Wednesday, September 3, 2008

An Open Invitation to Bob Sungenis

A few months ago, Bob Sungenis stated that he had “publically
disavowed" and "apologized for” his problematic statements about the Jewish people. And Fr. Brian Harrison has just recently claimed that Bob has truly apologized for and retracted at least a good many of his statements about Jews. However, as has been documented
here and here (see “disavow”), these claims are not accurate. Additionally, Bob has previously made statements that initially appear to be authentic apologies and retractions only to then reverse himself. In the past, he has stated that his apologies have been “misunderstood.” He has stated that he “stands by” all of the material he posted. He has also blamed his critics for "forcing" him to go back on his partial-apologies and promises.

As such, we would like to give Bob an opportunity to make the record clear. He stated the following to Michael Forrest:



“I am not coming to you asking you to remove your website [RSATJ] as if I have relinquished these beliefs about the Jewish people…I am coming to you saying that I am no longer advertising them, and you should reciprocate by taking down your website that rebuts them. If you don't take it down, then you will force me to take the appropriate counter-action. For instance, I will resume putting up Jewish articles on my site and I will revise and expand each one of them . . . As to the retraction in 2002, yes, I did it for "peace," because I still believed most of the things I wrote…Neither you nor anyone else is going to get me to change my mind about the Jews, Israel, Judaism and even Roy Schoeman. “ (e-mail of 6 Aug 2007).


And in 2008 at his Bellarmine Forum, Bob confirmed that he still holds to some of the views expressed below. He has also made new problematic statements since his January 2008 promise to stop attacking Jews (
article).

As Bob has made the following statements publicly, we believe it is likewise incumbent upon him to indicate clearly and publicly which statements he retracts and apologizes for and which ones he does not. Certainly, some of the following sentiments and statements are considerably more problematic than others. However, taken as a whole, these statements and sentiments convey something significant as well.

Again, as there has been some confusion regarding previous “apologies” and “retractions”, two clarifications are in order:

A) In the past, Sungenis has apologized only for “upsetting” people or for the sake of “peace.” We are asking Sungenis specifically if he apologizes for each statement below because he acknowledges that it was inappropriate, dubious and/or erroneous and therefore should not have been made.

B) Sungenis has also inaccurately used the words “retract” and “disavow” in the past (scroll down to “
disavow” ). As such, for the purposes of this open invitation, we will be following the standard definition of “retract.”


Retract: to revoke a statement or opinion as inaccurate or unjustified.


For each quote below, all Bob need do is state whether he retracts it or not and whether he apologizes for it or not. If Bob retracts and apologizes for
all of the statements he made below, he may simply state that, rather than responding to each individual quote.

We sincerely hope Bob decides to make clear where he stands. Additionally, we will gladly remove the material presently at this blog and at the SATJ website if Bob forthrightly retracts and apologizes for the statements made below (click
here to view new, problematic material posted at BTF).

Sungenis’ Statements:

1) “It’s time for people to wake up and stop being corralled by the Jewish slave masters.” (May 2008)

2) “How is it that the Jews have garnered such a market on suffering that Bishop Rhoades finds it necessary to pay homage to them? Is it because they own the mortgages on the Catholic buildings erected in his and other dioceses?” (May 2008)

3) "the Jewish element has so infected our Catholic Church today that they have turned Catholics into Jewish apologists. The infection of Judaism and Zionism has become the number one enemy for us."


4) "it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that six million Jews were killed in Nazi internment camps." (Oct. 2009)

5) “I suggest you read the unsanitized accounts of what really happened [in the Holocaust]. When the Jews and Jewish sympathizers start showing proof that the Nazis killed 6 million Jews by gassing them, instead of jailing people for even bringing up the question, then you can talk about the Nazis and I’ll listen.” (Sept. 2009)

6) “The Red Cross documents in verifiable records at anyone’s disposal that there were only a few hundred thousand Jews who lost their lives in the German camps, and most of those were due to disease.” (Sept. 2009) (Click here to see a refutation of this claim often made by Holocaust deniers and "revisionists".)


7) "One example of this evidence is the fact that the worldwide Jewish population from 1940 to 1948 did not decrease by even a half million, much less six million....But the international population records show that the numbers of Jews after World War II were virtually the same as before the war." (Oct. 2009) (Click here to see a refutation of this claim often made by Holocaust deniers and "revisionists".)

8) "The documented records of the International Red Cross show that there were less than a few hundred thousand Jews who died in Nazi camps, and that most of those were from disease." (Oct. 2009) (Click here to see a refutation of this claim often made by Holocaust deniers and "revisionists". According to the International Committee of the Red Cross itself, this is not what these records "show.")

