. James (2:14-18), a man's works and words speak clearly enough for themselves. There is no need to have access to Bob's interior disposition. His absolute culpability can only be judged by God. Nevertheless, by his words and actions he is reasonably viewed as at least a material anti-Semite.
Following are 8 definitions of anti-Semitism, none of which comport with Sungenis’s extremely narrow and self-serving definition:
1) Encarta World English Dictionary: behavior discriminating against Jews: policies, views, or actions that harm or discriminate against Jews. link
2) Oxford English Dictionary: Theory, action, or practice directed against the Jews. Hence anti-'Semite, one who is hostile or opposed to the Jews; anti-Se'mitic
3) Cambridge Dictionary: The strong dislike or cruel and unfair treatment of Jewish people. link
4) Dictionary.com: discrimination against or prejudice or hostility toward Jews. link
5) American Heritage Dictionary: 1) Hostility toward or prejudice against Jews or Judaism. 2) Discrimination against Jews. link
6) Webster’s Collegiate: Hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic or racial group. link
7) OSV Catholic Dictionary: Prejudice against Jews, which has found expression from the time of the ancient Persian Empire.
8) New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: Prejudice or hatred against Jews. link
Note especially the definitions given by the highly authoritative Oxford English Dictionary. That definition alone shows that one does not require access to another person's interior disposition to judge that they are guilty of anti-Semitism. The fact is, Sungenis’s writings, both in essence and frequency, exhibit a clear hostility towards and prejudice against Jews. He frequently jumps to the very worst conclusions when Jews are involved and he tends to believe accusations uncritically when he sees them. That is prejudice in the classic sense of the term. If I find that my wallet is missing and there are a few people in the room, one of whom is black, and I reflexively and repeatedly jump to the conclusion that the wallet was probably stolen...by the black guy, that’s prejudice. It’s the sort of thing Sungenis frequently does with Jews and it has been documented at length.
Many of the documented items have nothing to do with Zionism specifically or even Judaism more generally. The way they are phrased, the accusations are directed broadly at Jews as a whole, singling out their ethnic identity. And the extreme bias and recklessness with which he even criticizes Zionism and Judaism strongly suggests that a personal prejudice is at work.
While Sungenis has complained about Forrest’s suggestion that Catholics consider what we would find anti-Catholic and then apply that same standard to anti-Semitism, the idea is perfectly sound and reasonable, a matter of simple common sense. What is anti-Semitism in essence but prejudice and bigotry against Jews? And what better standard by which to judge the presence of prejudice and bigotry than to apply the Golden Rule? If we would consider certain behavior to be anti-Catholic when applied to us, then it is a matter of simple justice to conclude that we may not treat others in the same way.
It would be helpful to know if Sungenis no longer believes James White is an anti-Catholic. And what of Dave Hunt and Jack Chick? After all, they all claim to “love” Catholics, too. But the fact is that he quite rightly has seen what they do as anti-Catholic bigotry, yet at the same time he writes in the very same way against the Jews.
To Sungenis’s point about race vs. religion, of course such people don’t “hate” Catholics as a race of people because Catholics are not a race of people at all, we are exclusively a religious group. But they have an animus against what we believe, what we are precisely *as Catholics* and they misrepresent our faith in the process, regularly evidencing an inability to genuinely apologize for any of it. We rightly call that anti-Catholicism. When people believe the very worst at the drop of a hat and tend to ignore or refuse to believe the good…when they negatively stereotype people...when they refuse to retract dubious, spurious and scandalous charges when confronted with evidence or only remove them under sustained public pressure (without so much as a direct apology and public retraction)….then the claim to “love” rings incredibly hollow….this is legitimately termed “anti-whatever” whether based on race or religion. And this common sense approach comports with the real "accepted definition" of anti-Semitism, not Bob's fabricated one.
And so, in summary, it should be plain that along with a serious “source problem”, Robert Sungenis has a significant “definitions problem” as well.
As always with Sungenis: One standard for me, another for thee.