9) “The charge of 'anti-Semitism' is nothing but a clever ploy…
Albert Einstein finally recognized after dealing with his own people: 

 'Anti-Semitism is nothing but the antagonistic attitude produced in the non-Jew by the Jewish group. The Jewish group has thrived on oppression and on the antagonism it has forever met in the world…the root cause is their use of enemies they create to keep solidarity.'” (Click
here for the facts about this fraudulent quote that Bob attributed to Einstein).

10) “it is no secret to the well-informed that it is the goal of world politics and finance, 
which is run in large part by wealthy Jews behind the scenes, to secure the Middle East for Israel.”

11) “Other Catholic organizations are also becoming fronts for Zionism. Catholic Answers in San Diego and the Eternal World Television Network seem to be the two mainstays.”

12) “I have my doubts that it was 6 million [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.”


13) "the figure of six million Jews dying under Hitler's regime is even admitted by informed Jews to be mere propaganda."

14) “A telltale sign in the movie industry of the shift in mores was demonstrated no better than in the Walt Disney Corporation. Founder Walter Disney was well-known in the 50s and 60s 
for wholesome family entertainment. Interestingly enough, Walt had a policy of not hiring Jewish people.”

15) “We also know through the exhaustive effort of Michael Collins Piper’s new 738- page book, Final Judgment, how Bronfman (note: a Jew) is implicated in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The story begins when Kennedy refused to capitulate to Israel’s demand for nuclear weapons, and you can probably guess the rest of the story.”

16) “President Roosevelt had a part in (the Zionist conspiracy) himself. Being of Jewish ancestry, he was sympathetic to their cause...Roosevelt brought America into World War II by allowing Pearl Harbor to take place, for he had known way in advance that the Japanese were planning to attack.”

17) “Christianity is certainly not inherently violent, but unfortunately, 
Judaism tends to be, because real Judaism considers all non-Jews goyim that are less than animals, and this precipitates a loathing and violence against non-Jews.”

18) "The Jews...do intend to rule the world. And now the problem is that they want to rule the Catholic Church, too."

19) "Are the Protocols (of the Elders of Zion) forged? I don’t know. What I do know is that there is a lot of reason to believe that there are certain people, yes, the Jews, who would like us all to believe that they are forged."

20) "as long as [my critics] hold to the Jewish racist heresies of Roy Schoeman and refuse to condemn the USCCB and other hierarchy for their capitulation to the Jews, then they will never be my friends, they will be my enemies. God will be the judge of who of us has been right."

21) "You know, the thing about Bill Clinton was, you know, he tried to secure this peace accord between Israel and the Arabs and wasn't successful with that, and he did some other things that the Jews didn't like, because he got some power under him and he thought he could, you know, do whatever he wanted and then they, you know, they sent Monica Lewinski in there after him, you know, and brought him down."

22) "The Jews are godless and getting more ungodly with each passing day."

23) “I am merely doing the same thing Jesus did when he confronted the sins of the Jews…Unfortunately, the Jews haven’t 
changed in our day. They are still the same godless racists they were in Jesus’ day. Few of them have repented of their sins.”

24) “The nation of Israel has control of AMDOCS, the central telephone operation in the United States. It's one way the Mossad spies on American citizens, including you and those you talk to."

25) “Do I need to say more? I have the whole history of Catholicism behind me, and these Fathers, Doctors, Saints and the God-Man himself said much worse things about the Jews than I ever have. What is really happening today folks is that we have been taken over by Jewish propaganda, and there are a few Catholic/Jewish
 ideologues…Many of them are paid handsomely by Zionist groups to say whatever they can to silence people like me. They are bent on promoting the godless state of Israel for some pie-in-the-sky dream they have, even against their own Catholic religion (at least that’s the religion they claim to have), and they will smear anyone who gets in their way. 
 The Jews have done this for centuries against good people, and it continues today.”

26) "95% of the Jews today still despise Jesus Christ.”

27) "The whole tenor of the New Testament is that God is finally rejecting the Jews (except for a remnant)...God is giving up on the Jews. In the language of John 6:44, God is no longer going to draw them to Jesus.
 In fact, God will become active in keeping them in unbelief by blinding 
them to the truth (Romans 11:8). That is the kind of God we have; a 
very dynamic God...and the Jews will die in their unbelief."

28) “when (Jews) come into power…they can be some of the 
most ruthless people on the face of the earth."

29) " Jones,...makes an indelible impression upon our minds as he adds two millennia of documented facts and figures onto St. Paul's final and sobering assessment of the Jews: 'the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us; they do not please God, and are opposed to everyone, trying to prevent us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved, thus constantly filling up the measure of their sins' (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16)....All his facts and figures are for the purpose of showing us that St. John's label of godless Jews as the 'synagogue of Satan,' the spirit of Antichrist, is not only alive and well today but has almost completely overwhelmed our modern society, thus serving as a public omen to the world that the Apocalypse has, indeed, come upon us, in full and furious force"

30) "...I tell you, with the rest of the voice from the tradition of the Church, that the Jews will seek to take over and/or thoroughly weaken the Catholic religion, and perhaps someday be strong enough to place one of their own as its leader."

31) "every place that [the Jews] have been throughout history, they have been excised. Because they do the same thing every time they go in there, they try to take over places that they go to! And every time they do, people get wise to it, just like we're doing now, and they get themselves into trouble. And then they wonder why they're so persecuted, and vagabonds across the face of the earth for the last 2,000 years -- well, this is why!"

32) “I suggest you stop blaming it on the nation who excised [the Jews] and start looking at what the Jewish people do to get themselves excised…go read the Old Testament and find out who you are dealing with.” (Sept. 2009)

33) “As for Germany’s relationship with the Jews, well, the Germans treated the Jews very nicely when the Jews were excised out of Russia and migrated to Germany. Then the Jews turned on the Germans because they got a better deal from someone else.” (Sept. 2009)


34) “Whether [David Palm, Michael Forrest and Jacob Michael] have ethnic ties to the Jews, I don’t know, but I suspect that one or more of them do but they are not admitting it.”

35) “Go read the newspapers. There’s enough damning information about the Jewish influence and incursion into the Catholic Church just in the last two years to show I’m on the right track. The real problem is that there isn’t one courageous Catholic apologist in America that is willing to take on the Jews. They are all too worried about their careers and making friends rather than the truth of what is really occurring in our land…They are just upset that Robert Sungenis won’t play their game. Wonderful. I’m glad they are upset. That shows me I’m doing the right thing.” (Sept. 2009)

36) "And, once and for all, I suggest my critics start listening to what I am saying about the
anti-Christ, anti-Catholic and anti-Christian influence that various Jewish organizations are having on us, including but not limited to.. the Association of Hebrew Catholics (e.g., David Moss, Roy Schoeman, etc.), and any other such organization that puts Jewish political, religious and social interests above those of the Catholic faith and the rest of the world."

37) "In fact, Schoeman holds that those who say that the state of Israel is merely a man-made political movement that has nothing to do with Old Testament prophecy is 'of the antichrist.'"

38) About a year and a half ago, Sungenis publicly claimed that Roy Schoeman wrote the following statement:

“Unfortunately, I would say tragically, the Jews who are converting are not by and large finding their way to the Catholic Church- the conversion is largely coming from Protestant circles, notably those associated with Messianic Judaism. I believe this is due in large part to the Catholic Church having dropped the ball by eliminating all the Jewish festivals from Pesach to Sukkhot. As a result, when through the workings of Grace Jews are opened up to the truth of Jesus, rather than finding their way to the one true Church, they get scooped up by our separated brethren, who have generally adopted a more open and receptive attitude toward celebrating Jewish festivals.”

(Click
here for the facts about this fraudulent quote.)

39) In regard to Bishop Rhoades:

a) Sungenis has publicly accused Bishop Rhoades of holding to a false doctrine (which Sungenis also called a “heresy”). This false doctrine is commonly referred to as the “Dual Covenant” error, which posits that the Jewish people possess their own, salvific covenant with God.

b) Sungenis publicly claimed that Bishop Rhoades is “attempting to propagate” this error to “unsuspecting Catholics”.

c) Sungenis publicly claimed that Bishop Rhoades possesses greater “allegiances” to Jewish interests than to the Catholic faith.

d) Sungenis publicly claimed that Bishop Rhoades is attempting to stop him from exposing and refuting this doctrinal error.

40) "The bishop and the vicar general of my diocese are teaching heretical doctrines to the priests under their care...and refusing to do anything to remedy the situation....[Bishop Rhoades] and his vicar general tried to force me to adopt their heresy and I refused." (Sept. 2009)

(View the following articles that refute Bob's false accusations about Bishop Rhoades: Bishop Rhoades and the Dual Covenant Theory, By Sungenis Alone, Bishop Rhoades Sets the Record Straight.)

All of the above statements attributed to Sungenis have been verified. Links to each statement may be found at
www.sungenisandthejews.com/Section2.html and http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/

U.S. Catechism for Adults Revised

The positive change on page 131 of the USCCA affirms the efforts of many good, knowledgeable, orthodox Catholics who have been in touch with their bishops for some time about this particular issue. We're especially appreciative of those who did so without opting to make a public spectacle of themselves or positioning themselves as judges, juries, and enemies of the U.S. Catholic bishops. Such people deserve credit for following the letter and spirit of canon law:

Can. 212 §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.


Unfortunately, a few Catholics grossly distort the plain meaning of this passage by exaggerating the references to “rights” while simultaneously glossing over the references to “responsibilities.” It seems that such individuals can conceive of only one manner in which to express concern or disagreement: public condemnation and outrage. And for such individuals, anything short of condemnation and outrage apparently makes others guilty of “complicity,” “heresy,” or whatever other charge seems most provocative. (Click here for a related discussion.) For instance, some months ago (Feb 2008), in a fury over this sentence in the USCCA, Robert Sungenis wrote:

…Catholic universities may be following the lead of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who recently published these provocative words in its United States Catholic Catechism for Adults: ‘Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them.’… This is an unprecedented move, but it is not surprising. More and more the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has shown itself to be a predominately liberal institution…Where there should be absolute outrage from the USCCB…there is little more than complacency…the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is fast becoming a mouthpiece for modern dissidence and liberalism in American Catholicism. (The Old Covenant, pp. 6-7)


And

“I later found out that Rhoades was in league with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on this issue…I knew…the erroneous theology…Rhoades and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops were attempting to propagate to unsuspecting Catholics” (ibid, p. 11).


Interestingly, this supposed “mouthpiece” that Sungenis “knew” was so determined to spread “judaizing” errors to “unsuspecting Catholics” moved - by a nearly unanimous vote - to make this positive, helpful change in the service of orthodoxy.

One wonders if Sungenis still considers Bishop Rhoades to be “in league with the USCCB”, now that the U.S. bishops have taken this positive step (and we have reliable information confirming that Bishop Rhoades voted for the change as well). Sadly, in his newest article, Sungenis has chosen to continue propagating falsehoods about Bishop Rhoades. For example, Sungenis is still peddling the baseless, defamatory accusation that he was denied an imprimatur on CASB2 because Bishop Rhoades believes the dual covenant error. He continues to base his case in part on the fact that Bishop Rhoades referred to page 131 of U.S. Catechism for Adults in the denial. We have already documented in detail why Sungenis’ claims are baseless: here and here.

We hope and pray that individuals who have been particularly condemnatory of the U.S. bishops as a whole (and even their own bishop) on this specific issue - such as publicly accusing them of intentionally spreading error to their “unsuspecting” flock - will apologize for and retract the calumny and perhaps even send along a note of appreciation. Sadly, while Sungenis has at least expressed appreciation for the change, he has refused to apologize for and retract his calumnies, opting instead to float another baseless (and erroneous) theory about the bishops’ possible fear of voting openly for it (More Confusion on Page 131, p. 5).

Last, it bears repeating that the reasons Sungenis has been criticized by his bishop and so many others in regard to “Jewish issues” have been laid out in detail many times. These reasons have nothing to do with the need to address this one sentence in the USCCA. It is erroneous to claim otherwise. Rather, the controversy is about Sungenis’ numerous prejudiced and inflammatory statements against the Jewish people, extending over a period of more than six years:

http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/09/open-invitation-to-bob-sungenis.html

http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/09/proverbs-2611.html

http://www.sungenisandthejews.com/Section2.html

http://sungenisandthejews.blogspot.com/2008/03/by-sungenis-alone_29.html#eight

Deo gratias, the U.S. bishops have resolved this issue. Let’s all pray for them as they continue to grapple with so many other serious issues that demand their attention.

Fr. Harrison and RSATJ

Recently, Fr. Brian Harrison wrote a 16 page paper in defense of Bob Sungenis. In it, he refrained from substantively addressing the core issues involved. Instead, he chose to make a narrowly crafted, technical canonical argument in support of Bob while leveling blanket condemnations and attempting to divine the motives of Sungenis’ critics – singling out the principals of this blog for his most vehement denunciations.

However, the public record remains completely clear as it pertains to Robert Sungenis’ views of the Jewish people. As was stated and documented two years ago: 1) Sungenis suffers from a significant, personal prejudice against the Jewish people that extends even into theological matters, 2) he has illegitimately used the title “Catholic” in spreading his personal agenda, 3) he is not the expert he has long pretended to be on Jewish-related issues, 4) he has often made use of (and even plagiarized) extremely problematic, objectionable sources in communicating his views of the Jewish people, 5) he has regularly defamed anyone who publicly criticizes him on Jewish issues and 6) he has been and continues to be committed to spreading his prejudiced, anti-Jewish agenda, even now (article).

Father Harrison complains: “In short, the members of this group now make no serious attempt to be even-handed or ‘dialogical’ in criticizing Dr. Sungenis. Instead – perhaps spurred on by frustration at their inability to silence him after years of merciless and unrelenting effort – they are unabashedly one-sided.” (page 2)

As Fr. Harrison presumably believes his own article to be “even handed” and “dialogical”, it is difficult to take such criticism of our documentation seriously. The most Fr. Harrison could bring himself to say in criticism of Bob is that his publicly professed views of the Jewish people (which may be viewed here and here ) are “at worst, merely exaggerated or immoderate” while simultaneously (and indiscriminately) disparaging Bob’s critics as “persecutors,” “cyber-vigilantes,” “Sungenis baiters” and over a dozen other such strong, unequivocal condemnations. Additionally, we find it unfortunate that Fr. Harrison has chosen to frame matters in terms of “enemies.” We’ve never seen it that way.

A brief comment made by Rosemarie Scott at Mark Shea’s blog in reaction to Fr. Harrison’ article concisely sums up several aspects of the situation:

Never mind the fact that repeated "even-handed" attempts to "dialogue" with him during the past (nearly) six years have all failed.

Funny how Fr. Harrison starts out talking about Internet calumny, then proceeds to basically calumniate those who have tried to counter Sungenis' extremism as "merciless and unrelenting." …

I stand by my statement that saying that those who counter Sungenis' extremism made a "merciless and unrelenting effort" is false.

His critics have "relented" on a number of occasions, such as when they tried to broker a deal with him through Ben Douglass in late 2006. They went for a while without talking about him when it looked like he would make a deal, and only began again when it fell through.
 Then, in August of last year, when Sungenis' bishop told him to cease and desist and it seemed Sungenis would comply, the people at the RSATJ blog refrained from commenting further on the issue for six whole months (that's unrelenting?). Only after Sungenis began attacking his bishop in February of this year did they start commenting again. Even so, the last post on that blog, as of today, is from May 19, 2008 - nearly two months ago.
 Unrelenting??? C'mon.

Merciless?

Sungenis has been given ample opportunity to repent, and the critics went silent whenever it looked like he might repent.

Maybe Fr. Harrison is just not well-informed about this whole, long, drawnout matter. Perhaps that explains his highly negative portrayal of Sungenis' critics which simply does not jibe with the facts…”
 (link to comment)


Below, a few additional, brief comments are offered:

- Contrary to Fr. Harrison’s claim, Bob has not genuinely apologized for and retracted his offensive statements about the Jewish people, nor has he refrained from engaging additional such attacks (evidence 1 , evidence 2 and evidence 3).

- Contrary to Fr. Harrison’s claims, neither Jacob Michael, David Palm nor Michael Forrest (RSATJ) have ever called for Bob to “be completely isolated and brought down to absolute rock-bottom – to nothing!” We don’t know who supposedly expressed this view, but it was not one of us and we disagree with it. Additionally, Fr. Harrison leveled a few other charges while at least giving the false impression that the principals of this blog were involved – the most notable example is the implication that we had something to do with the cancellation of a speaking engagement by E. Michael Jones. For the record, very little communication has occurred between Fr. Harrison and the principals of this blog in regard to Bob. And, in fact, he has never communicated in any way with Michael Forrest at all.

- Contrary to Fr. Harrison’s claim, we do not believe that “any explicit and critical mention of influential Jews or Jewish trends in any sphere of activity is to be immediately exposed, condemned and ruthlessly stamped out with the insinuation that it is a step along the road toward a new Auschwitz” and have stated this openly on multiple occasions (for example: read #3 under “I do not intend to:”, David Palm’s “foreword” and this article). In fact, we have written articles that contained criticisms of Judaism, individual Jews and/or Jewish organizations. But we have written them without demonizing or broad-brushing the Jewish people, using fraudulent quotes or making use of racist sources.

- Contrary to Fr. Harrison’s claim, we did not “[know] full well that neither Bishop Rhoades nor any other church authority had declared any penalty whatsoever against him. Dr. Sungenis was not even under an interdict or any similar lesser penalty…” (p. 7). The fact is, Bob himself explicitly claimed to have been under “interdict”:

Sungenis to Edgar Suter: “The fact is that I was under an interdict from my bishop. I had no choice unless I decided to directly disobey him.” (email of Aug 5, 2007, emphasis added). 1


While Fr. Harrison tried to dismiss Bob's public claim to have been "ordered" as merely "a little word that needlessly handed to his enemies on a platter a seemingly powerful, but in fact phony, piece of ammunition" (p. 9), it is not so easy to slough off Bob's use of such a specific, canonical term as "interdict." Additionally, it seems a particularly strange defense to ridicule Bob's own description of matters with his diocese as "phony" and then blame others for believing him.

Below, the reader will find important statements Bob made to Michael Forrest on the very next day after he made the statement above to Edgar Suter about “having no choice” and being “under an interdict.”

Sungenis to Forrest: “I specifically stated in my recent posting that Bishop Rhoades did not conclude that I had to remove all the Jewish material from my website… As I specified in the above posting, I voluntarily took down the material…Why is it that you went against what my bishop concluded by claiming that the bishop demanded I remove the material, when, in fact, I stated that he did not do so?”

“[The bishop] only asked that I would be more careful in my writing on the Jews…there is nothing more he requested.”
(Email of Aug 6, 2007)

Clearly, it was Bob who “knew full well” that he was not being honest. 2

- We have never criticized Bob for expressing concerns about the sentence on page 131 of the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults that the United States bishops recently replaced (see can. 212). We are pleased with the improvement and appreciate his desire to help effect positive change. However, we have strenuously objected to the manner in which he chose to express his concerns. Persistence and assertiveness are one thing, but impugning his bishop and the rest of the U.S. Bishops by accusing them of intentionally teaching error to “unsuspecting Catholics” is quite another (click here).

We maintain that Bob Sungenis has become a grossly irresponsible and dishonest apologist who should be avoided, specifically in matters pertaining to the Jewish people. Furthermore, he has behaved in a defamatory and defiant manner against his bishop. Additionally, Ben Douglass has recently published a rebuttal to Fr. Harrison's claim that, because Bob is not under the formal canonical penalty of excommunication, we were wrong to apply Matthew 18:17 to him (click here).

In closing, we understand that Fr. Harrison is a good friend of Bob’s, having “virtually traveled the world” with him and that they “see eye to eye on almost everything” (article). And we understand the well-intentioned role he has chosen to take up for Bob because we have each played that role for Bob to an extent in the past as well. Additionally, we respect and appreciate the many praiseworthy things Fr. Harrison has done in service of the Church. But his article is misguided and ill-informed.

We pray that Fr. Harrison eventually uses his influence to truly help Bob get back on the right track. Unfortunately, at least as matters stand now, Father Harrison is merely the latest in a long line of devoted, well-meaning friends who - in spite of very different intentions - have ultimately only served as enablers of Bob’s prejudice, distrustfulness, dishonesty, anger and self-centeredness.

It is no charity to enable Bob to believe the delusion that he is the victim of unjust “persecution” by Catholics who are under the control of the “Jewish slave masters” and by a bishop who is paying “homage” to Jews “because they own the mortgages on the Catholic buildings erected in his and other dioceses” – as Bob so recently opined (p. 10) .

We hope and pray that Fr. Harrison manifests the same kind of praiseworthy concern for those whom Bob has harmed, confused and scandalized as he does for Bob himself.

____________________________________________________________

Footnotes:

1 Suter inexplicably sent the email that included this quote to a large number of Bob’s critics, including the principals of RSATJ.

2 We have struggled to come up with a good reason why a person would falsely (and explicitly) claim to be under such a specific penalty. We can only offer an educated guess. (And of course, this all assumes that the latest story put out by Bob through Fr. Harrison is finally the truth.) Perhaps in making it appear as though he was forced to comply, Bob was trying to save face with his extremist, anti-Semitic friends and colleagues like Edgar Suter and Michael Hoffman II - the latter who publicly ridiculed Bob for what he deemed to be Bob’s craven acquiescence to his “fag bishop” (click here). Regardless of the exact reason, it is important to note that this is the way Bob was addressing one segment of his constituency, while for the sake of public relations with all those more mainstream Catholics he had alienated with his anti-Jewish extremism, he was portraying himself as a humble son of the Church who felt that it was a “privilege” to be under the “wise and caring” direction of men like Bishop Rhoades, who acts in “God’s stead” (click here).






Fr. Harrison and the Diocese of Harrisburg

Before addressing Fr. Harrison’s complaints against Bishop Rhoades and the Diocese of Harrisburg, we would like to repeat that we respect and appreciate the many praiseworthy things Fr. Harrison has done in service of the Church. And we consider him a brother in the faith, surely not an “enemy'” as cast in his article. Additionally, we understand the well-intentioned role he has chosen to take up for Bob because we have each played that role for Bob to an extent in the past as well. But his article is misguided and ill-informed.

To begin with, there is considerable irony in the fact that Fr. Harrison spent a great deal of space complaining about the alleged mistreatment Bob received from Bishop Rhoades while convening what amounts to an impromptu, canonical version of the “people’s court” designed to indict His Excellency. As such, we won’t be presuming to present our own canonical brief.

However, one cannot help but notice the number of equivocal words and phrases – “if”, “presume”, "seem”, “good reason to suppose” – that liberally line the arguments leading to Fr. Harrison’s conclusions. And perhaps more importantly, Fr. Harrison appears to have obtained all of his evidence from Bob. There is no evidence in his article that he has had any direct contact with the Diocese of Harrisburg to get the other side of the story. While we can understand why Fr. Harrison might be satisfied with his good friend’s word, the problem is that Bob has already been caught mischaracterizing and omitting relevant information from official, ecclesial correspondence in the past (read here and here )

As such, if Bob and Fr. Harrison were set on this course of action, it would at least have been less objectionable to reproduce his entire correspondence with the diocese – both from Bob and from the diocese - in PDF format for everyone to view (including that which is related to the refusal of his imprimatur on CASB 2), rather than continuing to leak whatever selective quotes are deemed most advantageous to Bob.

In fact, even the extremely limited amount of material that Fr. Harrison leaked brought to light new, pertinent information about the reasons Bishop Rhoades rejected Bob’s article Catholic Apologetics International and Its Teaching on the Jews (CAITJ) – a rejection that played a pivotal role in Bob’s ultimate decision to disobey Bishop Rhoades.

For instance, while Bob gave his readers the impression that Bishop Rhoades' rejection of CAITJ was based solely on doctrinal content and that his “tone” did not play a role:

Sungenis: I subsequently wrote a new article [CAITJ] whose “tone” was proper… (OCRNR, p. 11)


We now know that it most certainly did:

Fr. Harrison: “the Vicar General, Fr. King, replied with a long letter, dated August 23, 2007, stating that in the judgment of Bishop Rhoades, the 7-point statement on Judaism contained in the letter [CAITJ] was not fully satisfactory because of the tone and content of some passages. (p. 12, #5: emphasis added).


Notice also that Fr. Harrison describes the letter from Fr. King as “long.” One wonders what else might come to light were Bob to simply reproduce his entire, long correspondence with the diocese for all to view. (For a further discussion of some of the problems with CAITJ, read here: link1 and link 2 ).

At this point, one may also wonder why Fr. Harrison finds himself in the position of even attempting to make such a public case against a bishop, a case that is, for all intents and purposes, solely for the sake of Bob’s public relations. The simple answer is, because Bob first decided to make a public issue of it.

It was Bob Sungenis who publicly divulged what was occurring in his private interactions with the Diocese of Harrisburg. Bob opted to make several very public, defamatory accusations against Bishop Rhoades designed to justify his decision to recommence attacking Jews. And after Bishop Rhoades merely defended himself from Bob’ s false, public accusations at someone else’s request, Bob then had the chutzpah to use this as an excuse to make additional public attacks on His Excellency. (Please read here for more detail). Had Bob kept this matter private, as he ought to have - and just as the Diocese of Harrisbug did – then the Catholic faithful would have been spared the sad spectacle of this impromptu “court.” And Fr. Harrison would likely have avoided the time-consuming CAI-BTF role known by ex-Sungenis volunteers as damage control.

Perhaps a few additional, brief comments may be of use:

1) Contrary to Fr. Harrison’s claim, Bob did not “promptly comply” with Bishop Rhoades’ “letter of June 29 and (sic) taking down from his website all material relating to Jews and Judaism.” (p. 14) In fact, a few days after receiving the aforementioned letter from Bishop Rhoades, Sungenis publicly defamed His Excellency by falsely accusing him of being a proponent of the problematic Reflections on Covenant and Missions document, which gave the impression that Jews have no need of Christ or His Church. Sungenis then not only kept all of his anti-Jewish postings up for a full month, but also proceeded to post several new anti-Jewish items at CAI - including a prominently placed cartoon of a Jew pointing an assault rifle in a child's face.

It was only after Bob was subsequently summoned in to the diocese to meet with Fr. King and Fr. Massa at the end of July, 2007 that he “promptly” saw the light and indicated his intention to comply. (Please read the following for a more complete treatment of this issue: Timeline and Sungenis Smears Bishop). However, as we know - because of the letter he wrote to his friend Edgar Suter (which Suter promptly forwarded to a large group of Sungenis’ critics) – Sungenis did so for pragmatic, self-serving reasons and not the grandiose, noble-sounding reasons he attempted to claim in public (click here).

We also noted that Fr. Harrison used ellipses to omit the most contentious and defiant sections of Sungenis’s statements to Bishop Rhoades, such as his statement that he would “be quite happy to expose [to the Vatican] the belief in Dual Covenant theology that [Bishop Rhoades] and the USCCB were apparently promoting.” (p. 7) Sungenis was certainly not the humble, obedient son of the Church Fr. Harrison has portrayed him as being (see also: Sungenis’ “Invitation” to Bishop Rhoades)

2) Contrary to Fr. Harrison’s claim, Sungenis has not compliantly desisted from using the title “Catholic” at his website. The name “Catholic Apologetics International” is still prominently featured, including the address of his website and the name of his publishing company: catholicintl.com and Catholic Apologetics International Publishing, Inc.  In fact, with the exception of Bob's "home page", the name "Catholic Apologetics International" appears at the top of virtually every other web page on his site.  As such, Bob apparently remains in violation of canon 300 because he has never obtained the permission required to use the title “Catholic.” A few examples of Bob's continuing misappropriation of the title "Catholic" may be found on the following web pages:  link1 , link2 , link3.

3) We invite Fr. Harrison to attempt to reconcile the statements Bob made to Michael Forrest and Edgar Suter on successive days:

Sungenis: “I specifically stated in my recent posting that Bishop Rhoades did not conclude that I had to remove all the Jewish material from my website… As I specified in the above posting, I voluntarily took down the material…Why is it that you went against what my bishop concluded by claiming that the bishop demanded I remove the material, when, in fact, I stated that he did not do so?”

“[The bishop] only asked that I would be more careful in my writing on the Jews…there is nothing more he requested.” (Email to Michael Forrest, Aug 6, 2007).


Vs.

Sungenis: “The fact is that I was under an interdict from my bishop. I had no choice unless I decided to directly disobey him.” (Email to Sungenis supporter, Edgar Suter, Aug 5, 2007, emphasis added)


4) It is telling that Fr. Harrison, a doctor of theology, explicitly declined to publicly address Bob’s multiple calumnies of a theological nature against Bishop Rhoades (those documented here, here and here). Instead, although he candidly acknowledges that he has a very limited canonical background, he felt compelled to publicly take up a canonical defense of Bob Sungenis.

5) The timing of Fr. Harrison’s article has raised more than a few eye-brows, following so soon after the bishop of the diocese in which he resides (Archbishop Burke) was reassigned to the Church’s top canonical court at the Vatican. In fact, we have been made aware that Archbishop Burke had been contacted regarding a presentation that Bob was invited to make at a recent event organized by Fr. Harrison in Archbishop Burke’s Diocese of St. Louis. According to the reliable information we have received, Bob was subsequently disinvited due to the direct intervention of the Archbishop. This being the case, one wonders what Archbishop Burke would think of Fr. Harrison's present article.

6) Irrespective of the canonical argument Fr. Harrison fashioned for Bob’s disobedience a year after the fact, he failed to indicate whether he believes Bob’s stated reason was a sound moral basis for refusing to listen to Bishop Rhoades. Recall, Bob’s actual rationale for refusing to listen to Bishop Rhoades was that it is “against Catholic faith and morals” for him to refrain from addressing Jewish issues (read more here). Further, Bob founded this “faith and morals” argument on his baseless accusation that Bishop Rhoades holds heretical views that he is “attempting to propagate” to “unsuspecting Catholics”. One might have hoped that a priest of Fr. Harrison’s stature would take serious umbrage at a layman publishing such unsubstantiated charges of heresy against a Catholic bishop. Unfortunately, Fr. Harrison explicitly declined to comment on Bob’s charges against Bishop Rhoades.

Ultimately, the question is whether Bob should have listened to his father in the faith. And then, even should one answer in the negative, the question becomes whether it was therefore acceptable for Bob to justify his refusal to listen by publicly accusing his father in the faith of holding to a heresy, “attempting to propagate” it to “unsuspecting Catholics” and having greater “allegiances” to Jewish causes than the Catholic Church. We think not.

Bishop Rhoades was right in directing Bob to cease public commentary on Jewish issues. Bob has repeatedly proven himself incapable of handling Jewish issues responsibly and honestly. He remains committed to spreading his offensive, anti-Jewish agenda. Everyone, from Jewish converts to people still in need of Christ and His Church and even Bob himself, would greatly benefit were Bob to listen to His Excellency. And with every new anti-Jewish comment, article and conspiracy theory that appears at BTF (click here for the most recent examples), Bishop Rhoades’ discernment and prudence is only reconfirmed. It pains us to see a priest of Fr. Harrison’s stature place himself on the wrong side of that prudent judgment.


In the end, it seems increasingly clear with each passing day that Bishop Rhoades was indeed acting “in God’s stead” when he intervened, precisely as Bob himself stated at the end of July, 2007.


Related articles:




We also recommend reviewing the following articles in their entirety:

1) Timeline